I recently stumbled on a tweet that read, “no digital media outlet in India has a business model. Never had.” It was a tweet thread and it came from a well-learned person, and for a moment, it did make me think. And can make anyone think.
Look around, the digital media outlets are shutting down despite having a name in the market, we’re bombarded with the news of layoffs in various media organisations, the advertising revenues are touching all-time lows, the subscription models are no easy business either, and obviously, there is outrage about that.
There’s a lot which gets counted and a lot that remains uncounted, that altogether gets invested in building an organisation from the scratch. Interestingly, in mid of all this, there’s that goes untouched. I’m not going to get into that, but it helps to reach that point of figuring the product-market fit. Because there is. If not, there will be. And it takes time while asks to hold your nerves.
The conceptualisation of Theorists has been in the works for some time now, and that we had planned to announce about it today, on International Literacy Day. Finally, we’re here. We have been writing stories for a long time now on, that is now our sister concern, The Naked Truth, following our purpose while analysing the behavioural statistics of the audience. During all this time, we have been learning and consuming all of that that’s coming our way — the noise, facts, brickbats, feedback, insights and emotions — what is working and what is not, and of course, keeping a check on our patience at the same time. And we have been unlearning too.
Over time, I’ve realised that above everything else, patience is everything. And I won’t deny that many a time it’s vicious as much as it’s virtuous, then again, that’s after all patience is all about. While shaping TNT, there’s a lot that we have learned from the art of storytelling to distributing that art. That it travels to the right targeted segments, and that it finds a space in the clutter of stories shared on the number of platforms. Back to patience, it takes time.
With that patience, today, we announce fresh, bootstrapped venture, Theorists, that will be all about stories. Stories that will be conceptualised digging deeper into the subjects that capture the state of the human mind, complexities around, issues that dry our throat, debates that check our spine and question our privilege, that will leave an impression on the reader’s mind, that will be different and won’t be complex.
Stories that might offend the wrong, but will never insult. Stories that will connect with your emotions and get you in the very moment. Stories that will be picked from the very simple subjects, and still, will stay unique to you. Stories that will make you feel a better, smarter human once you’re done reading them. Stories that will get you thinking, oh, I never saw it that way. Stories that will challenge your conventions. Stories that won’t discuss and debate people. Stories that will find a space in your everyday routine. Stories and stories. Just plain stories.
You know, in today’s times, why such a tweet surfaced, and why media’s credibility is in question. I will put it straight, illiteracy has become the biggest asset, which should have been a problem instead, but I find that for some, it is an asset they thrive on. There are people who come and brag about, you get what you ask for. That’s nonsense. We’re not here to buy that.
We take time. We don’t find mediocrity in going slow. Sometimes, we get fast, but we take time. We don’t read hot takes. We won’t do hot takes. We won’t have any opinion on hot takes. We aren’t here to take any side. We aren’t here to tell you another boring story served in another copy of catchy headline to brag that we did it first. That’s not our kind of stuff when the ideas and emotions actually shape human lives. Ever heard someone say, we did it last, but we did it well, no?
Times have changed, but the want and the need are still the same. To tell the stories the way stories should be told, the way emotions should be tapped on, the way issues should be debated, the way ideas should be discussed, the way staying critical of the wrongdoings, and the way transparency should be put at front.
In finding the right and wrong and becoming impulsive about them, we are losing the sense of making sense, which is problematic, and there’s no value addition. Worse, you will never know what’s right and what’s wrong, you will only know what you see. Worst, you will only know what you’re made to see. That, in good spirits, leaves an opportunity.
In an article on Bloomberg, the billionaire Xavier Niel made a statement that stayed with me. “We believe in people who haven’t been formatted. People who haven’t been in the same business for ever are able to have a fresh take on an industry that can then be disrupted.”
The problems are countless, and the reasons are obvious. Trust is a value proposition. Scepticism doesn’t drive the future. Illiteracy can’t be an asset. You are not bound to know you are made to see. And the digital media outlet in India has a business model.
We will be getting started with the design and development work in the coming days, and will be investing our time and thinking in building our team. We are a readers-first venture. Theorists where we think of you.
I can be reached on ayush at theorists dot in. For queries, you can write to support at theorists dot in.
Come back soon, as we build it, as we shape it, for all good. For you. For everyone.
With this, I sign off. Thank you for reading.