When we sat down two and a half years ago with a reporter we were hoping to hire and revealed a plan to launch a publication focused on public policy and innovation, they literally laughed and asked “Is there enough to write about?”
This week InnovationAus.com celebrates two years in business and we’re happy to report that not only is there no shortage of top line issues to write about, but that interest in these issues has never been stronger.
When we launched two years ago, it was by no means certain that InnovationAus.com would take off. For a start, I was the founder and managing director of a communications agency Espresso, and there were real questions about whether readers would accept a publication that was born out of ‘the dark side.’
And there were definitely question marks in JournoLand about whether a former PR chick could be the publisher of a credible, independent publication.
Of course this was a risk. It was a new model, in an untested niche, being launched into a difficult publishing market. Who would do that?
But because I was bootstrapping the publication from my existing business, I was comfortable with that risk. I figured if it all went south, we could always pack up the family and move to south coast and grow organic vegetables.
So it gives me huge satisfaction – personally and professionally – to now look at InnovationAus.com as a successful business in its own right that employs five full-time staff and a team of senior contributors.
We know there is interest in these public policy issues because our subscriber base – which is now more than 12,500 – has continued to grow. That number is nearly triple where we thought it would be.
Since launch, our anticipated commercial model has changed dramatically. But we knew that if we kept focused on the value we could provide to our readers, the commercial model would reveal itself.
Our interest has always been in the industry development issues of the tech and innovation sectors. We have wanted to explore the public policy settings that can help build Australian capability and Australian companies.
We have tried to avoid being entirely transactional in our reporting of policy issues, but rather to apply some context around the environment in which those policies exist.
We spent our first six months entirely commercial free, so that InnovationAus.com could build trust with its audience and to find its own authentic voice.
In our first two years, we have published more than 1,000 stories. During that two years we hosted 13 commercial events in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and the regional centre of Bendigo, attracting 1,500 or so delegates.
As a publisher, we are not simply trying to deliver information. It is about the connections between different parts of the broad ecosystem. Whether it is through the online publication or our event program, we are working hard to facilitate a high-quality conversation that will help to build our industry.
We are incredibly excited about the future of our industry, just as we’re excited about our place in it.
Just like the people and companies we report on, we want to be ambitious and smart and successful. Part of that is pausing to reflect on what we’ve built and where we want to go.
Thank you to everyone who has participated along the way. Whether they are providing time, or advice, or having the courage to speak out on issues of importance – Thank you.