Longform science mag Matter has no women in leadership roles. Is that a problem?


All startups require founders who are persistent as well as passionate, and the fact that any two people can bring the required sustained intensity to a shared enterprise is a minor miracle. That said, research suggests that longform science magazine startup Matter would be more likely to succeed if its founders included someone who wasn’t a dude.

I asked Bobbie Johnson, co-founder of Matter, whether there are any women in his founding team. Here’s the entirety of his response:

Hey Chris

No problem: this issue came up quite a few times over the last month.

The “leadership” is just the two of us, so I suppose the very, very short answer is no… but that doesn’t really tell you a lot since the sample size is so small and the limitations so specific.

The medium sized answer is that the writers and editors we have been talking to and working with are roughly split down the middle in terms of gender, as is the pool of advisors we’ve been talking to. You won’t get to see that until the product is launched, though.

The longer answer is that not only are we working with plenty of women, we’re also trying to make sure we keep our contributor base diverse in terms of ethnicity and nationality too. It’s all important when you’re trying to think about how to do things and tell stories well in ways that can bring people in. It’s definitely something that’s important to us.

The campaign has obviously gone very well, but if I have one element of disappointment it is that the video doesn’t accurately reflect that part of what we’re doing — and, since we have had to answer this question a lot in various channels, it’s obviously an issue that we could have dealt with up front.

Still, the final product should send the right message — and until launch we are still on the lookout for great stories, wherever or whoever they come from.



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