Monster Hit
Can the man who perfected online job hunts build a new career for himself?
By David Whitford

(FORTUNE Small Business) – I can't talk too much about my new scenario," says Jeff Taylor, founder of, sitting down to breakfast at the Four Seasons, a short walk from his Boston apartment. Taylor is wearing a checkered orange shirt in a dining room filled with power suits and Hermès ties. His glasses are rectangular and black-rimmed; his hair is gooped; his chin, goateed. Except for the gray in his beard, he looks more like a 22-year-old than his actual age, 44. "I can tell you what I can tell you in about three sentences," he says. "I did a $2 million round, and basically there will be three parties: [Boston-based venture capital firm] General Catalyst, Monster, and myself. The new company is going to be called Eons Inc. The working tag line is 'To live for,' and I'm going to target the 50- to 100-year-old population." He stops. I wait. "There it is."

"That's all you're going to tell me?"

"That's a lot. That's way more than anybody else got."

We'll know the whole story soon enough: Eons launches Sept. 12. Meanwhile, Taylor is reveling in his status as that rare entrepreneur who can start a new business and immediately gain attention. Then again, he is an Internet Age icon, a former college dropout (he finally got a diploma at 40) who had a dream (literally, as in nocturnal) that inspired him in 1994 to launch a web business--online job listings, duh!--that blossomed into one of the original killer apps. "You had a convergence of secular changes," he explains. "The best employment market in maybe 50 years, the first new recruiting tool in probably 100 years, and a business environment that took a landscape of pods--U.S., Europe, Asia--and turned it all into one." The newspaper classifieds haven't been the same since.

Taylor's one tactical misstep may have been selling too soon to TMP Worldwide--an old-line yellow-pages ad agency--in 1995; he made only about $1 million. Under TMP's parentage, however, Taylor thrived, feeding the Monster with Super Bowl ad buys (you may recall his "When I grow up ... I want to be a yes man" spot) and flying billboards, and emulating his hero, Richard Branson, with stunts such as water-skiing behind the Monster blimp. Today TMP is known as Monster Worldwide, a nearly $900-million-a-year public company with a $3.5 billion market cap (and that's after the bust). Taylor made out okay in the end: His stake as of March 31 (not including options) was worth $13 million.

In the decade since he sold Monster, however, Taylor has grown bored. His hobbies--restoring Shelby Mustangs, deejaying at Boston nightclubs--were not enough to keep his mind occupied. He kept having ideas for businesses--while sleeping, while driving, while soaking in the shower. "Don't let anybody tell you how long you can take a shower," he advises me, dipping his French toast in maple syrup. "When you're in the shower, the two sides of your brain heat up side by side, and you have a tendency to allow your subconscious to come forward. Which creates an environment where you're more innovative." Then he concedes, "I have no psychological, physiological expertise here." One concept he's mulling over: fish farming. "I don't know why," he says. "It just feels so obviously the way things are going to go." Eons, I am fairly sure, will have nothing to do with fish. Nor will it be another job site; when Taylor gave up his $500,000 Monster salary (he stays an advisor), he signed a tight noncompete. "This one has more to do with timing in my life," he says, cryptically. "It has to do with the movement of baby-boomers through the system. [With Monster] I concentrated on helping people love their jobs. [Now] I'm going to help them love their lives."