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Jim Lanzone Leaves Ask to Join Redpoint Ventures as Entrepreneur in Residence

Rustybrick reports that Jim Safka has taken over as CEO of and that Jim Lanzone has joined Redpoint Ventures as an entrepreneur in residence. Some point to the recent increase traffic at traffic and ask why? It’s hard to tell exactly what terms Jim left under, nevertheless it’s great to see that he either left on his own or was given time to set up this new gig at Redpoint Ventures (if so class move by Mr. Diller). I promise not to overload you with business plan ideas right away but hey reach out to me via phone sometime soon…

In theory, the email admin guy only has to change the email account password – but time will tell there. πŸ™‚

Mr. Safka is notable as the first Top 10 MBA executive of a major search engine (someone correct me if I’m wrong on this) and he gets points in my book for having spent time in Chicago as well as his Top 10 MBA is from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

IAC / gave full text bios of Mr. Safka and other executive appointments:

Jim Safka has been named CEO of Effective immediately, he will oversee’s global operations. He will also continue in his role as CEO of Primal Ventures, a new-venture entity that identifies seeds and incubates business opportunities for IAC.

Mr. Safka, 39, served as CEO of from 2004 to 2006. Under his leadership, the company grew revenue and operating income before amortization at an annual rate of 25% and 52% respectively. Today, has more than 15 million members in 35 countries. Prior to, he held senior management roles at AT&T Wireless and E*TRADE Financial Corporation, and brand and product management positions at Intuit, Alberto-Culver, Inc., Warner Bros. Inc., and Paramount Pictures. Mr. Safka holds an MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a BS in accounting from the University of Southern California.

Scott Garell has been named President of, where he will report to Mr. Safka and manage daily business operations worldwide. Since 2005, Mr. Garell has been CEO of IAC Consumer Applications & Portals. Under his leadership the Consumer Applications and Portals businesses (including Fun Web Products, Portals, Evite and Pronto) have grown by 74% in the past 3 years.

Prior to his role as CEO of IAC Consumer Applications & Portals, Mr. Garell, 42, served as Executive Vice President of domestic sites and search, where he managed the division’s destination sites (, iWon, and My Way), as well as the optimization of its proprietary information retrieval technologies and products across all brands. Mr. Garell joined IAC Search & Media in April 2004 as Senior Vice President of Marketing. Formerly, Mr. Garell served in senior roles at Computer Associates, Citysearch and Clorox. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in political economy from the University of California at Berkeley.

John Park will replace Mr. Garell and is named President of IAC Consumer Applications and Portals, which includes Smiley Central, Webfetti, Zwinky, My Fun Cards, CursorMania, Popular Screensavers,, iWon, and My Way. Mr. Park is currently Executive Vice President and General Manager of Toolbars and Portals at IAC Consumer Applications & Portals and has served in various senior management roles in the company since 1999. Under his leadership, the Fun Web Products Business has become one of the fastest growing businesses at IAC.

Mr. Park, 38, joined IAC Search; Media from Interactive Search Holdings, which he joined in 1999 as Group Vice President of Product Management and where he was responsible for the original development of and, as well as the revamping of following the 2001 acquisition of the brand from @Home. Prior to ISH, Mr. Park held senior product development and management roles at Ameritrade, Prodigy Services and New York Web. He earned a BS in Information Systems and Management from New York University.

Peter Horan, CEO of IAC Media and Advertising since January 2007, will continue to oversee IAC Advertising Solutions as well as Evite, Pronto, IAC Mobile and Ask Sponsored Listings.

Mr. Horan, 52, has spent more than 30 years in media and advertising. As CEO of he pioneered the company’s turnaround and its sale to The New York Times Company. He served as President & CEO of, an Internet media company that was later acquired by JupiterMedia Corporation. Mr. Horan spent 10 years at International Data Group, a global technology media company, where he spearheaded relationships with top advertisers and served as Senior Vice President and Publisher of Computerworld. Prior to that, he spent more than 15 years in senior account management roles at leading advertising agencies, including BBDO and Ogilvy & Mather.

I look forward to meeting and learning about all these new senior executives and their plans. Good luck to Jim Lanzone, Jim Safka and everyone else in their new roles.

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Chicago Tribune User Generated Content Pioneer Terrence Elijah Armour Passes Away








(Chicago Tribune photo of Terry Armour shaking Sam Zell’s hand by Charles Osgood / December 20, 2007)

The Chicago Tribune has communicated that Terry Armour has passed away. This is both sad and shocking as Terry Armour was so relatively young and full of life in every thing that he did. You can see how much he was loved by his coworkers and the public so clearly in the stories readers have told.

Chicago Blackhawks beat writer Chris Kuc discusses Terry’s universal appeal:

People knew him by sight, and if they didn’t, they instantly recognized him as soon as they heard his distinctive voice. And Terry enjoyed that. He relished being recognized and loved talking with people, whether he knew them or was meeting them for the first time. Sitting with Terry in the Stadium Club during a Sox rain delay would bring a steady stream of admirers by the table, ranging from celebrities to fans to concession-stand workers. It prompted me to once ask him, “Is there anyone you don’t know?” He said, “I don’t think so.”

These tributes are emotional and show his personality. But they miss his most under appreciated quality – encouraging interaction with people, listening to their thoughts and creating stories from these interactions. He lived user generated content long before the term was fashionable. My favorite experience with Terry was in 2003. I had breakfast with a friend and his column that day asked for people to send in thoughts on their favorite horror flick of all time. I jokingly said to my friend “Cubs NLCS Series 2003” (the year of Steve Bartman). My friend said, “You should email that answer in to Terry”. What you see below is the email thread (read it from the bottom up) where he eventually joked that I was trying to take his job!

Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 16:54:21 -0500 [10/20/2003 05:54:21 PM EST]
From: “Armour, Terry” <>
To: Me
Subject: RE: Favorite horror flick
Headers: Show All Headers

jeez, what are you trying to do, take my job? funny stuff. i’ve got to get
the sequel stuff in there, too.

—–Original Message—–
From: Me
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 4:52 PM
To: Armour, Terry
Subject: RE: Favorite horror flick

Finally, you already know that there is a sequel in the making…FOR
SURE…you just have no idea when or where it will appear on your screen…

OK, that’s it, I’m done with that, it’s taken it’s full course.

Quoting “Armour, Terry”:

boom shakalaka, thanks d……..

—–Original Message—–
From: Me
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 4:42 PM
To: Armour, Terry
Subject: RE: Favorite horror flick

“Why create fiction when reality is far more frightening?”

(just so you have my reasoning down) πŸ™‚

Quoting “Armour, Terry”:

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…..dude, this rocks. you
made it. you will be in on sunday. christ, that’s pretty effing funny.

—–Original Message—–
From: Me
Sent: Monday, October 20, 2003 4:36 PM
To: Armour, Terry
Subject: Favorite horror flick

Cubs NLCS Series 2003

The article which he eventually printed that I can’t seem to find online (maybe the Tribune can help out) but I remember it saying “Let it go, Dave. Let it go.” as a mocking reference to the Cubs and Steve Bartman. That friend who asked me to email Terry still says “Let it go, Dave. Let it go.” to me about things all the time! It’s my most personal interaction with Terry, but it’s where I noticed how he turned to others to create user generated content. I noticed this pattern of user contributions in so many of his future articles. So my friend, I thank you for your contributions and let you go onto that great newspaper in the sky…

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San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Commission Increases Nightly and Weekend Service in 2008

I’m planning an upcoming trip to San Francisco and I was startled by the massive difference in both service level and tone between BART and the CTA. As you likely know, the CTA here in Chicago is threatening major service cuts and fare increases($1.75 to $2.25 with transit card):

Due to insufficient state funding, the CTA will be forced to raise fares and eliminate service on January 20, 2008.

The CTA will eliminate 81 of its 154 bus routes; lay off more than 2,400 employees; and raise fares to record levels. In addition, with more than 700 fewer buses operating due to the bus route eliminations, the CTA will close three of its eight garages. Service on the remaining routes will be provided by other locations.

The CTA is fighting for funding to avoid these cuts. Contact your state legislators and tell them how important mass transit is to you. Go to (UPDATE -site isΒ  offline 7/2009) for more information.

Meanwhile, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit Commission (BART) is scheduling a 33% increase in service while increasing fares a nominal amount (about 5%):

“Just as everyone is winding down with their holiday gift giving, we’re going to deliver our customers a goody bag of great service,” BART Board President Lynette Sweet said. “We hope our plans for richer service will put a big smile on the faces of all our 360,000 weekday riders.”

Starting January 1, 2008, BART riders will see enhanced service including:

  • More trains, more often after 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday & all the time Sunday
  • Double the trains to most stations on the San Francisco International Airport (SFO)/Millbrae extension
  • Faster commutes times and direct service from Millbrae to downtown San Francisco
  • Earlier start time for train service to SFO

The new schedule change will mean more frequent service after 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and all the time on Sunday. During this time period trains will run every 15 minutes instead of every 20 minutes.

“That’s a 33% increase in service,” BART General Manager Dorothy Dugger said. “We’re extremely excited to be able to offer the same frequency of service at night that our customers currently enjoy during the day. This will be a boon for drivers who are becoming increasingly frustrated with nighttime and weekend traffic jams. We have plenty of parking during this time, giving people a greater incentive to avoid the traffic tie ups, save the environment, jump on BART and enjoy a hassle-free ride.”

Starting January 1, the popular Pittsburg/Bay Point (Yellow) line will begin serving SFO at all times while the Richmond (Red) line will go directly into Millbrae Station starting January 2 (January 1, BART will run on a Sunday schedule). This means that commuters going from Millbrae to downtown San Francisco will see a six-minute (16%) drop in their travel time.

Which region is truly more green? Which region is more focused on quality of life? It’s amazing how two similar web sites in terms of function can send such massively different messages, isn’t it?

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Snowy Chicago Blogger Brunch

Several Chicago area bloggers, including Joi Podgorny, Liz Strauss and Jean Russell joined out of town visitor Tara Hunt for some breakfast grub at Over Easy where the delightful server Gwen brought us quite tasteful helpings quite flavorful food!

Though I’ve exchanged many emails with Tara before, I had never met her in person. After the meal we chatted and did some shopping. It was really nice talk to Tara as our conversation was focused and introspective – the kind of conversation that makes both people better for it, it was fun. Great fun with everyone chatting about things they are working on and things they want to achieve in 2008 and beyond.

Thanks to everyone who came out on a snowy Chicago morning (and those who didn’t) for some blogger bonding! May many future trackbacks take place…

Tara and Joi are fans of the site Ma.gnolia, is anyone else out there a big fan? I might have to try it out.

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Illinois Traffic Alert System Launches

I’m going to O’hare airport today to pick someone up, so as usual I check the Chicago area traffic page. I noticed something new in the upper right hand corner that stated IDOT free email alert system is available at

What you’ll find on that site is a rather revolutionary tool that allows you to set a custom alert for the expressway of your choice based on traffic speed. If the data is accurate this could be highly useful. Let’s say you normally leave to go somewhere at 6:45AM based on normal traffic. This tool apparently allows you to set up a 6:15AM alert if the road was moving below 20MPH so you could start your trip earlier. Sure this tool could still be more granular in both speed and in picking the exact section of road you want on that expressway but this trend towards a self-service, but a micro-controlled alert is nothing short of revolutionary compared to the traffic radio mass distribution model.

Chicago area commuters can now set up their own alerts here. I’d be interested in hearing about people’s usage stories and potential suggestions in the comment section, perhaps IDOT is listening. πŸ™‚

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Downtown Chicago Marshall Field’s Rally Sunday

200px-Marshall_Field's_logo.svgCHICAGO – You’ve seen me write about the Marshall Field’s name change in the past. I only have one thing to add at this time that should send a chill down your spine:

I’ve learned that certain merchandise that was once carried by Kmart, yes Kmart, is now carried in the landmark Marshall Field’s store that is presently labeled Macy’s.

There will be a rally at noon Sunday to bring back the great name of Marshall Field’s, prior to the NY Gaints game against the Bears in downtown Chicago (60602).

Jim McKay had this to say about the Black Friday Marshall Field’s protest:

How successful was it? Over 8,000 leaflets and over 1,300 buttons were distributed on State Street over the two days. Friday’s distribution exceeded our previous busiest day (Saturday, December 23, 2006) by roughly two-and-a-half times! Part of this was due to an unprecedented number of shoppers on State Street. Another part of this was simply those former Field’s shoppers who came to check out what was happening in the building that used to house their favorite store and were unhappy. They came in droves to get leaflets in buttons. At more than a few times, people stood in line to get leaflets and buttons from us. A couple of times, the lines were 10-12 people wide, although 5-7 people wide was more typical. That’s right–people waiting in line for buttons that say, “Forever Marshall Field’s” and leaflets explaining why it is important to continue boycotting Macy’s until Marshall Field’s is restored in service and quality as well as name. It was quite unprecedented. What’s more, there were those who picked up a leaflet or button or both and then came back minutes for even hours later with other family and friends to get more.

Amazingly, it appears the movement to bring back Marshall Field’s seems to be growing stronger over time in Chicago!200px-Marshall_Field's_logo.svg