At the end of this week’s SMX West conference in San Jose, I’m leaving Third Door Media. This is a positive move, and I’m looking forward to TDM’s continued growth and success during the coming years. This journey started when I first met Danny Sullivan in 1998, at the Internet Librarian conference in San Diego. He was the keynote speaker, and his topic was a bit of an eye-opener for most attendees. A couple of years earlier he had published a landmark study called A Webmaster’s Guide to Search Engines. Unlike other speakers who spoke about how to find information using these tools, Danny’s focus was on the steps website owners could take to gain visibility in search results.
At the time, this novel concept was akin to putting the cart before the horse. Most attendees had heard of AltaVista, Excite, Infoseek, Lycos, Yahoo and others (not Google, as it wouldn’t appear on the scene for two more years). Most were far more familiar with the workings of systems like Dialog, Dow Jones, InSite and other proprietary, subscription-based services that weren’t generally available to web users. Needless to say, the audience was buzzing after he ended his speech.
After his talk, we hung around and talked for an hour or so, and kept in touch after that. He’d often help me out with articles I wrote as the Mining Company (later About.com) websearch guide. Then in 2001, he asked me to join him as the associate editor of Search Engine Watch, and one of the most fulfilling partnerships of my professional life began.
That lasted until August 2006, when Danny opted to let his contract with then-owner Incisive Media lapse. Two months later, Danny and Chris Elwell (who had been Managing Director at Internet.com, and the person responsible for buying Search Engine Watch) invited me to be a partner in the new company they were starting called Third Door Media. I jumped at the chance and have thoroughly enjoyed the ride over these past 13 years.
One of the most appealing aspects of Third Door Media’s culture is our support of and interaction with the online marketing community. I’ve had the chance to work with literally thousands of talented writers and speakers over the years, and I’m very grateful for all of the insights and learning I’ve absorbed from you. Thank you all.
I’ve been very lucky over the past two decades to be involved with organizing conferences not just here in the U.S., but in Toronto, London, Stockholm, Milan, Munich, Paris, Sydney, Melbourne and Nanjing and Xiamen in China. It’s been a blast traveling the world and sharing knowledge with others from a wide range of cultures.
I’ve also been lucky in having the opportunity to meet and interview many industry pioneers and leaders. People like Larry Page and Sergey Brin, “father of the Internet” Vint Cerf, Microsoft CEOs Satya Nadella and Steve Ballmer, and many others through the years. It’s been a humbling experience getting to meet the people who have led the growth of our industry from infancy into the mega-industry it is today.
And last, but absolutely not least, we have an amazing team of 40+ employees at Third Door Media. It’s been a pleasure to work with these talented and dedicated individuals, and I’m going to miss interacting with you all. Again, many, many thanks for everything you do and have done to contribute to the success of the company. And stay in touch!
For final words, it seems both appropriate and timely to end with a quote from one of my role models as a kid, Edward R. Murrow: Good night and good luck.
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