After nearly 4 years as the lead interactive Product
Manager and the head of mobile I left my position with Zagat Survey last month
to join About.com. I'm extremely proud
of what I accomplished with my colleagues and partners during my tenure. ZAGAT.com has evolved from merely an HTML
rendering of the printed guide to a beautifully designed rich internet
application. And the launch of
ZAGAT.mobi has been a huge success culminating for me with the inclusion in an
iPhone commercial in my last weeks with the company.
Some people have asked me whether I left because of the imminent sale of the company. This wasn't really a factor for me. I actually think it will be good for the company and (most) employees. I hope that they find a partner or acquiror who has demonstrated superior success in digital media and who can use that expertise, and a greater stomach for the necessary investment, to further extract the digital potential of Zagat. There's a lot more room for growth. My leaving was really about finding new opportunities and challenges with more space to grow.
In joining About.com I'm taking on the role of Director of Product Management for ConsumerSearch.com, a product review site that About.com and the New York Times Company acquired last May. The model is that we use writers and editors to write comparison reports and make product recommendations using the best editorial and user review sources on the web. Think Consumer Reports meets Metacritic meets About.com. I really believe in the model because despite the vast troves of information that the Web 2.0 and user-generated content movements have created, people, now more than ever, need filters (see Newsweek's recent "Revenge of the Experts"). In many ways this is the same principle at the core of the Zagat methodology.
What attracted me most to this position was that The New York Times Company has committed to investing significantly in ConsumerSearch.com this year and I will be leading the efforts to relaunch the brand and redesign the site. I'm already neck-deep and extremely excited.
Though my professional life no longer involves restaurants or mobile content, you'll likely still hear from me on those topics as they're both still a big part of my personal life. We'll see what new topics my new role brings out.
Onward and upward ...