Reading/Strategy/Meet to Narrow Down Strategic Problems

Meeting Notes


What can be deferred or off-loaded? Consider the following:

  1. Where can we realistically play and win?
  2. What are our strengths?
  3. What can happen within the time frame that we have (3-5 years)?
  4. Which aren’t our problems to solve (i.e. are we chickens or pigs)?


  • P8 Lack of feedback loops.
    • Question: If feedback is not our problem to solve, how do we intend on incorporating feedback into the strategy process?
    • We’re not the “pig” in the feedback loops problem. That said, specific feedback loops will likely be capabilities that are required to solve other problems.
  • P6 Org effectiveness
    • Again, not “pigs” in this problem
    • More of a systemic problem, not specific to reading


  • P7 External perception
    • Seems like this could be solved as a byproduct of improving UI/UX (i.e. modernizing, better optimizations for reading experience)
    • CF/JK: This seems like a root cause of many problems and/or a core consideration of everything we do
      • How will editors react to us doing X?
      • How will readers understand X?
      • JK: “If we fixed the loop between editors and readers, our measurable impact would increase” OR our measurable impact isn’t increasing because the loop between editors and readers is broken

The following strategic problems were voted on by those present (Corey Floyd, Anne Gomez, Toby Negrin, Jon Katz, Dmitry Brant, Moushira Elamrawy, Bryan Davis, Jon Robson, Adam Baso, Josh Minor, Brian Gerstle).

Using voting, the principles stated above ("Questions"), and some visualizations (links below), we narrowed down the problem set to Problem 1 and Problem 4. Problem 7 was recognized as a core concern that we would need to grapple with regardless of the problem or strategic direction decided.

CF, AG, TN, JK, DB, ME Problem 1: When users access content through third parties we:

  • can’t measure user value
  • don’t get contributions of donors
  • can’t ensure content is displayed in line with our values

BD, JR Problem 2: The internet is evolving and it’s squashing our values

JR, AB, ME, JTM Problem 3: We don’t have a way to reach new communities

AG, TN, JTM, JK, BG, ME, AB, BD, CF, DB Problem 4: Our core capabilities, infrastructures, and workflows are not optimized for emerging platforms, experiences, and communities

  • Getting into the modern web
  • Tech + mindset

BG Problem 5: We don’t have a shared vision for the next generation of user experiences

Problem 6: Lack of a framework and culture of collaborative decision-making

Problem 7: People don’t get us.

  • Readers don’t get:
    • where articles come from
    • Our values
    • The editing process
    • Why we matter
    • Editors don’t get readers

Problem 8: Lack of feedback loops that effectively incorporate a variety of users

  • Hostility fills the void
  • We don’t always model the professionalism that we want to see
  • It’s important to understand our history
  • Our feedback tools are cumbersome