Paul Greenberg

CEO of Nylon

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON November 11, 2015

Discussion

Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
Hi! I'm Paul. I'm passionate about media, digital media and technology. I started as a sportscaster and then decided to get on to the management side. Over my career, I've grown businesses at CollegeHumor, MTV, Time Inc., TV Guide and others, and I'm currently CEO of Nylon, a growing media company targeting Millennial women. We have digital, influencer, e-comm​erce​, event and print assets, so we​'re able to​ reach our audience everywhere they are. Ask me anything!
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
Thank you very much, everyone, for taking the time to be here today. I had a lot of fun, and I really appreciate the support and interest.
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Obviously there is a ton of great collaboration, but what's something tech people and media people misunderstand each other on?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@eriktorenberg It's hard to generalize about this. I've spent my career working to bridge the gap between tech and media in positive ways -- I believe that today in order to be a successful media company you have to be a successful technology company as well. I've also been deeply involved in tech my whole career in addition to media (I used my Bar Mitzvah money in 1981 to buy a TRS-80 computer that had 16K of RAM as all its memory. I had to save programs on a cassette tape and they could only have two-letter file names. But I taught myself how to program it!) The key is that everyone brings a different perspective to the table, and I respect those differing points of view. Some people think brand and content are more important; others think product and technology rule. When you can combine them elegantly, you win.
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@paulgreenberg Thanks for being here today. 🙌During your career to date, what has been your a) most challenging moment and how did you overcome it? b) proudest moment and why? c) most surprising moment?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@ems_hodge Thanks! My most challenging moment was trying to grow MusicNet -- the b2b digital music company where I ran sales in the mid-2000s. It's like a white-label Spotify for companies who were looking to get into the subscription streaming music business, except no one had heard of subscription music. We spent a lot of time on education -- explaining the benefits of all-you-can-eat music for $10/month and signing big partners like MTV, Yahoo, Microsoft, Samsung, Virgin, etc. Eventually people gave us the credit we deserved and we grew the business quickly after that. Proudest moments were the exits we had in MusicNet and TV Guide Digital. Most surprising moment was when we released our movie at CollegeHumor and it was immediately nominated for seven Oscars.
Russ Frushtick@russfrushtick
As another former MTV staffer, what's your take on how the company has changed/grown since you left?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@russfrushtick I think it's still an amazing company. They could be doing a bit more innovation to help find new ways to reach their millennial demo, but overall they have incredible brands and create great content.
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Hey Paul! thanks for joining. Walk us through what it's like to come into Nylon as CEO - what are some of the first things you did? What were some of the biggest challenges that you can talk about?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@eriktorenberg Thanks, Erik! I appreciate your having me. Coming into Nylon was interesting because it had a legacy as a print company with very little digital DNA (or operational function). The first things I did were to hire a terrific VP of engineering, a great video team, more digital editors and digital salespeople. We've since added a great Chief Revenue Officer and are continuing to round out the team with digital marketing people. The challenge was making sure this very powerful brand is recognized as relevant in today's media landscape with consumers. Traffic and social growth were critical. We've grown from 200,000 monthly unique visitors to 4.2 million in our first year, so things are going well. We're also at 1.7 million Facebook fans, 900K Twitter followers and 850K Instagram followers. The team here is very hard-working, and while we've had our share of growing pains, everyone is on the same page about the best way to keep moving forward.
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What are your favorite products/tools that y'all use at Nylon?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@andrewmettinger Chartbeat, Curalate, Magento + Shopify (we created a cool API connection between the two), and believe it or not, I really like Google Analytics.
Sam Parr@thesamparr · Roommates
@paulgreenberg What are your top 3 tactics for growing unique monthly visitors from 0 to $1m and how do the economics per writer and salary work at Nylon?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@thesamparr Many different tactics, including more content that is very shareable; increasing social reach; syndication; SEO. Writers are paid on a straight salary.
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
Hi @paulgreenberg thanks so much for joining us today. Would love to hear what your most effective strategies are when publishing new content? Do you have any tips or tactics to further increase engagement and audience?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@harrystebbings Hi. Content must be tailored to the medium where it will be consumed by the audience. If we create a video, for example, we will put the entire video on nylon.com, YouTube and then -- usually a day later -- Facebook (natively). We also create 15-second versions for Snapchat and Instagram and a 6-second Vine. We make sure we don't just repurpose clips for the shorter versions -- they have to feel native on those platforms.
Scott@scottgabrielson · Founder, Oliver Cabell
@paulgreenberg thanks for joining us. What advise do you have for startups looking to get featured in Nylon?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@scottgabrielson Do something that is different from what everyone else is doing and that is a fit for our audience.
Michael Lee@mikehlee_ · Product Designer @ Sunrun
Regarding distributing content - There are so many quality musicians out there. I learn about new and skilled artists each day on places like Soundcloud. What's a piece of advice you would give them to help them stand out among other talented musicians?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@mikehlee_ I would work hard at finding out where your targeted fans are currently. Are they on Facebook (probably), but are they also on Instagram, YouTube or Snapchat following other musicians like you. See if you can contact them to let some of the influencers in those communities know about what you've created. I would also make sure to play as many live shows as possible. The more you keep working, the higher the chance that someone will see you.
daniellevine@daniellevine · Fireside
@paulgreenberg Hey Paul! Thank's for doing this AMA. I'm wondering, what's the best thing you've come across in the last 30 days and why? Could be anything, a product, an article, a tea, a quote. Anything! Thanks for answering.
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@daniellevine I am currently obsessed with Clara (claralabs.com), the virtual assistant. Super cool combination of human and machine interaction to perform a very needed function. I'm also loving my Amazon Echo.
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
hello @paulgreenberg Great meeting you here. I was wondering how is media companies preparing for Generation Z ? What do you think will be the biggest change in publishing media companies in the next 5 years?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@neeeharika Good question. I wrote a blog post about that. Here are my thoughts from that post: -- Make an impression quickly: Their attention span averages 8 seconds. -- And don’t be verbose: They interact with each other using images (e.g., emoji) much more than previous generations have. Short, so-called “snackable” content is critical to engaging them. -- Reach them on many platforms: They are hyper-connected, using 5 screens to communicate and consume entertainment, compared to just 2 for Millennials. -- Respect their privacy: 25% of 13-to-17-year-olds left Facebook in 2014, many of them for more ephemeral and less public communication platforms like Snapchat, Secret and Whisper. -- Allow them independence: 72% of high school students want to start a business someday, and 61% would rather be an entrepreneur than an employee when they graduate college. -- Make sure they can enjoy themselves at work: 76% wish their hobbies would turn into their jobs, compared to 50% of Millennials. -- Offer them a way to do good: They are socially aware, as 60% of them want to have an impact on the world, compared to 39% of Millennials.
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
What has been one of the most fun moments you've had in your career?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@katesegrin Acting in the Jake & Amir series on CollegeHumor. My character got more and more insane over time, which was a lot of fun to play. Believe it or not, I still get recognized by people who have seen me in that series.
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
@paulgreenberg @katesegrin do you have a link to one of your favorite episodes you were in?
Tive@tive_usa · CTO, Tive
Paul, thanks for doing this! Any advice for how publishers can get high quality advertisers?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@tive_usa It's a long road. You have to build a strong brand that has defineable characteristics to set yourself apart, and then you have to work with those advertisers to understand what their objectives are. After that it's being incredibly creative to determine how you can uniquely serve the advertisers' needs. That could be native content, programmatic, video, events, e-commerce, etc. (or a combination). But the key is creating something of value they can't get easily somewhere else.
Kate@katesegrin · Head of Social @ GitHub
What are some of the challenges you face as a CEO of a company that is targeted at Millennial women, when you obviously are not one? What has surprised you about your role?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@katesegrin The key challenge is making sure that I can credibly represent the brand. I spent a long time working with our teams to understand how they see the world and integrating that into our branding promise and long-term strategy in a cohesive way so that anyone can explain it (not just Millennial women). Once that's done, it becomes much easier. I also make sure that we hire a lot of people who are in that demographic and that I listen to them carefully to understand what they think is important. I have to make sure I don't think I know everything about it. However, I can leverage my experience running media companies and understanding how to manage teams; create and distribute digital content; create partnerships; create video; etc. and then empower my team to do what they do best to interact with our audience.
akin@victor83756553 · Founder, WaitPass
In your experience, what is the best way to get customers?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@victor83756553 Be authentic, honest and responsive. Build trust with your partners. Follow through on your promises. I know this sounds a little pat, but ultimately business comes down to people and relationships.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
@paulgreenberg What are some of the pros and cons of the differences in work culture between CollegeHumor and Nylon?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@bentossell They're honestly not that different. Both are incredibly powerful brands that are truly beloved by their audiences. Most people are here (and at CH) because they really love the brand and feel passion for its growth and mission. The differences come in the kind of content created: comedy is very different from fashion/beauty/entertainment/women's empowerment/music content, and it requires a different sensibility. But overall people have a lot of fun in both places and are extremely proud of their work.
Nic Miller@millerniclas
Hi Paul! Advertising is still central for most media businesses. But there seems to be a “race to bottom” dynamic of bad advertisers/bad ads + the issue of ad-blocking. In your opinion: How well does the digital media industry respond to this?
Paul Greenberg@paulgreenberg · CEO, Nylon
@millerniclas I think some publishers have responded well in the sense that they are looking closely at the kinds of ads they allow on their site (both from a format perspective and a content perspective). I agree that it's a race to the bottom with programmatic ads, header bidding, traditional banner ads and a multitude of other elements competing for people's attention. One way to solve it is through native advertising that is similar to the kind of content the publisher produces and is therefore actually fun and entertaining for the audience. That's one reason we've created our in-house creative agency Nylon Studios -- so we can work directly with our advertising partners to create bespoke ads that fit their message but don't clutter up the site or interfere with the user experience.