My previous posts (and here) on the subject have hinted at the Exodus from Engadget being a rather significant cluster. It’s not surprising to me at all that they’ve followed in the footsteps of Ryan Block and Peter Rojas (both formerly of Engadget but now of GDGT) by splintering off to create their own tech site, and David Carr of the New York Times has now confirmed this to be the case.
At first blush many tech-heads probably find the matchup of a new tech site with an all-sport range of web sites to be a bit odd - but use your imagination. People are becoming more and more passionate about tech in the same way people have been fanatical about their sports for many years already. The technology under the hood (as it were) of the SB Nation websites it’s just as much what the old team is after. That said there’s a long way to go yet, but already the new line up appears to be: Joshua Topolsky, Nilay Patel, Chris Ziegler, Paul Miller, Joanna Stern, Ross Miller, Justin Glow and Dan Chilton.
I’ve noticed a significant drop in the number of comments on articles on Engadget over the last few weeks. Whilst anecdotal I would suggest that Engadget will be taking a bigger hit by losing it’s core of bloggers than some may think. It’s hard to build a unique brand and many executives like to think that you can just buy a brand and still make money. For a while AOL did okay off Engadget. But like many companies I’ve dealt with in the past that have been bought, it’s usually not the brand of the company but the people of that company that make it what it is.
I hate that management clique that’s supposed to give employees the warm fuzzies: “People are our greatest asset” or words to that effect. Frankly though it’s usually true. Have a great group of people that work hard and well together and you can build a great brand. Buying that brand then having those great people leave, pretty much guarantees your brand will never regain its former glory - and the reason the brand was bought in the first place.
Personally, I can’t wait till Spring!
(That’s Autumn - aka “The Fall” in the Northern Hemisphere)