This is a fantastic opportunity in many ways. Perhaps what’s most appealing to me is the direction the Guardian is going — they are totally focused on building a great online business, and it all starts with great journalism. As Jeff Jarvis reported from a management meeting there about a year ago,
“Alan Rusbridger, editor-in-chief of the Guardian, told the staff of his newspaper that now ‘all journalists work for the digital platform’ and that they should regard ‘its demands as preeminent.’…They issued a set of principles to work by. And this was surrounded by much deserved — in my biased opinion — back-patting for good journalism and innovation and, from managing director Tim Brooks and company head Carolyn McCall, for business progress.”
In addition, being owned by a trust committed to preserving the core values of journalism provides a very powerful foundation for using the Internet to offer important services for developers around the world. From the Guardian Media Group web site:
“The Trust was created in 1936 to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of the Guardian. Its core purpose is to preserve the financial and editorial independence of the Guardian in perpetuity, while its subsidiary aims are to champion its principles and to promote freedom of the press in the UK and abroad.”
With it’s history of championing data freedom, the Guardian is a great environment for opening up data that matters to people. The Guardian’s Simon Waldman points out:
“Charles Arthur and his gang have been banging their ‘Free our data’ drum for two years now. This week, under the slightly optimistic headline: In sight of victory, they cover a report which proves their case that their is more value to be created by opening up publicly owned data than by giving government agencies control over it.”
This is also a great opportunity for me, personally. I lived in London a few years ago now when I was with The Industry Standard and loved it. I met my wife and got married there and always planned to return someday. (I’m curious to see how fast my daughter’s accent changes…my wife has been trying in vain to get her to speak the ‘correct’ way. “Water is pronounced wottah, not waddr.”) And I’m looking forward to living in the same city as my brother Mitch again. Many pints to enjoy together, brother.
It’s also difficult to leave Yahoo! with all the exciting developments happening there. I came to Yahoo! in 2005 during the Flickr era when lots of people were innovating on different approaches to openness. Now, it seems, the drive toward openness is having a major impact on the company and the Internet as a whole. I’m glad I was able to at least participate in getting things moving in that direction.
At the same time, I’m really excited to be working with some outstanding people at the Guardian, some I already know, many I’ve recently met and many who I’ve only heard about still. I can’t wait to find out what other ideas are cooking in addition to our plans to open up data and services for developers.
Meantime, anyone interested in buying a nice little house in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill, please drop me a line. Oh, and let me know if you have any interest in looking after our dog (terrier/beagle mix) while he’s in the pet immigration waiting period (about 6 months).
I’ll continue to use this blog to comment on what’s going on in the online media market as I see it. I may also twitter the inane details of our move across the pond for our friends and family. So, stay tuned as this new adventure unfolds.