David Pogue Leaving The New York Times

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David Pogue

By the time most of you read this, I will be in Cuba without any Internet or email. Wish me luck. This is the first time ever that I will be disconnected. I may come back with a nervous tick. In any case, I am determined to make this trip and live through the challenge of not communicating with family, friends, or the office. No one will miss me as much as I will miss them.

On top of all this, I learned from friends in the industry, as well as early morning tweets, that David Pogue, the personal tech writer for The New York Times, is leaving the paper to join Yahoo.

This is a major shift for the tech industry. Pogue was the go-to man at The Times for anything you wanted to know about technology. Along with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher of AllThingsD, published by the Wall Street Journal, Pogue is iconic for his tech reporting and has a bigger audience/fan club than several other well-known writers combined.

Last month we learned that Mossberg and Swisher will be leaving the Wall Street Journal at the end of the year. The industry is playing checkers with the best tech writers in the United States. While no one will admit it, it all has to do with money. Newspapers are bleeding and tech writers who draw big audiences want to be handsomely compensated.

Yahoo is apparently willing to do that. Yahoo’s CEO, Marissa Mayer, has been romancing Pogue for some time. She is no fool! She is bringing in the stars to make Yahoo the ultimate news source. This is a repeat performance of when she acquired Tumblr. If you want to be the biggest and the best, then hire the talent.

Pogue, who was with The New York Times for 13 years, claims that Yahoo affords him the opportunity to publish columns, blogs, and videos about innovation, the likes of which we have never seen before.

Pogue spells it all out on his personal blog, the one that uses Tumblr of course.

Mazel Tov to all!

New Media Takes Over Old Media Office Space

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I had a good laugh yesterday when I read that Yahoo is going to occupy the 9th through 12th floors of the former headquarters of The New York Times on West 43rd Street. Suddenly, being in the Flatiron District, which is supposedly the hub of everything digital, is not of concern anymore. Tumblr, which Yahoo recently acquired for $1.1 billion, is located in “Silicon Alley,” on 21st Street between Park Avenue South and Broadway. Their plan is to remain there.

To that I say phooey. I bet they move uptown very quickly. I have often visited the Tumblr office. Sparse and humble are the best words I can use to describe it. I think I remember seeing a ping pong table somewhere in their office, but when a few of the 175 people see the new Yahoo office, they will never go home again. Yahoo plans to load the joint with the same attractions as in the Google and Facebook offices: outdoor terraces, cafeterias with endless food from around the world, lounge areas, meditation rooms, game areas, and media centers. David Karp, founder of Tumblr, may try to keep his autonomy for a certain period of time, but sooner rather than later, he will succumb to the midtown super-office space.

Personally, I think the whole pitch that digital companies should be strategically located downtown was good PR hype from some real estate developer. Certain companies believe if they are located in the thick of things, they will automatically become a big success. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Several friends of mine set up shop five years ago in Dumbo (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass), the digital/Internet area of Brooklyn. The area is loaded with startups and research centers. They actually believed if one company in Dumbo was successful, they all would be. All five companies went south within a few years. Every time we drive pass Dumbo, I feel so nostalgic that all my pals are gone from that vicinity.

I started noticing late last year that that the digital industry was maturing. Ten years ago most of the kids were in their early 20s. Today, many are married with kids of their own. Interestingly enough, older folks (40s, 50s, 60s) now work for Internet companies. Today, more and more people are interested in making companies successful rather than throwing hoops during office hours.

If you would have told me ten years ago that Yahoo would be replacing The New York Times in that legendary spot, I would have suggested that you were on drugs. I visited that building many times to pitch stories. I swear the building is filled with ghosts of some of the best newspaper people in the business. How fitting that Yahoo, a model of new journalism, would occupy the footprint of the most respected newspaper in the world.

All the news that’s fit to digitize.

Tech Titans Not So Proud of Dropping Out of School

A friend of mine asked me to counsel her grandson who doesn’t want to go to college. Instead, he would rather start his new Internet company that is going to focus on healthcare. He really has a good idea but I can’t spell it out. I signed a confidentiality agreement.

The 17-year-old has been talking about this since he was 13. He managed to write a business plan and convince enough angel investors to chip in a total of around $500,000. He is raring to go.

His parents have agreed to let him skip college for a year, but they are convinced that he will never finish his higher education. The grandfather said there is a lot of tension with graduation coming up, and he hates visiting his children and grandchildren while this is still unresolved.

I am meeting with the grandson soon. The date has not been set. I am not afraid of the conversation because I just want to give him my personal experience and that of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and now David Karp. Karp is the founder of Tumblr who just sold his company to Yahoo for $1.1 billion dollars last Friday.

Coincidentally, I am came across a Forbes video interview that asked Karp if he was glad he dropped out of Bronx High School of Science to follow his dream. His answer is profound. I encourage you to watch the video to hear what Karp has to say. First of all, he is very articulate, poised, eloquent, and super cute. All the more reason to listen to his wisdom and be ready to answer any young person who may ask you for advice.

Karp’s answer is pretty much similar to those of the other names I mentioned above. I heard their answers many times over the years. File this for good measure.

If you Google Tumblr or Yahoo you can read all about the acquisition. Every media outlet covered it. Tumblr brings 50 billion blog posts (with 75 million more arriving each day) to Yahoo’s media network and search experiences. Tumblr has more than 300 million monthly unique visitors and 120,000 signups every day. The blogging and social media site is one of the fastest-growing media networks in the world, seeing 900 posts per second and 24 billion minutes spent on its site each month. More than half of Tumblr’s total users are using the mobile app and do an average of seven sessions per day. Its tremendous popularity and engagement among creators, curators, and audiences of all ages brings a significant new community of users to the Yahoo network.

The combination of Tumblr plus Yahoo is expected to grow Yahoo’s audience by 50 percent to more than a billion monthly visitors, and to grow traffic by approximately 20 percent.

I guess that is worth $1.1 billion.

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Isn’t David Karp a cutie?

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We Never Had It So Good

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When we were in our 20s and 30s, no one was concerned about our work environment. We were just thrilled to get a paycheck.

Today, maturing digital companies in Silicon Valley, Seattle, and even New York, are literally building country clubs as offices in order to attract creative talent who are willing to work long hours.

Continue reading

$30 Million to a 17-Year Old? Not So Fast

Nick D’Aloisio, creator of Summly

Nick D’Aloisio, creator of Summly

Last week, DigiDame told you about Yahoo buying a news-aggregator for $30 million that had been created by a 17-year-old student. Turns out the story may not have such a happy ending. News just broke that there may be a copyright situation going on.

Continue reading

Just Give Me the Facts, Stop Boring Me with the Details

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Nick D’Alosio

When I was 17 years old, I was still trying to figure out how to take the subway to Manhattan by myself from Hollis, Queens much less selling a company I started a few years earlier to one of the best known brands in the country. Continue reading

Dear Todd, Here is my Apple vs. Yahoo Response to Your Earlier Post

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook

My friend Todd brought up an excellent point this morning after reading my post on Marissa Mayer’s order for all Yahoo employees to report to work.

This is what Todd said, Continue reading

You Can’t Have Interactions and Experiences with Co-Workers from Home

Under One Roof

Under One Roof

In one of the biggest decision reversals in the digital world, Marissa Mayer, new CEO of Yahoo, decisively told her employees over the weekend that all remote employees better start checking in on a full-time basis at company headquarters by June. “You have to have interactions and experiences with co-workers, and that can only happen at the Yahoo offices.” This statement is so “yesterday” that I just can’t imagine that they stick to this plan. There is probably a major revolution brewing within the walls of Yahoo. Continue reading

How Google Got Its Name

Marissa Mayer

Marissa Mayer

In case you didn’t know it, the new CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer, was one of the first people to work at Google when it was first established. Mayer started an uproar last Friday when she told all of the Yahoo employees they now have to work on site at the company headquarters, no longer with home privileges: No excuses! If you can’t work from the Yahoo office, then please quit and go away.

Mayer has been on the job for less than six months. Read all about why she wants all Yahoo employees under one roof in the next post. Meanwhile, watch this video by clicking here to find out why Google is called Google and how difficult was it for her to be a woman in tech at the very beginninng of this fascinating company. Martha Stewart asks the questions.