The next Next Web
Big news in European tech media today, as the Financial Times takes a controlling stake in TNW.
I used to work there, initially as a reporter and later as editor-in-chief, and it’s been fantastic to see the company go from scrappy upstart to subsidiary of one of the biggest names in European media, with plenty of ups and downs along the way.
But the joint press release
accompanying the news is interesting. While many people know TNW for its news- and discussion-focused website
, it’s the events business that gets all the attention in the announcement.
In part, that’s because TNW has always been an events business first. The first The Next Web conference in Amsterdam was mainly a way of getting a load of Silicon Valley folk over to take a look at the founders’ new tech startup.
Boris and Patrick have always been like that – resourceful and mischievous in equal measure, while being a positive force in European tech.
The TNW tech blog launched as a form of early content marketing for the events, and they realised they could grow it into a publication giving a voice to the emerging European startup scene. Over the years, the publication and its various spinoffs have taken a number of different directions but it’s always been lively and popular.
So it’s a shame the site isn’t mentioned much in the press release, although that says a lot about modern publishing – publications often exist to monetise the community that grows up around them in other ways. And while rival publications have their own events, TNW had the events before the publication, and has always delivered both to a high quality, with a unique sense of character.
Although there was lots of trial and error along the way, they eventually figured out that being an ‘events and media’ company is better for business than being a ‘media and events’ company.
TNW will continue to operate independently, and I wish everyone there all the best for the future.