40 years old
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How Tom and I got together
We met in 2000. Tom (see Tom's profile) was deep in student debt and answered an ad to earn $20 testing a product for Xdrive, a data-storage company where I was head of sales and marketing. He hated the Xdrive product. I liked Tom's candor and offered him a job. Tom asked me, 'What do I do?' I said, 'Go figure out how to make money.'
How we started MySpace
Xdrive ended up in bankruptcy, but our second venture, an Internet marketing firm called Response Base, took off. Within a year we sold it to an outfit called eUniverse for several million dollars and joined the company. Around this time, in late 2002, Tom decided that social networking should be our next big bet. We launched MySpace in 2003, inviting local bands and club owners to post pages and allowing other users to become their "friends." I remember those early days when we had time to go to the Viper Room and other clubs to check out new music every week. It was pretty much a great way to work. The bands turned out to be our best marketing tool. All these creative people became ambassadors for MySpace by using us as their de facto promotional platform. People like to talk about music, so the bands set up a natural environment to communicate.
Why we sold to News Corp.
We always envisioned MySpace as a global portal. We and our parent company, which had been renamed Intermix Media, needed capital to keep up with MySpace's torrid growth. But we were wary about submerging our anti-authority site to, well, authority. When I fist met with Ross Levinsohn, who heads News Corp.'s Fox Interactive Media unit, at a Starbucks in Santa Monica, I told him that I worried about losing the brand, the personality, the culture. And losing it to vast, conservative News Corp., at that! Levinsohn pushed back. He said, "Don't think of us as a big, stodgy media company." News Corp., he pointed out, distributes the Simpsons, the Family Guy, 24 - "very edgy, risk-taking stuff." When I went to see Murdoch in his office, I turned around. Murdoch vowed, "We're not going to tell you how to run the site."
Life at MySpace
We've gotten a dose of reality. We don't own the site anymore. Despite our resistance, News Corp. moved us from Santa Monica, a block from the beach, to Beverly Hills, with their more than 20 other Internet businesses. The upside of News Corp. ownership: having that deep-pocketed parent to back our best ideas.
We have 20 new products in development, including VoIP, 11 new international sites, and MySpace News. Unlike news on Yahoo or MSN, MySpace News would revolve around user profiles: 'Here are my favorite publications. This says something about me.' Several e-commerce deals - including a likely partnership with eBay or Amazon - are in the works. So is a MySpace Sports site and MySpace Fashion. MySpace users will be able to buy and sell ringtones, music and video downloads, clothing - it could be a lot of different things. We're also upgrading MySpace's photo- and video-storage capabilities to compete with the likes of YouTube and Yahoo's Flickr.
Here for: Networking, Friends
Hometown: Portland, OR
Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California
Degree: Master's Degree
University of Washington - Seattle Campus Seattle, Washington