From the Trenches

Yes, I’m the cofounder of a startup. But I hate the term “entrepreneur.” My eye twitches whenever someone introduces themselves to me as such.

Mar 3, 2020, 12:00 pm*

Internet Culture


Nicholas White

A note from the Daily Dot’s CEO

Yes, I’m the cofounder of a startup. But I hate the term “entrepreneur.” My eye twitches whenever someone introduces themselves to me as such.

And the ol’ eye has been twitching a lot recently as I shuttle between events like Mashable Connect last weekend in Orlando and the e-G8 Summit, which I’ll be at next week in Paris.

When people ask me what I do, I say “I’m a journalist.” An introduction may seem like a small thing, but there are actually several reasons I do it that way and they get to the core of how we operate.

Reason 1: To see the look of distaste flit across my interlocutor’s face. Reporters rank somewhere between lawyers and IRS agents in most people’s professional esteem. Even Gandhi didn’t like us.

2: To give fair warning: If I see or hear news, I will report that shit.

3: “Entrepreneur” sounds, to my ear anyway, as if you don’t have any specific knowledge that you’re leveraging. It sounds as if you like the idea of being a “founder” and getting rich.

We started The Daily Dot as a media company because that’s what we know. Starting up requires specific knowledge, it requires a deep enough understanding of your industry to be able to contribute something new and better.

We don’t each know everything there is to know about reporting, but each of us has a piece of the specific knowledge needed to put out an online newspaper. Each one of us that works for The Daily Dot is a journalist, from me, the CEO, to the janitor — if we could afford a janitor at this point. Everyone is part of the process of getting news into our reader’s heads. No one is expendable.

4: Finally, I need to spend as much time as possible on the front lines. Otherwise you have no real idea what’s going on in your company or what your customers are actually buying. And you don’t get more bleeding-edge than reporting. That’s why I write this part of the newsletter every week, reporting on us and what we’re up to.

And like I said, I’ll be going to e-G8 Summit next week. As I understand it, Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France and, this year, the G8, wants Internet leaders to come to Paris to provide insight and recommendations to the leaders of the industrialized world on what to do with this whole Internet thing in coming years. God only knows what governments will do with the Intertubes. It’s big, it’s got a lot of people and money and not a lot of governance. I can’t see politicians letting that go forever.

But I don’t expect to get a sneak peek into what the politicians are going to do. There’s going to be an unusual concentration of business and technology leaders there, people who will shepherd our beloved Internets into the future and that’s the future I hope to get insight into — insight that I’ll be passing on as quickly as I can: I won’t just be attending the event, I’ll be covering it.

— Nick White
CEO and Cofounder, the Daily Dot

Photo by DavidBleasdale/Flickr

Share this article
*First Published: May 20, 2011, 10:00 am