B-TEN’s Letter to Santa

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by Gabe Carey

Dear Santa Claus,

In August 2012, I was merely a junior in highschool. At the time, I was still trying to figure things out, like most highschool students. I was going to a school full of kids that I felt relatively distant from. I was excluded. So, I’d spend most of my days alone, relying on tech news sites like Engadget to keep me entertained. Shortly after, I decided to start a blog, which I would entitle Bullogna Technology and Entertainment News, later abbreviated as B-TEN. The name derived from a substitute teacher I had at the time, who mentioned that her boyfriend — or husband, I can’t really remember — was full of bologna. From then on, I was fascinated by that euphemism. It was a way of saying bull– well, you know– without directly saying it.

At the time, I had this bizarre notion that tech and games journalism outlets were full of bologna. Ironically, I decided to name the site Bullogna because of this. Due to pronunciation issues and a general lack of familiarity, the name didn’t really fly with our target audience and, in May 2013, we decided to rebrand as B-TEN.com without the lengthy suffix. However, that was a temporary solution to a permanent problem.  There were a variety of challenges to overcome when attempting to start a news network, the most significant of which is being able to cover the news in a timely and effective manner. Unfortunately, while our staff has always been motivated, I have not always been the most competent leader, though I’ve learned quite a bit from my mistakes.

One mistake I learned from at B-TEN was nearly selling off our site to a third-party publishing company. It was far too early for us to make those kinds of negotiations, yet I was exceedingly eager to take the easy way out rather than working to establish our brand on my own terms. Towards the end of the deal, we mutually decided that it would be best for B-TEN to continue our efforts independently. Unfortunately, however, our staff count was nearly cut in half. This was due in part to a community of writers and editors who were disappointed in my inclination to sell out so early on in our publication’s lifespan. A small percentage of our staff, including one of our founding editors, left for the other company. Some departed to pursue other unrelated goals and a dedicated few decided to remain at B-TEN.

Following that fallout, there was an extensive period of time in which we were far too overstaffed for me to micromanage everyone at once. I was working several freelance writing and marketing jobs in the summer, and in the fall, I began my most recent career — a first-year student at Champlain College — where I would be studying Management of Creative Media. In one semester, I’ve learned a great deal about leadership. I’ve learned about brand development, marketing, and even some creative monetization models. Some of this information I received from my classes, but in college, I’ve actually been relatively inspired to do most of my learning independently.

Now, Santa, I’m ready to leave my mistakes behind and turn over a new leaf. I’m elated to announce that on January 1st, 2015, B-TEN will be rebranding as Current Digital Magazine, a digital magazine effort that we attempted earlier this year, but ultimately failed at because of a blatant absence of market viability. We tried to launch a paid magazine subscription in the midst of a dying industry. Unlike our previous efforts, the sleek new web version of Current Digital Magazine will be free-to-access, just like B-TEN. Unlike B-TEN, however, which I worked on for less than a day prior to its initial launch, Current Digital has been my passion project for well over a month now.

The new site will be available here at midnight EST on New Year’s Day. We’ve put in place a new format with a unique direction. Rather than an emphasis on news, CDM will be focused on interacting with our community using previews, reviews, interviews, video content, and opinion pieces related to the broad categories of technology and entertainment. I adamantly believe you will be surprised by all that we have in store. After all, our community is the gift that keeps on giving. Dear Santa, this Christmas what I want is to be successful in the coming year. I know we have a bumpy ride ahead of us, but I have faith that with enough hard work and determination, all of our goals can be accomplished.

When you visit this year, as you leave me with the present, I want you to take this box that I’ve decided to abandon. In the box, you’ll find our past, full of grand memories but recycled ideas. Let’s move forward this holiday with a brand-new inventive mindset, full of wit and originality; art and entrepreneurship. Leave me with competence and a bright future. That’s all I need this Christmas.

As always, your pal,

Gabe Carey

Former CEO & Editor-in-Chief at B-TEN.com

When life gives you lemons, make video games.

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