If you’ve visited this site in the past six months or longer, than you’ve been privy to the evolution that we’ve undergone in that period of time. Given all the changes that have taken place so far, I thought it was only right that I share with you how we got here.
In order to understand who we are now, it’s necessary to know a little bit about our background. We didn’t have the same name when we first launched in 2012 as a mobile tech Tumblr blog. I was working in the mobile tech industry at the time and wanted to merge my passion for gadgets and the industry in general with my love words and photos and ultimately, publishing. At that point, I had tried my hand in “content curation” by creating a WordPress site that “aggregated” hockey news on one site. I had a very defined niche and a lot of ambition, so I was ready for world domination right? Wrong! I was less than satisfied with the choices available for free WordPress templates and had no idea how to bring the vision I had in my head to life. Frustrated, I gave up on the hockey project shortly after launching it.
Fast forward to 2012, and I had found a niche that I was really passionate about. Mobile technology. I would spend hours daily reading tech news, reviews and stories on sites like Engadget, The Verge and Tech Crunch just to name a few. I figured that like me, there were others out there who would appreciate finding some of the most interesting/important mobile tech stories in one place instead of having to search on multiple sites. Having discovered the world of paid WordPress templates, I purchased a template and got to work on creating a site to house these stories. Unfortunately, despite trying my hand at several different templates, I found WordPress difficult to navigate and grew very frustrated at my failure to launch. Again.
Determined to see the project through, I finally took my brother’s advice and decided to use Tumblr as my publishing platform. I had no idea what Tumblr really was or even how to use it, but it, at least, it looked easier to use than WordPress. Shortly after, Mobile Wire was launched as a mobile tech blog. Finally. It didn’t take too long until my Tumblr blog started getting likes, reblogs and comments! I still remember how exciting it felt to gain my first 25 followers. 25 people in the world cared enough to allow me to curate tech stories on their behalf! 25 people! After a few failures to launch a site, words can’t fully explain what those first 25 followers meant to me.
Fully dedicating myself to the project (working on it before and after my job and on weekends), my followers grew to 100+ at the end of the first year. Then to over 500+ followers by year two. By this point, I had decided to extend the focus of my blog to tech stories in general and to cover these stories on a global scale (based on the global “following” I had gained). Completely ecstatic that 500 people out there didn’t want to miss an update on my blog and armed with some small victories (acknowledgment from some prominent brands, having some posts featured in certain categories on Tumblr, etc.), it was time to finally launch a digital tech magazine. I had reached my goal of gaining 500 followers before I launched my site (to ensure that I had some visitors right away).
I always wanted to launch a print magazine, but come on, it was 2014 now. Print was dead. If you wanted people to read your stuff it had to be on a digital platform. Or so, the thinking went. Given that I didn’t have the money to defy convention, I decided to again try my hand at launching a digital (aka online) magazine using WordPress. Sites like The Verge had shown that you could build a beautiful online magazine. I would continue to curate tech stories on my site, maybe mixing in a few original stories when I gained enough traffic to justify the extra work (I still had a job). If things went well then, I could launch a tablet magazine and thereafter, a print version.
After eventually settling on the name Vault, I renamed my Tumblr blog, found a WordPress template and stayed up late one night before work in the morning to finally figure out third party WordPress navigation panels. I had a plan in place and I was determined more than ever to see it through. For the first eight months, I largely kept to the script. I curated tech stories from all over the internet (The Verge, Time, Wired, etc.) and used my Tumblr blog more as a social media page instead of my main publishing platform.
By May of 2015, I had been looking for ways to add original stories to our site for a while. Inspired by The Creator Class and FvF, I finally launched a short Q&A series called Journey on our site. Given the response the stories received both on our site and on our social media platforms (Instagram being a key one), I was inspired to come up with different, but complementary ways to tell the interesting stories about people I “met” online. From now on, the focus would be on storytelling. On telling original stories about people who used technology to interesting things. Through their stories, we would cover the intersection of technology with design, business, science, and culture.
Not only that, but I felt the stories I was “collecting” were too significant, interesting, inspiring, motivating and entertaining to exclusively share online. Online things simply moved too fast for these stories to be fully appreciated. Print was the only way to ensure that I did these stories justice. A well designed and crafted magazine, would encourage people to find uninterrupted time in order to enjoy the stories. It would also allow readers to revisit stories and make new discoveries. The goal now was to create a magazine that people wanted to keep, to cherish and ultimately, share with others. I hope you will join us on this journey.
*Photo by Tristan Buesst