Sarah Lacy believes in patience

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.


Nearly every single investor Pando has has asked me how more money or algorithms can scale our company faster. My answer is always: They can’t. It’s just going to take five to ten years of solid work to build the media company we want to build. There is no shortcut.

Further, I’ve been told– again and again– that there is no way to build a huge ad-based business without Huffington Post/BuzzFeed-like page views and scale. I disagree with that one too. And when I say that, people smile like they are taking to a delusional child. They struggle not to pat me on the head. There’s a reason we’ve raised $4 million and not $50 million.

Every time I have this conversation, I always think of something Marc Andreessen said back in 2007 when people were doubters of the early social media wave: “Ok, just wait. Wait and watch.” He had an enigmatic smile when he said it. This, a man who describes his personal mantra as: “Often wrong but never in doubt.”

This has become my personal mantra: Wait and watch.

She sees this as the virtue of Vice:

The company most of the media world loves to hate has confirmed reports that it’s raised a whopping $500 million at a huge $2.5 billion valuation, half from A&E and half from Technology Crossover Ventures. This after its already shocking investment from Fox that valued it at $1 billion.

People will give you all kinds of reasons Vice has gotten this price. Its audience of hard to reach young men. Its agency business. Whatever. There is one big reason: Patience. Wait and watch.

When people told CEO and founder Shane Smith young people didn’t care about global news? Wait and watch.

When people said big brands wouldn’t pay to be next to Vice-style content? Wait and watch.

When people said he couldn’t build the new MTV and CNN rolled into one? Wait and watch.

Smith has essentially sat crosslegged with chopsticks for a dozen years, and now he only has to look side-eyed at the juiciest flies for them to fall. Hundreds of millions of dollars for minority stakes, and all from the kind of investors who can syndicate and keep his media empire growing. He has his cake and gets to eat it too: Huge cash and huge independence. All he had to do was keep building, keep evolving and keep being patient.

You know what’s even weirder than the idea of Pando building a huge media company over time? That a one-time government-funded magazine from Canada did it.

…Some 15 years into this wave of new media companies using the Web to build new news and information franchises, no one has yet to touch Vice’s valuation. Not Huffington Post, the master of SEO. Not Business Insider, the master of the slideshow. Not BuzzFeed, the master of social.

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