Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

One Time Inc. Casualty: Digital Boss Ned Desmond

Time Warner’s (TWX) Time Inc. still hasn’t figured out exactly how many people the magazine publisher will fire this fall–the 600 number the New York Times reported earlier this week, we’re told, is a guesstimate. But as Ann Moore and co. sort that out, they are moving ahead with plenty of high-level org chart changes, which are being laid in a series of text-heavy memos.

One of note for MediaMemo readers: The departure of Ned Desmond, a longtime Time Inc. vet who was most recent title was President of Time Inc. Interactive. Ned’s bio is here; nice-to-know-you memo from Ann Moore follows:

To:        Time Inc. Employees

From :   Ann Moore and John Squires

Re:       Staff Announcement

As a consequence of the organizational changes outlined yesterday, our longtime Time Inc. colleague, Ned Desmond, President of Time Inc. Interactive, is leaving the company.

Ned is leaving after 22 years with Time Inc. and having had one of the more distinctive careers we’ve seen. He distinguished himself as a correspondent for TIME in Asia for nearly a decade, serving as TIME bureau chief in both New Delhi and Tokyo, and then left to dabble in technology in Silicon Valley. He then returned to Time Inc. as a senior correspondent at FORTUNE under John Huey, and was later charged to start eCompany Now magazine and website, eventually to be named Business 2.0. After three years of hard labor in the midst of the tech blow out, John convinced him to leave his beloved northern California to run Time Inc. Interactive.

That was six years ago, and it’s bracing to recall how much ground Ned, his excellent TII team, and the company as a whole have covered in that short time. We went from being a digital backwater, or “black hole” as one Time Inc. notable once called it, to joining the highest ranks of digital media with great properties like, and, to name a few. Time Inc.’s digital leadership under Ned has been extraordinary. Our websites now receive more than 26 million unique visitors each month and we are one of the top 20 largest online media properties in monthly unique visitors, page views and time spent per user.

Ned played a leading role in creating the vision for our digital future while at the same time literally building that future by hiring many of our key digital leaders, developing more compelling consumer experiences on our sites, championing the use of metrics and audience development, raising our technology smarts, and wiring our businesses into the digital powerhouses at AOL, Yahoo, Google and elsewhere. In a way, Ned and his TII team succeeded so well at it that, well, there’s not much revolutionizing left to do. The time has arrived to move all the digital responsibility to the new teams in our new Business Units, where, to no surprise, many of the key leaders are folks Ned brought into the company.

We’re sorry to see Ned leave but he’ll always be remembered for his vast contributions in making Time Inc. a leading digital player.

Please join us in thanking Ned for his many contributions to Time Inc. and wishing him the very best.

A.M.                 J.S.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work