Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Media Consultant Michael Wolf Is a Media Consultant Again

It must be “hang out your shingle week” for big media vets.

First, CBS (CBS) digital dealmaker Quincy Smith and crew formally unveiled Code Advisors, the M&A shop they’ve been assembling for nearly a year. Now comes Michael Wolf, last seen in the halls of MTV Networks, where he was COO for a bit more than a year.

That was all the way back in 2007, but Wolf’s contract with Viacom (VIA) kept him more or less tied up until 2010. Now he’s opening up his own shop: Activate, a boutique media and tech consulting firm.

That’s a return to form for Wolf, who made his reputation as a tech-savvy media consultant at both Booz Allen and McKinsey (for a time capsule that’s also 100 percent up to date, see Kurt Andersen’s 1997 New Yorker profile of Wolf). He says he’s self-funding the operation, and won’t need to take on investors, as he already has paying clients (whom he won’t name).

He also has a co-worker: Anil Dash, the longtime veteran of blogging software pioneer Six Apart, who is now a director at Expert Labs. Dash says he’ll keep his job at the nonprofit, which is a sort of tech/good government mashup, and split his time between that and Wolf’s shop.

And yes, just because people still mix them up–Wolf is not Michael Wolff, the bomb-throwing media agitator/aggregator. That’s this guy.

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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