We’ve come a long way, baby.
It seems like it was yesterday that we launched SmartPlanet.com. (It was actually June 2009.) We arrived in the world with just five blogs, five writers and two editors in tow. We had something to say: that technological innovation was making the world an incredible place in which to live. The challenge was convincing anyone that we were worth listening to.
The hardest part about launching a website is scale. Instantly, you must be an operation that publishes seven days a week, 365 days a year. When you’re accessible at any time, you don’t have the luxury of not having something to say. No one likes a static website. But with only seven people at our disposal — many of whom split their time between SmartPlanet and our tech-minded sister sites, ZDNet and CNET — that was, in many ways, nearly impossible to do.
I consider 2011 the first year that SmartPlanet came into its own. True, we grew incrementally over our first two years. But around May of this year, we decided that we needed to take a more aggressive approach. We began to add more experienced journalists to our ranks, in all sections of the site. We hired foreign correspondents on six continents. We hired three top-notch columnists. And we assigned five writers — three existing, two new — to go off to report and write longform features. (You’ll see the first batch in January.)
In all, that’s about 40 people. It’s a staggering rate of change.
We also expanded our award-winning multimedia offerings with new video series — you all really like Sumi’s Smart Picks, I’m told — and our first-ever collaboration with our corporate colleagues at CBS Radio: the SmartPlanet Minute, a 60-second audio bulletin that you can download on Apple iTunes or hear each weekend in 20 radio markets across the United States.
As an editor, all of this excites me. (And no, it’s not because I now have five times the work.) When you come to SmartPlanet, I want you to be surprised and delighted by what you find. We’re not there yet, but we’re on the right path: if you visit on a Wednesday, for example, you may read one of Chris Nelder’s signature missives on energy policy, one story from our first feature package, a dispatch from Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro, a new video in our Robots@Work series and any number of interesting news bites about technology, science, energy, health and design.
There’s more in store, of course. Naturally, I can’t indulge you in the details, but all I ask is that you keep coming back to SmartPlanet — and give us feedback, of course — and share it with your friends.
We’re small, but mighty. Here’s to 2012.