Somehow, it’s the last day of October again, and you know what that means. Sure, it may be Halloween (my favourite holiday), but there’s another special event we are celebrating today – the anniversary of AMR’s founding. Here’s a look back at the year that was, and what’s in store for year three.

Looking back

Just like last year, time has seemed to fly by. I can remember as clear as day all the planning and excitement around the launch of AMR back in 2021. That both feels like yesterday and simultaneously ten years ago. Yet over these last twelve months, AMR has matured as a brand and as a platform.

This was also a year of foundation building, one in which we moved our newsletter in-house, rebuilt our entire website (with a focus on performance and accessibility), redesigned our logo and branding, branched out to new social platforms, and worked with some amazing individuals and organisations.

2023 saw the launch of our audio show, New Ways, which has been my favourite project to work on. Being able to tap the minds of some brilliant people, to witness the amazing impact they are having on the world and to hear their vision of a better future, delivered with passion and unshakable resolve, has been magical.

Along the way, we authored nearly one hundred articles, including our short-form series (Quick Takes) which allowed AMR to keep up with interesting news articles in near real-time. We also added a very talented contributor to our roster – Erin Visagie. That’s not to mention the ten episodes of our debut season of New Ways, and countless social media posts to help spread the word of all the impactful content we’ve been publishing, delivering on the goal of being a “force for good” in the media landscape. Bottom line – we championed the cause of being “solution focused” in all of our output, which is what this company was founded on, spotlighting solutions.

And our supporters let us know that we were heading in the right direction. In fact, you showed up in record numbers! Across our social channels we’ve built an audience of nearly three thousand, and another 78,000+ decided to view our online offerings via the website. A few of our posts went viral, garnering hundreds of likes, comments and re-posts each time. New Ways currently has ten times the listenership than our initial goal metrics, and Limelight subscribers are at an all time high. For that we thank you, and promise that the best is yet to come.

The new look website in action.

A subtle shift

Throughout this year, I’ve slowly embraced some exciting, yet uncomfortable truths. One of those, and probably the hardest one to face, is that it is time to move forward. See, AMR was and always will be focused on solutions, on being a force for good and affecting positive change at scale. And part of that meant building up a credible brand, one that others could recognise as an authentic player in the new media market. But it’s that last part that we haven’t been able to fully execute. Both myself and many of the people who have contributed to the success of AMR have been focused on the detail, on the small wins, without asking if they actually serve the greater vision. Lots of little wins don’t aways amount to big victories. Sometimes they just keep you occupied.

I’m talking about the “culture” side of our content, the videos, reviews and things of that nature. Whilst fun, they consume a huge amount of time for very little upside. I’d also lump Quick Takes into that category as well, because the effort put into chasing the latest news and producing short-form articles could be better served on larger, more impactful pieces of original content.

So, moving forward, we’ll be pausing content of that nature, and instead diverting those efforts toward more feature-rich media, the stuff that has earned us praise and is helping to build our reputation. Some may not like this change, but I promise that if it makes sense, that style of content will return. We need to get focused, and part of that means consolidating our content strategy into what actually resonates with our growing audience.

Focusing on the future

And that brings me on to the second big change, one that concerns the very core of AMR. For the last few months, I’ve been having amazing conversations with a host of innovative changemakers (I really mean that, it’s not just part of our tagline!). And during our discussions, it became a regular occurrence that they’d either remark about my line of questioning, a comment I’d made or a suggestion I’d thrown out there as something that they’d never considered, but would gladly appropriate. Others would seek advice, asking business questions or even market predictions.

The future is incredibly exciting, packed with change, evolution and collaborative magic.

It became so common, that I soon began to realise that AMR was stuck at a certain level, mainly because we were focused on solving challenges in the wrong way, and possibly with the wrong mindset. I kept interacting with businesses who were struggling with (or salivating at) the notion of forging modern, strategic paths toward making an impact at scale. These were leaders of global businesses, academics, individuals with PhD’s, those who’d worked with the UN, dynamic creators and others of all walks of life. It dawned on me that I was trying to affect individual change via an industry whose glory days were long since passed: online journalism.

Whilst I don’t believe that the medium is completely dead (and I urge people to support journalists and independent media), it has radically been altered in recent years, and the advent of AI, global cost of living crisis and fierce competition makes it a very questionable business to get started in, especially when there are more sustainable ways to affect change.

Part of my promise in creating AMR was that it would always be bigger than just a news company, which is why I’ve often referred to it as a “startup medium platform”. And now, it is time for us to take the next steps toward what that looks like, working with businesses to help them amplify their impact, and in turn, affect positive change at scale.

What does that mean for our readers? Well, you’ll still receive quality content on a regular basis, longform articles (and special audio episodes) packed with insight and analysis on all things health, tech and sustainability.

It also means we will be featuring businesses in these industries, branching out to cover different aspects (like market analysis) and pivoting to become a new media/digital consulting agency. It’s time to put that strategy, insight and dynamic thinking to work and help elevate these amazing companies.

The future is incredibly exciting, packed with change, evolution and collaborative magic. In some ways, this was always what AMR was going to be, only, it’s happened at a faster cadence than I could have predicted.

I can’t wait to share more with you, likely in a more formal release that details everything that’s in the pipeline. Until then, be safe, and enjoy Halloween you amazing souls! 👻