The Changelog: This is how we’re building Splice

We’re big believers in best practices. And one of them is about the need to take the lid off on how a small media company works.

As we expand Splice as part of our plan to cover media transformation in Asia, we’re keeping a change log to map our path. We hope that by doing this, you’ll have insight into what works — and what doesn’t — when starting up. Warts and all.

We’re also looking for freelance reporters to write about media trends, talent and media startups in their own markets. Details here.

Email me at alansoon@thesplicenewsroom.com.


 

Week of September 10, 2017

  • We’re finally live!
  • The alpha site went live late on Wednesday night. Nail biting. As many of you know, it takes a long time for DNS changes to reflect around the world. We kept hitting “refresh” until there it was. Wooooo.
  • There were some lingering red flag issues at launch — stuff like the home page not updating to reflect the latest newsletter. But we managed to fix them as we went.
  • Either way, we felt we just needed to get this out the door. We would never have reached perfection. We just needed to get it live so we can start getting feedback.
  • So, what do you think? What should we prioritize for the next update?

Week of September 3, 2017

  • “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late,” said LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. Well, we really really tried to get the new site out the door this week. But it was just too embarrassing.
  • Little things were still tripping up what would have been a more convincing alpha product. Sorry folks. But if you’d like to see what it looks like, drop me an email and I’ll send you a live link.

Week of August 27, 2017

  • We’re at the end of the month, and we’re still struggling to nail down a “go-live” date for our site. Small, but frustrating little bits are in our way from a workflow and design perspective. Still plugging away.
  • We’re also starting to put some frameworks together around toolkits. For our first, we’ll focus on helping media startups take the first steps in putting a business plan together. Design thinking for media startups.
  • It’s also a super short week in Singapore, capped by Teachers Day as well as Hari Jaya Haji. Kids are home, which makes it hard to get on conference calls!

Week of August 20, 2017

  • Rishad and I were in Hong Kong this week where we faced a signal 10 typhoon. Everything was closed, apart from McDonald’s. It sustained us.
  • But it wasn’t a total washout. We closed a partnership with the University of Hong Kong’s media school that will form the “lens” to our coverage of media trends in Greater China. We will work with their students and staff on editorial reporting, research and events. Stay tuned.
  • We also had separate but confronting conversations with two people we deeply respect that convinced us that we weren’t delivering the right experience on our planned website. They saw the site and told us we were missing the point in a B2B media intelligence service. Their feedback — direct and fair — was difficult to accept… because they were right. So Rishad, Charis (our dev in HK) and I reworked the design. We’re feeling a little better about this. We’ll show it to you soon. But email me if you’d like a preview.
Charis and Rishad contemplating the future of Splice.
Charis and Rishad contemplating the future of Splice.

Week of August 13, 2017

  • We’ve started to test-drive the WordPress backend. Finding ways to simplify the publishing workflow.
  • We’re also testing new layouts. I love how the design is coming together. It’s gorgeous.
  • Started the paperwork to register Splice as a private limited company in Singapore.
  • Starting to wonder if Twist is really the best way forward. It’s expensive for a small startup. They will give you the past month of posts for free, after which you’ll need to pay $5/user/month for premium membership. We have plenty of our freelancers on the system — but the overall volume of content is low. As you can imagine, this all gets really expensive quickly.
  • Got our name cards printed. Arrgh. There’s a typo. See if you can spot it. Will have to redo the entire batch.
  • Lined up a whole bunch of meetings in Hong Kong. Excited. We’re on the road from Sunday.
Damn typo.

Week of August 6, 2017

  • We took Holly “Standfirst” Robertson though our mocks so we could get a better idea of the editing workflow. We’re figuring out how to provide as much context as possible in our home page. “You could just use a standfirst!!” Who says newspaper editing is a lost craft?
  • We’re also trying to figure out how we can optimize our pages with such a small team. We’re going to keep our original story output small — about five a week, supplemented by link-outs and partner content.
  • We’re going to be in Hong Kong on Aug 21–23 for a chat with HKU. Keen to see what we can do with them. Who’s around for coffee?
  • Still looking for a less costly co-work space.
  • Mocks for our category pages are done. We spent a lot of time asking: What do people need/want/expect from a category page? How would we surprise them? What are your thoughts around that?
  • Changed this title to “Changelog” since that’s how everyone seems to write it these days. Don’t know if that’s AP-friendly.

Week of July 30, 2017

  • Pulled down the existing page at thesplicenewsroom.com — which was really only a showcase for Splice’s consulting services. We’ve put up a placeholder until we launch our alpha later in August. Thank you Manolis Zografakis from Sourcefabric in Berlin who emailed us to say we were showing a 404 because we messed up the redirect.
  • The first draft of the article page is done. Love it.
  • Signed up Holly Robertson as our freelance editor to help commission and copy edit our coverage.
  • Setting up a new business registration, which thankfully, is always easy in Singapore.
  • We’ve also set up a PayPal account so we can pay our writers in some of the smaller markets.
  • More pitching. We’re learning a lot about what our clients want.
  • We celebrated our cofounder Rishad’s birthday. Happy birthday buddy. Now let’s ship!
  • More meetings. We’re meeting some interesting people who are great at helping us shape the way we describe the company. Distilling the mission.

Week of July 23, 2017

  • First mock of the site is out the door.
  • First mock of our branded content product is also done.
  • Updated our official brand color to #FF2DA1, compliant with #a11y contrast accessibility standards.
  • We sign up a fantastic WordPress developer: Charis Rooda. You don’t often come across someone who combines dev and design. And a media mind. She got us at: “So you want to be like De Correspondent.” Damn right. 😇
  • More pitching. Some people are telling us that “Everyone wants to see a service like this but no one will pay for it.” We’ll just have to prove them wrong.
  • Found a hosting service.
  • We’re still looking for freelance writers. Some interesting pitches, but it’s hard to come across freelancers who know how to pitch stories.
“Ok bro. Let’s ****ing do it.”

Week of July 16, 2017

  • We start looking for a co-work space. We’ll settle for The Working Capitol for now while we consider cheaper options.
Just in case we forget our names.
Just in case we forget our names.

Week of July 9, 2017

  • I’m in Hong Kong for RISE. Still pitching for partners and money.

Week of July 2, 2017

  • Rishad Patel steps in as cofounder. He’ll figure out product and services. Finally, a collaborator. I’ll focus on editorial and business.
  • Pitches begin. Getting some ideas for monetization out the door.
  • We start talking to website developers.

Late June (it’s all a blur)

  • It’s confirmed: We’ve secured a grant to build out Splice. It’s small, but it’ll get us to the end of the year.
  • I start putting the word out for freelance writers.
  • Decide to go with Twist as a collaboration platform.
  • Rishad Patel and I start talking about getting him onboard as a cofounder.

Co-Founder, CEO of The Splice Newsroom. Covering the business of media transformation in Asia. Follow Alan Soon on Twitter.

Our newsletters are read around the world by some of the smartest people in media. Subscribe here.

more about us

Hello. We’re Splice. We report, teach, and fund the transformation of media. We are building an ecosystem that develops new models of media, and we’re calling it Splice 100.

Our newsletters are read by some of the smartest people in global media.

We’re Alan Soon and Rishad Patel, and there’s more about us here.

Splice is available for speaking engagements, to run workshops, product sponsorships, custom research, design audits and interventions, and consulting. Email us.

We also have a Telegram group. Come say hi.

Thanks for subscribing!