February 10, 2007
A wild and woolly week in many regards.
Did a day trip — yes, day trip — to San Francisco for an Automattic board meeting. The otherwise miserable red-eye to NYC Tuesday night went down a tad better as a result of some great progress reported at the Board meeting. Launched a year ago, wordpress.com’s traffic has been steadily doubling every quarter. For the month of January wordpress.com saw 31 million uniques, which, according to the guys’ analysis, puts wordpress ahead of digg and facebook in terms of reach (though not in terms of total traffic). Pretty exciting stuff. I’ve got high hopes for the future of this little company…
Wednesday in NYC was filled with meetings with a bunch of Madison Ave. types, including one guy who used to run one of the large agencies and is a board candidate for one of my companies, as well as a meeting with David Verklen, CEO of Carat. David left me with his big thought for the day: Verklen believes there is $15-$20 B of TV advertising up for grabs over the next few years. To date, nobody has yet shown the web’s effectiveness in moving products off the shelves, the way TV can. But, Verklen believes, this is only a matter of time, and, once someone does demonstrate the web’s ability to move products, a huge second wave of TV ad dollars is going to flow to the web.
Wednesday night was the Savvian Digital Media, Dinner hosted by my an old college buddy of mine, John Lambros, who runs all things digital for Savvian. It was a great night, lots of familiar faces, and some interesting new ones too. Had the chance to reconnect with Julius Genachowski, with whom I clerked at the Supreme Court 13 years ago and hadn’t seen since. Julius recently was a senior exec at IAC and now is advising General Atlantic.
Finally, on Thursday I spoke on a panel at the McGraw Hill Digital Media Summit. I also had a chance to catch up with Mike Lang, EVP Strategy and Corp Dev for News Corp, Scott Kurnit, who was holding court at his “office” in the Peninsula restaurant, and met a fun new startup called “uPlayMe.” All in all a good trip.
Friday I actually made it back to my office, and met with Jeff Ma, the MIT wunderkid about whom “Bringing Down the House” was written and who subsequently founded ProTrade, as well as Red Sox ace Curt Schilling, who, on top of his day job, is starting an online game venture. This was the first time an entrepreneur told me he couldn’t do a followup meeting next week because he had to head down to Spring Training…Fun.