OUR STORY

    THE DIGITAL TRENDS STORY

    They met at a wedding

    It was 2001, the year of the flat screen plasma TV, the first PlayStation, and the first iPod. Dan Gaul and Ian Bell were in the buffet line getting food, when a man who worked as a merchandiser at Office Depot, pulled out his then-hot Motorola phone, the first of its kind to have Bluetooth, and they both became intrigued.

    Bell, the consummate consumer and lover of gadgets, wanted to know how he could get his hands on devices earlier and opined that he'd love to start a website that reviewed products. On the other side of the buffet line, Dan Gaul, a programmer who worked at Real Networks piped in: he had a private server, and he'd help build the website if Bell would supply the stories. A friendship and business partnership were born over a love of technology.

    Soon afterward, Bell and Gaul started Design Technica—which would become Digital Trends—as a hobby, working on it in the evenings and weekends when they weren't working their day jobs. But as their easy-to-understand, snark-free, helpful consumer reviews began to resonate with readers, they were able to focus full time on making the site the web's most comprehensive source of information about consumer electronics and technology.

    "We say we like to cover the aspirational and the attainable," says Bell. "We might write about the Ferrari but we realize not all of our readers can afford that, so we get them excited about this new Honda Civic Type R."

    While other websites focused on the nitty-gritty tech specs, Digital Trends was aimed at the engaged consumer looking to buy a new gadget who didn't care about tech spec minutia but wanted to know how it actually worked and how it felt to use every day.

    "Everybody was focusing on benchmarks," remembers Bell. "Pages and pages of specifications on benchmarks."

    "There's a place for that, and we cover a little bit of that," Gaul says, "We really care about design and usability."

    In 2006, they set up shop in a small office above a furniture store in Lake Oswego, Oregon, and went to work on Digital Trends. Their early days are a model of old-fashioned hustle. When they wanted to include mobile phone reviews on their site, but didn't have any reviews to convince companies to send them prototypes, they borrowed phones from their friends to test them out and put up a few posts.

    When they learned that their only advertiser only needed to run ads a few months a year, they scrambled to come up with new revenue. Bell, armed only with gumption and his marketing background, flew back and forth to New York, pitching companies.

    For a while, it seemed like he was in over his head—he'd come back empty-handed, worrying how to pay the mortgage. But one trip proved fruitful and he landed his first big fish: an ad agency took a risk and bought $50,000 worth of ads on behalf of a major electronics client. Bell was thrilled until he realized that it was a monthly, not yearly payment.

    "I remember inside screaming, 'How am I going to serve this ad campaign, that is more than what we can handle on the site!" Bell recalls.

    But Gaul and Bell did what they did before: they hustled and reached out to their network and made the campaign work. "You just learn the game," he says now.

    And as they built up their content, more advertisers, companies—and readers—followed.

    By 2009, they'd grown so much they moved to Portland's U.S. Bancorp Tower and expanded their staff to 75. Approached by venture capitalists offering wild sums of cash, they decided to stick with a smaller injection–one that they could manage and didn't undermine their Do It Yourself ethos. They didn't want to fall prey to what Gaul calls, "Shiny Object Syndrome."

    Instead of worrying about what competitors are doing, they decided, "We need to just keep our eyes focused, put the blinders on, and do what we know we do well," says Gaul.

    It has worked. As the business has grown—now with more than 100 employees in New York, Portland, Chicago, and Los Angeles and 30 million global monthly uniques—Bell and Gaul have perfected the Digital Trends formula: a mix of comprehensive product reviews, important breaking news, and deep dive features. At a time when other websites in the media industry are struggling, they are turning a profit in publishing.

    Their success has garnered Bell accolades and honors: he was chosen as a finalist for EY's Entrepreneur of the Year in the Pacific Northwest and named to Portland Business Journal's "40 under 40."

    They never imagined in their wildest dreams that Digital Trends would become so successful. "It was just two guys who went, 'We're getting paid to write about stuff we love, gadgets and technology, how is this not the dream job?'" says Bell.

    Bell and Gaul have succeeded by learning from those early failures, and growing exponentially each year.

    "You are gonna fail, you have to fail, and you gotta learn from those failures, and keep going and not be discouraged by it. You can't let those types of things kill your desire, your motivation, your passion to keep the business going. You have to risk it all," says Gaul.

    CORE VALUES
    Authentic

    Through our expertise and voice

    Driven

    By a fierce commitment to always elevate the experience

    Connected

    Through meaningful relationships with our audience & partners

    Approachable

    Providing a relatable path to knowledge & discovery

    Passionate

    About enriching people's experiences with tech

    Fun

    We love what we do and we don't take ourselves too seriously

    WHAT'S NEW WITH US
    THE TEAM

    Digital Trends started in a tiny office space above a furniture store and has grown to more than 130 people in seven cities around the country.

    • Management
    • Editorial
    • The Family
    Ian Bell
    CEO & Publisher
    Dan Gaul
    Chief Technology Officer
    Chris Carlson
    Chief Operations Officer
    Nathan Bell
    SVP of Operations
    Jeremy Kaplan
    Editor-In-Chief
    Pete Jacobs
    VP of Marketing
    Bob Gruters
    Chief Revenue Officer
    Simon Clausen
    Partner

    Leadership

    Dave Maharaj
    Director of Pricing & Planning
    Lynda Mann
    VP of Commerce
    Rachael McCombs
    Director of Ad & Media Operations
    Mary McDaniel
    HR Manager
    Axel Bobee
    Director of Business Development
    Brandon Clark
    Director of Engineering
    Benjamin Hermel
    Creative Director
    Joshua Kaufman
    VP of Client Development
    Nicholas Mokey
    Managing Editor
    Jonathan Moroz
    Sr. Business Data Analyst
    Tony Patel
    VP of Programmatic
    Nicole Raney
    Managing Editor
    Jacob Rossman
    Director of Live Video
    Erik Weaver
    Senior Director of Finance & Accounting
    Alana Wolfman
    Senior Director of Integrated Marketing
    Ray Philip
    Director of SEO.
    Nick Mokey
    Managing Editor
    Greg Mombert
    Content Director
    Rich Shibley
    Video Director
    Caleb Denison
    Senior Editor, A/V
    Matt Smith
    Senior Editor, Computing
    Brandon Widder
    Strategy Editor
    Les Shu
    Photography Editor
    Drew Prindle
    Emerging Technologies Editor
    Julian Chokkattu
    Mobile Editor
    See More Editorial >
    LOCATION

    We occupy space in the top 3 largest cities in the U.S.

    Portland

    111 SW 5th Ave, Suite 1000

    Portland, OR 97204

    New York

    330 7th Ave, 18th Floor

    New York, NY 10001

    Chicago

    205 West Wacker Dr, Suite 705

    Chicago, IL 60606

    Los Angeles

    7083 Hollywood Blvd., 1st Floor

    Los Angeles, CA 90028

    Toronto

    Detroit

    CONTACT US