The first blog post: What is PostDesk? Who we are, where we are now and where we’re going…

In this long overdue blog post, founder and project manager Sam England introduces the concept behind PostDesk, our ambitions and the people behind them.

PostDesk Community Site

It certainly hasn’t been our intention to be a ‘stealth start-up’ or anything of the sort – especially since transparency is something that is integral to the concept of PostDesk. The fact of the matter is – we’ve been busy behind the scenes building the site itself, but as we have been doing so a growing number of people have been approaching us with queries, most frequently looking to find out when we’re launching or if they can become involved in the project. This long overdue blog post should serve to answer some questions, and let everyone know what we are, who we are and where we’re going with the PostDesk.

What is PostDesk?

This is a question that many people (understandably!) ask. Right now it’s certainly not clear and today, at face value we’re a straightforward blog. Once we launch however, the main community site (above, you can see a ‘teaser’ image of what this will look like) is to become a platform for debate, discussion and editorial content – (namely in-depth news, reviews, investigative journalism, analysis, critique and controversial opinion pieces) which we’ll build a strong community around. The design and development of the site is key – this is what will set us apart from most other editorial based sites you probably regularly frequent. The fact that content is written by you, our users, is another thing that will set us apart. We have a unique model where PostDesk establishes itself using an in-house editorial team, which over time becomes comprised of our readers. We’ll leave exactly how this will work for a future blog post.

What are our aims?

We aim to become a mainstream and credible source of news and opinion, feature pieces and reports including investigations backed by a strong and dedicated community. This community will uphold a culture of high quality, in-depth content that provokes debate and discussion around it. We’re going against traditional journalism (no regurgitation of press releases, no traditional editorial hierarchy) and whilst leaning toward ‘citizen journalism’ we’re creating something entirely new. We won’t have an agenda, and we’ll be entirely independent.

We’re also aiming to somewhat reinvent the ‘threaded conversation’ or the ‘discussion forum’, and bring back long form discussion – something that has seen a fall in popularity with the rise of Twitter and Facebook as a platform on which to express opinion. This is where our new platform, and the way it works – and the dynamics we create will come in to play.

Finally, we’re not putting any traditional banner advertising to use, which dominates the editorial scene right now. We’re doing everything based on subtle, relevant and tasteful yet powerful commercial partnerships and sponsorships. This is much harder work, but we think it’s worth the effort so as not to compromise the user experience and clean flow of discussion.

All of these qualities are something rarely seen across most news sources, blogs and forums. It’s a tall order, but we’re passionate and ambitious enough about the project to pull this off.

Who are we?

PostDesk is based entirely in the UK, founded and managed by 2011 LLB law graduate Sam England with the help of good friend William Tildesley, a team of founding developers including Richard Tape, Mark Parsons, James White and Jack Franklin, user interface designer Kyee (the man behind our beautiful design), as well as a team of in-house writers and [some high profile] guest writers who will write the first articles you’ll see on PostDesk. A core team of editors including Lucas McCartney (Politics), Matthew Slight (Tech), and Jack Bromley (Gaming) head up our broad and growing team of in-house writers. There are several others involved, in the areas of quality assurance, marketing and sales.

In 2012, we incorporated as PostDesk Ltd.

Where we are now?

Over the past month, we’ve decided to start pushing content out on the PostDesk Blog during the run up to launch and whilst we finish the development of our main project, the community site. This has been far more successful than we anticipated, and over the past month we’ve received around 30,000 unique views across a range of politicstechnology and gaming content written by some members of the founding editorial team – without any significant marketing or promotion, and with no real plan. Right now we’re just testing the water with a simple blog – nothing special, but we’ll see what happens.

In terms of development of the main PostDesk.com site (our main priority now), we’re making good progress. We hope to open to everyone who has signed up to early access by December 2011.

Become a part of our founding team

Right now we are still very interested in hearing from people who would like to join PostDesk as a member of our founding team. Here’s the kind of people we’re looking for.

  • Writers in the field of technology or gaming (with an in-depth understanding of the industry, issues and culture – in both cases)
  • Writers in the field of politics or current affairs
  • Writers in the field of arts, media, society and culture
  • Back-end developers with good experience with WordPress in a high traffic environment, with an understanding of scalability and an appreciation of clean, efficient and high quality standards compliant code.
  • Experts in the field of marketing (specifically social media marketing)
  • Experts in the field of sales (specifically editorial ad-sales)

If you are interested in any of these positions you can contact me personally – sam.england [at] postdesk.com

UPDATE January 2012: We recently published a post called ‘Why write for PostDesk, who should write for us and what we’re covering…‘ which offers further information about our concept, and the thinking behind it.

I look forward to welcoming some of you, in the coming weeks to the closed ‘beta’ of our main site – in the meantime be sure to subscribe to our blog where we are showcasing the type of content you can expect from us and follow us on twitter so that you can keep track of the latest developments at PostDesk. If you haven’t already got an invite to the main project, you can still get one as we’ve decided to give everybody who comments on the blog between now and launch early access to the closed ‘beta’ when we launch. Be sure to use a valid email as you’ll be sent an invite as soon as you comment.

Most importantly, do leave your views on PostDesk, and the ideas behind it in the comments section below – your views and feedback even at this early stage are invaluable.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sam England

Founder and Project Manager