Ever since ExitEvent started publishing content way, way back in the dark ages of 2012, I set up a bunch of ways to track how it was read, why it was read, who was reading it, and what made one article more interesting than another. But when it comes to year-end lists, which, for the record, part of me detests, it's best to just stick with good old page views.
I can tell you some of the theories I was able to spin from the meta-data. You all really don't care that startups raise money unless there is a compelling story behind the raise. You're more concerned with what a startup is trying to do than with how far along it is on that path. And you don't care about what's going to happen at the Startup Social, but you're very interested in what did
It makes me smile to know that ExitEvent's content is different in all the ways I think it should be different, and you all have my respect for your taste and principles.
That said, when it came to sheer volume, here's what you dug in 2013:
When Blake Callens
first brought this to me, I was like, "Well, this is certainly out of left field." I'm usually begging for articles about technology, as that's the fuel to the entrepreneurial fire, in my mind anyway. But the tricky thing Blake did here was cut across all lines. Coders liked this article, so did designers, and marketers, and accountants and grandmothers. When tech speaks universally, it's powerful -- which is kinda what Pixar capitalized on in the first place.
It's been a hell of a year for Elliott Hauser
. In January, he had an idea and a start for Coursefork, but no real momentum. After winning Triangle Startup Weekend in March and being accepted into the Startup Factory in August
, he also spent time standing up the Startup Giveback
. This piece he wrote in September took a deep dive into the seed stage that resonated across our audience. In fact, whenever founders write articles for us (and we eschew all salesy, press-release type stuff), they usually blow up.
There was controversy about women in startup, some of it intentionally provocative. The fact is, some serious gains were made by women in startup in 2013. Angela Hollen's Spitter Spatter was a fine example, and she and Zach Shabot are almost quietly making huge strides in textile technology. Ann Johnston
did a great job of capturing the journey -- woman founder, nanotech, bootstrapped -- would have been easy for that story to slip through the cracks.
The value of Bitcoin literally and figuratively rode a volatile wave in 2013. For weeks, there were trickles of information coming through surrounding Silk Road, while Bitcoin fluxed and digital privacy seemed to be attacked on all fronts. Jivan Achreja
neatly tied everything together in one article that, for me at least, finally made the whole thing make sense.
Look. Justin Miller just makes a good story. I've known Justin for a long time, and we never, ever run out of things to talk about
, whether it's his getting booted from his home-office by the City of Raleigh back in 2012 or, well, just tacos. My favorite part about this story is when I texted him that I didn't have a decent picture of him to run with the article, what appears is what he immediately took and texted back.
It's no secret that I'm a fan of the NC IDEA grant. NC IDEA also happens to be fans of ExitEvent, and for the last few cycles have given us an exclusive on announcing the winners, including access to the founders, most of which are usually already ExitEvent members. Cool how that works. But you all definitely like these stories -- this much more recent article, NC IDEA Announces Fall 2013 Grant Winners
, was just published on December 10th and is already ranked #26.
This is the first of two articles I wrote this year that had to do with how silly Social has become. This one makes a valid point, in that it seems 2013 was about building audience, running ads, then looking for the magic bullet. Which, when you think about it, was exactly what 2000 was about. My tongue wasn't so in cheek on this, and I'm kind of disappointed Facebook didn't run with it.
The second Social article came much later in the year, and makes a completely different point, but along the same lines. Essentially, in a startup sense, the lines have been drawn, and the Social Startup is over and Social Media Marketing is right behind it. "Going viral" is the 20-teens version of "having a hit record." I am, however, surprised and quite gratified that both of these articles were so popular, as they were two of my favorite to write.
Remember when I said that you all really don't care about a company raising money unless there was a story attached to it? This is proof positive. AuthenTec sold for a small fortune and it got quite a lot of press, but when their technology was the new new thing in the iPhone 5, everyone took notice.
Back in March, I sat down for a beer with Spreedly's CEO Justin Benson and wrote Durham-Based Spreedly Raises Round, Pivots to Core Product
(#15 in 2013). But that conversation was so much more than what you saw in the article -- which I attribute to a combination of Spreedly's mission being a bit hard to wrap your brain around and one too many beers. Something was happening there, I just couldn't figure out how to get the words right at the time. Not three months later, they were one of the first non-Silicon Valley companies to raise a seed round directly via AngelList.
So that was your 2013. It wasn't blockbuster investment rounds or Hollywood-type hoodie-founders or anything to do with politics, insider gossip, or isms. It was real stories about startups and startup trends that resonated with you the most, which made 2013 my favorite year in startup so far.