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Four years of Quartz: Jay Lauf looks to the future of digital publishing

Not many media properties achieve such instant recognition as Quartz has in its short four-year tenure. It’s due in no small part to the clearly articulated vision of founder Jay Lauf. He stepped in to Digital Media Strategies USA 2016 for a chat about how he turned the brand into an institution and an adjective.

Beginning with an audience in mind

Lauf saw a gap in the market. Global business professionals were moving to mobile, engaging with content largely using social and legacy outlets like FT, The Economist and WSJ weren’t responding fast enough. Enter Quartz.

Part of the experiment was identifying an even more specific reader than the competition and zeroing in on them, and their habits. Lauf describes Quartz readers as “people who are traveling on the front half of airplanes around the world everyday.”

He explained:

“The back of the envelope business plan was that if we could take low single-digit percentages of market share from the major incumbents we would have the foundation for a really robust stable and exciting business.”

According to his research, that was about a billion in ad sales during 2012.

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