The Contribune: Inspiring stories of overcoming adversity and pursuing dreams
David Miller ’16, along with his partner Julian Wallace, are the co-founders of The Contribune, a news site where inspiring people share their stories about pursing their passions and dreams and overcoming adversity. People profiled in The Contribune write their own stories, with a bit of help from Miller and his editors.
Babson alumni featured:
Interview with David Miller ‘16
What is your business and who are its founders?
My name is David Miller (2016). Julian Wallace and I are the co-founders of The Contribune. We met at Babson when I transferred and was placed in a dorm that at the time was predominately housing international students (Canfield A). Julian is from Australia and was doing his semester abroad at Babson. We became good friends and kept in touch. After I graduated from Babson, I backpacked around Australia and New Zealand, and stayed with him in Melbourne for two weeks. Julian ended up coming back to the states after working in Sports Media for a couple of years, and was searching for that next step to take. One night, we were talking about an idea I had, and by the end of the night we both knew that we wanted to work together on this venture.
At The Contribune, we share stories about pursuing passion and overcoming adversity from noteworthy individuals who are actively changing the world. Our Contributors are as diverse as their stories and are constantly challenging their industries in order to make a difference. They know success does not come without failure, hard work, or sacrifice and want to share these lessons with those looking to do the same.
In the beginning, we both worked nights and weekends while continuing our separate jobs. Eventually, I decided to quit my job in Private Equity to see where we could take The Contribune. We currently have a team of six members and are extremely excited about the response and growth that has occurred since publishing our first article in December.
Where did the idea come from?
At my old job, I spent almost all of my day in a cube in front of the computer. I really looked forward to lunch because I could unwind, eat, and either listen to a quick podcast or do some light reading. Over time, I realized that I was constantly looking for easily digestible 10-20-minute reads. I found it extremely hard to consistently find that on the Internet. That’s when I had the “aha!” moment and knew I wanted to create a platform dedicated to these specific needs. I wanted to build a place where the intellectually curious could come for real, interesting, and inspiring stories from those who have fought for their dreams.
What makes your business unique?
To the best of our knowledge, we are the only company that does what we do. We are the only media company that allows our contributors to use 100% of their own words, and not have the opinions of our brand or editors get in the way. We believe we have found a current pain point in America right now—trustworthy reporting—and are combining that frustration with our generation’s thirst for not only knowledge and real story, but also condensed information on the fly. With newspapers continuing to struggle, our goal is to fill that gap.
What are your goals for the future?
If I listed all of our goals here, any one reading this would take a quick glance and say, “nope, no chance I’m reading all of that.” I will say, though, our main goal is to continuously grow our audience and publish consistently interesting pieces.
Eventually, we plan to publish video and podcast interviews with our contributors as well as host Contribune networking events where guests can learn from our panel and also connect with like-minded individuals in a more casual setting.
How did Babson help you in making The Contribune a reality?
Without Babson, I do not think The Contribune would have been created. It is hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t gone to Babson, but something about the community, the energy, and the encouragement from faculty to “do something that matters” (as the Lewis Institute says), really inspired me to take the leap and follow my entrepreneurial itch.
I am also extremely impressed with how much Babson cares about its alumni. The response Julian and I have received from the Babson community has been extremely encouraging.
Anything else you would like to add?
If anyone has made it this far in the interview…the one thing I want you to know is that it may be scary to take the leap, but man, it’s fun. Many people thought I was crazy to quit a private equity job right after college. But I did. And you know what? It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made (right up there with deciding to transfer to Babson). The comfort of a corporate job with paid vacation, 401k match, and constant income is definitely nice. But being able to control my day-to-day, meet so many interesting and inspiring people, and have a completely different work schedule every day is exhilarating; it keeps me up at night and makes me jump out of bed in the morning.