Judith Meskill leaves AOL

Judith Meskill, one of the first bloggers to join Weblogs, Inc. is leaving AOL.

She was one of the first couple of people I talked to after starting Weblogs, Inc. and she was a force from her first couple of days at the company. She had ideas, energy, and positivity. After blogging with us for a couple of months she asked if I’d consider her for the Editorial Director position Brian and I had a agreed we wanted to fill. With Brian bogged down with tech, and me out there trying to convince advertisers, the press, investors, and advertisers to believe in blogging, we realized the bloggers would not be getting enough attention. We wanted someone to guide and support them.

Coming from a magazine background I came up with the idea of an Editorial Director. When Judith applied for the job I didn’t think she could do it because she didn’t have a publishing background like we were looking for. I thought we need someone who had worked at a magazine company, built magazine brands, and hired writers for magazines. She pointed out that we were not a magazine company, and that the central control of a magazine was not what we wanted. Instead she said we wanted someone who was a knowledge management expert like herself. Someone who understood how to create systems that would guide and support the bloggers. It was a more than reasonable argument and Brian and I went for it.

It was one of the best moves I ever made–right up there with bringing on Peter Rojas, Brian Alvey, and Shawn Gold (I’d add ten other names to that but I didn’t bring those people on… Judith, Peter, and Shawn did!). Judith was the mother hen and she gave hundreds of bloggers support, an ear, a coach, a friend, a mentor–whatever they needed, whenever they needed it.

I would call her at random times and she would say “72” or “34” to me–that was the number of bloggers she talked to at that point in the day. She made a point of trying to talk to as many folks as possible every day, and she kept track of it. Brilliant.

Anyway, good luck Judith, and I’m sorry I missed your going away party (kind of hard to make it when I had no idea you would be “going away”).

Note: I have no idea why she left and I have no idea what she’s going to next–this news was kind of a shock to me. However, she’s aways got a place at Project X–if there is a project X that is. 🙂
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