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I want my MTV (Executive)

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i_want_my_mtv.jpgIt 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.

4 Responses to “I want my MTV (Executive)”

  1. thanks for the mention…

    some more former MTV folks:

    • Herb Scannell, former Chairman/CEO of Nickelodeon, now CEO of Next New Networks.

    • Joseph Varet, ex-BD guy for MTV, now CEO of

    • Dina Caplan, ex-MTV News, now COO at

    it’s all about the video!

  2. I’ll tell you that I recently made a big mistake by taking on an senior executive from a big brand portal, thinking that he’d be ideal for my startup…biggest mistake I ever made…the guys coming from these firms, especially the senior ones just don’t have what it takes to drive startups…they perform best in larger slower organisations

  3. Martin Cooley

    If I were a startup, I would stay away from the toxic waste that is Yahoo management “talent” (unless you want your startup to be just as floundering).

  4. interest to see how tech & media are converging these days. with myspace & youtube, the line between content and technology is blurring.

    will the content providers in NY and LA come out on top, or will the Bay Area tech companies dominate? Hard to say at this point. looks to be a three horse race between these three Geos (NYC, LA, SF/Silicon Valley) for the eyes, clicks and keystrokes of the Y generation.