Celebrating HuffPost's First 10 Years by Looking to the Next 10

05/06/2015 06:30 pm ET | Updated May 06, 2016

It's May 9, 2005. A guy named Barack Obama is entering his fifth month as a U.S. senator. Benedict XVI has just become pope. Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl" occupies the number-one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and Britney Spears and Kevin Federline have recently tied the knot and sworn their everlasting love.

And a website called The Huffington Post is born.

We launched that day, a Monday, to decidedly mixed reviews; as I remember it, critics were lining up to predict it wouldn't last. One hour after we launched, a reviewer compared HuffPost to a combination of Ishtar, Heaven's Gate and Gigli. A year later she emailed me and asked if she could blog for the site, and of course I said yes.

In the ensuing 10 years we've made a point to say yes as much as possible, taking risks, embracing challenges and always seeing ourselves as a work in progress. Along the way we've changed dramatically, constantly evolving and innovating while staying true to our DNA, which, from Day 1, has been to inform and inspire, to entertain and empower. Today we're a combination of a global platform where people -- both known and unknown -- with something interesting to say can say it and a global Pulitzer Prize-winning journalistic enterprise with investigative reporters all around the world. On HuffPost there is no hierarchy; on the front page a post by French President François Hollande can appear next to a post by a college student with an interesting idea.

The Huffington Post's first tagline when we launched on May 9, 2005, was "Delivering news and opinion since May 9, 2005." Now it's been long enough that the tagline works in a different way.

But we've had a lot of slogans since then, like "Self-expression is the new entertainment," "Ubiquity is the new exclusivity" and "Social is the new front page." At some point, after much discussion, my co-founder Kenny Lerer prevailed, and we called ourselves "The Internet Newspaper," although we have long since stopped being just that, moving from providing just news and opinion to doing much more -- to helping people live the lives they want, not just the lives they settle for. At which point we began urging people to sleep their way to the top -- literally.

We've done a lot of reminiscing during our anniversary week, but our real focus is on looking ahead. That's why the theme for our 10-year anniversary is "The Next 10." To celebrate this milestone, we're rolling out a range of special projects, launches and events -- the high and the low, the serious and the playful -- and all of them have something to say about where we're coming from and especially where we're going.

First, there's our mobile Web redesign, the ultimate reflection of our belief that mobile is the future, and the future is happening now. We want to offer our audience the best possible experience, and our team of mobile strategists, designers and engineers has been working with our agency partner, Code and Theory, to make that happen. And since we'll have 15 international editions in 10 languages by the end of the summer, our redesign supports translation across all these editions. That means all HuffPost readers around the world (half of our audience comes from outside the U.S.) will have access to the best of what we're producing and linking to and everything our bloggers are doing around the world. As always, we'll continue to iterate (and iterate, and iterate) based on what we learn, and desktop and tablet redesigns will follow.

As part of our 10-year coverage, we will have deeply reported profiles of some of the most influential figures of the moment, whose stature is only likely to increase in the next 10 years: FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Department of Justice prosecutor Vanita Gupta, anti-corruption activist and former New York gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout, socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant, CREDO Mobile Political Director Becky Bond, Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson, campus sexual assault activists Annie Clark and Andrea Pino, climate change activist Karen Diver and reform-minded Congressman Adam Schiff.

And since at HuffPost we've always wanted to go beyond raising awareness to actually having in impact, we've partnered with CrowdRise to spotlight 10 causes we care about deeply, from LGBT rights and homelessness to drug policy and poverty. Check out all the causes here, and consider donating to a project that resonates with you.

To spread around the birthday love, we're featuring videos of ten 10-year-olds who were born on May 9, 2005. Check out the adorable and hilarious videos of kids sharing their thoughts on HuffPost ("It's a newspaper on Facebook," one child says), what's great about being 10 ("double digits," says another) and their wishes for themselves, their loved ones and the world.

On Saturday, May 16, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., the HuffPost Politics leadership team, Ryan Grim, Sam Stein and Amanda Terkel, will be speaking about HuffPost's origins and evolution and some of the biggest stories we've covered, including Sam's recent interview with President Obama.

We are also launching a series around the theme of "The Next 10" featuring an incredible group of bloggers, all of them members of HuffPost's extended family, some of whom have been with us from the very beginning. We asked experts to look forward to the next decade in their respective fields. There's Robert Reich on class inequality, Kofi Annan on global democracy, Peter Diamandis on technology, Craig Newmark on media ethics, Matthew Cooke and Adrian Grenier on criminal sentencing, Christina Aguilera on the hunger crisis, Bill McKibben on environmental action, Adam Grant on meaningful work, Glenn Beck on media, Janice Min on the future of the celebrity magazine cover, Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen on connectivity, Marc Benioff on innovation and civic engagement, Queen Rania of Jordan on preserving moral progress amidst technological progress, Bishop T.D. Jakes on the next 10 years in faith and many, many more.

It's also an amazing video moment for HuffPost. Since launching in August 2012, HuffPost Live has garnered 2.2 billion views, featured nearly 28,000 guests from more than 100 countries and won three consecutive Webby Awards for online video. But it's about so much more than the numbers. HuffPost Live has taken the secret ingredients that make HuffPost HuffPost -- the playfulness and unpredictability, the sense of occasion -- and put them on the air, opening up the conversation in ways we couldn't have imagined back in 2005. And now, with The HuffPost Show, we're taking a smart, satiric look at the week's top news stories, featuring a blend of provocative commentary, panel discussions, edgy digital videos and interviews with guests from Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Russell Crowe and Tig Notaro.

And we are doubling down on video, expanding our original video offerings to include long-form series and documentaries and approaching a time when 50 percent of HuffPost content will have a video component. Among our highlights are HuffPost 10, a series of 10 short films from 10 different storytellers about the 10 people, things and ideas that are making the world a better place, and What's Working, reporting on people making positive changes around the world. We'll also be launching Culture Shock, based on the theme of how to thrive in the workplace that we have been covering relentlessly over the past year, which will look at the ways companies are innovating in the office. We're living through an amazing time, when more than 35 percent of American companies offer some sort of stress-reduction program, sleep and meditation are finally being seen as performance enhancers and companies are seeing that the long-term health of the bottom line and the health of their employees are in fact very much aligned.

Above all, in the next 10 years we are determined to reimagine journalism with our What's Working global initiative, taking it beyond the tired "If it bleeds, it leads" approach. We will of course continue covering the crises, the stories of violence, tragedy, dysfunction and corruption, but we're dramatically increasing our coverage of stories of innovation, creativity, ingenuity and compassion, because we believe we owe it to our readers to give a full picture of what is happening in the world. At the moment we talk about media coverage inspiring a lot of copycat crimes. We also want to produce the kind of journalism that inspires copycat solutions.

We are also thrilled to publish the first-ever feature from HuffPost Highline, our long-form project run by Rachel Morris and Greg Veis, who joined us four months ago from The New Republic: Duncan Murrell's extraordinary profile of Amaris Tyynismaa, a 14-year-old running prodigy who suffers from Tourette syndrome. HuffPost Highline will be a home for ambitious and creative long-form digital storytelling -- from profiles and essays to long-form interviews and investigations -- and starting in June we'll be publishing one long-form feature every week.

I'm grateful to everyone who has been a part of HuffPost from Day 1: our 850 editors, reporters and engineers around the world; those who are part of the HuffPost mafia who have left and gone on to build great new things; the boomerangers who left and came back; and our almost 100,000 bloggers around the world. Together they have gotten us to this point. And I am especially grateful to everyone who has read, viewed and shared what we're doing on HuffPost. We are here because of you.

So here's to the next 10. Now please enjoy these birthday messages from some members of our extended HuffPost family: