In addition to featuring prominent and respected speakers from established media companies, DIS (Digital Innovators’ Summit) also boast its fair share of speakers from start-ups in and around media.
At DIS 2018, few were as innovative and ambitious as Civil, a company that plans to establish new publishing practices by harnessing the blockchain. You can read more about the background to the company here.
We caught up with Daniel Sieberg, who represented Civil as co-founder at DIS 2018, to find out how the Summit worked for him and his team and to hear the company has evolved in the intervening months.
How was DIS 2018 for you overall?
The event in Berlin was super useful for us to share our message around journalism sustainability, new business models and why we think blockchain and crypto-economics can help in that effort through the Civil protocol and finding the right ways to connect with the broader journalism eco-system. It was also worthwhile to reach that influential audience and engage in smaller conversations after my presentation to answer questions, brainstorm and share ideas. In particular I connected with some senior editors from Scandinavia, western Europe and even a few outside the continent.
What was the reaction to your presentation? Any interesting follow up conversations/new business opportunities?
The reaction seemed positive though I suspect that at that time in March, and in Civil's growth trajectory everything we're doing still felt very new to everyone – things do change rather quickly in the blockchain/crypto world. The questions were mostly around why Civil, what are we doing exactly, what is the practical and utility purpose of blockchain/crypto-economics and what's in it for consumers as well as journalists.
That also provided an opportunity to discuss our Civil Constitution, the governing framework for the platform that's driven by CVL token holders and the increasing ways in which newsrooms and news organizations could think about working with us. Basically, it was a great chance to help seed an influential audience at scale on the various opportunities with some follow-up conversations there and afterwards.
Did you get an time to watch any other presenters? Who impressed you and why?
I did, and I particularly enjoyed the presentation from Melissa Rosenthal from Cheddar in terms of how they're thinking about audience engagement across different verticals and the ways in which they develop the right Cheddar "voice" for its readers and viewers. I also appreciated it when Ingo Rübe set the table for "what is blockchain" as I think that perhaps helped with the transition to talking about Civil.
How has Civil developed in the months since the event? Any new milestones?
Indeed - lots going on. For now, here are some bullet point updates to give people a sense of the momentum we're feeling but overall it's really exciting and more to come soon.
- Many of our 13 First Fleet newsrooms have started publishing (e.g. Sludge, Documented, Block Club Chicago - the governance aspect to be started once the CVL token has been distributed)
- We've named former NPR CEO (and formerly NYT, NBC, Twitter exec) Vivian Schiller (note: who also spoke at DIS 2018 before joining Civil) as CEO of the non-profit Civil Foundation
- We announced the instantiation of the Colorado Sun on Civil by former employees at the Denver Post (NYT article)
- We announced partnerships with the likes of the European Journalism Centre (co-matching their accelerator fund) and the International Center for Journalists (supporting entrepreneurship and sustainability training in 3 regions in the world)
- We shared more of our token and token-curated registry roadmap and outlined additional utilities for it/blockchain including aspects like licensing/syndication, curation and membership, which we believe can benefit from the incentives created through crypto-economics
- We outlined our Civil business model and why our sustainability can serve the journalism eco-system writ large
- On the curation side we announced a partnership with NevaLabs, which is run by the former founder of Storyful and former Facebook news partnerships lead
More to come as well and particularly around our upcoming CVL token launch slated to take place in August - for details on that please join our Telegram group via civil.co/cvl or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org; for the latest Civil updates our newsletter is the place to be (also found on civil.co).