Readup exists to improve the experience of online reading. We do this by helping people to slow down, focus, and read entire articles from beginning to end — something that has become so outrageously and unnecessarily difficult that, as a result, most people don’t actually read full articles and stories online.
That is a problem for individuals and a problem for society.
We believe in the power of reading.
We believe that deep, critical thinking is a prerequisite for constructive conversation, and that reading is one of the best ways to enter a flow state of critical thinking.
We value deep, mindful reading over skimming, scanning and browsing, and we recognize that reading is hard, real work. That’s what makes it matter.
Just like exercise or healthy eating, reading has intrinsic value. Beyond the fact that it can be enjoyable and fulfilling in the moment, reading confers a long list of long-term emotional and mental benefits to the reader.
In short, reading makes you happier and healthier.
The digital media and journalism industries are in shambles, in need of radical reinvention and revitalization. Readup shifts capital from advertisers to writers and human attention from ads to high-quality writing. There is no place for advertisements in the future we envision.
Distractions destroy reading.
That’s why reading a book feels so different from “reading” through tweets or emails. Indeed, scientists have proven the distinction on a neurological level. Deep reading is good for your brain, and “surfing” the web is not an adequate replacement. Thus, our objective is to make reading online feel more like reading a book.
We reject the increasingly superficial rapid-fire daily news cycle and the tendency that it has to promote herd-mentality along ideological and political lines. Non-reading divides us. Reading brings us together.
We regret that a growing number of people feel uninformed and unempowered to figure out for themselves what’s actually happening in the world. We fear what we see as a growing tendency for individuals to outsource their thinking to various Orwellian “Ministries of Truth.”
Nobody can tell you what’s right or wrong, fact or fake, and we find it alarming when any network, publisher, or platform even suggests that they can solve that problem for you. They can’t.
Ultimately, truth isn’t a solvable problem. It’s a lifelong practice. Deep reading is a great way to anchor your existence in reality.
From our vantage point, the world would be a much better place if more people spent more time reading and less time bouncing around aimlessly.
We have been pleased to discover that this is actually what people want too. Thus, non-reading is not a collective action problem (like climate change, for example) where individual incentives conflict with what’s good for everyone.
Learning how to reckon with challenging, thought-provoking ideas builds character and wisdom. Readup isn’t responsible for shielding you from concepts and language that make you feel uncomfortable. Instead, we believe that thoughtful, respectful disagreement is profoundly productive, which is why we embrace alternative perspectives and diverse opinions.
At the same time, we strive to make Readup feel welcoming and interesting to all. Readup is a real community.
Readup is the right size. It’s the size it’s meant to be. Growth will be a result of our success, but growth itself is not the goal. Wherever we are is where we’re meant to be and however big we are is how big we’re meant to be. This is more than a zen mantra; it’s the closest thing to a “corporate strategy” that we’ve got.
We resist the urge to force certain outcomes. To us, Readup feels more like a living organism than a machine that we manage, so we try to listen to what Readup itself wishes to become and respond accordingly.
No single individual controls Readup. Legal ownership and decision-making authority have been decentralized from day one; at its inception, the organization was split fifty-fifty between two co-founders, Bill Loundy and Jeff Camera. As Readup grows and continues to decentralize, it will become more resilient and more impactful.
Readup doesn’t have “users.” We have Readers. Every person who reads on Readup is a human being, deserving of dignity and respect.
We take this project seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. At the end of the day, we’re just a small group of people who love reading and have some ideas about how to make the internet better.
Nothing about Readup, including this Manifesto, is set in stone. Readup is built to thrive in a world that’s constantly changing. Evolution and change are guaranteed. As such, we’re always open to new ideas.
Our vision is to grow a vast global network of Readers who collaborate to develop a better understanding of the world and how it works.
We’re fiercely optimistic about the future of the internet and the future of humanity. Time and time again, reading has transformed and improved our lives and we find great joy in working to share that magic with as many people as possible.