If you wanted to get the inside track on where publishing and content are going, you’d be smart to talk to someone who founded one of the great media success stories of the 21st century, say the Huffington Post. It would also be nice if the same person had some old-world media experience (like being a senior executive at AOL/Time Warner), and he had proven his social-media acumen by starting companies such as Bitly.
Even better if this person of experience and gravitas had partnered with a junior guy, a go-getter who understood the tastes of the younger generation and was targeting them with niche content and e-commerce products, similar to what is happening on the Thrillist.
This dream team is Kenneth Lerer and his son, Ben, who run the angel investment firm Lerer Media Ventures in New York City. Yesterday, in a Paley Center for the Media program, they sat down to discuss their unique relationship (they actually get along), the start of the Huffington Post (a weapon to defeat Matt Drudge), their investment strategies (don’t pay attention to the competition) and the future of content.
On the latter point, they say, a publishing company stands a much greater chance of success if it is super niche, sells something that is closely aligned with that niche and is built on a strong and flexible technology foundation.