News & Announcements

In an interview with Business Insider’s podcast “Success! How I Did It,” Don discusses his time as a foreign correspondent for Rolling Stone in the ’70s, Audible’s founding and early days, the relationship with Amazon and his commitment to Newark.

My whole thing was: “What do these things mean, as opposed to what they do?” The Rolling Stone idea was you’d get close to, as I did, to terrorists, or to people throughout the ’70s who were fighting wars of liberation, willing to die for a cause. What was it like to have that happen? Then when I wrote books about business — and I wrote a book about Sears, a 600-page tome; I wrote a book about Nike. I asked: What do these companies mean to all the constituents around them and to the culture in general?

I think that allowed Audible to grow up as a company that was really consistent about opening up opportunities to consumers in particular. This weirdness of customer centricity is what I bonded with Jeff Bezos on, where you really are working backwards from a different idea. How can you actually import something profound to people, because of the power of an organization, as opposed to measuring yourself in dollars and cents or just permutations on a theme?

Listen to it below and see the full transcript here.

“Harry Clarke,” the one-man show starring Tony winner Billy Crudup and produced by Audible, opened at the Minetta Lane Theatre on Sunday, March 18.

The highly acclaimed production, written by David Cale, had a limited run in late 2017 at the Vineyard Theater, and Audible is extending its run at the Minetta Lane Theatre. Audible is also offering the play, written by playwright David Cale, as a downloadable audio program, making it available to Audible’s millions of customers — one part of a larger effort to project outstanding dramatic performances beyond the stage.

“I couldn’t be more proud to be associated with a play that smart and that intense,” Don told The New York Times in a Feb. 14 story.

Don and actor Billy Crudup

Nine tech startups took to a stage on the ice at the Prudential Center for Newark Venture Partners’ third ever Demo Day to present their businesses — and showcase the progress the venture fund has made in bringing exciting companies to join Audible in boosting Newark’s tech ecosystem.

The companies presenting on Jan. 17 were among 40 that the venture fund and accelerator has invested in since its 2016 launch, and include an AI-powered contact center and a startup turning food waste into new products.

“In just a couple of years, to have come this far — to have seen an idea flourish so far beyond my reasonable expectations — is personally gratifying,” Don, NVP’s founder, said at the event.

Watch NJTV’s story for more.

Don was honored alongside Tina Fey at the New York Stage and Film’s annual gala on Dec. 5 at Pier 60, with the organization’s artistic director crediting Don with “providing vital support for playwrights through Audible’s recent expansion into the theater world.”

Actress Dana Delany said in introducing Don at the gala, “He basically has created an entire new industry for writers and actors. … It’s not just stars that are doing it — yes, they have big stars doing it — but it’s working actors that are doing it.”

Read HuffPost for more.

Don spoke at the ribbon-cutting for Barcade, across the street from Audible’s headquarters, along with Mayor Ras Baraka and others. Don said the bar and arcade, already a hit with Audible employees, is one of the many exciting new places to play coming on line in in the Washington Park District, which is turning into a 24-7 neighborhood with new places to live and play.

Read Patch for the story.

Celebrating 20 years since the launch of the Audible service and 10 years of being headquartered in Newark, Audible is providing all 15,000 or so Newark high school students and teachers a year of Audible membership, more than 150 titles identified by Newark educators and Audible experts, a Fire 7-inch tablet and headphones.

“Audible is a better company and a better place to work because of our decision to move to Newark ten years ago and include so many Newark high school and college students and Newark-born and educated people as our paid interns and employees,” Don said in the news release. “As our interns who get free access to Audible memberships already know, students, parents, and teachers consistently tell us how powerfully listening to Audible has made a difference – whether it engenders a lasting love of stories, builds active vocabulary, helps with academics, or simply allows people to fit more books into their lives.”

The initiative, called Project Listen Up, launched with a special event at Technology High School in the North Ward on Nov. 29. Read about the event and view photos in ROI-NJ.


Don received the inaugural Founders Award at NJPAC’s 20-year anniversary celebration for his commitment to Newark’s revitalization, including moving Audible to the city in 2007 and launching Newark Venture Partners to catalyze the city’s tech ecosystem.

Don was introduced by NJPAC’s founding chair and philanthropist Ray Chambers before more than 1,000 guests at the gala in late September. In his speech, Don urged the audience to move their companies to Newark, back local businesses or invest in NVP.

“I continually celebrate moving Audible to Newark ten years ago as one of the best decisions we made as a company — over a history that included many near-death experiences early on, to today’s reality of a level of growth at scale that has exceeded my dreams,” Don said. “We came here hoping to find out what a company can mean in ways that can transcend what it does.”

Read more about the event on NJPAC’s website.

Elisabeth Moss performed a passage from Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” at Toronto’s Union Station last week to mark the launch of, Audible’s dedicated service for Canadians that elevates Canadian voices and listeners.

“We’ll be working with Canada’s incredibly vibrant Can-Lit community,” Don said. “We work daily to support the professional creative class wherever we go.”

The website offers a selection of more than 300,000 titles, including more than 100 new titles from Canadian authors in English and French. For one month, Canadian listeners are receiving free access to Audible’s special edition of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” narrated by Claire Danes and including material Atwood wrote exclusively for Audible, and Catherine Leroux’s Quebecois novel “Le Mur Mitoyen,” performed by Julie Le Breton.

“Audible is giving performers opportunities to lend their voices to some of the greatest stories in the world and expose the ideas and words of authors to entirely new audiences,” Moss said.

The launch also included an event at Montreal’s Gare Centrale, where Le Breton read from Leroux’s book.

Read more in CBC News.

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.”

In a July 3 interview on “Bloomberg Surveillance,” Don talks about the influence the novelist Ralph Ellison had on his career, what makes for a good audiobook and Audible’s push to create original content.

Don also discusses Audible’s Newark mission, which includes bringing on paid high school interns from Newark, planting early-stage companies in the city through Newark Venture Partners and encouraging Audible employees to live in Newark.

“When we position a book as a script, you see these great actors doing what they do to create these nuanced performances,” Don said. “But the key thing is the seductive intimacy of being read to personally.”

The interview with Don begins at the 31:55 mark.