Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Neil Ashe Talks About Departure From CBS Interactive

After BoomTown broke the news earlier today that CBS Interactive President Neil Ashe was stepping down from his job, we had a little chitchat as to why and what’s next.

“We were at the end of a successful transition and integration with CBS,” said Ashe about the media giant’s $1.8 billion purchase of CNET Networks in mid-2008, in a phone interview with me. “And so it was time for a breath of fresh air for me.”

What that breath will be, Ashe would not specify yet, because he said he had not actually looked around for a new gig as his contract with CBS was nearing its end.

“I wanted to finish this first,” he said about his job at CBS Interactive.

And what this is, said 42-year-old Ashe, is a “unique combination of Internet native and the power of broadcast media.”

He noted that the “Internet is now electricity–always on and everywhere–which means it is not such a unique thing, and so you can do almost anything.”

When Ashe came to CNET in 2002, he said the company was losing tens of millions of dollars and had to prove to marketers that online ads worked.

“It has definitely not been a straight path from there to here, and we have seen as much confusion as you can throw at us,” he said. “And, if anything now, the pace of change is accelerating.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik