Into the jaws of an advertising recession comes the launch of the most hubristic media venture we've heard of: a "super-stealth new online company backed and funded by some legendary billionaires." The requirements for the top job go from laugh line to laugh line.The startup seeks a candidate who is an editor-in-chief at a top business magazine like Forbes, BusinessWeek, or Portfolio. All, mind you, based in New York. And yet he or she must live in San Francisco. Oh, and having worked at Yahoo, Google, or eBay is a "big plus." All of this to run a website targeted at "SMB" — advertiser jargon for "small and medium businesses." Most small-business publications fail to draw an audience, precisely because they think of their readers' businesses, contemptuously, as "small." Too bad. In every other way, these guys are dreaming impossibly big. This job description is curiously similar to one posted in October with the same Gmail address as a contact. The main difference? The newer listing plays up the billionaire backers, and no longer mentions that it is "bankrolled by a respected 50+ year old offline company." A 50-year-old company? Sounds way too old media. Here's the job listing:
Name-dropping old man James Brady is just about the oldest old man in all the working media. He's turning 80 on Saturday, so he decided to dedicate his Forbes column to that most interesting of topics: his own career. This is a slight departure from his usual practice of reciting as many names as he can in 800 words and being shocked about this modern age. Brady's learned a mess of things in his long, long media career; but "modesty" was not one of them: He's a lover:
Vastly overqualified for an administrative assistant job, yet willing to sublimate your ego by doing grunt work? Twitter CEO Ev Williams has a job for you. He and cofounder Biz Stone are seeking a "future entrepreneur" who's willing to make copies one day and invent a business model for the revenueless microblogging service the next. Here's the job listing:
Oh, swoon. Just when we thought we couldn't like him any more, Mad Men star Jon Hamm has to go and do a guest-spot on funniest show ever 30 Rock. As a potential love interest for Liz! So that's pretty great. He ably hosted Saturday Night Live last weekend, so we're confident he'll bring the funny. Is this guy on track to be the next George Clooney or what? He's charming and amiable but stern at times, has rugged good looks, and a relaxed but assured masculinity. He's got it all! Or does he... I mean, he's still living pretty modestly. The first season of Mad Men, given that it's an AMC show, probably didn't pay much and his second season contract most likely didn't give him a huge raise. Last we checked, he was living in Los Feliz and driving a leased Audi. So he's not quite tooling around his own Clooney Manor on Lake Como yet. Nor is Mad Men an enormous success or the Hamm name a household one. Yet. Actually he sort of reminds us of those young lads from Good Will Hunting who stood, some 11 years ago, poised to conquer the world. One went one way, the other another. And that has made all the difference. Mr. Hamm is, yes, about ten years older now than Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were when they broke out, but he's arguably at the same career crossroads. So now does he go the Affleck route and try to make his movie star name in cheesy blockbusters and just become a Big Famous Person? Or does he tread more stealthily, choosing diverse and difficult actor parts with fancy directors, like Damon did with The Talented Mr. Ripley and All The Pretty Horses. We know how all that turned out, so hopefully Hamm will take Damon route and do the art house pictures and become big ticket popcorn star. Just like Mr. Clooney, really, who zipped his way through good schlock (the Ocean's movies) and bad schlock (Batman & Robin) before he could really exercise some muscle and get his own creative pet projects made. Clooney has, really, the perfect acting career—a mixture of dark, substantive work and fun lighter fare—and Damon looks to be following ably in his footsteps. We hope that Hamm can do the same. Right now he's got both an indie and a big blockbustery thing in the can, so... two roads diverge.