Thursday, March 20, 2008

23 Million Dollar Idea

New York City has always been a magnet for oversize ambitions and big dreams. When Laurel Touby showed up here, in 1985, her fantasy was to become a successful writer. She imagined spending her days in a big loft, hobnobbing with artists and the urban literati. In reality, breaking into journalism was a difficult and lonely affair. So Touby started throwing parties to cheer herself up and meet other writers. Good move, because she wound up building her parties into, a hot job-posting and community site favored by journalists and media executives. So hot that last year, Touby sold her company to Jupitermedia, a digital content and research company, for $23 million.

I was born in Hawaii, and I grew up in Miami. I went to Smith College dreaming of becoming a writer. My father was the writer in my life, and I had put him on a pedestal. But I was forced to study economics by my grandfather. He was paying the tuition, and he wanted me to have a vocation.

I was the quintessential media outsider. If you look at the places the media elite all went to school, there is a commonality. They went to Harvard. They went to Brown. They went to Yale and Princeton. They got internships. I came to New York an unknown and unknowing.

Eventually, I got a job at Working Woman magazine. It wasn’t The New Yorker, but I was thrilled to write a caption under a photo or a little sidebar. And here’s the great part: I was learning about what made women’s businesses work.

At the same time, I was building a database of people. I looked at my career as a thing to nurture. You always want to send holiday cards. I went so far as to send Valentine’s Day cards. I was actively climbing. I call it making the best use of my resources.
Via-Virtual Entrepreneur

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