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Growing a web publishing business from a small starter loan and your own profits "toughens you" in ways that are different than venture-backed media according to Digital Trends CEO Ian Bell.

The bootstrapped tech publication has grown the old-fashioned way -- that is taking in more money than you spend -- since 2006. This year, Digital Trends expects $50 million in revenue. It has not laid off or furloughed any workers despite feeling the pain of the downturn. Digital Trends also will be profitable again this year, Bell said.

"Running the old fashioned way, off of profits, creates a grittier leader," Bell said on the Digiday Podcast. "You get forced to have those tough conversations with the bank, with your team. You have to meet covenants. You have to make sure that you survive at all costs. In a lot of ways it toughens you."

"We'll be profitable again this year," Bell said on the Digiday Podcast. "The momentum's there."

Widespread lockdowns have led people to lean more than ever on their electronics, whether to connect with loved ones or stay busy and entertained. Bell sees that as an opportunity.

"You're going to find that people got that technology dopamine drip, and they're going to continue to rely on it more than they did prior," Bell said. . We're uniquely poised to be right there for them."

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