The world rotates on its axis by the power of stories.
Words, and the connection they foster, can annihilate loneliness, cure trauma, and even diffuse oppression.
When Martin Luther King penned his dream, he did so through the language of intimacy and compassion—two of the most powerful drivers for change.
When Lincoln pleaded for equality, he used a narrative of acceptance. Mandela, Gandhi, and Churchill were masters of storytelling, too, and their words changed the very pulse of their nations.
Today, everyone in the western world who wants a voice can have one—and it’s only a modem away. In a post-internet world, even the smallest of voices can bring change.
One of the most enduring challenges of the first world is gender-based oppression. The more voices contribute to the feminist zeitgeist, the weaker oppression becomes. When Bryan Goldberg chose to become a part of that change, he decided a small voice would not be good enough. He wanted to create the loudest voice for millennial women, by millennial women, and so he did. That voice is carried by Bustle.com, a platform that’s unpretentious enough to put Harry Potter teams and feminism in the same story, but not gentle enough to oppose bigotry where it finds it.
The site isn’t satisfied to merely use words. It gives women without writing backgrounds a doorway into digital journalism, adding to a chorus that’s quickly becoming the title role. Bustle reaches 80 million unique readers a month—a triumph of language, certainly, but also one of entrepreneurial spirit.
The Dude in the Back Seat
Goldberg’s leadership style began to evolve with his 180 million dollar baby, Bleacher Report. By giving his fans a platform alongside his editorial staff, he managed to build a readership while working a day job. The user base became a ubiquitous part of the site, which ultimately sold to Time Warner for a small fortune.
He had to take a seat even further towards the back for Bustle. He was, as the internet continuously reminds him, not in possession of two X chromosomes, and his feminist readership needed the nuance of an authentic women’s narrative.
Kate Ward is at the helm as Bustle’s editor in chief, and she’s built a fast-paced site with ‘round the clock coverage, which is dished out by three editors. Google loves fresh, organic content even more than readers do, so Ward’s dynamic edge fuels Bustle’s search engine rank as well.
As for Bryan, you’ll find him working on monetization, sponsorship, and his CEO role, proving that it is, indeed possible for a man to succeed in a woman’s world.
A New Face for Feminism
If you spend five minutes on Bustle, you’ll find posts on everything from Trump to sex positivity, consent to empowerment.
Third wave feminism is beginning to lose its scowl, and Bustle is bringing a dash of humour and lightness to the movement.
Some of the writing comes without the polish of experience, but this is one of its greatest assets: It is empowering the voices of tomorrow and creating the connection that’s such an inexorable part of globalized movements.
In so doing, Bustle has become more than merely a magazine, but a site that doesn’t betray its authentic voice and which contributes to the therapeutic powers of uniting narratives.
Money in a Poor Man’s World
Sales teams are expensive, and it takes time to build an audience large enough to support monetization. It took Bryan Goldberg only a year to build the few million readers needed to attract sponsorships.
Websites that put out a meagre post a day can take years to inch towards this point, so Bustle launched 40 stories a day at a time when the world was waking up from the dot com dream.
It took remarkable clarity of vision to grow the desired ethos without changing it. “We are who we said we are,” he says, “Always have been. Always will be.”
The Butterfly Effect
The butterfly effect says that even the smallest flutter can change the world.
Every Change Creator does what they do because they believe they can make a difference, but ambition is in short supply.
Why not a thousand fluttering butterfly wings? Hell, why not a million? This is precisely how Bryan’s strength of vision has pushed Bustle forward. Right from the start, Goldberg won $6.5 million in seed capital. His drive proved to the world that media could be scalable.
Stories unearth the great lessons of life. They melt division and extract truth. Even if you live in the most divided nation in the world, access to words can bring a sense of unity more pervasively than any alternative. There are thousands of butterflies in the feminist media industry, and Bustle is teaching them how to fly.
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