Scaling the Future: Allen Lau on Why Diversity in the Workforce Can Be Your Major Advantage

Wattpad Co-founder and CEO Allen Lau is one of the newest contributors to, a leading site for business news, ideas, and inspiration.

His Column, Scaling the Future, will examine the challenges startups face in the innovation economy. It will also outline advice for entrepreneurs rooted in real world experience. An excerpt of his second column is enjoyable below and in full here


Over a decade ago, I made the business decision to build a startup in Toronto, a city where more than half of residents are born outside of Canada.

It was the best business decision I've ever made.

The startup ecosystem in Canada is booming thanks in part to the country's focus on advocating values of openness, diversity, and inclusion. Since day one, diversity helped create rapid growth for our products in global markets. Here's why:

Global Perspective Spurs Global Growth

Your company's growth depends on momentum. To grow exponentially, you'll need to enter global markets sooner or later.

In the early days of our business, my co-founder Ivan and I searched for a way to kick start our audience growth. It was painfully slow until we made the decision to support additional languages on our app. The decision was a game changer, but it came with new challenges.

We couldn't read and understand the stories being shared on our site, and we had no context. Was it offending or inflammatory material? If the content was safe, how could we best serve users in these new international markets? At that point, we had no clue because we didn't have the knowledge or cultural insight. Luckily, we had worked with people who lived in these countries who could provide the insight we needed to strengthen our product.

Diversity isn't a vanity metric. It's valuable for any business looking to scale globally. The majority of Wattpad employees can speak a second or third language. Many are immigrants or first-generation Canadians with priceless global perspective that keeps our products viable in every market we enter.

Today, half of Wattpad's traffic is international. Our app supports over 50 languages and we have users in nearly every country of the world. Simple language skills only got us so far, global perspective is what makes us a strong international player.

An Inclusive Environment Encourages High Performance

Harvey Mudd College raised their graduating female science majors by 30 percent through approachable language, inspiring initiatives, and projects providing real-world experience. They're the perfect example of what can happen when you make the extra effort to create an environment that's accessible and inclusive.

When you welcome people with different backgrounds and allow them opportunities to shine, your workplace becomes an environment where people want to prove themselves.

At a major technology conference, CES, this reporter was shocked to find that VR designers had never considered why clunky headsets could be unappealing to women. To avoid costly redesigns and public backlash, the people you plan to serve need to have a seat at the table.

At Wattpad, we ensure our hiring efforts reflect the diversity of Toronto. In addition, half of our staff are female, and half of our leadership team are visible minorities.

This gives everyone in the company the feeling that they can aspire to grow here regardless of their gender, sexuality, or background. It's a powerful motivator for ambitious people looking to get ahead.

Read Allen Lau's Full Post on INC

Chat-Style Stories Just Got Better With The Latest Tap by Wattpad Update

The world has been tapping away since we introduced Tap by Wattpad, an app for short, chat-style stories. The new app lets people discover, create, and share stories told via text messages. Users advance the story forward by tapping to uncover the next part.

We’ve already seen an incredible 350 million taps made by excited readers who can’t wait to reveal the next part of their favorite Tap story (with roughly 200,000 new taps added every hour).

We recently rolled out new features that make the experience more immersive and addicting.

Introducing Reactions
Reactions are a fun and easy way for audiences to express how they feel as they read Tap stories. To add a Reaction, users press the chat bubble to make a variety of emoji options appear and then select the one they want to react with. When users long press (press and hold), the Reaction is intensified. Reactions are grouped under the chat bubble making it easy for other readers to see how people are responding to a Tap story.


Easily Share Your Favorite Chats
Quote Art is a popular feature of the core Wattpad app, and we’re excited to bring a similar feature to Tap on iOS. With the new feature, users can select up to five consecutive lines of Tap messages and compile them into a single image for easy sharing with friends across email, text, and social media. The image can also be added to a user’s camera roll for additional sharing options.


New Local Content
We’ve translated some of the most popular English-language Tap stories like Hide, Friend Zone Fail, and The Vampire’s Wingman into a variety of languages for people around the world to enjoy. With the new update, Tap offers chat-style stories in 10 languages, including: English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Filipino, Turkish, Hindi, and Bahasa Indonesian. What’s more, the entire experience has been translated in these languages to help users better navigate through the app. With thousands of new Tap stories added every day, there’s always something new to discover!

Tap by Wattpad builds on what we know: Storytellers and audiences love new ways to connect and engage over original content. Tap delivers a truly an immersive entertainment experience, and now, it includes new features that can’t be found in any other storytelling app.

If you haven’t tried Tap by Wattpad yet, you can download it for free from iTunes and the Google Play Store.

10 Must Read Horror Stories | Scary Shorts and Full Length Books

Since January 2017, people spent over 54 million minutes reading horror stories on Wattpad. We don’t track data on the hours of sleep lost as a result of reading those hair-raising tales, but we’re sure it’s a lot.

The 10 horror stories below are some of the most widely-shared online. Dim the lights, shut the blinds, and enjoy these chilling, nightmare-inducing stories.

Strange Yarns

This 2016 Watty Award winning anthology includes a collection of short horror stories. Writer Josh Saltzman specialized in comedy, but proves here that a good scare, like a good joke, is all about timing.

Author’s Description: 

Strange Yarns is a ball of tangled tales. Twisted, knotted, and intertwined. Like Tales of the Crypt, the Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits. Strange Yarns is not just a collection of ghastly tales, these are yarns, and yarns are sewed together. Follow the yarns and see the grand design... think of this as an evil quilt.

Hide and Seek

As the cover alludes, this story is not for the faint of heart. Writer @Ms_Horrendous has quite the reputation for horror. She’s a member of both the Wattpad Stars Program and horror collective, The Cryptic. Explore this take on the classic haunted house trope.

Author’s Description:

When you enter the house, you follow the rules, you play the game...

My name is Emily. I thought it was a normal, abandoned house. I thought she was a normal girl. I thought we'd play a normal game of hide and seek. Turns out I was wrong. Dead wrong...

Puppet Boy

What’s scarier than a loss of control? Perhaps being turned into a human puppet. Canadian writer @Zombies examines this terrifying concept in her breakout work.

Author’s Description

"My beautiful Puppet Boy and my beautiful Puppet Girl."

A teenage boy and girl find themselves trapped in the lair of a crazy man obsessed with human puppetry.


The Folveshch

There’s a reason that folk tales endure the test of time: good scares are worth sharing.  Writer Finn H.Arlett is an active member of the Wattpad community and manages the Paranormal Community in his spare time.

Author’s Description

In 1922 my Papa told me of a faceless entity that lurks amongst us in our isolated slice of Russia. The locals have kept this horror alive for a century, though the only ones who claim to have seen the Folveshch have succumbed to a life of sightless silence.

Project Aspire

Fans of Science fiction will love this twisted take on space exploration. This book was written collaboratively by Wattpad writers Taran Matharu, Jason Kucharik, Stephen Landry and Penegrin Shaw.

Author’s Description

A team of astronauts crash land on a primitive alien planet, millions of lightyears from earth. Hunted by savage megafauna and native tribes, they must band together to survive. What they discover there will change everything they know about what it means to be human.

Knee Deep

Ethan James is an award winning videogame scriptwriter who’s worked on some of Ubisoft’s biggest titles, including Assassin's Creed. His short story was featured in Wattpad’s Top Horror stories reading list.

Author’s Description

In this horror short, a father and son must come to terms with their tumultuous history, devastating family loss, and a past that will not stay buried. Memories are slippery, violent things and lying to one's self can be deadly.

The Dentist and Other Short Terrifying Tales

Screen Queen Kelly Anne Blount is a prominent horror story writer on Wattpad and member of our Stars program.  This collection of shorts will show you why.

Author’s Description

The Dentist and Other Short Terrifying Tales is a collection of petrifying short stories created to make you tremor with terror and question everyone you've ever met! You never know when a monster might be living right next door...


What, you thought we’d leave out zombies? Fans of flesh-eating Z’s will love this breakout work by M.F Wahl. Off of Wattpad, M.F contributes to the popular horror site, Dread Central.

Author’s Description

Humanity's war against the living dead has been lost. In the wake of the zombie apocalypse, the living fight fiercely for what little they have.

In this hell-on-earth Casey, armed with a baseball bat, and joined by a mute boy named Alex, struggles to survive. When a man named Danny stumbles upon them, it's mistrust at first sight - but times are desperate. Danny leads them to a thriving settlement where danger lurks beneath the guise of kindness.


Writer Jesse Sprague has garnered praise across a variety of genres on Wattpad. This genre-bending story takes place in the Victorian era to put a classic twist on terror. 

Author’s Description

On waking up to find a dismembered arm protruding from the floor, Claudia knows her privileged life is over. Claudia cannot recall how she came to this pass. She does know she is never getting out. It is all because she is guilty of falling in love, which is a sin no proper Victorian girl would commit.

The Accidental Exorcism

Who doesn’t enjoy a good exorcism? In this Watty award winning work, bestselling author Joshua Graham provides his take on the classic horror movie trope.

Author’s Description

When forensic psychiatrist Abigail Lee meets a baby-killing mother who has been declared criminally insane and acquitted, she discovers something lurking beneath the surface. Something far deeper and more insidious than mere psychopathy. But can she come to terms with her own struggle with science and faith in time to confront it?

If you’re interested in devouring more scary stories, you can find additional short stories, reading lists, and recommendations by horror trope on Wattpad’s official horror profile.  

Get the Wattpad app to enjoy an endless supply of  free reads!

Read Books Online | Our Selection of the Best Free Content

On Wattpad, stories are available in over 50 languages across every mobile device. There are also more than 375 million story uploads to discover, read, and share.

If you’re looking to read books online, we’ve got a wide range of content from notable authors and everyday storytellers.

Why Choose Wattpad to Read Books Online?

Stories and Books on Wattpad are Free to Read 

About 90 percent of the 45 million people who visit Wattpad every month are here to discover free stories to read on a regular basis. Collectively, they spend over 15 billion minutes engaged with Wattpad content. Here are a few examples of the types of books and stories you can find on Wattpad:

A Collection of Over 1000 Free Classic Works

The entire Project Gutenberg collection of public domain titles is available to read free of charge. Explore titles from authors like:

  “There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart,” -  Jane Austen

“There is no charm equal to tenderness of heart,” - Jane Austen

  “  There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.  ” -  William Shakespeare

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” - William Shakespeare

  “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” -  Charles Dickens

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” - Charles Dickens

  “Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” -  Mark Twain

“Don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” - Mark Twain

  “  I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.  ” -  Edgar Allan Poe

I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.” - Edgar Allan Poe

Check out this full list of free classic books.

Books by Modern Authors, Publishers, and Celebrities

Wattpad works with every major publisher, and many of the world’s most prominent literary voices have chosen our platform to connect with the Wattpad community. 

Here is a sample of some of the free-to-read stories posted by today’s biggest authors:

Find Books to Read by Today’s Biggest Celebrities

If classic works, publishers, and big-name authors don't interest you, some of today’s biggest pop-culture icons and internet-famous personalities have also posted stories on Wattpad.  Below are just a few of the notable celebrities with profiles and works available online:

Read on Wattpad and Enjoy an Endless Supply of Free Content

Wattpad hosts the largest collection of user-generated stories and classic books on the internet. With our free app, you can explore a collection currently housing 375 million story uploads (and countinging). It’s safe to say you’ll never run out of stories and books to read online.

Outside of the thousands of uploads shared daily, we also host the world’s largest writing contest called The Wattys. In 2016, over 140,000 submissions were shared. Thanks to The Wattys,  a new selection of quality reads will be yours to enjoy every year!

Check out the reading lists below for some of 2016’s Watty award winning stories.

Read Stories in Over 50 languages

We’re proud to support a positive global community. Whether you’re learning a new language or partial to reading in one, all you need to do is change your language settings on Wattpad.

Check out the selection below to find a list of great reads in your preferred language:

Create your Own Library to Read Online and Offline

When you download the Wattpad app you’re free to read millions of stories on-the-go. What’s even better is that any story you add to your library can be synced to read offline. It’s a great way to save on data and read in places where Wi-Fi access is spotty at best.

Read Anywhere on Your Phone or Computer

Wattpad has an experience for you whether you read on your mobile phone, tablet, or desktop computer. Go to our get mobile page to download the free Wattpad app or visit

Build a Reading List to Curate Books and Stories by Genre

On your Wattpad profile, you can easily share your recommend reads by creating a reading listStories added to your library are private, but stories added to your reading list are publicly displayed and can show the community your curated recommendations.

Here are some of our reading lists curated by genre with links to their respective Wattpad profiles:

Science Fiction


Discover Rising Stars and Aspiring Writers 

“Wattpad opens the doors and enlarges the view in places where the doors are closed and the view is restricted. And somewhere out there in Wattpadland, a new generation is testing its wings.”

Margaret Atwood - The Guardian

On Wattpad, a new generation of literary stars are rising. These beloved online writers connect massive audiences through their serialized online stories and published books. Below you can explore some of the most popular free to read content posted by these amazing storytellers we call the Wattpad Stars.

Connect with Writers and Readers 

Inline comments, @mentions, story dedications, and broadcast messaging are just some of the ways that writers and readers interact on Wattpad. Our website also hosts a forum where you discover tips on writing and request new story recommendations.

Never Miss an Update

When you add a story to your library or follow a profile, you can quickly check for updates in your newsfeed and receive push notifications to your mobile device every time a new story part is shared.


Hachette Audiobooks: Powered by Wattpad will deliver popular Wattpad stories to a fast-growing audience of digital audio listeners

In a new partnership, we’ve teamed up with Hachette Book Group to bring Wattpad stories to life as audiobooks. Over the next year, Hachette Audio will produce 50 audiobooks based on Wattpad stories written by people from all over the world. Hachette Audiobooks: Powered by Wattpad will be available beginning summer 2017.

With the launch of Wattpad Studios last year, we’ve been working with entertainment and publishing partners to co-produce stories for other formats including film, tv, digital, and print. As recently reported by the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, downloadable audiobooks represent the fastest growing format in the publishing industry, and this is the first time popular Wattpad stories will be adapted as audiobooks within an ambitious program and proactive publishing partnership.

“We love seeing the worlds and characters Wattpad storytellers create come to life in different ways. The Hachette Audiobooks: Powered by Wattpad partnership gives the Stars of the Wattpad community a unique chance to have their stories narrated by skilled actors and distributed to people beyond the Wattpad platform,” said Head of Partnerships for Wattpad Studios Ashleigh Gardner. “Wattpad stories have been successfully produced as books, television shows, and movies. Now, people will not only be able to read and watch Wattpad stories, but also listen to them. Storytelling has never sounded so good!”

Audiobook titles in this initial launch will span all genres and will be sold digitally through major online retailers, including Bandcamp, iTunes, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Downpour, eStories,,, and others. Physical audiobooks on CD will be made available to libraries and on-demand.

“Content development is an important initiative for Hachette, so this partnership comes at a perfect time. We can’t wait to bring together the ideal team of producer, director, and narrator for these amazing Wattpad stories. We are equally excited to be working with Wattpad to amplify the audience and broaden the channels of discovery for their unique brand of storytelling via audiobook editions,” said Anthony Goff, SVP of Content Development and Audio Publisher at Hachette Book Group.

Wattpad is constantly experimenting with new storytelling formats. We recently launched Tap by Wattpad, a new app for short, chat-style stories. Moving forward, we will continue to distribute popular Wattpad stories across all formats and on multiple platforms. This latest partnership with Hachette will build on our existing work with leading publishers and entertainment companies to take the best stories on the Internet and bring them to more people around the globe. While the majority of Hachette Audiobooks: Powered by Wattpad titles will be standard audiobooks, the partnership hopes to experiment with other audio formats in the future.