Time For a New Challenge

I've recently decided to move to Los Angeles to pursue a fantastic opportunity with Fox Sports Interactive.

While it was a difficult decision to leave the folks at ESPN, I can't wait to leave Connecticut. It's an safe, static existence here that is largely controllable--you go almost everywhere in your car and don't have much unpredictability in the form of contact with random people. While LA is no New York, it's much more urban and dynamic than Connecticut, and both Geneve and I are really looking forward to introducing more unpredictability and diversity into our lives.

The job at Fox is a Project Manager position, which I'm really excited about. It will formalize a lot of the things I have been doing over the last few years, and will enable me to focus on developing ideas for new products and helping projects run smoothly. I was really impressed by the process the Fox guys have set up for running projects, and there are a bunch of folks there who I will be able to learn best practices from.

The point at which I thought Fox could really be a place I could thrive and enjoy might have come just before I flew out to LA to interview. I had really hit it off with my future managers on the phone, and was excited to meet them in person. But, just before I flew out, this speech by Rupert Murdoch hit the interweb. Murdoch astonished me with his understanding of how news consumption habits are changing, and his desire to build products that will both speak to his customers and provide them with a voice. His views about media and paying attention to customers so closely align with my own that I wondered whether I should get a McGwire-esque tinfoil hat to prevent Murdoch's DirecTV satellites from scanning any more of my brainwaves.

What is happening is, in short, a revolution in the way young people are accessing news. They donít want to rely on the morning paper for their up-to-date information. They donít want to rely on a god-like figure from above to tell them whatís important. And to carry the religion analogy a bit further, they certainly donít want news presented as gospel.

...

They want to question, to probe, to offer a different angle. Think about how blogs and message boards revealed that Kryptonite bicycle locks were vulnerable to a Bic pen. Or the Swiftboat incident. Or the swift departure of Dan Rather from CBS. One commentator, Jeff Jarvis, puts it this way: give the people control of media, they will use it. Donít give people control of media, and you will lose them... they want to be able to use the information in a larger community -- to talk about, to debate, to question, and even to meet the people who think about the world in similar or different ways.

...

The challenge, however, is to deliver that news in ways consumers want to receive it. Before we can apply our competitive advantages, we have to free our minds of our prejudices and predispositions, and start thinking like our newest consumers. In short, we have to answer this fundamental question: what do we -- a bunch of digital immigrants -- need to do to be relevant to the digital natives?

Being a digital native, I'm super excited to be joining some more of them over at Fox when the guy who signs the checks has such a solid understanding of how the business is changing.

One of the most difficult things about leaving ESPN is the cachet of those four little letters. The brand is sexy because they are the market leader in the dotcom sports space. I actually see this as an advantage for Fox: we are in a position where we have to pay attention to new technology trends. We can't be complacent, and we must take risks with our strategies and products to make our customers happy.

I was further encouraged that I made the right decision as I was walking out of the .com building for the last time. I ran into a co-worker who I hardly knew, but she told me I was making the right decision. I asked her why, and she said that she had seen so many people stay at ESPN, fearful that they'd never find a better job. But the people she knew who had left ESPN never looked back. "There is life after ESPN," she said, and I'm excited to see what it's all about.

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Comments (Post | Latest)

1. Ben said on Jun 8 2005:

Congratulations on the move. Embrace the challenge and enjoy LA. I'll have to keep an eye on Fox Sports now to see what you come up with.

2. Bill Mill said on Jun 8 2005:

Good luck in the new place & job. You still going to hang out for ultimate this summer, or are you leaving soon?

3. moo said on Jun 8 2005:

congratulations, good luck out in the west end.

4. Noah Brier said on Jun 8 2005:

Congratulations and best of luck.

5. Sujal Shah said on Jun 8 2005:

Wimp. Can't handle the suburbs, can ya?

Good luck, man. Looking forward to seeing what cool things you end up doing there. And if we can beat you to it over here. :)

Sujal

6. Joel Barciauskas said on Jun 8 2005:

Moving to CT was the biggest reason I didn't take the job offer I received from you guys. (Thanks again for passing on my resume!) It's a great group of people and a one-of-a-kind opportunity to work for the most popular content site on the web, but there are factors to consider other than the work itself.

I was really surprised, too, at how far away they threw you guys from the main campus, I guess it really makes no difference, just seemed kind of odd. Ah well. Sorry we didn't get to meet when I came for the interview, it's a great group of people there! Sometimes its just time to do something new, though, huh?

7. JD said on Jun 10 2005:

Congrats dude!

8. Ben Christen said on Jun 13 2005:

congrats! leaving the evil empire (disney) can be a good thing. shoot me an email if you need LA recommendations (places to eat, etc.) - just so you know, you won't find any pizza that compares (sadly), but there's lots of other stuff to make up for it.

9. JS said on Jun 14 2005:

Congrats. I've been to Bristol and there's not much going on there. While a job at ESPN is an amazing opportunity, it's like your co-worker said, there is life after ESPN. Best of luck!

10. Jaime said on Jun 16 2005:

Congrats Reemer! We'll miss you on the east coast!

11. Eric said on Jun 22 2005:

Wow. Fantastic news. Congratulations and good luck. Looking forward to hearing what's going on at Fox!

12. Chad Schmidt said on Jun 26 2005:

Can't support your decision enough. I left and went to business school. My new job is totally different and I love it even more.

13. Juan said on Jul 10 2005:

hey man I just stumbled on ur site because I was looking for anti-ESPN sites out there. I love sports and I used to check ESPN religiously, I still check it every day but go to other sites for analysis because the Insider thing drives me crazy. I like the fox site because they have baseball rumors and such for free there. That site was horrible just a year or two ago and has improved dramatically. Please don't let Fox follow the ESPN Insider model, everyone I know is turned off by it and it upsets me that great writers like Simmons, Stark, Gammons don't take a stand for their loyal readers and demand that ESPN keep all of their stuff free.

About

Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer

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