On August 13, I sat down with Flipboard CEO Mike McCue to talk about the future of media at our latest ReadWriteMix event. I didn’t expect us to dive right into media’s past. McCue told me he drew inspiration from figures like Clay Felker, the founder of New York magazine, who, McCue recalled, called the publications “tribal organizing documents.”
McCue and I are both veterans of the early Web. In the ’90s, he worked at Netscape, the browser maker which served as a printing press for so many early Web publishers, while I worked as a webmaster and online reporter for some of the first publications to go online.
In trying to create something new and original, the Web rejected some conventions of older mediums like print. With Flipboard, McCue sought to bring some of the sensibilities of magazines back to digital media, first on the iPad, then on mobile phones, and now—coming full circle—to the Web.
He’s also returned Flipboard to the democratizing mission Netscape had, by opening it up to smaller publishers and individuals, letting them not just create magazines for it, but also make money doing so.
Here’s a video of our full conversation, and highlights of the talk.
Where McCue finds inspiration:
Why McCue chose to build Flipboard for the iPad first:
Why McCue doesn’t worry about “Flipboard killers”:
Why Flipboard started paying smaller publishers a cut of ads:
How Flipboard handles censorship:
What it takes to create and sell beautiful digital ads:
All proceeds from August’s ReadWriteMix went to support Girls Who Code, whose programs work to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities.
Photo by Kara Brodgesell for ReadWrite; videos by Jackson West for ReadWrite