Jonah Peretti Quotes
Total quotes (18)
Total quotes (18)
I love metrics and I love thinking about optimization, but I think that the optimal state is being slightly suboptimal because as soon as you try to actually optimize, particularly for a single metric, you end up finding that the best way to optimize for that metric ends up perverting the metric and making the metric mean the opposite of what it used to mean.
It seems to me that it would be in Facebook’s interest to share revenue and have more control over their platform. Part of my critique for Facebook is why they wouldn’t want to ensure of quality content on their platform by sharing revenue and it makes it harder for them to get rid of fake news and clickbait in the newsfeed.
There’s sometimes moments where networks are so amenable to spread. Duncan uses this forest-fire analogy, which is if there’s a forest where the underbrush is wet, the trees are far apart, there’s not many dead trees, you could take a flamethrower to it and it won’t burn. If the forest is dry and it’s been hot and the trees are close together, you can just drop a match and the whole thing will burn.
When there’s a startup that sells, for example, or there’s a startup that’s super successful and is growing, people’s view of who drove the success is very highly correlated to who they know at the company. Chris Dixon will say, “Oh, HuffPost is really a tech company and Jonah was a big important part of it.” Because he knows me. But then someone who’s friends with Arianna will say, “Arianna’s a force of nature. She is constantly on TV. She was the name and the voice of the site. Her blog posts were constantly in the news cycle. That’s where the site mattered.” If you talk to someone who knows Kenny, they’re like, “Oh, Kenny was behind the scenes, building this whole thing and planning this out. He’s done it before, he’ll do it again.” That’s true, not just for HuffPost. It’s true with most companies. The thing you’re closest to, you think has the biggest impact. That, I think, is the cognitive bias that makes it hard for me to answer the question. The system as a whole matters so much. Any one of us who thinks that they’re solely responsible for the success of the company is, by definition, wrong, and the relationship between all the different pieces of the company has to be strong. In some cases, there’s things that aren’t even measurable. Like maybe just having tech, edit, and business teams communicating effectively, is more important. The lines might be more important than the dots.
I think in general it’s like life is tricky because it happens once and there’s no opportunity for A/B testing. It could be that you are living your best possible life and that if you re-play Felix Salmon’s life hundreds of other times, that this life you’re living is the best or among the top 5 percent of lives that you would have lived, and in lots of other ones you’d end up in an alley or in an unhappy relationship or with a job where you’re not intellectually fulfilled, and that you have found this amazing path. It’s also possible that you’re not even in the top 50 percent of lives and that your life is really tragic and that despite all the wonderful and impressive and amazing things you’ve done, that you had the potential to do all these incredible other things that would have been either bigger in scale or more fulfilling or more modest and simple, but more pleasurable or whatever. That there were all these other paths that would be better. It’s, I think, hard to say whether there is something I missed that would have made things much better. In general, I’m pretty happy, and all these imagined alternate lives, I wouldn’t know how to even begin to speculate on how they’d compare.
The default is always, and I saw this with all the good teachers, that it’s your fault, not the students’ fault. You should be able to figure out how to teach students something, and if there’s a student who has a learning disability, you should figure out how to route around it and explain it in another way. The worst teachers, in my view, were the teachers who said, 'Well, that kid’s just lazy' or 'This kid’s just stupid,' and they would only teach for the 80 percent of students who thought in a normal way.
There isn’t one perfect model for digital media. The best media companies generate revenue from many sources, tapping a combination of advertising, subscriptions, studio development, brand licensing, and merchandising. As digital media matures, the best digital media companies will build diversified businesses with many revenue streams and do it wielding the inherent advantages of digital to be more audience-focused, data-driven, efficient and global than the big conglomerates.
Around that time, at BuzzFeed we had figured out that you could rapidly swarm a breaking news topic, particularly about a person, place, or thing that was new, like a beauty queen who loses her crown and no one’s heard of this beauty queen. If you make a great page about that thing, you often could get to the top of Google results just as searches were surging. It was partly because Google got faster indexing at that point. Google was slow indexing and then all of a sudden became quick, and BuzzFeed figured that out in the lab, but then HuffPost editors got really good at it and we’d swarm stories very quickly and often be the first news source to create a comprehensive page for what was happening, linking out to other multiple other sources. Those pages became huge growth generators for the site.