So what about Defector? According to the financial statement, it has 23 employees, revenue of $3.2 million, and expenses of $3 million. Ninety-five percent of that money comes from subscribers, and the rest from a few ad campaigns and business partnerships. It's set up as a worker cooperative, so important decisions are made through a vote of the employee-owners, who also share any profits. For a brand-new media company started essentially with a coffee can full of laundry quarters, those are excellent numbers.
[...]Defector's worker cooperative model is perhaps its most important element of its potential for long-term sustainability. A cooperative won't be sucked into the venture capital vortex, since it needs no huge investments, nor will it be killed by Wall Street sharks out for a quick buck. "This has, without a doubt, been the most fulfilling year of my professional life, and I get straight up misty-eyed when I think about all we've been able to build in a year," Defector editor-in-chief Tom Ley wrote last month.