Episode 14: Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson shares the interesting journey of launching a new publication right as the COVID-19 pandemic began.

In February of this year, Protocol made its high-profile debut. The new tech media outlet promised to cover the market in a way that goes beyond the story of the day, to “illuminate the personalities, relationships, clashes, ideas and strategies playing out in the shadows of power.”

The site was started by the same team that created the hugely successful site POLITICO.

Bennett Richardson is vice president and general manager of Protocol. Previously, he was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO. He covered a number of interesting topics with Look Left’s John Moran on the Look Left @ Marketing Podcast:

  • While launching the site at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was not ideal, that story — along with other important societal changes — have served as an appropriate backdrop for the kinds of stories Protocol wants to tell: “Each of these moments has shown the power of both tech companies as well as technology itself. From conversations around contract tracing to content moderation to seeing how the cloud and enterprise universe was one of the few bright spots in one of the hardest quarters in the US economy in a long time. While it was certainly a challenging year to launch something new, I think it’s really reinforced why we exist in the first place: the really powerful and complex role that technology has played in every one of these big issues that has unfolded in 2020.”
  • Some of Protocol’s most interesting insight has come from people who may not necessarily be household names in the tech sector: “There are a lot of really interesting dynamics in the industry, a lot of personalities, and candidly, a lot of personalities behind the scenes. A lot of our most frequently read and most interesting interviews and profiles haven’t been from the CEO you might see on the front cover of every magazine. These industries are deep and they are diverse and they are textured. And there are some amazing, smart people with amazing, wild ideas about where the future is going and how they’re building that future.”
  • With the 2020 election less than three months away, Protocol’s coverage of it will feature a number of interesting angles: “The role of tech in this election is unprecedented, from seeing those executives up on Capitol Hill virtually to the way our sitting president is using social media as a part of his campaign and the role that it could play as results unfold. It is a huge moment, really, on both sides, on how these tech companies will navigate those moments. How do we not only ensure election security but also handle falsehoods and misleading information on different platforms? There is no shortage of stories that are going to unfold.”

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Bennett Richardson

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