As I said when I announced we’d hired online journalism pioneer and folk hero Adam Penenberg as editor, we are not fucking around here at PandoDaily. I’m thrilled to announce an equally transformational hire for the company today. Keelin Linehan is joining us as director of operations.
Keelin had a short stint at a company called SocialChorus, but before that she was the head of creative and operations for Gawker Media. At Gawker she produced all custom ad programs for the Gawker Media Network.
Love or hate Gawker’s content, they’ve been one of the most innovative media companies in the world when it comes to product and monetization. If you’re gonna hire anyone from Gawker, you want someone from that part of the company. As Lockhart Steele said at our last board meeting, “Given how young the industry is, you pretty much couldn’t find a more relevant person in the world for what you need.”
I never intend to relinquish the role of CEO. Much like Charlton Heston and his rifle, you’ll have to pry it from my cold dead hands. (And really, I’m assuming he was buried with it.) But I’ve been trying to find someone to run the business side of PandoDaily pretty much since the moment I decided to start the company. Over the summer as our editorial team and voice came into sharper focus, we increasingly had people calling us and asking if they could give us money somehow. Jeanne Logozzo has done wonders with sponsorships, but we clearly needed someone full time setting the strategy and managing it on a day to day basis. What I really needed was a partner.
After months of meeting people who weren’t that magical fit, I knew within about 30 minutes that Keelin was it. She has a passion for using product innovation to make advertising more relevant — and hopefully more lucrative — than your standard banner ad.
And unlike many sales people I’ve worked with in my career, she also has a passion for journalism. She immediately got our vision and — more to the point– what makes it valuable to the right advertisers and sponsors. (Hint: It’ll never be a page view-based model.) She shares my view that to build a media company around influence, you need to turn down bad revenues, holding out for revenues that make sense. Not many sales people do.
We’re at a perfect size for someone like Keelin to join. We are young enough she can own the strategy, but big enough we have strong assets to sell against. She even lives a few blocks from me. The whole thing felt sort of ridiculously meant to be. Like a lot of startups, there was clearly some serendipity and luck at play here.
The move complements some other recent — and coming — changes with product and editorial here. On the editorial side, David Holmes recently joined us as our head of social media and experimental journalism. And long time Valley journalist Kevin Kelleher has been filling out our coverage on big companies that startups need to keep a close eye on. Some of his posts have already been among our highest trafficked.
And, as we said a few Sundays ago, we have a substantial redesign in the works. Your feedback to our survey was incredibly helpful on that. (To all the people who have asked recently, yes, we are still hiring reporters, but are primarily looking for experienced reporters in the Bay Area or who would like to relocate here. Email me directly at Sarah(at)pandodaily.com to apply.)
We have received a lot of nice compliments over the last month as our editorial voice has increasingly become sharper and our volume has increased. But trust me: There is much more to come from us before our first birthday next January.
Note: Keelin Linehan may be contacted at keelin [at] pandodaily [dot] com.