BlogHer co-founder Jory Des Jardins has joined Phil Hollows and me on the board of FeedBlitz. I’m an investor and Phil is founder and CEO; so that makes Jory our first outside board member. I don’t think Phil could have done any better in recruiting.
Finding the right outside board member is a big step for any startup; it’s part of growing up and an opportunity to add strategic strength. What you want in an outside board member is strengths which are highly relevant to the company’s mission but which are complementary to existing board members and executives. You want someone you can argue with as well as learn from; you want a different view but an informed one.
Phil and I are both nerds at heart although we both have some marketing in our background. Jory has an impressive media and marketing background. She started her career in print media as an assistant editor at Penguin USA (now Penguin Putnam) and was an Editor at The New York Times Syndicate and Time Inc.’s Custom Publishing Division before migrating to the Web. She was Director of Business Development at the Baby Boomer–focused new media company MyPrimeTime. In 2004 she began blogging and later consulted for traditional media companies that were bringing social media into their organizations. In 2005 she built the blog network the baby boomer web site and community, ThirdAge, and worked with social media/RSS companies to develop products that were compatible with traditional online media.
FeedBlitz is the leading provider of RSS to email service. That sounds techier than it really is (Jory’ll probably help us think of a better phrase). What FeedBlitz does is help bloggers and other creators of web content reach willing (double opt-in) subscribers by email. Some of the content creators are marketers with customers and prospects who want to hear from them regularly; others are bloggers like me with some readers who’d like to receive my posts by email. FeedBlitz takes care of the messy details of gathering email addresses, maintaining them, checking for legitimate opt-in, and navigating the spam filters that sometimes separate eager subscribers from the email they subscribed to. FB also provides lots of useful statistics and has a growing number of important analytic and other tools for content creators.
Jory knows both our target markets – marketeers and bloggers – very well. As a co-founder of BlogHer, which is the Web’s number one guide to blogs by women, she’s a startup person herself. She’s also writes on women’s business issues, marketing, blogging, and entrepreneurship for publications including, Fast Company, Inc., The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, and The New York Times. And she blogs, of course.
There’s a great picture of Jory and the other BlogHer founders here in yesterday’s NYTimes.