Earlier this week, when I announced the promotion of Paul Walborsky to CEO of Giga Omni Media, the company I started in 2006, it was part of a plan that was hatched long before I returned to work after my health scare. That plan was to make the company less reliant on any one person — notably myself.
At the same time that I hired Paul to run the business side of things back in the summer of 2007, I also brought on Carolyn Pritchard as managing editor. In that role, she steers the editorial ship, ensuring that we produce high-quality blogging content while always adhering to the best practices of traditional journalism. Her more than 10 years of experience in the field and even hand are what keep things running smoothly, editorially-wise.
The third leg of this plan has been to focus my energies on the most strategic aspects of the company. Now we’re kicking the execution of this plan into high gear, adding more blogs (as evidenced by our recent purchase of jkOnTheRun) and soon, more people, including some seasoned, well-known names. As we grow, we are committed to a level of editorial quality that not only meets but exceeds our readers’ expectations. This makes the job of finding new talent and nurturing our existing stars a critical one — and is a job to which I am going to be dedicating a significant amount of my time going forward. (If you are interested in writing for us, send me an email.)
Does this mean I’m going to stop writing? Hell no. But I am going to limit myself to writing two posts a day — more in-depth pieces, like the kind I used to write for Business 2.0 before I founded GigaOM. (You can follow my posts at http://om.gigaom.com.)
Another thing that I’m going to be focusing on is figuring out how to best use all the tools available to further enhance the blogging experience, to add depth and context to what is our bread and butter: news and analysis.
We’re already trying out some of these tools, such as with GigaOM Daily, our Twitter-inspired news service; map mashups created by the Earth2Tech crew; and NTV Station, our early attempt at an online video guide. (I’m also looking for a senior engineer-type person who has some ideas around new media. Again, if you’re interested, drop me a line.)
These are steps towards building a new kind of media company, one that thrives on the availability of always-on connectivity, which allows for easy distribution — and easier consumption — of information. Just like the cable boom gave birth to media groups befitting the medium, such as CNN and ESPN, broadband is going to play host yet another generation of new media entities. We are trying hard to be one of them, with technology and its infinite niches as our focus. If you look at WebWorkerDaily, NewTeeVee, Earth2Tech and OStatic, you can see that we are well on our way.
In many ways, launching these blogs has been like starting a company long before there is an obvious market, betting that they will meet a need. It is why I am delighted by this next bit of news.
Earlier this summer, the general partners at True Ventures — Jon Callaghan, Phil Black and John Burke — invited me to be a venture partner at their firm. The offer was extremely flattering as True is one of Silicon Valley’s most talented venture teams, one that also includes Tony Conrad, CEO of Sphere (which was recently sold to AOL), and Toni Schneider, CEO of Automattic. After talking it over with my team, my parents and my trusted friends, I went back to the guys who had enough faith in me to back my crazy idea of turning a tiny blog into a big media business — and said yes.
The move will not take any time away from my work at GigaOM. What it will do, however, is give me a chance to closely observe the venture business, which could lead me to one day being a venture capitalist myself. And it is yet another way for me to indulge in my love of startups. Though I am extremely picky as to which startup I write about, I love meeting them all. Why? Because ideas fascinate me. People amaze me. So this is just an extension of the same enthusiasm, but from a different dimension.
So far, I have refrained from writing about companies funded by True Ventures. And when I have, such as in the case of Automattic and Sphere, I have disclosed the relationships. Starting today, even that stops. Any mention of True Ventures-backed companies by our writers is going to have a disclosure statement next to it. You can keep tabs of my disclosures on my profile page. I will continue to disclose any conflicts on individual posts, should such a situation arise.
I am going back to writing about topics that are nearest and dearest to my heart: big technology trends and policy in general, and of course, broadband and Internet infrastructure in particular.
Wish me luck and good sense.