Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

SmartNow’s Julie Wainwright Speaks!

Recently, Julie Wainwright came to visit AllThingsD HQ (also known as BoomTown’s abode) to talk about her newest venture.

Wainwright, as many recall, was the former CEO of Web 1.0’s most memorable flameout–Pets.com.

While a lot of the attention it garnered was probably undeserved–after all, Pets.com was no worse than a lot of goofy start-ups out there, except for its irksome sock puppet mascot–Wainwright will forever be linked with the failed e-commerce company.

Nonetheless, the longtime Web exec–before Pets.com, she was CEO of Berkeley Systems and also Reel.com–has just launched SmartNow.com.

The site is a far cry from shipping bags of kibble–aimed at women 35 to 55 and using Web 2.0 features and lots of video to deliver information on health issues, self-improvement, spirituality, nutrition, fitness and a range of other topics.

SmartNow uses experts–such as doctors, dieticians, diet coaches, inspirational writers, psychologists, fashion and beauty professionals, and even humorists–as well as letting users and women’s groups deliver personal stories.

That includes, for example, Melissa Bates, who tells of her bout with breast cancer in a gripping video.

The 51-year-old Wainwright got the inspiration for the site from her own personal efforts and challenges–including shutting down Pets.com and struggling through a divorce right after that.

While looking for helpful info, she noticed that there were few sites aimed at women like her, so she decided to start one. Self-funded, Wainwright says she is now talking to some angel investors.

Here’s Wainwright talking about her new start-up:

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald