It is not unusual for us to read about a senior Yahoo executive leaving to either start, or work for a start-up. Some are joining venture firms, like Andrew Braccia who was Yahoo’s vice president of consumer web search, and just joined Accel Partners. Some describe Yahoo as Silicon Valley’s favorite farm team – for start-up talent.
And while startups keep poaching Yahoo folks on the left coast, in New York, it is new ad-partner Viacom’s MTV-unit that has become the favorite hunting ground for start-ups looking to staff up, and cash in on the Digital Media Bubble 2.0. (If almost $2 million a day in funding for nearly 15 months is not Bubble, then what is.)
Angel Gambino is the most recent one to say goodbye to MTV and join Bebo as the VP of Music at social networking site Bebo. Before her, some of the notable MTV exits include Jason Hirschhorn, MTV Networks’ chief digital officer who joined Sling Media in December 2006.
Nicholas Butterworth, the guy who ran MTV’s music-related sites, is now running his own start-up, Diversion Media. Then there is Joost, which raided the MTV coffers en masse. They snagged a trio of former MTV executives – David Clark (EVP, Global Advertising and GM North America), Yvette Alberdingkthijm (EVP, Content Strategy & Acquisition) and Henrik Werdelin (Chief Creative Officer) for pretty senior positions.
I am sure there are more, but what is it that makes MTV so attractive? For starters, MTV is one of the few traditional media outfits that has been experimenting with online destinations. Despite a mixed record, these folks have rolodexes that matter.
And with start-ups and venture capitalists throwing money (and stock options) around like there is no tomorrow, it is time for MTV execs to cash in and live dangerously – that is, give up the bonus culture till a big popping sound is heard across the video nation.