December 13, 2016
Bloomberg Technology launched in October with an ambitious idea. Led by Senior Executive Editor Brad Stone, a global team of journalists, data mavens and technologists set out to cover the business of technology with the same appetite for experimentation as the industry itself.
As part of both a global multiplatform media network and a data and tech company, they’re in a unique position to be able to do just that, pushing the digital storytelling envelope with new formats and tools. Below, Bloomberg Technology digital editor Aki Ito shares why data can change the conversation, how Bloomberg’s doubling down on video, and what makes audio so exciting.
Q: Since the Bloomberg Technology launch, you’ve rolled out a newsletter, a podcast, a video series on robots, live video shows, and new data tools. So, the launch was really the start of things for you?
A: That’s right. We rolled out two weekly digital live video shows, which is something we’ve never done before at Bloomberg. We have these new data tools – The Global Technology Tracker, for instance, which is bringing more art, more data-driven context into our stories about the most influential publicly traded companies in the industry.
“The Bloomberg U.S. Startups Barometer is a new kind of economic indicator – it’s a weekly update on the state of the ecosystem for venture capital-backed private technology companies.” – Aki Ito, Bloomberg Technology digital editor
One of the big things we really wanted to do was to more deeply integrate the newly branded Bloomberg Technology television show, formerly called Bloomberg West, into our daily coverage and our website. Emily Chang hosts the show, which airs live from San Francisco every weekday. When the show is live, you’ll see on the video player takes over the first part of the screen on Bloomberg.com/technology. We rolled out a ton of new things at once, and we’ve already been tweaking some of these things as we learn what works and what doesn’t.
Q: And you just launched the new U.S. Startups Barometer.
The Bloomberg U.S. Startups Barometer is a new kind of economic indicator – it’s a weekly update on the state of the ecosystem for venture capital-backed private technology companies. The numbers that are currently the industry benchmarks come out quarterly, and with substantial lags, and there are a bunch of different metrics so you sometimes get competing stories about the industry’s business conditions. And that all means that, depending on who you ask, you’ll get very different answers, heavily anecdotal, about what the ecosystem looks like at this very moment.
So with the help of our in-house statisticians and analysts, we used a series of different metrics. And we made it so you get the numbers in almost real-time: You get the latest reading for the previous week every Monday morning. So we’re hoping that this will help us all have more informed, more quantitatively grounded conversations about whether U.S.-based startups are doing better or worse than three months ago, six months ago, a year ago. It’s really the kind of project you can only do at Bloomberg.
And there’s a reason we’ve invested so much in our coverage of venture capital and startups. It would’ve been unthinkable for a startup to be worth $69 billion only a couple years ago – but now that’s the reality, and with a lot of startups delaying their IPOs, they’re becoming just as influential as a lot of publicly traded companies. So we need better tools to track these private companies too.
Q: Building on Bloomberg’s success with the digital series “Hello World” with Ashlee Vance, you’ve also launched multiple live video shows, using multiple platforms. How are you approaching that?
The fact that we have a global television network means we have the resources to do things in a really polished way. We can get the best of TV together with the best of digital. For example, we shoot with professional equipment with our TV crew, and we get our hosts mic’d up– so we have very high quality production.
“Our viewers can ask our hosts questions through the various platforms that we stream our shows on, and the hosts answer those questions on camera in real-time.” – Aki Ito, Bloomberg Technology digital editor
But at the same time we’re creating a more direct relationship between the hosts and the audience – our viewers can ask our hosts questions through the various platforms that we stream our shows on, and the hosts answer those questions on camera in real-time. So it becomes a real conversation.
Live video: Bloomberg’s Jordan Robertson shows why election night wasn’t the end of the information war, while answering questions submitted by viewers on Facebook.
One of the shows is called Digital Defense, where our cybersecurity reporter Jordan Robertson walks you through weekly tips to fend off hackers and protect your digital identity. These are things he’s picked up in his own reporting. The other show is called Apple This Week, which is a digest and discussion of all things Apple featuring Mark Gurman and Alex Webb. We stream both the shows on Bloomberg.com as well the Facebook, YouTube and the Bloomberg terminal.
Read more: Q&A with Mark Gurman
We’ve also rolled out a new video series – these are two to five minute videos from our digital video team that feature robots from around the world. These are beautifully shot and edited features, almost like short documentaries.
Q: You also launched a new podcast – Decrypted, that’s getting a lot of buzz.
“Audio has this real ability to take you somewhere else.” – Aki Ito, Bloomberg Technology digital editor
One of the things I’m really excited about with this podcast is, audio has this real ability to take you somewhere else. We’re featuring stories from both inside and beyond Silicon Valley, and the goal is to really make it feel like you’re right there with our reporters as they take you behind the scenes, to these parts of the global tech industry that outsiders normally don’t get to see.
Recent episodes of Decrypted have covered Amazon’s fight against fake reviews and counterfeits, the shortcomings of the AI in virtual assistants, and the U.K.’s experiment to make everyone a startup investor.
Decrypted is mostly hosted by Brad [Stone, Bloomberg Technology’s global lead editor across all platforms], sometimes by me – and every week we have a different reporter on as a guest host who reports out this deeply reported piece.
There’s a lot of hard work ahead but Brad and I are both really excited about all these things we’ve launched, and we’re so excited to finally be getting feedback from our readers, our viewers, our listeners.
– Jen Robinson | December 13, 2016