Time for a New Adventure

I’ve learned so much about writing from John Battelle and all the FM authors I’ve collaborated with since 2005, but I’m still having trouble finding the right words to announce that I’ll be leaving FM.

FM Logo

It was almost exactly 4 years ago that John, Andre Torrez, Jen Charette and I huddled around a whiteboard upstairs from a garage in Ross, CA, trying to convince ourselves that we could convince brand advertisers to support independent blog authors with their media dollars. Along the way, we’ve been luckier than we could have imagined back then. Our greatest luck was finding a group of kindred spirits to help us turn this idea into a media business. I’m so grateful for the support of the independent publishers who are rethinking how brands can join the conversations they facilitate; to the marketing innovators at large companies who put their necks out and entrusted us with their brands; and to the 80 some-odd people who share a passion for the FM idea so deeply they’ve put it on their business cards. You are the greatest teachers I’ve ever known. A special thanks to you, John, for giving me the opportunity to help shape FM, and for having the faith to make me your partner in crime.

It’s time, though, for my next adventure.

Digg Logo

In the coming weeks I’ll be joining some old friends and business colleagues at Digg, to be its publisher and chief revenue officer. In the spring of 2006, I first met Kevin Rose and Jay Adelson when they came up to Sausalito to talk to Battelle and me about an FM-Digg partnership to bring brands and sponsors to Digg. For the next year and half I spent lots of time with Mike Maser and John Moffett, two of the business leads at Digg. A small group of us (some on the FM payroll, others on the Digg payroll) worked with Intel to bring the Digg community some new product experiences, such as and , a labs project that provided a view of Digging activity at the topic and subtopic-level. We also partnered with IBM, Sony and others to build new, of Digg that aggregated and republished already-Dugg content about their own brands.

In the grand scheme of online advertising, these were small experiments. But the Digg process made an impression on me. Sometimes the best sponsorship ideas came from Kevin, ostensibly the head of product. Other times, Mike (the head of business) hit the pause button on a half baked — but fully funded — idea to make sure the sponsor integration wouldn’t disrupt the authenticity of conversation among the Digg audience. The best media businesses always work this way. Advertising doesn’t perform for the advertisers if it doesn’t also resonate with the audience; it succeeds only when it enhances the product and the conversation among those audience members.

And while Digg is a news service that’s grown to more than 35 million monthly readers over the past 5 years, it’s still early days for figuring out the models that bring brands into conversation with the Digg community. It may be the biggest media start-up (if you can still call it that) I’ll ever get the chance to work for, but it’s a project that’s as new and inspiring (and daunting) as the sketches Battelle, Andre, Jen and I scrawled on that whiteboard in 2005.

Maybe it’s time to spark up that Digg-FM partnership again! In the meantime, FM runs in my blood. To my friends at FM: See you at Red’s Javahouse and Sala NYC soon and often. I owe you more than I can ever repay.

MORE: Battelle’s post at the , including word on the promotion of two of the greatest stars in digital media: Pete Spande and Josh Mattision. And Jay’s post at the .

  1. # Sam Whitmore said: May 29th, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Wow, Chas. Best of luck there. I hope ChasNote lives long and prospers.

  2. # Tac Anderson said: May 29th, 2009 at 7:04 am

    Chas,
    Wow. That’s big news. I have no doubt you’ll be missed at FM. I know I enjoyed working with you and saw the obvious value you brought to the team. But the one constant is change and Digg obviously presents a big need and a big challenge/opportunity for you. I’m excited to see what you are able to do with all that potential.

    Best of luck.

  3. # James Gross said: May 29th, 2009 at 7:25 am

    My man. I’m still scouting out space for your bookstore. I want a shelf when it comes true.

  4. # Glenn Fleishman said: May 29th, 2009 at 7:31 am

    Despite the greatness of Federated Media, this is a great move. You’ve been such a great help over the years (even as my site traffic has declined for unrelated reasons!), and are the classiest of class acts.

  5. # Angela LoSasso said: May 29th, 2009 at 7:32 am

    Chas — I wish you nothing but the best. Your incredible talent, intelligence and graciousness will continue to serve you — and your customers — well.

    I hope we get the chance to work together again — and soon.
    Best!
    Angela LoSasso,
    U.S. Social Media | Social Networking Manager
    HP, Imaging and Printing Group

  6. # Mark said: May 29th, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Well, it’s about time you add ‘digg’ buttons to Chasnote.

    Seriously though, you rock. Digg is lucky to have you.

  7. # thomas marban said: May 29th, 2009 at 8:47 am

    hope to stop by again at digg hq anytime soon. all the best chas!

  8. # Foley said: May 29th, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Another chapter in the rock star career of Chas unfolds. I’m excited for you but I’m sure Digg is more excited. Keep us in mind around idea’s you dream up around sports.

    Cheers,

    Matt

    Citizen Sports

  9. # Robin Wolaner said: May 29th, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Congratulations Chas. Digg has gotten a superstar and I look forward to you taking them to the next level.

  10. # Paid Content : Industry Moves: FM's Chas Edwards Defects To Digg; Spande Promoted FM's Sales Head said: May 29th, 2009 at 11:10 am

    [...] Digg. He’ll have the same title there, according to Digg’s official blog. On Edwards’ own blog, ChasNote, he said that even though Digg has been around for 5 years and has 35 million users, “it’s still [...]

  11. # Pete Spande said: May 29th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    While I wasn’t there for the garage in Ross, it has been a great ride with you. We’ve outgrown offices on both coasts and more than doubled the staff.

    Good luck on your next venture. They found the right guy. I know a really great ad sales team that could assist you in your pursuits….

    See you at Red’s and Sala.

  12. # Tim Suzman said: May 30th, 2009 at 2:43 am

    Chas – it’s been really great working with you and I certainly hope we can continue to do so in the future. Good luck over at digg!

    -Tim

  13. # Rich Caccappolo said: June 2nd, 2009 at 6:37 am

    Great news for digg, Chas, and best of luck to you in the new role. Congratulations for what you have achieved at FM and I’m hoping the new gig will bing you to NYC more often!

  14. # Jane Newcomb said: June 4th, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Congrats, Chas! such a huge win for digg. best of luck to you at your new adventure.

  15. # Twitter’s More Effective than Facebook at Driving Traffic to Content said: August 3rd, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    [...] in May, when I posted that I was leaving FM for Digg, three friends shared the link with their Facebook communities. One [...]

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