Digital media and journalism business models are evolving, changing as the news media shifts from broadcast journalism to digital content and new methods of distribution.

To explore this topic, we speak with Andy Serwer, the editor in chief for Yahoo Finance, perhaps the largest financial news website in the world. Previously, he was the managing editor of Fortune for eight years and worked at Time Inc. for 29 years.

Transcript

This transcript was edited for length and clarity.

Introduction: About Yahoo Finance

Michael Krigsman: How are the business models for digital media and journalism changing? How do we separate fact from fiction in the news? Andy Serwer is the editor in chief of Yahoo Finance. Andy, tell us about Yahoo Finance and tell us about the work that you do.

Andrew Serwer: We are the biggest business news platform in the United States and probably the world with about 90 million monthly users and about 12 million users a day who come to our site for comprehensive news and data about stocks, investments, and the markets. We have a whole range of what we call structured data, which is basically stock charts and tables and information. Then we have a ton of news that we aggregate from other sources like Reuters and Bloomberg.

Then, of course, we create our own content, text pieces, live video. We have eight hours of live video programming right now. Then, of course, we have a wonderful podcast and newsletters as well. It's a full range of business news and data on our platform.

Journalism as an Evolving Digital Platform

Michael Krigsman: Andy, you are a digital platform. What does that actually mean and how has this changed? How has journalism changed? What are the impacts on all of us who are news consumers?

Andrew Serwer: I started in journalism when there was no Internet. I was a print journalist for many years, mostly Fortune magazine. I've done TV, done radio.

Yahoo Finance, of course, is a digital-only platform, which means there is no text, a newspaper or magazine at all. It's only on the Web, on mobile and desktop. That's how it was created and that creates a different sensibility in terms of how we look at creating, reporting, gathering, and distributing the news.

We know that immediacy is as important as accuracy. We know that getting the news to people on any device is extremely, extremely important. Of course, over the past ten years, mobile has become a primary focus for us.

But there are always new things going on. Alerts, for instance, was something that no one even really considered a few years ago and now we all use and rely on alerts all the time. That's the thing about the digital revolution. I'm sure all your other guests will tell you this in all different businesses that it's not stopping. [Laughter] It is ongoing and, of course, we've seen now even more different types of evolutionary tendencies and strains during the Coronavirus, which has yet again changed our perceptions of this revolution.

Michael Krigsman: Andy, from a content and a news standpoint, has this change in technologies, and changes in business models that we'll talk about, affected the way that you approach the gathering and the sorting, sifting, and the dissemination, distribution of news?

Andrew Serwer: First, an example. When I was back at Fortune magazine in the '80s and 1990s when we'd be doing the business story, we'd want to get some data on a company. We'd have to get a 10-Q or a 10-K, which is the quarterly or annual report that a company files with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

We'd actually have to go down to a branch of the Securities and Exchange Commission, get into the library, photocopy it, and bring it back. I mean just amazing. That would take a whole day, basically, right?

Now, of course, you can get that in a matter of ten seconds. You can sort it and compare it with other companies. That means there's a lot more information out there readily available. That raises the bar.

You can't just say, "Oh, I got the 10-Q." Could you imagine saying that now? "Look what I've got." [Laughter]

Now, you've got to really do a lot of value add, and so I think that's changed. What it means is you've got to go a lot deeper. You can also be a lot faster. It means that people can do, instead of one story every three days, they can do four stories on one day – if they want to. All of that changes how journalism is created and distributed.

At first, when the Internet came around in the late 1990s, we said, "Oh, this is cool. We'll just put our stories up on the Internet from magazines and newspapers." Very quickly, we realized that was inadequate for all kinds of reasons. The cadence was different. People basically wanted the news right away, all the time, anywhere.

Now, those are the new rules. The old rules still very much apply and I hope we get into this, Michael, which is accuracy.

I remember one time I was talking to a veteran reporter at the New York Post, which is a rollicking tabloid newspaper in New York City. This guy would make mistakes, Michael. He would make mistakes in his stories. Right?

I said, "How can you keep printing this stuff? It's unbelievable. You get things wrong."

He goes, "Kid, they don't pay me to get it right. They pay me to get it first," which I thought was a mindboggling comment.

You've got to get it right. You've got to get it right as well.

Editorial Challenges of a Huge Digital News Platform

Michael Krigsman: What are the challenges, the primary challenges, or the largest challenges that you face as the editor in chief of the largest financial news site in the world?

Andrew Serwer: It's super competitive. We're competing against the likes of CNBC, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Reuters, and then the new companies like Business Insider, Axios, and The Information. Competition is Rife and that takes various forms.

People want to get the story first. They want their alerts to go out first. They want to hire the best journalists. They want to get the best stories. They're trying to steal your journalists. They're trying to steal your audience. They're trying to get better graphics than you.

It's really like any other business. It's super competitive and getting more so.

Now, one other thing we haven't gotten into, which is the business model. Now, the business model of journalism has gotten totally disrupted—to use everyone's favorite word—by the digital revolution.

When I was working at Fortune magazine back in the '80s and '90s, pre-Internet, they were tantamount to monopolies. They were incredibly high margin businesses, these magazines, Fortune magazine. Every Fortune 500 company wanted to put their hugely expensive, four-color, full-page ads in the magazine and they paid tens of thousands of dollars to do so. Of course, that got completely destroyed by the Web.

We all know the print dollars went to digital dimes and nickels. Advertising has been a very, very tough business. The subscription business, of course, is what everyone is talking about now with the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and smaller entities as well. I think that that obviously is a hugely important way for news organizations to go.

But there's another. There are various other pieces of it. There's also been a tremendous amount of venture capital money in the media business. Then billionaires who have been coming in and buying up properties like Laurene Powell Jobs and Jeff Bezos.

Oftentimes, Michael, I'm competing against people who essentially don't have P&Ls. They're either venture-backed and they're just looking to gain market share or they're kind of vanity projects, right?

Hey. I've got a P&L over here, people. [Laughter] You know? We've got to make some money. We've got to do great work and make some money. That's just another challenge that may or may not be familiar to people.

Balancing Clicks against Journalistic Quality

Michael Krigsman: We have a question on LinkedIn. The question is, "To what extent do clicks drive what you do and how does it affect the quality of the work, the journalism that you produce?"

Andrew Serwer: You know, at first, this was the be all to end all in digital journalism, first was created. Really, literally, created is not the wrong word. It really was back in the late 1990s.

Actually, people would get compensated for that. Reporters would write stories and they would keep track on boards in newsrooms, who got the most clicks. People, in some instances, would get compensated directly based on that.

It's important to have an editorial mission, and it's important to stick to that. If your editorial mission is to get clicks, then you can just print trash, lies, salaciousness, and lascivious photographs and videos, and do perfectly well until you get sued or arrested. Thrown in jail, probably, because, to push the envelope ultimately, you will go there.

For us, for instance, we're a business news website. We ask ourselves, "How far do we want to go?" because there are lines. We want to serve our audience. We could probably get more clicks by simply doing stories about Kim Kardashian, and all the other Kardashians. Sorry to leave you guys out.

My point is, we could sort of couch it, Michael, like, "Oh, the fortunes of Kim Kardashian, her money." To be fair, we might do that, particularly if there was an unknown story about it.

You would see people doing things like salaries, slideshows, galleries of salaries of Russian women tennis stars. Really, those were just pictures of Russian women tennis stars as an excuse to put them into a business journalism setting. We wouldn't do that.

The stories have to be legitimate. We want to serve our business audience. We're not looking to grow outside of a business audience, which can be pretty big, as our numbers suggest.

I've seen startups that have wanted to get bigger, outside of business news, because, sure, 90 million sounds big. But when you compare it to Facebook, it's tiny. When you want to get super big, you're going to have to serve everybody. Then you lose your focus. Then you're not doing business news anymore.

Michael Krigsman: How do you balance this desire for newsworthiness and quality against the fact that you do have a P&L and those easy clickbait clicks must be very tempting?

Andrew Serwer: If you've got a reasonable manager, managers, and management—and I should say the Yahoo Finance is part of the Verizon Media Group. We're owned by Verizon now, which has been great—there is an expectation of growth but not at any cost. They don't want us to sully or ruin this property.

Do they want us to experiment, take risks, and try new things? Of course, they do. Do they want us to embarrass ourselves or the company or, more importantly, lose focus? They don't want that.

People come to us, the 10 to 12 million people every day. The reason I say that is because it varies month-to-month. They come to us because they want business data and they want business news. They want to find out, basically, what's going on in the markets and why, and they want to find out what's going on with their investments.

If we had a story of the secret finances of the Kardashian family, sure, they'd read that. Who wouldn't? But if we went down that avenue day after day, time after time, particularly at the expense of what we call our core content, our audience wouldn't be happy. I wouldn't be happy. Our bosses wouldn't be happy.

Managing the Digital Advertising Business Model

Michael Krigsman: Marc Machetto asks, "Do you feel you've cracked the code on moving from print ad dollars to digital ad pennies, or is that still a challenge?" It's a really insightful question.

Andrew Serwer: Yahoo doesn't have any print advertising at all. Listen, advertising is a fraught business. I will tell you, just talking about the transitional, but then I'll maybe talk a little bit more about Yahoo.

At first, when people thought they could just move their business models to digital and, going from print, you'd go from the dollars to the nickels and dimes, that was a hugely difficult challenge. But people quickly realized that it was actually worse than that, Michael, particularly, say, if you were a regional newspaper. We'll just put it all up on the Web and, yeah, our margins are going to contract but we're going to cut costs and lose some people.

Here's the thing. No one really goes to a regional newspaper website. Ask yourself. When was the last time you went to a regional newspaper website? Sure, of course, you go to Facebook. You go to Google. You go to LinkedIn. You go to Twitter. You go to all that.

Then you probably go also to things like the Wall Street Journal, the FT, or the New York Times. Regional newspapers are having it really tough. A lot of these properties, smaller media companies, realized that it was not nickels and dimes. It was kind of getting close to zero. That's been a real challenge.

Advertising on digital platforms is, in a sense, no less challenging because pricing is always under pressure because there is tremendous supply and demand imbalances and advertisers have a lot of leverage. People keep coming up with new ad formats that, frankly, often are very intrusive in terms of the user experience, so that's not so good. People create new categories like native ads, of course, and different kinds of video units.

Of course, video ads became the rage five years ago and still are. Pricing is under pressure there as well. That's why there's been this real move towards subscription revenue.

Another form of revenue in media business was conferences. That was good. Although, it's somewhat limited in terms of scale at a conference. But that, of course, has been completely shutout this year. Virtual conferences is a much tougher nut to crack.

Subscription. Subscription. Subscription. The New York Times and the Journal have done excellent jobs converting their businesses.

We're at the very beginning stages of that, quite honestly. We've been such an ad platform for so many years that it's, quite frankly, a bit of a DNA adjustment for us to get into that.

We have Yahoo Finance Premium, which we're very proud of, which has premium content and mostly premium functionality. We've been growing that business nicely.

Data Journalism and Data Science

Michael Krigsman: Arsalan Khan asks, "In the age of data journalism, journalists use data to portray a story but sometimes this data can be cherrypicked and so, therefore, do you need to train journalists in data science, at least at a basic level, so that they can discern fact from fiction in the data?"

Andrew Serwer: You know everything is new is old again, or the same old rules apply. In order words, this is a form of reporting and you need experienced people to teach younger people, newer people I should say, how to do it.

Is that different from a veteran cops reporter helping a junior cops reporter? To my mind, there's a lot of similarities. Is it more complicated and using completely different forms? Absolutely, but there are definitely pitfalls.

You can torture the data until they scream. We all know that. You can make the data fit your narrative. These are things, traps, that journalists have been taught to avoid since time immemorial. In other words, don't let a preconceived notion guide you down the path of someplace that will lead you to an inaccurate story, not only from the perspective of making a mistake, which is bad enough, but the even more egregious error of having a false conceit underlying the entire narrative. That is incredibly dangerous.

I was just working with a junior reporter this week who has an enterprise story about a very powerful business executive. A source is telling him X, Y, and Z. It seems pretty good. I told him that he needs to pursue this story but I said, "Also, you need to go in with a completely open mind."

The data science stuff is very complicated. It requires people to understand how to use databases and how they can be manipulated. It does require a very specific skillset but the understanding of how to avoid problems is the same.

Social Media Ethics and Fake News

Michael Krigsman: From Isaac Sacolick, let's talk about the Facebook and Twitter situation with companies like Unilever and, I think, Verizon Media, in fact, today, announced that they're not going to be advertising on Facebook. Any thoughts on that?

Andrew Serwer: The problems, the myriad problems, Michael, that Facebook and Twitter present to our society. They've obviously performed great services but with those benefits have come huge, unintended consequences, misunderstood problems, and underacknowledged problems.

The situation that you're referring to specifically with Facebook is an ad boycott that has been gaining steam on Facebook. Companies boycotting Facebook for a number of reasons but, basically, that the company is not able to control or unwilling to control and govern content on its platform.

I think it was the Anti-Defamation League put out a memo the other day where it showed a Verizon ad near some questionable comment. I'm paraphrasing here. This is, again, my parent company. Verizon said they were going to pull their ads for the time being until Facebook got its act together, ala what happened with YouTube.

Gee, I think that was five years ago, at least, going back to when companies were finding their ads against very difficult, inappropriate content. I think it was ISIS recruiting videos and things like that. YouTube was able to fix the problem and I think advertisers are asking Facebook to do the same thing. There are all kinds of other things, which is the content that people post.

These companies are facing criticism from all corners, right? The political left says that it helped Trump win the election and there's interference by Russians. Conservatives like the President and Ted Cruz say it stifles conservative speech. Meanwhile, everyone is using them like crazy. [Laughter]

What does that tell you? I think that we're going to have to take a long, hard look at these platforms and really understand them. Imagine if Ford sold cars and had as little understanding of the cars as Facebook does of its platform. Imagine if a company like General Mills had zero regulations over what was in its cereal, that you could just put whatever you wanted in.

There's a certain amount of caveat emptor that Facebook and Twitter have that other businesses don't have. I think we all recognize the dangers of caveat emptor. Like some company makes poisoned cereal. Well, you know, eventually consumers will figure it out and stop buying it, right? [Laughter] I think we've accepted; we've come to the realization that that's not acceptable in our society.

Michael Krigsman: As the editor in chief of Yahoo Finance, does the ethical buck stop with you?

Andrew Serwer: That, in a way, is the most interesting part of the job. A lot of times, people will come to me and say, "Is this right?"

Now, what I've discovered in my job over these decades, I have to admit, is that I would say maybe nine times out of ten, when someone comes and goes, "I don't know if I should be doing this. Should I be doing this?" Usually, that means they shouldn't be doing it. Right? [Laughter] If you have to ask yourself, there's a pretty good bet that, no.

Look, Let's err on the side of caution here, both from the standpoint of the Yahoo Finance platform, but also from one's personal reputation. Do you really want to do this?

We have all kinds of conflicts. Well, should I give a speech for money? No. At a company, no. You shouldn't do that.

Well, this person's pitching this story for these reasons. No, that's not good either.

We should do this story because it gets a lot of clicks even though it's not exactly up to snuff. No.

Can we do this kind of thing? Yeah, maybe we can do that if we disclose it.

That's really kind of the most interesting part of the job.

Digital Media Busines Models

Michael Krigsman: What about those new media organizations that are VC funded, as you were describing earlier? If you are a VC funded company, the mandate is very, very clear, and that is to grow so that the people investing can get their money out. What about the ethical situation there and how do you resist the pressure to succumb to clicks and all of the other stuff that you were just describing?

Andrew Serwer: It's not quite as bad as all that. It depends. There's a big spectrum too, right? If you're starting a legitimate news organization, I think that the backers understand that's the mandate. If you're starting a news organization where you're just like, "I don't give a damn dot-com," [laughter] well, what does that URL tell you? Then you don't care.

But for these kinds of high profile ones that we've talked about like Axios, Politico, the BuzzFeed, and Business Insider, sure, they push the envelope but that was, again, sort of their mandate. Not in an unethical way.

They just found the weirdest cat videos on the planet, right? That was their mandate. They're not doing anything wrong. They're just putting up incredibly addictive, viral stuff, early days, and then they kind of got more into serious news. That was what Jonah Peretti was trying to do. He was trying to find and create viral things on the Internet and did a damn good job of it.

BuzzFeed is also kind of a cautionary tale in terms of how big it can get. We've seen sites like Mic that have gotten completely in trouble with just trying to grow too big too fast and it not working.

Also, being at the whims of the Facebook algorithm. That was another problem that if you built your business, like, "Oh, we're just going to live on Facebook," Mark Zuckerberg just goes like this one day. Bleep, and your business is gone.

Quartz is another company that's been under pressure recently, a very hot, shiny, young startup that also did incredibly great work. But there are limits to the business.

News Curation and Editorial Accuracy

Michael Krigsman: As editor in chief, you are responsible for curating a huge amount of content all the time. How do you do that? How do you discover what's important and what's accurate? What should us laymen, us consumers of news be doing? It's almost impossible sometimes, it seems, to determine accuracy.

Andrew Serwer: First of all, we have about 60+ partners, news partners, some of those big names that I mentioned, and some smaller, say, trade publications. We work very hard to vet them. If they don't meet our standards, if they make mistakes, they get warned. If they continue to make mistakes, we terminate the relationship. We're not shy about doing that. That's an important thing.

When there is a mistake, people notify us right away. We notify the original creator of the content. They take it down. They have to fix it. We fix it on our site, et cetera.

If we have a mistake by one of our reporters, we look to fix it. We correct it. We say we've corrected it. We are all ears when it comes to hearing from people. Sometimes, there are gray areas. But we want to make sure that we're very much doing the right thing.

Truth, Michael. Truth in this era has become something that people seem like they don't understand as much. Oh, there are various versions of the truth. Do you need the truth? Do you need to tell both sides of the story?

First of all, there is truth. There is still truth. There are some things that require a couple of sides, but there is also a false equivalency.

For instance, I remember going back to George W. Bush where the Administration was saying, "Well, you have to print." You're saying this person says that there are weapons of mass destruction. There are no weapons of mass destruction. You have print that, our side.

I remember talking to some people and saying, "Well, there weren't any weapons of mass destruction, so we're not going to print that." You can't have a false equivalency like that. I think that's something that editors and journalists have to weigh very often.

It's like, I'm looking outside. The sky is blue. I'm not going to have another person's opinion who says it's raining. It simply isn't raining. I'm sorry. It's not worth printing that. In fact, it's confusing. In fact, it's disinformation. In fact, it's misinformation.

Going back to another point about where to get great information, very specifically I would stick with the brand names that you know. Sorry to say that. Startups need to prove themselves. I think a lot of them have done an excellent job and some of them I've mentioned, like Politico, Axios, and The Information, these are news organizations that have been created by veteran journalists and they have displayed, in short order, that it's legit.

Man, I'll tell you. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Reuters. There's nothing like a Reuters story. They're a great news organizations.

Some people complain about the New York Times does this and the Wall Street Journal does that. I think you can make that case. I think they both do great jobs. But there's still the AP and Reuters out there, which I think are tremendous news organizations.

Bloomberg, these people care a heck of a lot about what they do and being accurate. Are they perfect? By no means. Does Bloomberg report on Mike Bloomberg? They do not. Right? On the other hand, every newspaper has or every news organization or media outlet has an owner. Okay?

The New York Times maybe disagree with me, and Dow Jones may disagree with me, but I would not go to the New York Times to find the most definitive articles about Carlos Slim, who is a big investor. I would not go to Dow Jones to find the ultimate story on Rupert Murdoch. Okay?

Covering your boss is hard, but that's always been the case. That's not true, so don't get lost down that blind alley.

I think those names that I talked about are a great place to start and maybe to end. If you start seeing things on Facebook like you've never heard of this news organization and it has a very strong opinion about something that you're scratching your head about, you're right to question it. Question it.

Michael Krigsman: @CXOTalk asks, "With the consolidation in the digital media industry, are we really gaining more choice or is it the same content from multiple sources?"

Andrew Serwer: It's interesting. Ben Smith at the New York Times has written about this. When digital news first was being created and there were all these new media companies, it looked like there would be this incredible proliferation of new sources of news and information, new media companies. What people found out is that it's really hard.

I thought you were going to get a long tail and you were going to get, oh, you know, digital technology news and this and that. You still might and they're still sort of out there, but they're very hard. It's hard to start a media business, aye, Michael? Right? It's not easy. There's a lot of work and then you start hiring four people. All of a sudden, the money is where for this?

What's happened is that there has been a lot of consolidation. This was Ben Smith's first column in the New York Times and became the media columnist a couple of months ago. I think it's definitely something to be concerned about. Regional papers that I was talking about before are still getting shut down all over the place. During this Coronavirus pandemic, we've seen hundreds and hundreds of journalists lose their jobs.

There are less sources. Yeah, the news sources, a lot of them are these sort of skeevy, not real news organizations. They just have a name and they're basically bots or sources of misinformation, so you have to be extremely careful.

Michael Krigsman: We have another question on LinkedIn. This is from Isaac Sacolick. "How do you define editorial excellence and how should fake news be defined?"

Andrew Serwer: There are different ways to do that. Are you breaking a news story? Is it something that's new?

What is it someone said? "News is telling people something other people don't want to know. Otherwise, everything else is a press release." [Laughter] There is something to that. I think that's a little extreme, but it's certainly directionally right.

Breaking news, getting cited by other news organizations is another form of excellence. Excellent writing, writing where you're reading a story, you smile for yourself, and you just shake your head. That is really something.

Excellence is also something that gets right to the point. Man, I got it. Boom. That's it. It can be a broadcast person who perfectly, she perfectly tells you what is going on, maybe through presentation, maybe through analysis. That's also excellence.

There's also a whole host of awards in journalism, of course. The Pulitzer, of course, and the DuPont Awards, then the Loeb Awards in business journalism, which is the highest award for business journalism. Those are out there as well, and I consider those very important.

Fake news, oh, boy, that's funny because, I mean, it has two meanings, to me. One is news that is untrue. It's untrue, it's demonstrably false, and it's fake.

Another is what it started with President Trump using to describe news that he didn't like, that wasn't flattering to him, that didn't describe him in a favorable light. That's his definition of fake news which, to me, is fake news. But that starts to get a little complicated. He says that's fake news when actually what he's saying is fake news, to my mind, when he says something is untrue that's true, which he has done.

Yahoo Finance: Pandemic Response and Remote Work from Home

Michael Krigsman: Tell us a little more about the Yahoo Finance story. How have you been managing? We've spoken about the transition of media. What about the transition from this long period of time ago when the world was different, like three months ago? How have you guys managed the transition to work from home and as a business? What's going on with Yahoo and Yahoo Finance?

Andrew Serwer: We had to make a transition. We were based in New York City in a newsroom of about 150 people. That includes our video team as well. It became clear in the middle of March that we were going to have to get the hell out of Dodge. We were going to have leave headquarters and work from home.

We, at first, were very vexed by that because we do this eight hours of live programming. You need a full-blown TV studio to do that that we had built up over the past year or so. We were trying to think, well, does this mean we're going to have shut down our video?

Then we were doing it on one of these chats just like this. We happen to use a product called Google Meet. At that point, it was called Hangouts.

We said, "Well, could we connect a Google Meet, just plug it into Yahoo Finance?" We had some engineers and people [that said], "We could try. We could do it, I think. I think it would work."

We actually rang up Google and asked them if they could help us a little bit and what they thought. They were very, very accommodating, I must say. Hats off to Google, an ancient rival of ours going back a number of years.

In a matter of about 36 hours, we pivoted completely to completely working from the office to completely working from home, including this live video production. The numbers in our audience was the strongest it's ever been. We had record numbers of audience in the months of April and May and it's still very, very strong because people need to know what's going on in the world and particularly with their financial situation in the market. We've been very gratified we've been able to serve our audience and keep our people safe at the same time.

Michael Krigsman: Any thoughts on what you'll be doing next as the world goes back? Have you learned? Are you doing new things now that you will retain in the future when things return to "normal," whatever that is?

Andrew Serwer: Well, we've learned so much about doing these kinds of things, like the way the two of us are talking right now, Michael. It's allowed us also to get access to guests that, quite frankly, we weren't able to get before because you know, of course, you had to convince someone to come into the studio and blah-blah-blah. They had to be in New York and this and that. Of course, we had Skype prior to that, but we looked down our nose at Skype.

Now, I think that the world is completely accepting of this type of format, and so I think that we'll never not use this anymore. In fact, we're going to be using this format for a number of months going forward because we're not concerned that it's completely safe for everyone to go back to work in New York, so we're going to be staying the course here and using this Google Meet for quite some time.

Michael Krigsman: This system is pretty darn good; I have to tell you. We started CXOTalk seven years ago. We used Google Hangouts at the time. About three and a half years ago, I was really unhappy with Google Hangouts, so I got in touch with Eric Yuan, who is the CEO of Zoom.

At that time, nobody was using Zoom but it was really good, so I got in touch with him and I said, "We'll switch CXOTalk over to Zoom, but you guys have to make some tweaks to your software to accommodate what we need." They did and, well, now everybody is using this kind of approach. It's pretty great.

Andrew Serwer: That's fantastic. It's a similar story, but you were an early adopter. No doubt about that.

Michael Krigsman: Andy, any final thoughts before we say goodbye for today?

Andrew Serwer: I just hope everyone is staying safe and also staying the course in understanding that we have a long road ahead of us. I think that's pretty clear, but we're all going to get through this. I think we're going to learn a lot and our lives are going to be changed forever. I hope what we take away from it is the good part.

Michael Krigsman: Everybody, we've been speaking with Andy Serwer. He is the editor in chief of Yahoo Finance. I'd like to thank Andy and thank everybody who watched and especially those folks who contributed and participated with questions.

Before you go, please, please subscribe on YouTube and hit the subscribe button at the top of our website. We'll send you really excellent material. Thank you so much, everybody, and I hope you have a great day. We'll see you soon. Bye-bye.

This transcript was edited for length and clarity.

Introduction: About Yahoo Finance

Michael Krigsman: How are the business models for digital media and journalism changing? How do we separate fact from fiction in the news? Andy Serwer is the editor in chief of Yahoo Finance. Andy, tell us about Yahoo Finance and tell us about the work that you do.

Andrew Serwer: We are the biggest business news platform in the United States and probably the world with about 90 million monthly users and about 12 million users a day who come to our site for comprehensive news and data about stocks, investments, and the markets. We have a whole range of what we call structured data, which is basically stock charts and tables and information. Then we have a ton of news that we aggregate from other sources like Reuters and Bloomberg.

Then, of course, we create our own content, text pieces, live video. We have eight hours of live video programming right now. Then, of course, we have a wonderful podcast and newsletters as well. It's a full range of business news and data on our platform.

Journalism as an Evolving Digital Platform

Michael Krigsman: Andy, you are a digital platform. What does that actually mean and how has this changed? How has journalism changed? What are the impacts on all of us who are news consumers?

Andrew Serwer: I started in journalism when there was no Internet. I was a print journalist for many years, mostly Fortune magazine. I've done TV, done radio.

Yahoo Finance, of course, is a digital-only platform, which means there is no text, a newspaper or magazine at all. It's only on the Web, on mobile and desktop. That's how it was created and that creates a different sensibility in terms of how we look at creating, reporting, gathering, and distributing the news.

We know that immediacy is as important as accuracy. We know that getting the news to people on any device is extremely, extremely important. Of course, over the past ten years, mobile has become a primary focus for us.

But there are always new things going on. Alerts, for instance, was something that no one even really considered a few years ago and now we all use and rely on alerts all the time. That's the thing about the digital revolution. I'm sure all your other guests will tell you this in all different businesses that it's not stopping. [Laughter] It is ongoing and, of course, we've seen now even more different types of evolutionary tendencies and strains during the Coronavirus, which has yet again changed our perceptions of this revolution.

Michael Krigsman: Andy, from a content and a news standpoint, has this change in technologies, and changes in business models that we'll talk about, affected the way that you approach the gathering and the sorting, sifting, and the dissemination, distribution of news?

Andrew Serwer: First, an example. When I was back at Fortune magazine in the '80s and 1990s when we'd be doing the business story, we'd want to get some data on a company. We'd have to get a 10-Q or a 10-K, which is the quarterly or annual report that a company files with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

We'd actually have to go down to a branch of the Securities and Exchange Commission, get into the library, photocopy it, and bring it back. I mean just amazing. That would take a whole day, basically, right?

Now, of course, you can get that in a matter of ten seconds. You can sort it and compare it with other companies. That means there's a lot more information out there readily available. That raises the bar.

You can't just say, "Oh, I got the 10-Q." Could you imagine saying that now? "Look what I've got." [Laughter]

Now, you've got to really do a lot of value add, and so I think that's changed. What it means is you've got to go a lot deeper. You can also be a lot faster. It means that people can do, instead of one story every three days, they can do four stories on one day – if they want to. All of that changes how journalism is created and distributed.

At first, when the Internet came around in the late 1990s, we said, "Oh, this is cool. We'll just put our stories up on the Internet from magazines and newspapers." Very quickly, we realized that was inadequate for all kinds of reasons. The cadence was different. People basically wanted the news right away, all the time, anywhere.

Now, those are the new rules. The old rules still very much apply and I hope we get into this, Michael, which is accuracy.

I remember one time I was talking to a veteran reporter at the New York Post, which is a rollicking tabloid newspaper in New York City. This guy would make mistakes, Michael. He would make mistakes in his stories. Right?

I said, "How can you keep printing this stuff? It's unbelievable. You get things wrong."

He goes, "Kid, they don't pay me to get it right. They pay me to get it first," which I thought was a mindboggling comment.

You've got to get it right. You've got to get it right as well.

Editorial Challenges of a Huge Digital News Platform

Michael Krigsman: What are the challenges, the primary challenges, or the largest challenges that you face as the editor in chief of the largest financial news site in the world?

Andrew Serwer: It's super competitive. We're competing against the likes of CNBC, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, Reuters, and then the new companies like Business Insider, Axios, and The Information. Competition is Rife and that takes various forms.

People want to get the story first. They want their alerts to go out first. They want to hire the best journalists. They want to get the best stories. They're trying to steal your journalists. They're trying to steal your audience. They're trying to get better graphics than you.

It's really like any other business. It's super competitive and getting more so.

Now, one other thing we haven't gotten into, which is the business model. Now, the business model of journalism has gotten totally disrupted—to use everyone's favorite word—by the digital revolution.

When I was working at Fortune magazine back in the '80s and '90s, pre-Internet, they were tantamount to monopolies. They were incredibly high margin businesses, these magazines, Fortune magazine. Every Fortune 500 company wanted to put their hugely expensive, four-color, full-page ads in the magazine and they paid tens of thousands of dollars to do so. Of course, that got completely destroyed by the Web.

We all know the print dollars went to digital dimes and nickels. Advertising has been a very, very tough business. The subscription business, of course, is what everyone is talking about now with the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and smaller entities as well. I think that that obviously is a hugely important way for news organizations to go.

But there's another. There are various other pieces of it. There's also been a tremendous amount of venture capital money in the media business. Then billionaires who have been coming in and buying up properties like Laurene Powell Jobs and Jeff Bezos.

Oftentimes, Michael, I'm competing against people who essentially don't have P&Ls. They're either venture-backed and they're just looking to gain market share or they're kind of vanity projects, right?

Hey. I've got a P&L over here, people. [Laughter] You know? We've got to make some money. We've got to do great work and make some money. That's just another challenge that may or may not be familiar to people.

Balancing Clicks against Journalistic Quality

Michael Krigsman: We have a question on LinkedIn. The question is, "To what extent do clicks drive what you do and how does it affect the quality of the work, the journalism that you produce?"

Andrew Serwer: You know, at first, this was the be all to end all in digital journalism, first was created. Really, literally, created is not the wrong word. It really was back in the late 1990s.

Actually, people would get compensated for that. Reporters would write stories and they would keep track on boards in newsrooms, who got the most clicks. People, in some instances, would get compensated directly based on that.

It's important to have an editorial mission, and it's important to stick to that. If your editorial mission is to get clicks, then you can just print trash, lies, salaciousness, and lascivious photographs and videos, and do perfectly well until you get sued or arrested. Thrown in jail, probably, because, to push the envelope ultimately, you will go there.

For us, for instance, we're a business news website. We ask ourselves, "How far do we want to go?" because there are lines. We want to serve our audience. We could probably get more clicks by simply doing stories about Kim Kardashian, and all the other Kardashians. Sorry to leave you guys out.

My point is, we could sort of couch it, Michael, like, "Oh, the fortunes of Kim Kardashian, her money." To be fair, we might do that, particularly if there was an unknown story about it.

You would see people doing things like salaries, slideshows, galleries of salaries of Russian women tennis stars. Really, those were just pictures of Russian women tennis stars as an excuse to put them into a business journalism setting. We wouldn't do that.

The stories have to be legitimate. We want to serve our business audience. We're not looking to grow outside of a business audience, which can be pretty big, as our numbers suggest.

I've seen startups that have wanted to get bigger, outside of business news, because, sure, 90 million sounds big. But when you compare it to Facebook, it's tiny. When you want to get super big, you're going to have to serve everybody. Then you lose your focus. Then you're not doing business news anymore.

Michael Krigsman: How do you balance this desire for newsworthiness and quality against the fact that you do have a P&L and those easy clickbait clicks must be very tempting?

Andrew Serwer: If you've got a reasonable manager, managers, and management—and I should say the Yahoo Finance is part of the Verizon Media Group. We're owned by Verizon now, which has been great—there is an expectation of growth but not at any cost. They don't want us to sully or ruin this property.

Do they want us to experiment, take risks, and try new things? Of course, they do. Do they want us to embarrass ourselves or the company or, more importantly, lose focus? They don't want that.

People come to us, the 10 to 12 million people every day. The reason I say that is because it varies month-to-month. They come to us because they want business data and they want business news. They want to find out, basically, what's going on in the markets and why, and they want to find out what's going on with their investments.

If we had a story of the secret finances of the Kardashian family, sure, they'd read that. Who wouldn't? But if we went down that avenue day after day, time after time, particularly at the expense of what we call our core content, our audience wouldn't be happy. I wouldn't be happy. Our bosses wouldn't be happy.

Managing the Digital Advertising Business Model

Michael Krigsman: Marc Machetto asks, "Do you feel you've cracked the code on moving from print ad dollars to digital ad pennies, or is that still a challenge?" It's a really insightful question.

Andrew Serwer: Yahoo doesn't have any print advertising at all. Listen, advertising is a fraught business. I will tell you, just talking about the transitional, but then I'll maybe talk a little bit more about Yahoo.

At first, when people thought they could just move their business models to digital and, going from print, you'd go from the dollars to the nickels and dimes, that was a hugely difficult challenge. But people quickly realized that it was actually worse than that, Michael, particularly, say, if you were a regional newspaper. We'll just put it all up on the Web and, yeah, our margins are going to contract but we're going to cut costs and lose some people.

Here's the thing. No one really goes to a regional newspaper website. Ask yourself. When was the last time you went to a regional newspaper website? Sure, of course, you go to Facebook. You go to Google. You go to LinkedIn. You go to Twitter. You go to all that.

Then you probably go also to things like the Wall Street Journal, the FT, or the New York Times. Regional newspapers are having it really tough. A lot of these properties, smaller media companies, realized that it was not nickels and dimes. It was kind of getting close to zero. That's been a real challenge.

Advertising on digital platforms is, in a sense, no less challenging because pricing is always under pressure because there is tremendous supply and demand imbalances and advertisers have a lot of leverage. People keep coming up with new ad formats that, frankly, often are very intrusive in terms of the user experience, so that's not so good. People create new categories like native ads, of course, and different kinds of video units.

Of course, video ads became the rage five years ago and still are. Pricing is under pressure there as well. That's why there's been this real move towards subscription revenue.

Another form of revenue in media business was conferences. That was good. Although, it's somewhat limited in terms of scale at a conference. But that, of course, has been completely shutout this year. Virtual conferences is a much tougher nut to crack.

Subscription. Subscription. Subscription. The New York Times and the Journal have done excellent jobs converting their businesses.

We're at the very beginning stages of that, quite honestly. We've been such an ad platform for so many years that it's, quite frankly, a bit of a DNA adjustment for us to get into that.

We have Yahoo Finance Premium, which we're very proud of, which has premium content and mostly premium functionality. We've been growing that business nicely.

Data Journalism and Data Science

Michael Krigsman: Arsalan Khan asks, "In the age of data journalism, journalists use data to portray a story but sometimes this data can be cherrypicked and so, therefore, do you need to train journalists in data science, at least at a basic level, so that they can discern fact from fiction in the data?"

Andrew Serwer: You know everything is new is old again, or the same old rules apply. In order words, this is a form of reporting and you need experienced people to teach younger people, newer people I should say, how to do it.

Is that different from a veteran cops reporter helping a junior cops reporter? To my mind, there's a lot of similarities. Is it more complicated and using completely different forms? Absolutely, but there are definitely pitfalls.

You can torture the data until they scream. We all know that. You can make the data fit your narrative. These are things, traps, that journalists have been taught to avoid since time immemorial. In other words, don't let a preconceived notion guide you down the path of someplace that will lead you to an inaccurate story, not only from the perspective of making a mistake, which is bad enough, but the even more egregious error of having a false conceit underlying the entire narrative. That is incredibly dangerous.

I was just working with a junior reporter this week who has an enterprise story about a very powerful business executive. A source is telling him X, Y, and Z. It seems pretty good. I told him that he needs to pursue this story but I said, "Also, you need to go in with a completely open mind."

The data science stuff is very complicated. It requires people to understand how to use databases and how they can be manipulated. It does require a very specific skillset but the understanding of how to avoid problems is the same.

Social Media Ethics and Fake News

Michael Krigsman: From Isaac Sacolick, let's talk about the Facebook and Twitter situation with companies like Unilever and, I think, Verizon Media, in fact, today, announced that they're not going to be advertising on Facebook. Any thoughts on that?

Andrew Serwer: The problems, the myriad problems, Michael, that Facebook and Twitter present to our society. They've obviously performed great services but with those benefits have come huge, unintended consequences, misunderstood problems, and underacknowledged problems.

The situation that you're referring to specifically with Facebook is an ad boycott that has been gaining steam on Facebook. Companies boycotting Facebook for a number of reasons but, basically, that the company is not able to control or unwilling to control and govern content on its platform.

I think it was the Anti-Defamation League put out a memo the other day where it showed a Verizon ad near some questionable comment. I'm paraphrasing here. This is, again, my parent company. Verizon said they were going to pull their ads for the time being until Facebook got its act together, ala what happened with YouTube.

Gee, I think that was five years ago, at least, going back to when companies were finding their ads against very difficult, inappropriate content. I think it was ISIS recruiting videos and things like that. YouTube was able to fix the problem and I think advertisers are asking Facebook to do the same thing. There are all kinds of other things, which is the content that people post.

These companies are facing criticism from all corners, right? The political left says that it helped Trump win the election and there's interference by Russians. Conservatives like the President and Ted Cruz say it stifles conservative speech. Meanwhile, everyone is using them like crazy. [Laughter]

What does that tell you? I think that we're going to have to take a long, hard look at these platforms and really understand them. Imagine if Ford sold cars and had as little understanding of the cars as Facebook does of its platform. Imagine if a company like General Mills had zero regulations over what was in its cereal, that you could just put whatever you wanted in.

There's a certain amount of caveat emptor that Facebook and Twitter have that other businesses don't have. I think we all recognize the dangers of caveat emptor. Like some company makes poisoned cereal. Well, you know, eventually consumers will figure it out and stop buying it, right? [Laughter] I think we've accepted; we've come to the realization that that's not acceptable in our society.

Michael Krigsman: As the editor in chief of Yahoo Finance, does the ethical buck stop with you?

Andrew Serwer: That, in a way, is the most interesting part of the job. A lot of times, people will come to me and say, "Is this right?"

Now, what I've discovered in my job over these decades, I have to admit, is that I would say maybe nine times out of ten, when someone comes and goes, "I don't know if I should be doing this. Should I be doing this?" Usually, that means they shouldn't be doing it. Right? [Laughter] If you have to ask yourself, there's a pretty good bet that, no.

Look, Let's err on the side of caution here, both from the standpoint of the Yahoo Finance platform, but also from one's personal reputation. Do you really want to do this?

We have all kinds of conflicts. Well, should I give a speech for money? No. At a company, no. You shouldn't do that.

Well, this person's pitching this story for these reasons. No, that's not good either.

We should do this story because it gets a lot of clicks even though it's not exactly up to snuff. No.

Can we do this kind of thing? Yeah, maybe we can do that if we disclose it.

That's really kind of the most interesting part of the job.

Digital Media Busines Models

Michael Krigsman: What about those new media organizations that are VC funded, as you were describing earlier? If you are a VC funded company, the mandate is very, very clear, and that is to grow so that the people investing can get their money out. What about the ethical situation there and how do you resist the pressure to succumb to clicks and all of the other stuff that you were just describing?

Andrew Serwer: It's not quite as bad as all that. It depends. There's a big spectrum too, right? If you're starting a legitimate news organization, I think that the backers understand that's the mandate. If you're starting a news organization where you're just like, "I don't give a damn dot-com," [laughter] well, what does that URL tell you? Then you don't care.

But for these kinds of high profile ones that we've talked about like Axios, Politico, the BuzzFeed, and Business Insider, sure, they push the envelope but that was, again, sort of their mandate. Not in an unethical way.

They just found the weirdest cat videos on the planet, right? That was their mandate. They're not doing anything wrong. They're just putting up incredibly addictive, viral stuff, early days, and then they kind of got more into serious news. That was what Jonah Peretti was trying to do. He was trying to find and create viral things on the Internet and did a damn good job of it.

BuzzFeed is also kind of a cautionary tale in terms of how big it can get. We've seen sites like Mic that have gotten completely in trouble with just trying to grow too big too fast and it not working.

Also, being at the whims of the Facebook algorithm. That was another problem that if you built your business, like, "Oh, we're just going to live on Facebook," Mark Zuckerberg just goes like this one day. Bleep, and your business is gone.

Quartz is another company that's been under pressure recently, a very hot, shiny, young startup that also did incredibly great work. But there are limits to the business.

News Curation and Editorial Accuracy

Michael Krigsman: As editor in chief, you are responsible for curating a huge amount of content all the time. How do you do that? How do you discover what's important and what's accurate? What should us laymen, us consumers of news be doing? It's almost impossible sometimes, it seems, to determine accuracy.

Andrew Serwer: First of all, we have about 60+ partners, news partners, some of those big names that I mentioned, and some smaller, say, trade publications. We work very hard to vet them. If they don't meet our standards, if they make mistakes, they get warned. If they continue to make mistakes, we terminate the relationship. We're not shy about doing that. That's an important thing.

When there is a mistake, people notify us right away. We notify the original creator of the content. They take it down. They have to fix it. We fix it on our site, et cetera.

If we have a mistake by one of our reporters, we look to fix it. We correct it. We say we've corrected it. We are all ears when it comes to hearing from people. Sometimes, there are gray areas. But we want to make sure that we're very much doing the right thing.

Truth, Michael. Truth in this era has become something that people seem like they don't understand as much. Oh, there are various versions of the truth. Do you need the truth? Do you need to tell both sides of the story?

First of all, there is truth. There is still truth. There are some things that require a couple of sides, but there is also a false equivalency.

For instance, I remember going back to George W. Bush where the Administration was saying, "Well, you have to print." You're saying this person says that there are weapons of mass destruction. There are no weapons of mass destruction. You have print that, our side.

I remember talking to some people and saying, "Well, there weren't any weapons of mass destruction, so we're not going to print that." You can't have a false equivalency like that. I think that's something that editors and journalists have to weigh very often.

It's like, I'm looking outside. The sky is blue. I'm not going to have another person's opinion who says it's raining. It simply isn't raining. I'm sorry. It's not worth printing that. In fact, it's confusing. In fact, it's disinformation. In fact, it's misinformation.

Going back to another point about where to get great information, very specifically I would stick with the brand names that you know. Sorry to say that. Startups need to prove themselves. I think a lot of them have done an excellent job and some of them I've mentioned, like Politico, Axios, and The Information, these are news organizations that have been created by veteran journalists and they have displayed, in short order, that it's legit.

Man, I'll tell you. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Reuters. There's nothing like a Reuters story. They're a great news organizations.

Some people complain about the New York Times does this and the Wall Street Journal does that. I think you can make that case. I think they both do great jobs. But there's still the AP and Reuters out there, which I think are tremendous news organizations.

Bloomberg, these people care a heck of a lot about what they do and being accurate. Are they perfect? By no means. Does Bloomberg report on Mike Bloomberg? They do not. Right? On the other hand, every newspaper has or every news organization or media outlet has an owner. Okay?

The New York Times maybe disagree with me, and Dow Jones may disagree with me, but I would not go to the New York Times to find the most definitive articles about Carlos Slim, who is a big investor. I would not go to Dow Jones to find the ultimate story on Rupert Murdoch. Okay?

Covering your boss is hard, but that's always been the case. That's not true, so don't get lost down that blind alley.

I think those names that I talked about are a great place to start and maybe to end. If you start seeing things on Facebook like you've never heard of this news organization and it has a very strong opinion about something that you're scratching your head about, you're right to question it. Question it.

Michael Krigsman: @CXOTalk asks, "With the consolidation in the digital media industry, are we really gaining more choice or is it the same content from multiple sources?"

Andrew Serwer: It's interesting. Ben Smith at the New York Times has written about this. When digital news first was being created and there were all these new media companies, it looked like there would be this incredible proliferation of new sources of news and information, new media companies. What people found out is that it's really hard.

I thought you were going to get a long tail and you were going to get, oh, you know, digital technology news and this and that. You still might and they're still sort of out there, but they're very hard. It's hard to start a media business, aye, Michael? Right? It's not easy. There's a lot of work and then you start hiring four people. All of a sudden, the money is where for this?

What's happened is that there has been a lot of consolidation. This was Ben Smith's first column in the New York Times and became the media columnist a couple of months ago. I think it's definitely something to be concerned about. Regional papers that I was talking about before are still getting shut down all over the place. During this Coronavirus pandemic, we've seen hundreds and hundreds of journalists lose their jobs.

There are less sources. Yeah, the news sources, a lot of them are these sort of skeevy, not real news organizations. They just have a name and they're basically bots or sources of misinformation, so you have to be extremely careful.

Michael Krigsman: We have another question on LinkedIn. This is from Isaac Sacolick. "How do you define editorial excellence and how should fake news be defined?"

Andrew Serwer: There are different ways to do that. Are you breaking a news story? Is it something that's new?

What is it someone said? "News is telling people something other people don't want to know. Otherwise, everything else is a press release." [Laughter] There is something to that. I think that's a little extreme, but it's certainly directionally right.

Breaking news, getting cited by other news organizations is another form of excellence. Excellent writing, writing where you're reading a story, you smile for yourself, and you just shake your head. That is really something.

Excellence is also something that gets right to the point. Man, I got it. Boom. That's it. It can be a broadcast person who perfectly, she perfectly tells you what is going on, maybe through presentation, maybe through analysis. That's also excellence.

There's also a whole host of awards in journalism, of course. The Pulitzer, of course, and the DuPont Awards, then the Loeb Awards in business journalism, which is the highest award for business journalism. Those are out there as well, and I consider those very important.

Fake news, oh, boy, that's funny because, I mean, it has two meanings, to me. One is news that is untrue. It's untrue, it's demonstrably false, and it's fake.

Another is what it started with President Trump using to describe news that he didn't like, that wasn't flattering to him, that didn't describe him in a favorable light. That's his definition of fake news which, to me, is fake news. But that starts to get a little complicated. He says that's fake news when actually what he's saying is fake news, to my mind, when he says something is untrue that's true, which he has done.

Yahoo Finance: Pandemic Response and Remote Work from Home

Michael Krigsman: Tell us a little more about the Yahoo Finance story. How have you been managing? We've spoken about the transition of media. What about the transition from this long period of time ago when the world was different, like three months ago? How have you guys managed the transition to work from home and as a business? What's going on with Yahoo and Yahoo Finance?

Andrew Serwer: We had to make a transition. We were based in New York City in a newsroom of about 150 people. That includes our video team as well. It became clear in the middle of March that we were going to have to get the hell out of Dodge. We were going to have leave headquarters and work from home.

We, at first, were very vexed by that because we do this eight hours of live programming. You need a full-blown TV studio to do that that we had built up over the past year or so. We were trying to think, well, does this mean we're going to have shut down our video?

Then we were doing it on one of these chats just like this. We happen to use a product called Google Meet. At that point, it was called Hangouts.

We said, "Well, could we connect a Google Meet, just plug it into Yahoo Finance?" We had some engineers and people [that said], "We could try. We could do it, I think. I think it would work."

We actually rang up Google and asked them if they could help us a little bit and what they thought. They were very, very accommodating, I must say. Hats off to Google, an ancient rival of ours going back a number of years.

In a matter of about 36 hours, we pivoted completely to completely working from the office to completely working from home, including this live video production. The numbers in our audience was the strongest it's ever been. We had record numbers of audience in the months of April and May and it's still very, very strong because people need to know what's going on in the world and particularly with their financial situation in the market. We've been very gratified we've been able to serve our audience and keep our people safe at the same time.

Michael Krigsman: Any thoughts on what you'll be doing next as the world goes back? Have you learned? Are you doing new things now that you will retain in the future when things return to "normal," whatever that is?

Andrew Serwer: Well, we've learned so much about doing these kinds of things, like the way the two of us are talking right now, Michael. It's allowed us also to get access to guests that, quite frankly, we weren't able to get before because you know, of course, you had to convince someone to come into the studio and blah-blah-blah. They had to be in New York and this and that. Of course, we had Skype prior to that, but we looked down our nose at Skype.

Now, I think that the world is completely accepting of this type of format, and so I think that we'll never not use this anymore. In fact, we're going to be using this format for a number of months going forward because we're not concerned that it's completely safe for everyone to go back to work in New York, so we're going to be staying the course here and using this Google Meet for quite some time.

Michael Krigsman: This system is pretty darn good; I have to tell you. We started CXOTalk seven years ago. We used Google Hangouts at the time. About three and a half years ago, I was really unhappy with Google Hangouts, so I got in touch with Eric Yuan, who is the CEO of Zoom.

At that time, nobody was using Zoom but it was really good, so I got in touch with him and I said, "We'll switch CXOTalk over to Zoom, but you guys have to make some tweaks to your software to accommodate what we need." They did and, well, now everybody is using this kind of approach. It's pretty great.

Andrew Serwer: That's fantastic. It's a similar story, but you were an early adopter. No doubt about that.

Michael Krigsman: Andy, any final thoughts before we say goodbye for today?

Andrew Serwer: I just hope everyone is staying safe and also staying the course in understanding that we have a long road ahead of us. I think that's pretty clear, but we're all going to get through this. I think we're going to learn a lot and our lives are going to be changed forever. I hope what we take away from it is the good part.

Michael Krigsman: Everybody, we've been speaking with Andy Serwer. He is the editor in chief of Yahoo Finance. I'd like to thank Andy and thank everybody who watched and especially those folks who contributed and participated with questions.

Before you go, please, please subscribe on YouTube and hit the subscribe button at the top of our website. We'll send you really excellent material. Thank you so much, everybody, and I hope you have a great day. We'll see you soon. Bye-bye.