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What do you do, when all your life you have chased scoops, and then got scooped on your own news? You tip the hat to the person who beat you to your own story. As kids would call it, I got punked by Valleywag.
I wanted to wait till end of this month, to announce my decision to strike out on my own, and my role within Business 2.0 going forward. I wanted to call people I love and respect, and tell them individually. An archaic notion in this era of email, IM and broadband – but still! And then life happened. I will get to my future plans later in this post, but for a few minutes indulge me.
How do you leave a magazine, which has been part of your life for over three years? How do you put a full stop to a process that has helped you become a better writer, a better journalist, and a better person? How do you end relationships you have formed over that period? You don’t. And when my editor, Josh Quittner, made me an offer to write a column and be a contributing editor, it did not even take a second for me to say yes. I have often said, that ink not blood runs in my veins, and I love magazines.
So why leave? Two reasons!
Vincent, in response to a post on the site, had said, “Remember what they say folks: those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” I have written about start-ups for so long, and have always wanted to see if I had the chops to build something from scratch. With well wishes and support of my community, I hope I can.
The other reason is the fundamental change in the media consumption patterns. In the past, I worked for Forbes.com, arguably one of the more successful media properties on the web, and learnt some vital lessons about online media. From the mid-1990s to today, we have seen some stellar brands emerge such as News.com. They are living proof that large online media properties are a viable business.
And just as Internet spawned these brands, broadband is bringing about a fundamental change in the way people consume information. Blogs are a part of it, just like video sharing sites, or Digg.com or Newsvine. You have mash-ups and maps. You have open APIs to play around with. In other words, the entire ecosystem is going through a change. This change represents opportunity.
A few years ago, I wrote about the rise of the micropubs, and how that could help one or two person editorial teams to be successful building niche media properties. Paidcontent’s Rafat Ali has been a pioneer of micro-pubs, and then we have Mike Arrington and Techcrunch, celebrating its first anniversary today. (Congrats, Mike!)
Their success has given me strength to make the decision to go out and try something of my own. While I will be devoting more time to GigaOM’s content, I have some other ideas including developing web services that enhance the experience of my reader community. You will see these ideas unfold over a period of time, and hopefully you will enjoy them as much I would in creating them. Unlike those of you who are blessed with the smarts, I have to bring in outside help – smart engineers and code jocks. Thus, the need for some venture funding.
Perhaps, I am burying the lead (my B2 editors would say – there he goes again.) I have raised a tiny amount of money from True Ventures, a new very early stage fund based here in Silicon Valley. (The amount remains undisclosed.)
Tony Conrad, co-founder of Sphere.com and Toni Schneider, CEO of Automattic and a partner at True Ventures, introduced me to Jon Callaghan, general partner at True VP. I had met Toni when I wrote about his start-up, Oddpost a while ago. While reporting the story, I met Conrad, and we got to know each other well.
I had gone around and met with a lot of venture capitalists in the valley, who gave me some stellar feedback, and helped me craft a game plan. When I ran it by Tony and Toni, he suggested that perhaps it was time for me to meet with Phil Black and Jon Callaghan. They liked what I had to say, and decided to make their new fund’s first ever investment in GigaOM.
It is a big change for me, and hopefully all of you – my super-smart readers who have also become friends – will join me in this journey, and offer me advice, guidance and tips. It wouldn’t be fun otherwise.