Editorial content, Innovations, Podcasts

The Disconnect’s founders on experimentation and counter-intuitive bets

This week, Peter speaks to The Disconnect’s co-founders Chris Bolin and Clayton d’Arnault about the philosophy and meaning behind a digital magazine that can only be consumed while offline.

In the news round-up we discuss the sale of Time Inc’s flagship titles, what makes a magazine title valuable to different media companies, and go deep into whether ‘the Duopoly’ is an unhelpful and misleading label. The team narrowly avoid singing Rihanna.

We’re reading:

In our own words: Peter Houston

I remember the first time I saw an iPad. It was early in 2010 in the Spectator’s London offices, all wood panelling and leather (the offices not the iPad). Someone had brought one back from the US and, like Arthur C. Clarke said, the technology was sufficiently advanced to seem like magic.

The first time I saw the Disconnect, a digital magazine that can only be read offline, I felt that same thrill of a technology that I don’t quite understand, but that I know had the potential to make me see things differently.

The Disconnect is very different from the magazines that came to inhabit the iPad. It’s a stripped back digital experience that appears immediately on your phone, so long as you know enough to disconnect from the internet.

It’s unfunded and will be tough to scale, but it’s perfect for our times.

Creators Chris and Clayton talk a lot about intentionality, both in terms of how they approached commissioning, editing and publishing the Disconnect, but also by forcing the reader to make the decision to unplug from the Internet to read their work. In a time of paywalls, it’s a pay-attention wall.

When we’re thinking very hard about how we spend our time online, The Disconnect is a powerful reminder that the digital media space doesn’t need to be open ended. It can be a private, self-contained and absolutely an end in itself.

Have a listen to the guys talk about their creation, check out what they’ve made and then have a think about how you could get your digital audiences to pay attention just to you.

Sign up for our new email newsletter! Get the latest episode, plus all the week’s news and what we’re reading in your inbox every week.

* indicates required