A few years ago, MassDevice co-founder and executive editor Brad Perriello tacked up a printed email I sent him in the fall of 2007, with the subject line “The device wire.” I was gung ho about an idea I had for a website called MassDevice, a sort of new media outlet that would cover the medical device industry in Massachusetts.
I was pretty enthusiastic, noting in the email that it would be a good opportunity for us. We met more than 10 years ago in graduate school at Boston University and made a pact to help each other advance our careers in journalism. As with most of our interactions over the years, my enthusiasm in the fall of 2007 was instantly leavened by a typical sober dose of reality from Brad, who said he was interested in examining the idea more closely but wasn’t ready to commit.
We’re still driving the idea behind that first email, fueled by that same combination of enthusiasm and reality. Today MassDevice is a global news presence for the medical device industry that, if you don’t mind a little boasting, changed the news game for this incredible industry. Before MassDevice you couldn’t find consistent, reliable coverage of breaking business news about the medtech industry. Today it’s all over the place, in no small part because of the model we pioneered. We took on some mammoth competitors, earned their respect and watched as they changed their games to compete with us.
Being disruptive is an amazing thing, but it has its limits. As we’ve grown MassDevice from an idea to a business, we were often discouraged by the difficulties of building a sustainable company: Infrastructure is a pain in the butt and so not fun to spend money on; hiring well is incredibly difficult; and let’s not even discuss the challenges facing a pair of beat reporters who suddenly had to learn to sell advertising, build databases and apply the dark arts of SEO.
We think we did a pretty good job, building a successful company and launching some very promising careers in journalism. In fact, we did such a good job that we attracted a lot of interest over the years from potential acquirers. The M&A dance is a lot like dating, with tempting flirtations ultimately going unconsummated. We felt we had created a unique and valuable platform and wanted a partner who shared our vision for it, so we turned our suitors away.
That was until we met Scott McCafferty, a fellow media entrepreneur who, like us, saw the disruption of the traditional news business as an incredible opportunity. Like us, Scott seemed to believe that a media company with vision, passion and execution could build something special. When Brad and I walked into WTWH’s Cleveland offices we were blown away by the energy, the passion and the drive on display at WTWH Media.
Ultimately, that’s why we decided to merge with WTWH Media. We’d finally found another media company that wanted to do things the right way, willing to work harder – and smarter – to build something unique.
Our partnership with WTWH is already bearing fruit, as you can see by our newly redesigned website. We’re also launching a new web and print publication, Medical Design & Outsourcing, and are expanding MassDevice’s signature event series, Device Talks.
In a beautiful bit of symmetry, we signed the agreement with WTWH Media on the 6-year anniversary of the MassDevice site. Thanks to all of our sponsors who took a gamble on us and who stayed with us as we grew. Thanks to all of you who’ve visited this site over the years and a special thanks to the brave men and women who came and worked with us over the years. We couldn’t have done it without you, and we’re so grateful and excited to share the chapter in our story with you.
Brian Johnson and Brad Perriello