The web has always been a democratic place where we’re free to say what we’d like. Don’t have the backing of a publishing company? Start your own blog. Angry about an op-ed in the New York Times? Write a response on Medium. But with more and more voices coming along, it’s become more about who’s loudest (and who shouts first) rather than whose opinion we can trust.
Back before most of us were even online, let alone publishing our thoughts, Om Malik was writing about the web and the tech industry.
After joining the original team at Forbes.com and writing for influential tech publications like Business 2.0 and Red Herring, Om decided to build his own media company, turning his blog into a full-blown news, analysis, and events platform called GigaOm.
GigaOm quickly grew into a force of nature, attracting half a million readers a month and going toe-to-toe with big names like Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and Re/Code for the industry’s biggest scoops.
But life has a funny way of changing the path we’re on, and by 2014 Om had taken a position as a full partner at True Ventures—one of the valley’s most respected venture capital firms. And while he had moved away from working full time at GigaOm, when the site shut down in 2015, it still stung:
“When GigaOm closed down I took a year off from writing actively and just took a little step back and decided that I really didn’t want to participate in any kind of organized industrial media.”
But that drive to write, share, and opine, was still very much alive in Om.
Media companies like Fast Company and The New Yorker had begun asking him to contribute his thoughts, and as the writing became more regular Om began thinking about how he could evolve his personal blog into something more.
“What I wanted to do was essentially revert back to what excited me when I started GigaOm, which was the rawness of it—just being focused on writing about technology and new trends and things that I love.”
But rather than just a place for his own opinions, Om started looking back into the original days of blogging, and the community that was built not from just writing, but sharing articles and opinions. Of being a strong voice, not just churning out content.
“What I used to do in the early days of GigaOm was point to articles that were interesting to me or articles that I disagreed with with my opinion on them and it was a way of aggregating what I thought was the best tech news at time when the tech industry was collapsing.”
“Now we are at the exact opposite phase. We have an industry where we’re overflowing with information. And there’s so much out there that you can’t really figure out where to find the good stuff.”
Building the blog of the future while paying homage to the past
With a renewed interest in writing and sharing his thoughts, Om came to Crew to design his dream blog.
The idea wasn’t just for a place to post his own ideas, but to create a platform of curation, where posts, photos, links, and opinions all live in a single ecosystem.
“What I wanted to do was bring back the ethos of what my blog was back in the day before it became a company, which is to essentially focus on curating things, have an opinion on them, and tell my narrative through my opinions and my point of view.”
“I think people forget that it’s not just about writing only. It’s about saying this is good and here is why. I think the ‘here is why’ is very important. Twitter made it easy for us to share links without giving context. I think the great thing about blogging was there was always a reason why you shared something. Whether you agreed with it or disagreed with it.”
With his goals in mind, we connected Om with Brian—a San Francisco-based designer and developer with nearly a decade of experience building minimal and intuitive sites and apps for valley startups (his personal design mantra is “Don’t make me think.”)
Brian started off by asking Om a series of 25-30 questions to understand the look and feel he wanted for his site. And while ‘if you were a car, what kind of car would you be?’ might seem like a strange place to start on a design project, it worked.
“Brian just got it. Just like that. I don’t think we exchanged more than 2 emails about what I wanted. The first version he sent over was almost 75% close to where I wanted it to be and so that kind of tells you everything. I was really blown away by how good he was at nailing my ideas.”
The final design is simple, intuitive, and streamlined, harkening back to the original days of blogging, but with a modern twist.
The site is more personal, with Om’s photo clearly visible in the top left hand corner, and each ‘style’ of post, from short essays to links to photo galleries are denoted with clean and modern iconography.
“I’ve worked with a lot of designers and there’s often a lot of drama. Things don’t get done on time, etc… But Brian just nailed it. He’s been very good at making everything work for me and just everything is amazing.”
“I’ll be using Crew for my next project. It’s not cheap but it’s worth it for the lack of headache.”
A place for your own thoughts
Since launching, Om’s gotten back into the flow of publishing his thoughts, short essays, photos, and more. Head over to Om.co to check it out! (You can also read about the redesign process from his perspective, too!)
Want to give your own blog or website a facelift? Get in touch and we’ll connect you with a powerhouse designer like Brian to bring your ideas to life.
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