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Vox Media's Jim Bankoff Says He Knows What Makes You Click (Video)

He's got $110 million (so far) riding on it.

Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

How do you build a digital publishing giant in a world dominated by Facebook and iPhones?

Jim Bankoff is trying to figure that out, and he thinks he has a pretty good start: Vox Media, the company behind sites like the Verge and SB Nation, has 150 million readers a month and $110 million in venture funding. The CEO says the company will turn a profit next year.

Last week, Bankoff visited our final Code/Media evening event of 2014, at the Automattic headquarters in San Francisco, and chatted about his strategy and tactics.

This turned out to be a pretty good conversation, in part because Bankoff is a lively interview — he had a spirited defense, for instance, to my assertion that we are collectively overvaluing the notion that publishers are technology/product companies.

And it was also good because the crowd at our event had some pointed questions for him. For instance: Does the future of publishing involve lists about farts? (Answer: Probably! Why not?)

By the way, if you’re interested in inside — deep inside — digital media baseball: Bankoff and Vox are frequently compared to BuzzFeed, with good reason. I made the link last week in a story about them, and brought it up again onstage. But I don’t remember Bankoff taking a swipe at BuzzFeed during our 30-minute conversation. Feel free to look for any evidence to the contrary.

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