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Quincy Smith, Man of the Hour

November 8, 2006

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You probably read Monday that Quincy Smith was just named as the new head of CBS Digital.

Kudos to CBS, Quincy is a great catch. I worked closely with him in connection with the sale of one of my portfolio companies and have gotten to know and admire him.

Aside from the personal connectin, what is interesting to me is that here is a situation where an old-world media company has “gotten it” in terms of recognizing the type of talents/experiences that are most likely to succeed in the emerging world of digital media.

Frankly, I think both old world media companies, and Silicon Valley boards, often fail to appreciate the diversified skills and experiences that are most likely to be effective in a world where old media and new are colliding.

As I’ve said before, in my view today’s digital media mavens need to be at home with three very different constituencies: the Silicon Valley Internet ecosystem; the Madison Avenue media and advertising ecosystem, and Hollywood.  Most of the people I come across in this nascent — though exploding — world come from one of these pockets and are much less comfortable in the other two. And it is not just mainstream media companies; frankly, most Internet types in Silicon Valley are surprisingly parochial and disconnected from the NYC and Hollywood media and entertainment world.

When we back digital media companies, we typically try pretty hard to help the company round out its management team and board to include folks from across these three worlds.

To that end, I think CBS made a smart call here.  Quincy cut his teeth in the biz as an exec at Netscape and then a Silicon Valley VC, and then spent the last several years at the ultra-connected boutique media banking firm Allen and Company.  The combination has given him real chops in boardrooms across companies like Comcast, Google and, of course CBS.

Good move CBS, and good luck Quincy!

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