Thursday, June 16, 2011

Joanne Wilson Meets BlogHer Founder Lisa Stone

Of course I knew about Blogher, how could I not?� I have been watching them grow over the past six years.� It is surprising that it took this long before I finally got to sit down with Lisa Stone, one of the founders, last week for the first time as our one degree of separation is pretty small.�

Lisa was raised in Missoula, Montana that had a population of about 40,000 when she was growing up.�� Like many communities, the population has grown and Missoula is much different now.� As Lisa put it, the biggest export out of Montana is probably the youth.�

She left too and shocked her family by getting into Wellesley College, one of the most prestigious women's colleges in the country.�

While she was in college, she went to visit her sister at Stanford University and realized that she was much more suited to the West coast.� After graduating, she moved to the Bay area and has yet to leave except for a short hiatus.� She got a job at a management consulting company working in fuel futures.� Learning about fuel and the areas of Europe that she was focused on lit an interest in her to become a journalist.�

She left consulting and found herself at the Oakland Tribune.�

At the Tribune she wrote and broke a series of articles about the FAA's lack of preparedness for an emergency.�

This got on CNN's radar and they recruited Lisa to work for them.� She was four months pregnant when Mark Carter hired her.� Carter was the chief strategist for CNN at that point and is now the Executive Director of the Committee of Concerned Journalists.� Lisa was at CNN when the Time Warner merger happened and everything changed.

Lisa was 30 years old, had been married eight years and had a one year old.� She left CNN and her marriage and went online.� She bartered her skills to work at Webtv so she could learn.� Lisa ended up at where she launched a variety of sites from fun to serious.� Then was bought by�

The whole woman's space was trying to find their place and roll-ups were happening in all verticals.� I lived through that era too.�

It was 2001 and Lisa became a Neiman Fellow at Harvard where they had yet to have an internet journalist accepted into the program.�� She spent the first six months of the program at MIT watching games and the second half at Harvard analyzing business models to leverage this new tech world.�

Once the year ended she returned to the Bay area.� Lisa started working in social media, took a job with where she developed a sponsored network that got really high cpm's.� On the side she was blogging for the LATimes so she could keep honing her journalism skills.� People kept asking her at this point, it was 2004/5, where do all the woman blog?�

So in 2005, Lisa and her two partners who she met through the internet world, Elisa Camahort Page and Jory Des Jardins, launched Blogher.�

I love the story of how the name came to be.� Lisa was working for Jennifer Collins at� She told Jennifer what she was going to create a site dedicated to a community of women that would be a place where women could publish/blog.� They were struggling with the name.� Sheblogs?� Jennifer, in one second, said Blogher.� And so Blogher was born.�

In 2011, Blogher is the fifth largest women's network.� They get 12-26 unique visitors a month depending on which analytic site you believe (Nielsen of Comscore).� My gut feeling is that is it somewhere in between.�

They are creating a new way for women to write and get paid for their influence and words.�

The verticals are wide from Green to Food to New Media to Money, Sports and Style.� Blogher puts on conferences too.�

I loved talking with Lisa.� We could have talked about women and business for hours on end.� It is always great to meet other women who are trying to change the world for women entrepreneurs.� If you haven't checked out Blogher, get on line and take a look.� A growing community where women speak their minds on a daily basis.�

This is an article by Joanne Wilson, a The NextWomen contributor.� Joanne's blog can be found here.


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