Blog


Digital media has become all about the head and not enough about the heart. Magazines, newspapers and television have always been tactile and emotional. Once upon a time, a publisher would drop his magazine on a marketers desk and it landed with a thud.  Readers looked longingly at cars or clothing displayed in high resolution on a glossy page. Marketers took pride when they saw their ad on a right hand page far forward.  And, when...

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Most publishers realized several years ago that business as usual doesn’t work any more. However that realization hadn’t initially come with any useful ideas about what would work.  It was easy enough to complain about the rise of the platforms, the cannibalization of audiences, and erosion of the premium display business. My project for the last seven or eight years has been to identify the components of a profitable...

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I can’t pretend to be objective about Topix or the job that Chris Tolles, their CEO, has done. I am part of the team and Chris’s number one fan. After a strong ten year run as a news aggregator and community discussion board site, the business was challenged by changes in the marketplace. Rather than bitch and moan as some managers would and have done, Chris and his team re-engineered the business.  It’s now several times bigger and...

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Horan MediaTech Advisors is excited to announce that we have invested in local news startup, Spirited Media, and that Peter Horan will be joining their board of directors. Although many are concerned about the future of local news, we believe that now is the perfect moment to invest our cash and our effort into a very promising startup run by a team that we love. Although we are just formalizing our relationship with Spirited Media,...

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I have recently believed that executives should watch more disaster movies and read fewer business books. Granted, I think that most business books are simplistic and redundant, but my biggest beef is that they do little to prepare executives for the titanic changes that seem to be occurring with greater rapidity. Instead they wallow in trivial incrementalism. In a sense, they pat executives on the back and pass out participation...

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Is it the best of times? Or the worst of times? Are ad tech and performance marketing companies crushing it? Or are the on the edge of a precipice? There are people arguing all sides of the question and an ocean of data to support any viewpoint. Last week, I had the chance to lead a discussion on the state of performance marketing at the Luma Partners Digital Marketing Summit in Menlo Park. This conversation was doubly interesting (at...

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