#2 : Styli Charalambous, DailyMaverick.com:

Styli Charalambous (@DailyMaverick) is the CEO and publisher of Daily Maverick. Having co-founded the digital news publisher in 2009, he has overseen the commercial growth of Daily Maverick ever since. Styli is responsible for all things non-editorial and in his own words he believes he must have been a terrible person in a previous life to be given the challenge. In this episode, we cover quite a bit of ground from the early days of Daily Maverick and its perilous journey to becoming a leading independent media entity in Africa.

Show notes and links for this episode can be found at www.theinnovators.co/Styli | If you have any feedback suggestions or ideas you can connect with Tom on most social networks via @tkennedysa

Listen Now

Listen Now: iTunes | Stitcher | Download it

Books: 

  • Power of now
  • Power of Habit
  • Waking up

Apps

  • Calm
  • Cricinfo

Podcasts

  • The Serial series
  • Invisibilia,
  • Heavyweight
  • Digiday

Films

  • Anything by Tarantino

Role Model

A version of me, 5 years from now.

Quote 

“Do or do not. There is no try”

Favourite Website

  • Daily Maverick
    Facebook
    The Atlantic

Intro
3:00 – Interview Start
3:30 – Studies – Qualified CA
4:00 – Styli discusses his previous time in start-ups
4:30 – Discussing early failures
6:00 – “Times when loyalty is both an asset and a liability”
7:00 – “It’s never failure if you can take something from it”
8:30 – Meeting Branko @brankbrkic
8:45 – “Let’s take the two guys with the hardest surnames in media and put them together and create this force”
9:30 – Styli discusses joining Daily Maverick and the end of the print magazine
10:30 – Daily Maverick Newsletter [Sign-up] 
11:45 – Styli discusses the importance of adhering to quality content at DM
13:00 – Buying into the vision of Branko “Ethics, integrity and quality”
14:30 – “Shavings of the truth”
15:00 – Cutting a hole for Daily Maverick in the South African media landscape
16:00 – “We did everything everyone said you shouldn’t do”
16:45 – “You kind of get the feeling the big media companies are just waiting for us to die”
17:30Latest round of funding – R12 million
17:45 – “It’s amazing how far R12 million doesn’t get you these days”
18:00 – The cost of running newspapers vs digital
19:15 – Examining business results at a macro/national level – the bigger picture.
20:00 – Discussion around social impact investment
21:00 – The role of independent media in a democracy
22:45 – “The fourth estate” – What is it?
23:30 – Discussing how they deal with legal attacks at DM
23:45 – “Our first line of defense is quality control”
24:00 – Discussing the important role of editors and managing content output
26:30 – The end of SAPA after 77 years [Link]
28:30 – “We built our business on original feature length content”
29:30 – Discussing the idea of success
30:30 – Bootstrapping and living from payroll to payroll
31:00 – “We just had this absolute belief this thing had to keep going”
32:00 – Being honest about the struggles
32:30 – “I’m climbing this mountain, fuck you life!
33:00 – This is a success by almost every measurement or metric you can have. Just not profitability”
33:15 – “Societal impact, how do you measure that? That could be measured in billions”
34:00 – Discussing communicating with staff and the difficulty of being honest with them during the tough times.
34:15 – “Being late with salaries is the worst thing you can do.”
34:30 – “Just got to be honest with them, it’s going to be a wild ride”
37:15 – What keeps you up at night?
38:45 – “What we’ve come through has prepared us for the worst”
39:00 – Discussion around guest authors on Daily Maverick – Opinionistas
41:00 – Controlling the submitted content and why it’s so important
42:00 – Discussion the Huffington Post opinion piece scandal and the prior submission to Daily Maverick [DM Opinion piece in the impact of the scandal]
43:30 – Discussion around #FakeNews and the role of Google and Social in combatting it
45:00 – Most shared story during the election “The Pope supports Donald Trump” article [Link on #FakeNews during the US election]
46:00 – Making money off fake news [Link Tom referred to about the ease of generating income off #FakeNews via Wired]
47:30 – Styli’s Daily Routines
49:00 – Meditation – Calm app
51:00 – Journalling – How to bullet journal like a pro [Video]
51:30 – Goal setting discussion – macro vs short term
52:30 – Health and diet discussion – “Never really met a dish I didn’t like”
54:30 – Styli plays league cricket and tennis.
55:30 – Closing thoughts – Where is media heading?
56:00 – Innovation around revenue generation. Players are going to need 6 or 7 different revenue streams.
57:45 – Discussion around the consolidation of media
59:30 – Discussion around AI in journalism
1:01:15 – Advice about starting a website
1:02:00 – “No one ever achieved anything great without going through an immense amount of hardship and being tested”
1:03:00 – “Survival becomes a strategy”

Some notable quotes from the episode.
“Times when loyalty is both an asset and a liability”
“It’s never failure if you can take something from it”
“Let’s take the two guys with the hardest surnames in media and put them together and create this force”
“Shavings of the truth”
“We did everything everyone said you shouldn’t do”
“You kind of get the feeling the big media companies are just waiting for us to die”
“It’s amazing how far R12 million doesn’t get you these days”
“Our first line of defense is quality control”
“We built our business on original feature length content”
“We just had this absolute belief this thing had to keep going”
“I’m climbing this mountain, fuck you life!”
“This is a success by almost every measurement or metric you can have. Just not profitability”
“Societal impact, how do you measure that? That could be measured in billions”
“Being late with salaries is the worst thing you can do.”
“Just got to be honest with them, it’s going to be a wild ride”
“What we’ve come through has prepared us for the worst”
“Never really met a dish I didn’t like”
“No one ever achieved anything great without going through an immense amount of hardship and being tested”
“Survival becomes a strategy”