Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Kara Visits BabyCenter and Head Baby Tina Sharkey


We knew if we waited long enough to post this visit to the San Francisco offices of niche community site BabyCenter–where we also did an interview with its adult supervision Tina Sharkey–that we’d get something good to hang it off of.

Thanks then to Sharkey, who was recently installed as global president of the Johnson & Johnson-owned–yes, the Q-tips and baby oil and shampoo folks–baby site.

She told a crowd at the Momentum Conference last week that lots of people are clamoring to buy the site. Three calls a week even! (Our mother doesn’t even call us that much and BoomTown has–let us just say–a very attentive mother.)

At the event, Sharkey added that if BabyCenter was for sale–which she also said it was not!!!–the price would be from $500 million to $1 billion. But it’s not! But a BILLION! But J&J will not part with it (though analysts say it should)! But it’s not for sale. Even though, let’s just say it anyway: Billion-Dollar-Baby!

Who knows? Nonetheless, after buying it for $10 million in the dregs of bankruptcy in 2001 and just completing a retrofit of the infrastructure and management, J&J has a nice property on its hands, and it recently added via acquisition a social-networking site called Maya’s Mom.

And, to my mind, the best thing it has going for it is Sharkey, who is the no-nonsense pro with a most perfect name for an exec. She’s an ex-AOLer (with big stints as co-founder of iVillage and working with Barry Diller), who has been around the dot-com block a time or two, which is a good thing.

We talked about social networking, brands online and also the importance of niche focus.

Here’s my video of the visit to its offices in the trendy South of Market part of San Francisco, as well as a longer chat with Sharkey.

Biggest bummer: No babies and no billions!

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I’m a giant vat of creative juices.

— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo