Matt Crenshaw came to MNN after several years at Discovery Communications.
How did you get started in this business?
I started out in book publishing in 1998, but very quickly realized that world was shrinking while the web was growing so I taught myself how to build websites.
What kind of change did you see during your years at Discovery?
When I started at HowStuffWorks Facebook was still for college kids, YouTube was amazing because no video would freeze and say it was buffering, and the how-to sphere was basically eHow. But now everything has changed. Some of the biggest things are that social is growing, people are watching more videos online, and everyone has a smartphone in their pocket so that’s changed how we read content.
What attracted you to MNN?
MNN is a combination of information with a purpose. Instead of treating brands as advertisers, MNN tells stories of how these brands are doing good. It’s a media model with the ability to apply social good, and it’s shown steady growth since it was founded in 2009. Many big media companies struggle to understand what to do with the Web, but MNN knows what to do and goes after it. It’s also the perfect size to tackle growing trends and it’s number one in its category.
How do you see the world changing in terms of responsible living?
In the last 10 years there’s been this huge stride in green. People used to roll their eyes and think it was an Al Gore thing, but now it’s part of their daily lives. Climate change and recycling are two of the unsexiest topics, but things like hybrid cars, bike sharing, farmers markets and eating local are mainstream now. I think it used to be about living green, but now it’s just about living well.
How do you live sustainably?
Living in-town in a city that’s known for driving and traffic and living within walking distance of a train is important. My family tries to eat a more plant-based diet and buy food with less packaging. It used to be that people were concerned with reading labels, but now it’s a matter of if it even has a label. The stuff without a UPC code — produce — is a healthier, more sustainable choice.