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Bobby Ghosh joins Quartz as managing editor

Kevin Delaney just sent this memo to our staff…

Hello Quartz -

Some staff news:

Bobby Ghosh is joining us as managing editor of Quartz, starting next month. He is currently editor of Time International, overseeing all of its editions and correspondents outside of the US.

Bobby is one of the most-experienced journalists at covering international affairs and the new global economy, having lived as a correspondent in Baghdad, London, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Washington DC. Raised in India, his assignments have taken him to much of the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and Asia, including years spent in war zones.

It’s likely you’ve read some of Bobby’s high-impact stories, such as this account of his time in Baghdad, his piece on American Islamophobia, and the profile of soccer star Lionel Messi. And you might also have seen some of his many television appearances, such as those on the Charlie Rose Show and CBS’s Face the Nation. Bobby’s TED talk on “The End of Jihad” has been viewed by more than half a million people. You can follow his tweets about world affairs, sports, and food at @ghoshworld.

Bobby brings a sophisticated curiosity about the world, an obsessive news focus, and a strong identification with Quartz’s mission to cover the new global economy’s most important and interesting facets.

He has extensive experience in managing teams of journalists, and a reputation for being the advocate of the correspondents he’s edited. (He also has an extensive collection of red socks.) Bobby will report to me and oversee our main newsroom staff. (Gideon, Mitra, and Zach will continue to report to me as well.)

Bobby’s mandate is to engage deeply with Quartz’s journalism and increase the breadth, creativity, and impact of our coverage, guiding our reporters to their greatest work. His arrival comes as we’re expanding the editorial team to produce even more high-quality journalism that finds a broad readership online. And it will allow us to further our ambitions outside the US, as marked by this week’s launch of Quartz India.

Please join me in welcoming Bobby.

Best,
Kevin

Hello, India.

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We just launched Quartz India, which can be found at qz.com in the subcontinent and qz.com/india everywhere else. See here for a welcome letter from the editors, and below is the press release.

Quartz India is live!
Regional content to serve as economic news source for Indian and global business executives

June 9, 2014 — Quartz, Atlantic Media’s digital global business news brand, has launched Quartz India. This new, expanded vertical provides both global and India-specific business news coverage and features targeted native advertising.

“We’re deeply committed to providing sophisticated coverage of India to our readers there and around the world,” says Kevin J. Delaney, President and Editor-in-Chief of Quartz. “And we’re very optimistic that through Quartz India, more Indian business people will come to value Quartz’s creative, digital, visual, data-rich approach to covering the region and the global economy.”

Automatically accessible for users in India at qz.com, or at qz.com/india for readers outside the country, Quartz India serves two purposes – to provide business leaders in India focused coverage of their region and its impact on the global economy, and to provide global leaders insight on the impact of India developments on businesses worldwide. It is produced in collaboration with Scroll.in’s team of reporters and editors, and led by Sruthijith KK, a New Delhi-based reporter formerly from The Economic Times, Mint and other business news publications. Content includes business, markets and technology news and analysis.

As part of its mission to provide quality reporting and analysis about the global economy to readers around the globe, Quartz has several journalists and contributors outside the US, and now with the launch of Quartz India, the brand continues its global expansion into one of the world’s largest economies.

Quartz, together with founding partner of Quartz India, GE, sees the growing importance of this market and is investing resources to serve it more widely.

Quartz’s readership in India has grown around 200% year-over-year, numbering 200,000 unique visitors a month. On Quartz’s social pages, engagement from India consistently ranks in the top five regions on Twitter and is number two on Facebook. Top performing articles are focused on management and tech. Readers of India-focused content on Quartz have proven to be among the most interactive with those stories, garnering some of the most annotations per story the site has received.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with GE on this foray into one of the most vibrant and important markets in the world,” says Jay Lauf, President and Publisher of Quartz. “We believe our high quality versus commodity approach to both journalism and advertising will resonate with the sophisticated audiences we aim to attract.”

In addition to the native advertising products Quartz has become known for – BULLETIN, branded content, and ENGAGE, fill-the-screen high-impact units – Quartz India will feature distinct branding, special “obsessions,” and a dedicated queue of stories specific to that region. All will build on the success of Quartz’s elegant approach to digital publishing.

GE, Quartz India’s founding partner, is among the pioneers of innovation in the region. Through a multi-part sponsor content series, GE will explore key areas of innovation in India including renewable energy, manufacturing and healthcare.

“We are excited to partner with Quartz as they launch a high-quality, high-engagement brand focused on the India market,” says Jason Hill, Director of Global Media Strategy for GE. “We believe the combination of Quartz’s editorial and GE’s branded content will be compelling to an audience of visionary business decision-makers in India and globally. GE’s presence in India dates back to 1902 and today the market is home to our largest global R&D center and over 13,000 employees. The partnership with Quartz is a great way to tell stories around GE’s innovation and technology in India and the breakthrough work our scientists are doing every day.”

Quartz, launched in 2012, covers global business topics rooted in a set of defining obsessions, focusing on the new global economy and geared toward business leaders and senior decision-makers across a range of industries and markets. Quartz has a growing staff of journalists around the world who produce quality content 24/7, and this content is optimized for access on tablets and mobile devices. Quartz has approximately five million unique visitors globally each month and is tracking to be up more than 400% year-over-year in terms of advertising revenue.

Visit Quartz India now by going to qz.com/india or follow @qzindia on Twitter.

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:

Emily Passer
Director of Communications
646-539-6614
epasser@qz.com

Rocket fuel

Short version: We’re hiring! For a lot of new positions, some of which are already posted here. More will be posted soon.

Slightly longer version: Jay Lauf, our publisher, and Kevin Delaney, our editor-in-chief, sent out this memo today…

Fellow Quartzians:

In recognition of, and enabled by, our incredible growth, we are planning to add some fuel to the rocket ship in the form of staff expansion. Your outstanding efforts in growing the Quartz audience to around 5m unique users/month, building our advertiser base to more than 60 accounts, and launching multiple new ventures—including Glass and the upcoming Quartz India—mean we’re ready to inject more intellectual capital into the operation.

In addition to the positions already available, these 20+ new roles will help us continue our global expansion and enhance our ability to deliver a differentiated, high-quality experience for readers and advertisers alike. The new opportunities will span the sales, marketing, product engineering, and editorial departments in NY, SF, London and beyond. We welcome your help in identifying top-notch talent—people who are smart, creative, generous of spirit, and entrepreneurial—for any of these positions. You can see the full list of available positions here.

Thank you again for your continued efforts,

Jay & Kevin

New hires and promotions at Quartz

Kevin Delaney, our editor in chief, just sent out the following memos…

Dan Frommer joins Quartz as tech editor

Hello Quartz!

Some editorial staff news:

Dan Frommer is joining us as Technology Editor for Quartz in New York, starting this Friday. He will lead the band of tech and science reporters, including Leo and Rachel and one of our excellent interns.

Dan is an experienced tech writer, beginning at Forbes and then from 2007 as one of the founding staff (with Henry Blodget and Peter Kafka) of Silicon Alley Insider, which later became Business Insider. He coded early versions of the site and wrote 5,700 posts while there.

Dan launched his own tech news site in 2011 called SplatF (Why “SplatF.”) We’d love to have had on Quartz much of what he’s published there. Dan’s posts are rooted in scoops of analysis—and charts. This Netflix/AOL subscriber chart is my favorite example. We’re looking to Dan for much more of this great analytical and visual coverage of the tech industry for Quartz.

Dan also created the City Notes iPhone app, which he plans to keep going in his spare time—and which makes him a great source of travel advice for all of you. You can follow him at @fromedome

Please join me in welcoming Dan.

Best,
Kevin

Annalisa Merelli joins Quartz as reporter

Hello Quartz—

I’m happy to announce that Annalisa Merelli has joined Quartz as a reporter on the Ideas team. She will report to S. Mitra Kalita and Lauren Brown, and commission and coordinate with contributors and their pieces, as well as bring her creative eye to stories such as Narendra Modi’s hats and the history of Helvetica on subway maps

Annalisa has most recently been an editor for Narratively and UN Global Pulse. She is a native of Italy and lived in New Delhi for four years, working at various Wieden & Kennedy publications focused on art, culture, and politics. She also spent some time as a blogger for Benetton in Italy, and has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Bologna.  

Annalisa is creative and dogged, and has been crucial to keeping the Ideas section churning over the last few months. She seemingly doesn’t sleep and is a voracious consumer of news and social media from around the world. You can follow her at @missanabeem

Please join me in congratulating Annalisa on joining Quartz.
Best,
Kevin

Matt Phillips is now Quartz’s markets and finance editor

Hello Quartz -

I’m happy to announce that Matt Phillips is now Quartz’s markets and finance editor, leading a core team that includes John, Mark, and now Max—and helping coordinate the work of other writers when they cover markets and finance-related topics.

As he’s been doing for the past few months, Matt will act as a player-coach, continuing to write while providing coverage guidance, coordination, and some of the story editing for the group. He’ll also continue to provide coverage suggestions and story ideas to the broader Quartz staff.

Matt’s promotion is a recognition of the exceptional work he’s done since Quartz’s launch, in writing signature pieces such as his economic analysis of Ghostbusters and take on the Japanese life insurance industry. It’s also in recognition of his natural leadership and focus on pursuing what’s most meaningful for serving and expanding Quartz’s readership. If for some reason you’re not following him already, he’s at @matthewphillips

Matt’s expanded role comes at a moment when we’re working on quickly expanding the ranks of our journalists. We’ll increasingly use such editorial groups—and circles made of looser federations of reporters around a given obsession or coverage area—to provide structure as we grow, but allow us to remain nimble and focused on what’s best for our readers.

Please join me in congratulating Matt.

Best,
Kevin

Award winning…

It’s been a good year for Quartz on the awards circuit. So far in 2014, we have received nine awards and honors, including: 

Commenting platform Livefyre just launched Sidenotes, a new feature for annotating text and images. We couldn’t be more thrilled.

You may remember that we added the ability to annotate Quartz stories in August 2013. That followed similar functionality on Medium, Soundcloud, Rap Genius, and others. Our hope all along has been that even more sites would adopt annotations, introducing more people to the concept.

Livefyre is one of the largest commenting services on the web, and all of its customers can implement Sidenotes starting today. Here’s hoping that a lot of them do.

How we doubled our email sign-up rate by reducing friction

We’re proud of how the Quartz Daily Brief has grown and evolved, now publishing six days a week in three time zones around the world. And our readers seem to love it, too. But our subscriber list wasn’t growing quite as fast as we hoped, and there was one major reason why: the signup process had way too much friction.

Version 1

When we launched Quartz in 2012, we wanted to build an account framework that could handle all our future aspirations—personalization, geolocation, read-it-later, offline mode, annotations, user settings, and a variety of email subscriptions. We tossed out a lot of ideas, some of which we planned to pursue immediately and others we said we’d do later.

As we set out to build the account system, it only made sense to make creating an account a requirement for email signup. If we were going to eventually build in other functionality centered around a specific user, it made sense to have everything tied together, right? 

This is probably the way most people get to such a problem: planning so much for what you might want to build down the line that you instead make the user experience less appealing for the functionality you have available right nowIn reality, requiring accounts just slowed down the Daily Brief signup process for a lot of people, frustrated others, and turned many off from signing up entirely.

Near the end of 2013, we decided to redesign the email signup and account registration flows in an effort to make them more appealing. But it quickly became obvious that the problem was not about the aesthetics. If we wanted more email subscribers, we’d have to make it easier for people to subscribe.

Version 2

As with architecting any registration system from scratch, it’s easy to fall into the user flow trap very quickly—that is, feeling obligated to account for every possible edge case a user may find themselves in, rather than designing a few common flows simple enough that users don’t find themselves wandering off the path.

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We agreed that we would break off the email signup process from accounts entirely. Accounts would now govern our annotations product and any other features down the road that truly demand an account.

This resulted in three major changes for email signups:

  • Require only an email address for signup
  • Move from a double opt-in (requires users to click a link in an email to fully activate a subscription) to opt-out (subscriptions are automatically active unless a user reverses the action)
  • Allow for optional marketing fields that add no friction to the conversion process

The results

imageSince we rolled out the new system on February 19, our daily subscriber rate has doubled, even on weekends when activity dips considerably. Users can now sign up via “in-stream units” (pictured above) or through the Daily Brief landing page. Of the people that view that page, a full 60% of them now go on to subscribe. In the chart below, you can see the noticeable effects these small tweaks have made to our growth.

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If you aren’t already a subscriber, you can click here to now easily sign up for the Daily Brief.

Hello, India

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We just announced that Quartz is expanding our coverage of India in a big way. Here’s some from Capital and Mint

Sign up here to stay updated on what’s going on with Quartz India.

And here’s the press release…

Quartz India to launch in June 2014

The digital global business news publication expands its coverage on India
with regional content and targeted native ads

March 20, 2014—Quartz, Atlantic Media’s digital global business news brand, will launch Quartz India this June with region-specific content and targeted native ads. Quartz India, with launch sponsor GE, plans to provide both global and India-specific business news coverage.

More than 40% of Quartz’s readers are outside the US, a level that has been consistent since its launch in September 2012. India remains a top source of Quartz’s international traffic, it is a growing region for business news, and readers in the region are trending towards news consumption via digital and mobile channels. Given the small number of digitally native publications in the region, Quartz sees a strong opportunity for growth in readership.

“There is a growing business class in India that is hungry for objective coverage of the Indian business landscape and how it fits into the global economy,” says Jay Lauf, publisher of Quartz. “This growing population, like everywhere else in the world, is adopting the mobile devices and social mechanisms that give them ready access to information they need, and Quartz is built for those conditions.”

Quartz will collaborate with Scroll.in’s team of reporters and editors in India to produce region-specific content for Quartz India. It will feature business, markets, and technology news and analysis, along with access to the full content produced by Quartz’s journalists globally. Readers in India will be able to access the region-specific version of Quartz via qz.com. Quartz India content will also be available to readers outside the region through the Quartz India view.

“We saw an opportunity to serve our readers in the region even better with both our journalists around the world and an increased focus in India,” says Kevin J. Delaney, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Quartz. “It’s a mobile-first region at a critical moment in its economic history—and we’re excited to deepen the coverage available to readers on their smartphones and tablets especially.”

Quartz, launched in 2012, covers global business topics rooted in a set of defining obsessions, focusing on the new global economy and geared toward business leaders and senior decision makers across a range of industries and markets. Quartz has over 25 journalists around the world who produce quality content 24/7, and this content is optimized for access on tablets and mobile devices. Quartz surpassed five million unique visitors in the month of January and is tracking to be up more than 400% over the first quarter of 2012 in terms of advertising revenue.

GE, Quartz India’s premier launch sponsor, is known for having a focus on innovative native ad formats and content marketing as well as its commercial success in India.

“Increasingly we are partnering with top media owners to help us tell GE stories of innovation and impact around the world, through co-created content and thought leadership brought to life on engaging platforms,” said Jason Hill, GE’s director of global media strategy. “Driving familiarity about GE technology and outcomes in India is central to growing our commercial activity in that market. Our partnership with Quartz is a way to deliver those messages through a business news platform we think will achieve fast adoption.”

More information on the launch of Quartz India will be provided in the coming months.

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:

Emily Passer
Director of Communications
646-539-6614
epasser@qz.com

We’re off to a strong start in 2014

We just sent out the following press release and wanted it to share it with you…

Quartz soars in 2014

February 6, 2014 - Quartz (qz.com) reached a new traffic record, with over five million unique visitors in the month of January and revenue numbers beating expectations. This extremely rapid growth, not even 18 months after the site’s launch in 2012, continues to show the power of Quartz’s strong global business content and its embrace of the free and open web.

This quarter alone, Quartz is tracking to be up more than 400% over Q1 last year in terms of advertising revenue. Over the past year, Quartz has added more than 40 blue chip accounts to the client roster, many of whom continue to run with Quartz in the beginning of this year.

“It’s an encouraging start to the year,” says Jay Lauf, publisher of Quartz. “Readership metrics are ahead of our expectations and revenues are following that same trend line. The most encouraging figure for me is the more than 75% renewal rate we’re seeing from advertisers—our high-impact offerings are working incredibly well.”

Others in the media are praising Quartz’s innovation in the newsroom and unique ad offerings, calling it “competitive ” and “impressive”.

Mobile is Quartz’s fastest-growing segment, with 41% of unique visitors viewing the site on a tablet or mobile phone in January, according to Omniture. Quartz’s global readership continues to expand, with 44% of unique visitors coming from outside of the US.

Quartz’s unique approach to journalism has attracted a loyal audience of professionally successful, digitally native business leaders from every major industry and global region. About 60% of readers are senior executives within their organizations.

“It’s clearer than ever that readers around the world are looking for high-quality journalism tailored for reading on the devices they have near at hand,” says Kevin J. Delaney, Quartz’s co-founder and editor in chief. “Our journalists and engineers are entirely focused on delivering that—and, continuously refining their efforts, are helping define a new model for business media.”

Just last month, Quartz reached another milestone, gaining more than 50,000 subscribers to its Daily Brief email newsletter, which Nieman Lab has called “the perfect example of how Quartz prioritizes being human over being institutional.

For media Inquiries:
Emily Passer
Quartz
646.539.6614
epasser@qz.com