Wirecutter Founder Gizmodo Explains NY Times’ $30 Million Deal

The Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship hosted a town hall meeting with Brian Lam in person at Shidler College of Business and online via Zoom.

Gizmodo and Wire cutter are two popular unbiased sites that provide consumer product guides and recommendations, and are resources for technologists and gadget enthusiasts. University of Hawaii in Mānoa, students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the public, learned how these sites became major industry players directly from Brian Lam, former Gizmodo editor and Wire cutter founder.

The free 90-minute event was hosted online and in person on May 12 by the Asia Pacific Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) in the Shidler College of Commerce.

person with a hat and lei speaking into a microphone
Brian Lam

Through a discussion with Cindy Wu, co-founder of Jelly, a startup in Honolulu building fair platforms for scientists; and technologist Zachary Kim, co-founder of Float, a company that helps fast-growing consumer brands turn inventory into debt-free seed capital, Lam discussed his upbringing, influences and experiences as a journalist and entrepreneur. . He also answered questions from event attendees.

“It was a lesson in focus, to be so focused because everyone in media is trying to hit the whole spectrum, from tweets to features to videos. They try to do so many things and usually everything looks the same. But we were just like ‘we’re going to be the best at this, very highly marketable,’” Lam said.

Christopher Scott Gray, a finance and marketing student who attended the conference, said, “The event was very informative and opened my mind to see things in a different light. Although I came to hear Brian’s story, it was a bonus to hear the conversation between three entrepreneurs.

Learn more about Lamb

Lam became editorial director of Gizmodo in 2008. His apartment in San Francisco served as Gizmodothe head office. He left Gizmodo in 2011, when Gizmodo received over 220 million page views per month. In 2011, Lam started The wire cutter (now known as Wire cutter), a blog that gave buying recommendations for gadgets.

Foundation Wire cutter allowed Lam time to pursue his personal interests with Cuttlefish, a blog he curated with friends, posting stories about ocean and water activities. In 2013 he started The Sweethome, a similar recommendation website for household items. By 2015, Wire cutter generated $150 million in online sales, and the sites had drawn attention to their influential business model of using affiliate links to earn a fraction of the resulting sale. In 2016, Wire cutter and The Sweethome were acquired by The New York Times Company for over $30 million.

About the Talk Story Series

“Talk Story with Brian Lam” was part of a series of Talk Story events, designed to attract students from all disciplines who are interested in entrepreneurship and innovation. Each event takes place in a unique co-working space at Shidler College and encourages students to meet and connect with people from different corners of campus who may share similar interests and passions. Events expose students to current entrepreneurs and innovators with the aim of inspiring them to pursue their own ideas. For more information, to visit PACEthe website of or contact PACE staff at pace@hawaii.edu.

This event is an example of uh Mānoa’s goal of Research Excellence: Advancing the Enterprise of Research and Creative Work (PDF), one of the four objectives identified in the Strategic Plan 2015-2025 (PDF), updated December 2020.

-By Marc Arakaki


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