Press Reset - Episode Twelve: 'Inquire Within'

A note from Polygon Publisher Marty Moe:

If there is a single most-important lesson that I've learned in over 10 years in the digital media business running and launching journalistic websites, it is the paramount importance of the editorial leadership team. Very simply put, if you do not have a great team — strong individuals who thrive on working and collaborating with other A-players to achieve a shared vision — you cannot have a great site or build a powerful brand. So when we decided about 18 months ago that we wanted to build the next great video games site, my partners Jim Bankoff (Vox Media CEO), Josh Topolsky (The Verge's Editor-in-Chief) and I were very clear that we would only pursue the project if we could put the right editorial team together. And all three of us were clear that that started with Chris Grant, longtime Editor-in-Chief of Joystiq, with whom Josh and I had worked extensively at Weblogs, Inc and Aol.

Chris was the perfect person to build and lead the team that would become the founding editors of Polygon. A brilliant and persevering visionary who believed that video games journalism had not yet achieved its potential, Chris is a natural team builder with deep and ego-less strength, as well as a reassuring confidence. It took some patience and cajoling to convince Chris that we were serious about building a premier video games brand, and like any good journalist, he wanted to see evidence that we could turn our ideas into reality, but once he was able to set eyes on The Verge, which launched last November, he knew we weren't joking.

Just as we knew Chris was the guy to build and lead what came to be called Polygon, Chris knew exactly who he wanted to join him for the ride, beginning with longtime collaborator Justin McElroy. Together, the two of them reached out to digital games journalism leaders who were at the top of their games, and each with different and complementary strengths — from news coverage, review writing, feature writing, video programming. And, as it turned out, they all shared and were energized by our vision for truly authoritative journalism and beautiful design to create something that video games readers hadn't had before — something that combined the quality and visual elegance of magazine and television publishing with the immediacy and participatory experience of the web — what would become Polygon.

So, one by one, Chris, Justin and I had extensive conversations with then-Kotaku Editor-in-Chief Brian Crecente, former Escapist Editor-in-Chief Russ Pitts, Joystiq star (and sibling!) Griffin McElroy, former IGN editor Arthur Gies, and the versatile and influential Russ Frushtick and Chris Plante — all of whom became Polygon's founding editorial team, who in turn have built the expanded team we have today. While we initially had some trepidation about how all these superstars would work together, I've never experienced a team that hadn't worked together before gel so quickly and completely around a shared goal.

And thus was completed Phase I of the Polygon project. All that remained were those small matters of shaping the organization, designing and building the site, selling the vision to advertisers and holding all that together until we launched.

- Marty Moe, Publisher, Polygon

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