From a blog to a media company: Darcy Lacouvee’s remarkable journey

Darcy Lacouvee and the Android Authority team

Ankit Banerjee, Toronto

It was a warm summer evening in Laos. While teaching students English at a coffee shop, Darcy Lacouvee’s statement of “established economies don’t want to foster critical thinking because it enables the populace to question the status quo” received an enthusiastic response from a person behind him. As luck would have it, the person who yelled was a fellow Canadian, Derek Scott. They met over the next few days and discussed starting a business together. And so, Android Authority was born.

The early days – Darcy at an Android event

It was a twist of fate that Darcy couldn’t have predicted when he moved to Laos. He left Canada after losing his job at a PR firm during the peak of the financial crisis in 2007. He applied to more than a hundred jobs, but when none of the offers sat quite right, he decided to travel instead. He was in Laos for a year before that fateful meeting happened. It was a meeting that only changed their lives but the lives of many for years to come.

In 12 years, Android Authority has grown from a simple Android news blog to a tech and entertainment media company – Authority Media – with five websites and two YouTube channels, with close to 25 million visitors every month. Like most entrepreneurial ventures, though, it wasn’t an easy journey.

“Making just a dollar a day in the first year, it was a lot of eating rice and beans to get by.” 

Darcy and Derek decided to invest it all into the company as they began to make more money, building a great team of tech enthusiasts that took the website to new heights. It wasn’t always smooth, though, and there were many ups and downs.

“It’s every time Google switches up its algorithm,” says Darcy. Android Authority depends on Google Search for visitors like most digital media companies. Close to 70% of the site’s visitors are through search and social media traffic, and 90% of the articles on the site rank in the top 5. But Google changes what it looks for, and there’s a rush to adjust everything on the content side. The first significant impact was back in 2012, resulting in a 90% loss in traffic overnight.

One in the crowd at MWC

It’s been a long journey, but the company is in a good place now with 48 employees, including journalists, photographers, videographers, copywriters, and editors. Android Authority has gone from covering news to breaking the news. It has become one of the premier device review websites in the space and has a significant presence at various tech shows worldwide like the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and IFA in Berlin.

Full disclosure, I’ve worked at Android Authority for the past ten years. In January 2012, I left my parents’ home in Oman, an engineer with no real direction. I moved in with some friends and did a lot of odd jobs to make ends meet, from tutoring high school kids to audio transcription. And Derek and Darcy changed my life.

I get to play with the coolest gadgets!

In March that year, I came across a job posting on Odesk, a freelance job website, that said, “Do you love Android?” The tech nerd in me instantly jumped on the Apply Now button. But I realized it was a news writing position, something I had zero experience in. Derek, Darcy, and the small editorial team at the time took a chance on me, taught me, helped me, and made me the writer and journalist I am today.

I don’t know what my life would have looked like if I hadn’t responded to that posting. I don’t know where I would be if they hadn’t given me the opportunity, and I certainly don’t know what career, if any, I would have without this. I know that without them, I wouldn’t be here in Canada, I wouldn’t be a student in a journalism program, and I wouldn’t be writing this article right now here on Seneca Journalism. Remarkable indeed.

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