Mike Bracken

Reflections on the Guardian

by Mike Bracken. Average Reading Time: about 2 minutes.

So I’m leaving the Guardian. It’s a great organisation, and I will miss the people hugely. The building, culture and atmosphere all help, but the key to the place is the talent. It’s full of hugely talented people, and it’s the development team I will miss most of all.

The digital strategy we pioneered at the Guardian was disarmingly simple. To help the Guardian achieve’s its goals, in journalism and commercially, we needed to bring in high quality digital talent, let them innovate, and transform the technology thinking from a service culture to a leadership function. And we needed to think about content and data distribution as a platform itself, and build products using that platform. Finally, we had to open all of this to fellow travellers in order to build a global audience. Overall, we gave it a good go.

This is encapsulated in the October 2010 presentation: From publisher to platform. These Gartner keynotes are huge, with around 10,000 delegates. You may prefer to view the slides instead of video.

Developer blog

The Developer blog is a great way to keep abreast of the Guardian’s progress.

Mobile Products

Of all the products we created, perhaps the most important was m.guardian for reaching new audiences, and the iPhone app for changing the payment dynamic. But perhaps the most beautiful, and the one which demonstrated how quickly platform investment could lead to new product innovation, is EyeWitness. Whatever your choice, they’re all here:

Open Data

One fascinating project we helped with was the launch of data.gov. Having Tim Berners-Lee walking around the development team is good for morale. Here’s the video: http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/video/2010/jan/22/datastore-panel-discussion

Open Platform

The journey from Publisher to Platform really passed a tipping point with the commercial launch of the Open Platform in May 2010. From writing API’s to the current developer drop-ins, it’s all part of making a publisher and its systems open: http://www.guardian.co.uk/open-platform

While I am sad to leave, the Guardian is in a better place now digitally than most of its competitors, and if the quality of the people there is anything to go by, they’ll thrive. I wish them the best.

Guardian-related blogs

My Guardian Profile is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/mikebracken

There are many in the Guardian team who have blogged eloquently about the progress we made, and about many other subjects.

Martin Belam – http://www.currybet.net/cbet_blog/2010/11/mike-bracken-gartner.php

Meg Pickard – http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/megpickard

Nik Silver – http://niksilver.com/2011/04/27/agile-ukgovit/

Stephen Dunn – http://www.guardian.co.uk/open-platform/blog/what-is-powering-the-content-api

Matt Wall – http://www.guardian.co.uk/open-platform/blog/video/video-mat-wall-introduces-the-guardian-open-platform

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