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Polaris Digital Media Summit

February 6, 2008


Last Wednesday-Friday we hosted our Second Annual Digital Media Summit, where we bring our Internet/Digital Media portfolio companies together with about 15 leaders from the industry to discuss best practices, opportunities and challenges. We also squeeze in a little skiing and general carousing.  As I am the one who plans and coordinates the event, last week was a tad busy.

Thankfully, the event seemed to be a big hit.

Portfolio attendees included Athletes’ Peformance, AWS/Weatherbug, Automattic, BlackArrow, Hangout, JibJab, Modelinia, Phreesia, Public Earth, Quantcast, TechTarget, Turbine.

Industry folk included Michael Collette (consultant to Google TV), Beth-Ann Eason (Martha Stewart, Yahoo), Josh Felser (founder of Grouper and Spinner), Joe Gillespie (EVP, CNET), Seth Goldstein (CEO, Social Media), Curt Hecht (Starcom Mediavest), Ken Hertz (Hertz & Goldring), Pam Horan (President, OPA), Peter Horan (CEO, IAC Search and Media), Michael Kassan (MediaLink), George Kliavkoff (Chief Digital Officer, NBC), Larry Kramer (founder MarketWatch, frmr President CBS Digital, now Senior Adviser, Polaris), Scott Kurnit (fdr,, Dan Marriott (CEO, Pronto), Wenda Harris Millard (President, Martha Stewart Living Media), Rob Norman (CEO, Group M), Ariel Poler (Textmarks), Bill Wheaton (VP Media, Akamai).

For our event program, including bio’s and agenda, go here: dms08_copyv-5-indd.pdf

As always, the success of the event turned on the group of people who were good enough to join us. We matched startup founders with big media execs, seasoned ad sales execs with seasoned media buyers, techie types with media/entertainment types. The result was some great conversation with lots of different perspectives being batted back and forth, the discovery of some common ground, and the emergence of some distinctly opposed views. Here are the topics we covered:

Monetizing UGC/Social Media
Video Advertising in a Cross Platform World
New Content Formats

    Building a Massively Scalable Internet Service/Platform
Building a Digital Media Organization
Where’s the Market for Later Stage Financings and/or M&A

    Hearing from the Media Buyers
The Future of Ad Networks/Exchanges
Best Practices in Building Online Advertising Sales

    Social Networks as the New Platform
Best Practices in Viral/Social Distribution
Best Practices in Customer Acquisition –SEO/SEM, Affiliate Marketing

As importantly, we had AMAZING snow, including over 3 feet of fresh stuff while we were there! Out of the meeting room and on the slopes we managed to avoid any injuries or serious mishaps, although yours truly came close, once skiing off a small cliff and the next day skiing into a tree.  And, those of us who stayed over to ski on Saturday witnessed an honest to goodness avalanche in the chutes of the Empire Bowl, though luckily nobody was injured.

Hopefully we’ll have similar success, and safety, next year!

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