What’s Axios’ vision? After a home run success with Politico, Jim and Roy set out on a new chapter. Noticing a shift in how we consume news in today’s internet-first era, the Axios team skated to where the puck was going, pioneering a new paradigm of news media, which they aptly call “smart brevity”. As a dual mix between Twitter and The Economist, Axios strives to keep readers informed with the concise insights of industry thought leaders and experts.
How has Trump shifted the media paradigm? For better or worse, Donald Trump has disrupted how we consume media. Jim and Roy share their perspective on how the media landscape has shifted since 2016 and how they approach newsreading in today’s environment. Jim also discusses how Axios is focused on making sure its readers aren’t over-indexing on politics, and instead are maintaining the big picture despite all of the noise. For additional fun, you can also check out Jim’s interview with President Trump on Axios’ HBO show.
How does Axios differentiate in a world inundated with content? As consumers, we are constantly flooded with content. With so much high quality journalism and reporting across the entire spectrum, why should we subscribe to Axios? Going back to its roots in ‘smart brevity’, Axios differentiates in both content and business model, integrating a seamless reader and advertiser experience. It also helps that some of the foremost industry experts in finance and politics are on their payroll.
What lessons did Jim and Roy learn at Politico are they now using to build Axios? People, people, people. The Axios team discusses how the core of any business is its people and how culture is the key champion in maintaining your human capital. From aligning on a vision and mission to removing underperformers swiftly, the key aspect to building a business is defined by its people.
How do you pitch customers on a product that’s difficult to quantify? Customers like ROI. They feel more comfortable saying, “when I invest $X, I get $Y back.” But when a company like Axios is selling advertising space dedicated towards softer-quality themes like brand-building and corporate social responsibility, defining a hard ROI gets difficult. Roy gives a number of examples of how he catalyzes sales with risk-averse customers. He and I also discuss a few case studies, from Starbucks to Goldman Sachs, on why building brand resilience is mandatory in today’s hypersensitive age.
What are the consistent patterns across successful media companies? Differentiation in all forms of content, from the writing to the advertisements themselves need to scale as your audience grows. Jim and Roy share how they’ve kept the long-term in mind at Axios given their lessons learned at Politico… and how they plan to avoid the sluggish growth that has befallen some of the early internet media startups as they’ve lost their initial virality.
What’s a piece of content that’s changed Jim’s and Roy’s perspective?
Jim: podcasts in general. They’re a unique and bountiful source of differentiated information.
Roy: Losing My Virginity – in little more than twenty-five years, Richard Branson spawned nearly a hundred successful ventures. From the airline business (Virgin Atlantic Airways), to music (Virgin Records and V2), to cola (Virgin Cola), and others ranging from financial services to bridal wear, Branson has a track record second to none. Many of his companies were started in the face of entrenched competition. The experts said, “Don’t do it.” But Branson found golden opportunities in markets in which customers have been ripped off or underserved, where confusion reigns, and the competition is complacent.
- Politico Founders Launch Axios, Land Donald Trump Interview on Day 1
- Axios Is Celebrating Its Second Anniversary – And Virtual Profitability
- Axios Newsletter Signup
Thanks for tuning into another episode of the Pattern Recognition Podcast!