Newark & Beyond

Fast Company ran a profile of Don titled, “How Audible’s CEO Is Working To Lift Up The City Around The Company’s Office.”

The piece highlights the ways Audible is betting on Newark, taking on paid interns from Newark schools, supporting Newark Venture Partners to catalyze the city’s tech ecosystem by bringing in early-stage companies and paying a year’s rent for employees who moved to the recently developed Hahne building, a 10-minute walk from Audible’s headquarters.

Katz has gone from studying companies and cultures to building a culture of “activating caring” within Audible along with the city where they are based. As he explains, their work stems from “a core belief that companies can have hearts and souls and missions that transcend financial success.” It is this value that he is now looking to document and share with other CEOs around the country and world. “If other CEOs grab the model, it would be a tremendous legacy.”

Newark Venture Partners, the venture capital fund and accelerator Don founded, recently welcomed its second class of entrepreneurs with exciting, distinctive businesses covering a range of sectors.

More than 70 founders and employees are now working in the 25,000-square-foot ultra-bandwidth accelerator on the seventh floor of the building Audible shares with Rutgers Business School. And 260 Audible employees with advanced skills across dozens of subject domains are on call to take the elevator down to coach the companies.

The first two classes have attracted more than 1,000 applications from across the country — including the Bay Area, Raleigh, N.C. and Washington, D.C. — and even London. NVP is focused on bringing early-stage companies to Newark to catalyze the city’s tech ecosystem and create jobs and taxable revenue.

One of the new companies, Envested, which engages employees by connecting them to volunteer opportunities, was recently named in Inc.’s “30 Under 30.”

The February cover of Urban Agenda Magazine

An interview with Don is the cover story of the February 2017 issue of Urban Agenda Magazine. Don talks about his writing career, the founding of Audible, how Audible has worked to position great novels as scripts and his long-held commitment to Newark.

Many elements that make Audible a distinctive company that in many ways has a higher purpose draw upon the many things I learned and experienced as a writer. At its best, Audible is imbued with the élan I experienced during Rolling Stone’s first decade, a sensibility derived from the act of imprinting the culture with a new level of truth-telling and literary style.

Audible moved to Newark and services customers in pursuit of defining ourselves based on what a company can mean versus what it does alone, and this I also took away from my years studying organizations and their larger purposes.