The Synopsis

I linked to my new site when I launched it, but I didn’t write about it much. I didn’t want to say too much, as I just wanted to see what happened. That and I was pretty busy at the time.

I do think it is worth taking a moment to address the site and some of the motivations, goals, and ideas behind the site.

Elephant in the Room

First and foremost this site only exists because TabDump.com has gone offline. I was a huge fan and supporter of TabDump as it was (for a short while) the only place I was getting my tech news, which seems crazy, but I assure you is the truth.

I would have never started this site if TabDump hadn’t ended.

The Idea and Goal

My idea wasn’t to ever try and replace TabDump — I don’t think I could do that if I wanted to. My idea was to create a TabDump like site, with a broader spectrum of coverage, that achieved three goals:

  1. Made the news short to read.
  2. Kept out all the unnecessary bullshit.
  3. Hopefully made the news enjoyable to read.

Those were and are the goals of the site.

The trouble was that I don’t really like culling through news anymore so it’s not a site I could do by myself.

The Approach and Team

I knew from the outset that I didn’t want to be the one writing or finding the content. I needed a team, but I also knew that there was no way I am coming out of pocket to pay a team. I have been around long enough to know that making money on these types of ventures is far from easy, and they usually end up costing you a lot of time and money.

To that end, I put out a call on Twitter and received a huge response. Either from people that wanted to read the site, or from people that wanted to contribute — it was awesome.

I selected a partner, in Bradley Chambers. I don’t know Bradley all that well, but he has an accent that makes me trust him. He is also really smart.

Some may wonder why I needed a partner, those are the people that have never created projects like this before. I wanted Bradley as a partner for a few reasons:

  • He is smart.
  • I wanted someone to keep me accountable to continually work on the site.
  • I wanted to have a partner to lean on when work/life/whatever causes me to need a short break.

In Bradley I get all of that and a lot more — he’s a great partner for me.

Bradley and I then brought on four people initially to focus on covering particular topics. Since the launch we have brought on another couple of people to widen the breadth of our coverage. My goal is to find people that have strong knowledge and command of the subjects they are assigned to cover — that way they are the people that really know what news matters and can better curate the news for everyone else.

For example: I couldn’t hire an American to cover Europe, so I waited for someone who lives in Europe to come along. In this they know the pulse, and thus can better inform the readers of the site.

We are still looking for people to fill the Asia, Africa, and South America ‘desks’. Email me if you are interested.

We will slowly build out coverage and continue to section the news by appropriate categories. In sectioning the news this way you know if you might just want to skip the section all together.

For instance we cover business news, which is largely boring as shit — well to me at least1 — but still important to many people. So by knowing this is ‘business’ news, you can easy skip to the next section if you want — don’t miss the Science section, there’s some interesting stuff there everyday.

Brevity is a chief goal, as we want our written synopses of the stories to be accurate, witty when appropriate, and as short as possible. Often giving you the entire story in the headline. I have a personal goal in letting the daily posts never go over 7 minutes to read from top to bottom.

I taglined the site: “Need to Know News”. That’s really the goal. The news you read on the site is the news you need to know if you are interested in that news category, or staying informed in general.

No one needs to know everything about Technology, but if you are interested there’s a few links that will keep you abreast of the major things.

We want to find simplicity of knowledge conveyance, in a non-pageview-driven bullshit manner. I hope we achieve that.

Right away I decided not to race to provide the most current news. We look back over the last twenty-four hours and publish that every morning before 9am pacific time. Important news is always easier to find in hindsight, and I’m dubious of any benefits people claim to being any more up to date on the news that what we provide.

Where The Synopsis Is

Right now we are still building out the site, the team, and the content plan. As I mentioned we still have some desks open. We still need more readers. We still need more sponsors. Need, need, need.

Right now everyone is working for free on the hope, dreams, and promise that maybe we can afford to give everyone a fucking subscription to The New York times so we can actually read and link to their stuff.

Everyone signed up to be a part of something knowing it may never pay off financially. But should it pay off Bradley and I have a solid and fair plan to give a large percentage of the money we collect to the team doing the writing everyday (of which Bradley writes the technology section).

What about apps? Yeah, we’d love to do that. We want to make The Synopsis easy to read and find as we can. We have a cheap membership option ($2 a month) which gets you an email version of the daily post. What about a podcast? Yep, we’ve thought about that and are still looking for the right person to do that.

I am also working on a new design, as the current design was hastily put together to get the site launched. I hope to have that design done soon — I think it looks spectacular.

Overall we are still finding our groove and fighting the terrible tools available to us. (Not you Slack, we love you.)

Thanks

If you are reading the site now, thank you. If you aren’t a reader of The Synopsis I would love to know why. Be brutally honest with me — that’s how it will get better. Doesn’t matter what the feedback, we would all love to have it.

Ultimately we are creating the site we would want to read. I am creating the site I want to read because I am frankly far too busy to stay up on the news — and I love to know the news.

Go check out The Synopsis if you haven’t already.


  1. Sorry Yuyang, you’re doing great, but man I don’t know how you read that stuff. 

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Article Details

Published
by Ben Brooks
6 minutes to read.


tl;dr

I really like the news, I just really don’t like news sites. So I built my own.