Stavros Rougas is a journalist turned co-founder of Expertise Finder.
WHAT LED YOU TO START WORKING IN DIGITAL/MEDIA PUBLISHING?
I was looking for experts with depth as a TV producer on a current affairs program here in Toronto. Too often I was scrambling to meet a deadline and ended up with less than ideal guests.
I thought there must be a better way that limiting methods to those from the early web era and before. I looked but nothing beat the power of the Google sledgehammer.
I teamed up with a full stack engineer, together we created Expertise Finder. The tool I wanted as a journalist.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Outreach. Be helpful to a working journalist. They are busy so have to spend the time to add value. Too many focus on quantity and noise as if it equals results.
In addition to the Expertise Finder Network, we also have clients for our faculty expert directory software. So I work with clients as well as working in sales to get new ones.
Technology. We have built directory software for the network and for clients. We actively improve it. The technology needs to fit the problem we are trying to solve, not the other way around. It’s tricky and requires collaboration and deciding what not to do (doing is easier but leads to a mess that nobody wants to use).
WHAT’S YOUR WORK SETUP LOOK LIKE?
We are in the cloud, we are a cloud software company to boot so we want everything online. We only use cloud products, meaning accessible in the browser (think Google docs rather than Microsoft Office). This allows us to work on any computer or on our phones if needed. Freedom and being able to deal with things in a pinch.
My tip is to pick accessible open tools that are available in a browser. One needs to do a lot of things, thinking you will hire someone for every little thing is a death sentence. A good example and a tool I recommend is canva.com. It does 80% of what you need from Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator without the cost and technical know-how (still need an eye for design).
WHAT DO YOU TO GET INSPIRED?
Making the world a more informed place. The internet is wonderful and also full of crap. Finding experts to provide depth and understanding is an important part of creating good content when combined with the skill of storytelling it is powerful. It is a rare combination.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PIECE OF WRITING OR QUOTE?
Socrates: “The only thing I know, is that I know nothing”.
WHAT IS THE MOST INTERESTING/INNOVATIVE THING YOU HAVE SEEN ON ANOTHER OUTLET OTHER THAN YOUR OWN?
Less is more. The Outline produces one quality piece a day. Not only is the piece unique (i.e. can’t read on a wire service), it is combined with web design that understands the medium. Art meets content meets web design.
WHAT’S THE PASSIONATE PROBLEM YOU ARE TACKLING AT THE MOMENT?
Informed people want to connect with journalists who do quality work and vice versa. And by chance society benefits.
ANY ADVICE FOR AMBITIOUS DIGITAL PUBLISHING AND MEDIA PROFESSIONALS JUST STARTING OUT?
Have or learn a technical skill. Technology needs to be part of whatever you do, what it is is relative to the problem. Without having some solid technical knowledge you will be hard pressed to make decisions and work well with a team. Throwing money at the ‘problem’ doesn’t solve it.