NerdWallet, Gen Z and the value of the written word

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines. This is our Wednesday show, the time of the week when we niche down to a single topic. Today? The written word.

Natasha and Danny and Alex got together to dig into the recent NerdWallet IPO filing, and what it can tell us about how the written word — in its digital form — can still be worth quite a lot. Here’s an outline of the chat:

  • NerdWallet shows the financial power of the written word, even if it isn’t the precise form of writing that we know and love.
  • Automattic is a large, startup bet on the written word, amongst other things. Danny had notes for us on the scale of its business, thanks to a new TC-1 all about the publishing empire. Here we talked about the importance of proving value internally, before going external with word power.
  • And from Kindle Vella to Substack to Memberful from Patreon, there are more and more models for getting paid to write these days. Hell, you can charge for your tweets now.

We were left with questions about if the return of text is inevitable, in an everyone-runs-to-video world. As Natasha notes, distribution is still a bottleneck and human attention is not entirely predisposed to sitting around reading things. But with Gen Z perhaps a little over screen time, perhaps there’s good news ahead for writers of all stripes.

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