Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Henry Blodget Is Quietly Planning a Stunning Return to Wall Street

henry blodgetKind of!

Business Insider’s co-founder and editor is the subject of a Ken Auletta profile in this week’s New Yorker, which means Henry Blodget is now in some rarefied media mogul air (see: Rupert Murdoch, Bill Gates, Sheryl Sandberg, etc.)

And at the end of Auletta’s piece, which you should be able to read here soon, Blodget tells Auletta he would like to come back to Wall Street, where he has been barred from working since his 2003 SEC settlement. Or at least he’d like the option:

“Ten years ago, I got what amounted to a dishonorable discharge from the industry, and I’ve always been ashamed of that. At some point, if it seems appropriate, I would like to explore the possibility of being reinstated.”

So there you go.

Is this an attempt at an attention-grabbing way of summarizing an extensively reported story someone else produced? Yep! And am I going to (respectfully) aggregate the rest of this piece? Of course!

  • Henry Blodget says he was a “loner” when he went to Yale in the mid-80s. His extra-curricular activities included tennis, chess, frisbee, rock-climbing, a capella singing and studying for a pilot’s license.
  • Business Insider, which claimed revenue of $5 million in 2011, lost $3 million in 2012.
  • TBI chairman Kevin Ryan says the company will do $11 million this year (last summer someone told the WSJ the company would do $12 million in 2012); he says the site has only spent $7 million of the $13 million it has raised.
  • Though Comscore pegs the site’s traffic at 9 million, Blodget tells Auletta that his Google Analytics numbers are at 24 million unique monthly users, many of whom come from outside the U.S.
  • If you’ve spent a lot of time thinking and reading about Henry Blodget, you won’t find a lot that is new here. But Auletta is thorough, and does a particularly good job of explaining Blodget’s Wall Street past, and its context. So the time you put in on the 7-page piece is most definitely worth it.
  • I’m quoted in the piece a couple of times, accurately. I still own a few shares of Business Insider. So I hope if it is acquired by a big media company, as a board member predicts will happen one day, it’s for a lot of money.

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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