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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.

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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