Students talked and…

I was watching a talk by Gary Vaynerchuk yesterday and he was talking about a lot of ideas that are totally relevant to everything we do here at Matador.

Here’s one soundbyte:

“Listen to your users? Absolutely. But giving a shit about your users is way better…. Do something.”

Vaynerchuk was griping about the fact that every company says it’s listening to their users, but few of them actually take what their users are saying and turn it into something actionable.

I happened to watch this talk before hopping on a four-way call across three countries and as many time zones with Matador co-founder and CEO Ross Borden, senior editor David Miller, and BNT co-editor and resident tech genius Ian MacKenzie to talk about MatadorU.

Though our original marketing material indicated that the U’s courses would be independently guided, students are sending a clear message that they want more feedback and guidance from the editorial team.

To that end, we’re making some big improvements at the U, including:

1. More visibility and engagement on the part of the Matador editorial team. I’ll be the point person from the editorial team who will have the most active presence in the forums and providing feedback, and you’re welcome to reach out to me anytime at julie[at]matadornetwork[dot]com.

2. A refined leads system via the Market Blog. In addition to writing gigs, commissioned assignments, and article leads, we’ll be including information about residencies, fellowships and grants, and other opportunities in traditional and new media. What makes this more than a simple leads system is that, when relevant, Matador editors will include insider insight and advice about how to approach specific opportunities. We’ll also provide direct contacts and recommendation letters when appropriate.

3. Some technical improvements. These should improve navigability and ease of use in the forums.

The first two changes are rolling out this week, with the third improvement being an ongoing process. Let us know what you think about these additions, and feel free to share your feedback with us by sending it to my attention: julie[at]matadornetwork[dot]com.

And now, if you want to watch Vaynerchuk’s talk

Community Connection:

Why do people enroll in MatadorU? Because it leads to paid writing positions and a chance to “learn about what goes on behind the scenes at a travel magazine.” Read about Heather Carreiro, a MatadorU alum who has been brought on board as an editorial intern.