Random thoughts from Go Bistro at SFO airport

1. John Battelle is an excellent journalist and interviewer. He did a great job interviewing Rupert Murdoch and Chris DeWolfe last night. Folks forget that before doing a blog company, John ran a series of very successful events at the Industry Standard. Ironically, both John and I have made a career out two specific businesses over ten years: internet publications (I did Silicon Alley Reporter) and blogs (he’s doing Federated Media and I did Weblogs, Inc.). Which leads me to believe that John’s next business will be in search… oh wait, he wrote the book on search!

2. Had a nice discussion with David Carr from the New York Times about Rupert Murdoch who I spent a little time with last night. He asked me why Rupert was received so well at the event, when one mights suspect that “old media” would be the enemy. My response to David was two fold, touching on business and the individual. First, on a business level media companies with flat to declining advertising businesses are the buyers for internet companies. Doing an IPO is a real pain in the neck, so most entrepreneurs would rather just sell to a big media company. Second, on a personal level Murdoch is hard core. He’s an entrepreneur. Last night he joked about killing his competitors like CNBC and the New York Times. When’s the last time you heard a big company CEO throw down like that? Never. Murdoch STILL wants to win… he brings it, and that’s very cool considering he could have moved to the South of France and phoned it in for the past 20 years.

3. I got to hang out with my brother Jamie who work for Dow Jones at the MySpace party last night. We sold Silicon Alley Reporter/VentureReporter to Dow Jones back in 2002. Newscorp has an investment in Mahalo, so we’re both involved with Newscorp now. Small world!

4.Evan Williams gave the best talk at Web 2.0 yesterday–hands down.

5. Moritz gave a great interview to John Heilemann of New York Magazine.

6. Heilemann and I had a heated debate when he incorrectly reported that Silicon Alley Reporter/Rising Tide Studios went under a couple of years back… a fact he sort of corrected when he did a piece on me being a suit for AOL. I joked with him last night that I’m back and in full cowboy form, and that his profile of me being a pawn in the big media machine would be a great moment in time piece. Frankly, the press doesn’t mean that much to me, but that piece did get to me a little when I read it. I have to say, I’m more suited for live “on the outside” and running my own ship.

7. A number of folks came up to me, including Jay Adelson of digg, to congratulate me on the traffic numbers at propeller and Netscape. Those numbers many people seem to feel show that the site was a great success (which it is). AOL owns the second largest social news site behind digg and they spend very little to create it and did nothing to promote it. If they put .1% of AOL’s traffic behind it then it would give digg a real race.

8. Do I feel vindicated by Propeller/Netscape’s success? Frankly, I don’t care. I don’t look backwards, I look forward. Don’t get me wrong, I wish the team well and I hope they continue to grow. However, if you’re going to be successful in life you have to close the books on things. I try not to think about Silicon Alley Reporter, VentureReporter, WeblogsInc, and Netscape. It’s wasted cycles that I could put in Mahalo.

9. In a related note I NEVER look at old press clippings. I put them in a box and tape the boxes shut. I have stacks of boxes with press clips and videos that I haven’t seen in years. The press is a reflection of past events 99% of the time, so spending your time with those clips is wasted EVEN WHEN THEY ARE PUBLISHED! If you want to be successful focus on the stuff you’re doing, not what you’ve done.

10. All that being said, if AOL wanted to sell me back Weblogs, Inc. or Propeller I would certainly consider buying them and letting AOL have the advertising inventory for their ad network. Could be a win-win. 🙂

11. Speaking of AOL, a bunch of my folks got laid off. I was sad for them for a moment, however a bunch of folks were HAPPY because the severance packages were so huge. In fact, AOL was so generous to folks that the people staying were JEALOUS of the 3-12 month packages with bonuses that were handed out.

12. Say what you will about the last 12 months at AOL, but they did do the right thing in terms of taking care of the employees that were laid off AND they are moving swiftly to take action. I think the advertising network move is going to work, and truth be told the current team is standing on the shoulders of Jon Miller, Ted Leonsis, Bankoff, and countless other folks who BUILT the advertising network that is there. So, kudos to both the old and new folks for reinventing AOL. Again, I think it’s going to work.

13. I’m starting to hate travel. I’m getting old (37 in November) and my body doesn’t like the redeyes and 18 hour turnarounds I have a habit of doing. I also miss my family and team at Mahalo when I’m on the road. I understand why some folks stop traveling and have folks come to them and/or miss the events in our industry. Travel is hard.

14. Google is a great partner of a company. I’ve been partners with them on three companies over the past five years and they’ve always treated us really well. They’ve been proactive and friendly. I compare that to some of the folks they compete with who I find, although they are super friendly, don’t seem to reach out as much at Google. If you’re a big company I highly recommend hiring someone to reach out to the young startups there and get to know them–Google does.

15. Blade Runner: The Final Cut was amazing. I went to see it 2x in 10 days, and I think I could watch that film once a month and not get tired of it. It’s like a fine wine, steak, cigar, or run…. it’s pure pleasure.

16. We’re looking for a VP of Product at Mahalo. Someone who has 5-10+ years at a search company. Position is based in Santa Monica and requires someone who is very self-motivated, hard working, and smart. I’ve got 80% of the product road map in my head, but it is obviously changing and evolving on a regular basis. We need someone to manage the zillions of great ideas we have, organize them, annotate them, and manage the execution of them with our tech and editorial teams. It’s a VERY important position, and if you recommend the person for this job I will buy you a 24″ iMac (or give you a $1,500 gift card) as a thank you.

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