Pete Cashmore’s Learn-As-You-Go Model

Published on May 24, 2013 by

It started out as a project to work on while recovering from a nasty bout with appendicitis.   However, the learn-as-you-go project ended up becoming one of the biggest social media and tech info-empires of the last few years.

It's possible you may not know Pete Cashmore by his first name, but by the company he started in the bedroom of his parents house:Mashable

That was 5 years ago.  Now in 2013, Mashable is one of the most popular news blogs in the world.

Pete Cashmore stated he always knew he wanted to run a business; he just wasn’t sure what kind.  He loves technology.  Living from Ireland, he began a blog in his bedroom out of a desire to learn.  In an interview with Success Magazine, Pete states that he enjoyed writing and loved technology.

The blog became a way to do and learn more about both his interests.  Five years later, Pete Cashmore has grown the company to over 100 employees.  Mashable has over 3 million followers and the website has more than 25 million views every month.  Ironically, it was never his goal to build a mini empire.

However, once he started, Pete became very interested in technology, the changing world and the ability to start a business and grow it completely online.  He began working “crazy hours,” matching up his schedule to that of Silicon Valley, sleeping very little and “hustling” to put out posts.

Eighteen months after the initial post, Mashable had 2 million readers.

Pete then hired other writers around the world to keep up with the content.  Mashable started as a technology blog but began to expand to what the readers were interested in reading about.  Soon more people were turning to Mashable for trending news.

Pete Cashmore found an interesting connection between something he was good at, interested in and other people wanted.

It took a good amount of time before the business began to make money.  The first paid advertisement didn’t come until 18 months after the blog began.  Mashable is a picture of the lean startup, how to hustle and keep the vision no

A few takeaways from this inspiring start up.

  1. It takes a lot of work and sacrifice to not only start but to grow a project, business or movement.

Pete said he slept little during the beginning days.  And, to keep up with the hours of the bustling Silicone Valley, he adjusted his sleep schedule to the West Coast’s waking hours.

  1.  Match interests with what people want or need

Beware of doing something soley off the basis of passion.

I love pizza. It’s my favorite food (well, one of them) in  the world- but my passion probably isn’t going to sustain a business, blog or lasting endeavor.

However, I enjoy writing and I’m o.k. in my skill level.  Writing is something (skill) I can use to help people.

There wasn’t a lot of tech blogs in 2005.  Pete caught on to a trend and worked hard to stay on top of the industry.  People were on the internet looking for information, news and updates and Pete’s website with the latest information about the tech world met a need.  I can’t say Pete was in the right place (Ireland isn’t a hot spot for the tech startups, I think) but that is also a good caveat into the next point.

  1.  Don’t limit yourself based on temporary circumstances

Ireland isn’t known as an international tech hot spot.

Pete Cashmore didn’t let his location stop him.  He knew what he wanted to learn, he quickly grew his skills of writing and web development and he moved forward with his blog.

What Pete was doing- building skills, learning, helping other people- was more important to him than the limitations- where he was (Ireland), his age (19) and lack of experience in the startup, tech or news world.

All of us could sit down together and discuss why we can’t make certain things happen.  Lack of supportive family and friends, debt, college education or lack of it, limited technical ability, lack of knowledge, lack of confidence:  we can let these things hold us back.

But where does that get us?


Let’s ditch the excuses and reasons why things can’t work and begin to “boldly move toward the direction of our dreams.”

Most of us don’t dream of developing a tech company with 25 million views every month.

So, if a 19 year old with no “experience” started a blog, hustled and worked, experimented and ended up with a globally influential company, what could you and I do?

If you don't know the story behind Pete Cashmore's rise, check out the feature article on Success online.


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