Today is the 9th anniversary of the launch of The Huffington Post. There is so much to celebrate, so much that has exceeded my wildest dreams -- no, back in 2005, I wasn't dreaming of more than 90 million unique visitors a month, more than 60 verticals, more than 50,000 bloggers, more than 300 million comments, or double-digit international editions, a game-changing live streaming network, and a wall-full of awards.
Looking back, however, there are a number of things that I know now that I wish I'd known then. To mark our 9th anniversary, here are 9 of them:
- That WTF, LOL, CMS, FTW, ICYMI, meme, selfie, share, like, and RT would become such essential parts of my daily work vocabulary. I also wish I knew how to correctly pronounce "gif" (actually, I still don't know).
- That I'd end up watching more video on my phone than on my TV (and speaking of TV, it would've been nice to know that Lost would get so weird; that The Sopranos would end so unsatisfyingly; that the Red Wedding would be so, well, red; and that that sweet little Hannah Montana would turn into a crotch-grabbing wrecking ball).
- That Tom DeLay (aka "The Hammer"), who I wrote my first HuffPost blog post about, would go from the most feared man in the House to a bespangled, Texas two-stepping contestant on Dancing with the Stars who left the competition after developing stress fractures in both feet.
- That HuffPost Divorce would be such a big hit. Nora Ephron, who suggested it, was right when she said, "Marriage comes and goes but divorce is forever." If I had known, we would have started our section about endings a lot sooner.
- That nine years after we launched, Americans would still be coming home from Afghanistan in body bags, and that we'd still be paying a price for the lies that got us into Iraq and kept us there for a decade. We've kept our promise to stay on these stories; I just wish they'd had a much shorter shelf life.
- That Twitter, Vine, and Instagram -- none of which existed when we launched -- would become such a vital part of my daily work life. Of course, if I'd known that, we would have launched Twitter, Vine, and Instagram ourselves!
- That NapQuest 1 and NapQuest 2 -- HuffPost's nap rooms -- would be so popular ... we certainly could have used them during the early years. They might even have helped me avoid, two years after we launched, my wake-up call of collapsing from exhaustion, which set me on the path to understanding the vital importance of unplugging and recharging -- for myself, for all HuffPosters, and for our readers.
- That I'd need to know how to say "HuffPost" in French, Italian, Spanish, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Korean -- and with a British and Canadian accent -- to better communicate with our many international editors. I still have time before we launch in India, the Middle East, and Greece to get it right in Hindi and Arabic (thankfully, I'm fully up to speed on the Greek).
- That HuffPost would always be a work in progress, even as we grew from a handful of people working out of my house in Los Angeles to an international media company with over 700 people worldwide -- and that there would never be a moment when we could put a bow around it and say, "this is HuffPost."
Happy anniversary, HuffPost! Here's to many, many more!