The Information with Jessica Lessin

The Information with Jessica Lessin
Jessica Lessin, CEO and founder of The Information discuss the evolution of her media company in Asia Pacific & the different cultures between US and China technology companies.

Jessica Lessin, CEO and founder of The Information joined us in a conversation to discuss the news media site and its current focus in Asia. Jessica began the conversation on why she was inspired to set up The Information, and offer the vision and mission of her company. Continuing the conversation, she shared her perspectives on growing a media business, the cultural differences and innovation between US and Asia technology companies and why a good product is not enough for a company to be great. Last but not least, she discuss where The Information will go and relay her thoughts on the future of media companies.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

  • Jessica Lessin (@jessicalessin, LinkedIn, TheInformation), Founder and CEO of The Information [0:27]
    • How did you start your career? [0:36]
    • In your career journey so far, what are the interesting lessons learnt? [1:25]
    • I understand that you are currently in Hong Kong, Asia. What has brought you here this time round? [2:23]
  • The Information (@TheInformation, LinkedIn) and Jessica’s thoughts on Asia [4:19]
    • What is the inspiration behind The Information? How did you decide to start the news portal and try to distinguish the outlet against the others out there? [4:28]
    • What is the current mission and vision of The Information? [6:52]
    • What does The Information cover and what are the key areas they focus on in both US and Asia? [7:55]
    • I have heard your position in focus on the subscription business model many times with The Information and I agree with your position a 100%. How did you come to this position and are you open to other models upon the evolution of The Information? [9:50]
    • Growing a media business is extremely difficult in the US and of course in Asia, it’s even worse. I want to hear your thoughts on this. Is it because there is a difference between editorial control and business model innovation within the business? [11:44]
    • The Information has now an incubator to build new media companies, can you briefly talk about what the incubator is about and how do they help journalists to enter the digital era? [13:14]
    • So, it has been great to see the stories in Asia covered by Shai Oster and his team, I want to take a step back: why did you bring The Information to Asia? [14:42]
    • What do you hope your subscribers in Asia will get out of reading The Information? [16:00]
    • From your observations in China and US, do you see any significant differences in culture or even how your team covers them here in Asia? [17:53]
    • Have enjoyed your recent editorial article about why the product does not determine the success of the company, can you elaborate on why successful companies need more than just a good product to stay great? [19:52]
    • With the current turn against social media companies such as #Metoo (and your sites are one of those which break the Silicon Valley stories), fake news or more elaborately, the tech backlash from the politicians and public in the US or elsewhere, what are your thoughts on how tech companies will cope against these issues? [22:35]
    • What is the future of The Information for the next few years and what metrics you will use to measure that success? [24:00]
    • Where do you see the future of media going? [25:39]
  • Closing [28:47]

Podcast Information:

The show is hosted by Bernard Leong (@bernardleong & weibo) and are sponsored by Ideal Workspace (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn) with their new Altizen Desk (Twitter, Facebook, Medium). Sound credits for the intro music: Taro Iwashiro, “The Beginning” from Red Cliff Soundtrack and this episode is edited by Carol Yin.