Episode 18: Scott Kauffman, President and COO of Blue Lithium

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Meet a veteran of the traditional media and online world - Scott Kauffman. Famous for launching Entertainment Weekly, Scott leveraged that success to pioneer CompuServe, one of the first ISPs in the industry. From there he helped sell AdKnowledge to CMGI and then spent time with eCoverage, CoreMetrics, MusicNow and Zinio before landing at Blue Lithium, which has recently made news by being acquired by Yahoo! Suz and Scott have a good laugh at what Kara Swisher called "the hyper-trendy data analytics sector." Scott describes the highs and lows of his various career stops and the key take-aways learned from the dot bomb. Get insight into this former brand manager and media planner on the day that Yahoo! signs the acquisition papers with Blue Lithium. The excitement is palpable.

Transcript

Scott Kauffman, President and COO of Blue Lithium

Announcer:  This program is brought to you by personallifemedia.com.

[Music]

Susan Bratton: Welcome to Dishy Mix.  I’m your host, Susan Bratton.  Thanks for listening to the show today.  On today’s show we have Scott Kauffman.  Scott is the president and COO of Blue Lithium.  It’s perfect timing because Blue Lithium’s been in the news recently, but as being acquired by Yahoo!.  So you’ll get to hear what’s happening at Blue Lithium with Scott, and on today’s show we’re going talk about everything from tickets and music and dogs to dust busters, the office, basketball, Poughkeepsie, and of course the hyper-trendy data analytics sector, and that’s a quote.

[music]

[Excerpts:]

Scott Kauffman: I wrote none of it.  And I’ve been cautioned by my son that the last thing you want to do is be caught editing a piece about yourself.

Scott Kauffman: I found that what was really valuable out there was being able to manage people and run a team, and assess talent, and recruit the right mix of people, and then find the chemistry and find the strength in each individual.

Scott Kauffman: The highlights of course were things like the… well even before coming out to the West Coast, the very successful launch of Entertainment Weekly, which I’m one of the founders of in my days at Time-Warner.

Susan Bratton: Tickets, tickets, everywhere!  You told me that you go to 75 live events a year.

Scott Kauffman: Oh, easily.

Susan Bratton: How do you have the time to do that with the work that you do?

Scott Kauffman: Well, it’s one of the few ways I actually… I’m guaranteed some quality time with my family members.

Scott Kauffman: Well it’s interesting because as you get a little older, some of the better concerts I’ve been to are one’s I’ve been to with my daughter where she has been as in love with the act as I was when I was her age.  So you start to see things a little bit through your kid’s eyes.
Scott Kauffman: Some people describe as the feeling they get when they express their faith.  Not being particularly indoctrinated, but I do think dogs are the single greatest living thing on the planet.

[end excerpts]

[music]

Susan Bratton: Hi, Scott.

Scott Kauffman: Hey, Susan.  How are you?

Susan Bratton: I am great.  And so I hear that we are just fortuitous in our timing.  Today is like the “Big Day” with Yahoo! with you.  And who would have known that we scheduled this… it took us months to schedule this, right?

Scott Kauffman: It did.

Susan Bratton: So what’s happening around Blue Lithium?  Is everyone just afraid, excited…what’s the feeling?

Scott Kauffman: It’s anticipation.  Lots of excitement.  But the deal has not closed yet, so we can’t say much of anything about that, other than what’s been publicly broadcast, which is that there is a merger afoot and just the other day the government gave us the green light to move forward.  And so we’re doing what you do when you get that green light.

Susan Bratton: Absolutely.  Well, and I’m sure, if I remember what it’s like to be acquired, or to be in an acquisition mode, there’s a lot of planning, scenario planning, a lot of “what if’s”.  You know, you don’t completely get al the answers till you get in there and get your hands dirty.  But you really do have to plan and do a lot of that.  SO I would imagine you’re having a lot of group meetings about that right now.

Scott Kauffman: And there are things you can talk about and things you can’t.  And Yahoo!’s very smart about all of those things.  So yeah, there’s a lot of “what-if'ing” going on, certainly on our side, and we are very excited and anxious to get going.

Susan Bratton: Well, one of the things that I loved was this quote.  I mentioned it in the preview, this “hyper-trendy data analytics sector”.  Now that’s a quote pulled directly from Kara Swisher, who is of course with the Wall Street Journal.  And when I read… She covered the fact that Yahoo! was going to attempt to make the acquisition of Blue Lithium.  And when she put it in those terms, I was like, “Okay, now that’s the first time I ever heard of data analytics being hyper-trendy.”  I’m like, “Where the hell have I been!?  Now this is hyper-trendy?!”  I never thought I’d hear those words all mixed together in a sentence.  How did that make you feel?

Scott Kauffman: When you uttered them at your intro, I thought you were attributing them to me.  And I was horrified that I might have said that somewhere -- unless I had my tongue firmly in my cheek -- and knowing what I know about Kara, I’m guessing that’s where her tongue was as well.

Susan Bratton: I think you’re right.

Scott Kauffman: Although it is sort of the catchword du jour.  You’ve got throw behavioral targeting in there too.

Susan Bratton: I know, absolutely.  And you’re right; I should have used that in my [attack cloud], so…  You know, so I had your formal bio from the Blue Lithium site and I had your bio from back when you were running Core Metrics.  And yet I found the bio of you on Wikipedia the most charming, because here’s what it has to say:  It says, “Scott Kauffman, born 1956, is an American business manager.”

[laughter]

Susan Bratton: I love that!  Now how much of the…  I know you didn’t write that part about yourself.  Did you write any of the Wikipedia entry?

Scott Kauffman: I wrote none of it.  And I’ve been cautioned by my son that the last thing you want to do is be caught editing a piece about yourself.  This was written by a very well intentioned nephew of mine long before Wikipedia was even on my horizon.

Susan Bratton: Oh, no kidding.

Scott Kauffman: And then of course it becomes… it seemed to me like almost an overnight sensation, and there it was.  But it had to be pointed out to me.  My nephew wrote it, and my son found it a couple years ago.  And I do find it adorable and I haven’t had the heart to go back and try to wordsmith it at all to make it sound businesslike.  But I think he was about 12 or 13 when he wrote it.

Susan Bratton: Well I think it is precious, especially now that I know that it written by your nephew.  So [pretentious accent] on today’s Dishy Mix we have Scott Kauffman, the American business manager. [accent off]

Scott Kauffman: …business manager, the “ABM”.

Susan Bratton: The ABM!

Scott Kauffman: I’ll tell you, it’s not easy to just… You know, I think back then you could pretty much submit anything and the thing would appear.

Susan Bratton: Right.  Clearly, because he was like 14.

Scott Kauffman: Today I know lots of people that have tried to get listings on Wikipedia who had a tough time doing so.

Susan Bratton: Absolutely.  Well I was trying to think about the first time I met you.  I feel that I’ve known you for about 10 years.  I think I met you when you were part of AdKnowledge, with Dave Zinman.  I don’t’ think I knew you in your CompuServe times. 

Scott Kauffman: Probably not.

Susan Bratton: You started out in Columbus, Ohio, raising your family; your kids were born there probably.

Scott Kauffman: They were born in New York City, when I was still at…  Well, one at Newsweek and the other at Time-Warner and after awhile, you know we had both kids in Manhattan, my college sweetheart and I.  We just celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

Susan Bratton: Congratulations.

Scott Kauffman: Thank you.  And we were living a good city life, but wanted a back yard and Little League and those sorts of things.  So we moved all the way to Westchester County, which was a true Time-Warner ghetto, Rye, New York, and began commuting form there and life was pleasant, ride into the Time & Life Building each day.  And out of the blue I got a call about going out to Columbus, Ohio to help CompuServe move more to a consumer-focused service.  And that was arguably the biggest move we made.  We moved from New York to the Midwest, and spent two years in Columbus, and had a good time, and then an offer to come back East or go west, when CompuServe was sold after we took it public.  And we chose to keep moving west.

Susan Bratton: So you came out to Palo Alto at that time.

Scott Kauffman: We did.

Susan Bratton: And was that when you got involved in Ad Knowledge?

Scott Kauffman: It is.  The year was 1997, and Russ Siegelman, who had been a general partner at Kleiner Perkins… he had been the general manager of the Microsoft network when I was running the consumer side of CompuServe, so we were competing with one another.  And unbeknownst to me, he had left Microsoft, gone down to Kleiner Perkins, had read about the sale of Microsoft [sic] I the aforementioned Wall Street Journal, and called the recruiter that he had retained to find a CEO for his first investment as a Kleiner Perkins partner, and said, “I want that guy.” 

Susan Bratton: Nice.

Scott Kauffman: And I went out and met with them and they dragged the family out and wined and dined us and we went west, not east.

Susan Bratton: You know, you’re a little hard to pigeonhole for me, from a capabilities perspective.  You know a lot of what you’ve gotten your kudos for over the years is more on the marketing side, but you’ve always struck me as a good salesman, and now you’re president and COO, so you’re really running the infrastructure and operations of Blue Lithium.  So you’ve been a little all over the map, for me.  I’m trying to get a bead on you.  Why don’t you fill us in?

Scott Kauffman: Yeah, I think for me it’s mostly… there was a time when I use to say, “Well, there’s some meaning to this, some method to the madness, and the strain was something along the lines of advertising or marketing.”  I’d started at an ad agency…

Susan Bratton: Benton & Bowles.

Scott Kauffman: Right, the old Benton & Bowles.

Susan Bratton: Media planner.

Scott Kauffman: That’s right, then a media…  Then a brand manager of Lever Brothers, and then into the media proper.  But there was always a marketing or advertising angle.  And then things sort of veered off into high tech, right around the advent of the World Wide Web, when I was still at Time-Warner, and had a good purview there.  And then a series of venture-backed Internet-related jobs, most of them with a marketing component to them, but increasingly I found that what was really valuable out here was being able to manage people and run a team and assess talent, and recruit the right mix of people.  And then find the chemistry and find the strength in each individual.  So when people ask me, “What do you do for a living now?” what I say is I gather teams and I get the most out of them.

Susan Bratton: Right.

Scott Kauffman: And they can be across any manner of enterprise.

Susan Bratton: Now you, when you left Ad Knowledge, you went to E-Coverage.

Scott Kauffman: Mm hmm.

Susan Bratton: That was a short stint.  You were at Core Metrics for a reasonably long time, but then you popped to Music Now, popped to Zinio, so in the course of a few years, and some of them were tough years in the world of the Internet, you were at a number of companies.  What would you say was the highlight and the lowlight of that time in your career?

Scott Kauffman: Well I’ve done at least one of everything, so I’ve taken a company public; I’ve sold a couple of companies; I’ve shut a company down.  And I think you actually learn as much if not more in those times of real turmoil and trauma.

Susan Bratton: Yeah.

Scott Kauffman: And particularly around the bursting of the bubble.  So with the soft landing there’d be coverage into General Motors, as an example, when it was certainly configured to be a high-flying stand-alone company.  And that’s where your skills, particularly as a manager of people and a leader of people, are really called to the front, because you are… everyone knows what’s happening, and everyone knows that there are going to be fewer people next week than there are this week.  And it’s how do you, regardless of the scenario, optimize the end result, even if it means, quietly at the end of the day, there are a bunch of assets that are going in one direction and all the people are going to have to find new jobs?  The highlights of course were things like the… well, even before coming out to the West Coast, the very successful launch of Entertainment Weekly, which I’m one of the founders of in my days at Time-Warner.  The road show and the initial public offering for CompuServe, I think of as being a great learning experience for me personally.  And then getting the family into Palo Alto in literally three weeks time, so that I could come join the then ClickOver, which merged with Dave Zinman’s company Focalink, to become Ad Knowledge, were certainly very exciting times.  And then filing to take Ad Knowledge public and then ultimately selling it to CMGI.

Susan Bratton: So for you, the way you answered that question for me, was the worst situation in business and the best situation in business.  I know exactly what you mean.  I remember at [email protected] there were 225 people reporting to me, and I realized that I was going to lay 200 of them off.

Scott Kauffman: Right.

Susan Bratton: …Over about six months.  Like I had to take the air out of the balloon as slowly as possible without it going pffbbbttt!!! and shooting around the room. [laughs]

Scott Kauffman: [inaudible]

Susan Bratton: Thank you.  And…

Scott Kauffman: I’m picturing a red balloon too, as I remember all the big… the colors.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, the big logos of…  Yeah, that’s right.  And I thought to myself, “Oh God, I’d really like to quit, but there’s absolutely no way someone else is going to lay these people off, because they won’t do it as well as I will.”

Scott Kauffman: Absolutely.

Susan Bratton: And you know I didn’t…  I’m absolutely sure I pissed a few people off and I made a few people cry and a lot of people got angry at me, but for the most part I learned… I thought to myself, “Oh, I’m about to learn an awful lot, and it’s going to hurt.” [laughs]

Scott Kauffman: And there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.  And you do it with dignity and you do it with compassion.

Susan Bratton: Exactly, as much as you can muster.

Scott Kauffman: And people… you know, people trust you that they’re getting the straight story.

Susan Bratton: So, before we go to break, I thought it would be really fun, since we’re still kind of down Memory Lane a little bit, one of the things that you’re proud of, I know, is that you were elected by Ad Age magazine a “Digital Media Master” in 1996.  And that was def…  Ad Age used to do a great job with that!

Scott Kauffman: Right.

Susan Bratton: I haven’t seen them doing such a good job with that stuff lately.  But I was thinking about the “Where are they now?” And I really want to…  anybody who’s listening, my number, if you want to call in and leave a message, is 206-350-5333, because between Scott and me, we’re not going to get all of these right.  And if you know where some of these people are, I’d love to hear from you.  So let’s see… who…  these are your fellow Digital Media Masters.  There was Martin Block from some Block research company.  I never heard of him again.  Did you?

Scott Kauffman: Nope.

Susan Bratton: Tom Baker from the Wall Street Journal.

Scott Kauffman: I think he’s still writing.

Susan Bratton: Okay!  Chris Hassett, PointCast.  Now that was a big name.

Scott Kauffman: Oh, big name, big name.

Susan Bratton: Long gone, right?

Scott Kauffman: Yeah.  I think he went into a Yellow pages business after that.

Susan Bratton: He could have.

Scott Kauffman: And I lost track of him after that.

Susan Bratton: Me too.  David Dowling from Gray Interactive.

Scott Kauffman: Don’t know.

Susan Bratton: Long gone.  Long gone for me.  Now here’s a name and a guy I knew pretty well, Robert Leviton.  He ran iVillage.

Scott Kauffman: Yes.

Susan Bratton: Way back.  So as I remember, he launched Beans; that was like one of the online kind of chip companies.

Scott Kauffman: I don’t remember that one.  Oh wait!  Yes I do.

Susan Bratton: Do you?

Scott Kauffman: Yeah, the frequency and retention royalty marketing company.

Susan Bratton: Like “Bean”, “Beank” or “B-E-N-Q” or something, right?

Scott Kauffman: Yeah, right, yeah.

Susan Bratton: But then never, never heard from him again.  Kevin O’Connor, DoubleClick.

Scott Kauffman: DoubleClick, yeah.

Susan Bratton: He started Shop Wiki; that’s what he’s doing now.

Scott Kauffman: Right.

Susan Bratton: …and Pantera or something that…

Scott Kauffman: And I believe he’s living right next to Oprah, down in Montecito.

Susan Bratton: No way.  Sweet.

Scott Kauffman: Nearby, yep.

Susan Bratton: Halsey Minor, C-Net.  What’s Halsey doing now?

Scott Kauffman: Investing.  He had a venture fund and don’t know what he’s done since then.

Susan Bratton: Me neither.  Probably a lot of golfing.  And Scott Heiferman of iTraffic.  He was one of the Media Masters.  Now he started MeetUp.

Scott Kauffman: That’s right.

Susan Bratton: So that was a good one.

Scott Kauffman: Yep.

Susan Bratton: Mark Pincus… I never identified him with FreeLoader, but he… you know I always think about him as Tribe.

Scott Kauffman: Yeah.  Don’t know him for anything else.

Susan Bratton: He’s the dude from Tribe.  Apparently he was a Media Master along with you in 1996.  Let’s see, we’ve got Rich Lafarge; of course he continues to thrive…

Scott Kauffman: And he’s on my board.

Susan Bratton: …and he’s part of your board.

Scott Kauffman: I didn’t realize we were the same class!

Susan Bratton: The same class of Media Masters, and now you’ve hopefully made him a rich man too, right?

Scott Kauffman: [laughs]

Susan Bratton: And then somebody I always really adored was Tom Bebe from Modem Media, and I heard that he’s gone off and started his own creative firm.  But I don’t know how to get a hold of him, so again, anybody who has his number, 206-350-5333.

Scott Kauffman: Tom, if you’re listening, all is forgiven.

Susan Bratton: [laughs] Right.  Those first talking ad banners – we’ll forgive you. [laughs] And then the last, but not least, was Lynn Bolger from Softbank.

Scott Kauffman: I actually had future dealings with Lynn, so she ended up…

Susan Bratton: Com Score, right?

Scott Kauffman: Yeah, Com Score.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, so you know I’d say probably like 30% are kind of still in the game somewhere maybe.  But most are long gone and I just want to say we’re glad you’re still here and still bringing equity into the industry. [laughs]

Scott Kauffman: Thank you, Susan.

Susan Bratton: So, we’re going to take a short break, Scott, and thank our sponsors, one of which is Blue Lithium.  And I… for anybody who is listening to the show, the reason that Scott is on the show is NOT because he’s a sponsor, bur because he’s a cool guy.  Because I’ve always wanted to get to know him better.  And it’s funny too because when Dakota Sullivan, who is your CMO, gave me the sponsorship for Blue Lithium, for Dishy Mix, I said, you know, “Hey, do you need me to do anything to integrate Blue Lithium into the show?”  And he’s like, “No, no.  We just want to be associated with it because it’s a great show.  You do what you need to do and run my ads.  And I was like, “Thank you.”  That’s very nice, you know.  So it turns out all for the good anyway.  So we’ll go to a sponsor break.  You can hear some good ad messages from my sponsors and we’ll be right back to learn more about Scott Kauffman.  Stay tuned.

[commercial break]

Susan Bratton: All right, we’re back and I’m Susan Bratton, your host.  And today we have Scott Kauffman, the president and COO of Blue Lithium on the line.  Hey Scott.  So, uhm, tickets, tickets everywhere.  You told me that you go to 75 live events a year.

Scott Kauffman: Oh, easily.

Susan Bratton: How do you have the time to do that with the work that you do?

Scott Kauffman: Well, it’s one of the few ways I actually… I’m guaranteed some quality time with my family members.

Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.

Scott Kauffman: So, typically sporting events with my son, and music events with my daughter, and cultural events with my wife.

Susan Bratton: Nice.  And what’s your angle for getting the best tickets?  Since you buy so many? 

Scott Kauffman: It’s very simple.  I do not go to anything unless I am in… say for a music concert, unless I’m in the first or second row.  Season ticket holder for the Golden State Warriors, with tickets on the floor, physically on the floor.

Susan Bratton: Nice.

Scott Kauffman: Which there’s no better seat in sport, I think, than the folding chair at an NBA game.  You can’t get closer to the action anywhere unless you want to run on the field and get carted away.  And then I have a series of contacts, both at the labels, the music services, promoters, venues, and then just standard ticket brokers, so that I’m always where I want to be for a live show.

Susan Bratton: Nice.  And so what do you think you spend in a year on tickets?

Scott Kauffman: Oh, you’d be horrified.

Susan Bratton: [laughs]

Scott Kauffman: You’d be horrified on the price of the basketball tickets alone.

Susan Bratton: Tell us.  What do you spend on the basketball tickets?

Scott Kauffman: No, I couldn’t possibly.

Susan Bratton: Oh, come on!  There’s a lot of people that spend whatever they spend o those basketball tickets.  I don’t go to basketball games, so I have no idea, so you’ll just have to…

Scott Kauffman: Well the stadium value of the tickets alone is north of $130,000.

Susan Bratton: Wow!  Okay.  That is like way more than I thought! [laughs]

Scott Kauffman: I warned you.

Susan Bratton: I’m such a novice!  So tell me about the… I’m not so big into basketball and baseball, and I know you are!  And I wish I could have a conversation with you about that, but where I think our interests collided is around music, because you and I graduated within three years of each other in high school.  And so we grew up in the same era and I know the kinds of music that you love the most.  What are some of the best concerts you’ve been to recently that you just thought kicked it?

Scott Kauffman: Well it’s interesting because as you get a little older, some of the better concerts I’ve been to are one’s I’ve been to with my daughter where she has been as in love with the act as I was when I was her age.  So you start to see things a little bit through your kid’s eyes.  So, oh I can think of a farewell concert we did before she went off to college, which is I think is pretty much the last time I’m actually going to get to see a show with her.  We flew to New York, to Jones Beach, to see Matchbox 20… No it was Counting Crows and Goo Goo Dolls.

Susan Bratton: Nice.

Scott Kauffman: And Counting Crows is a local band.  I’ve seen them a lot.  They’re great, live.  Loved ‘em to death.  You know, I’ll see Springsteen any time he comes through and he’s back on tour.  James Taylor I’ve probably seen 25 or 30 times.

Susan Bratton: Right.

Scott Kauffman: That’s literally since I was a little kid.  And I like… you know I like the big shows and I like the intimate shows.  Colin Hay, who’s the former lead singer of Men at Work, is touring now.  He’s been doing a terrific job.  I have a friend who is the lyricist for Phish, who just formed a band called Amphibian and he’s out on tour and trying to make a name for himself.  SO I, you know, I’ll go big venue; I’ll go little café that… and you’ve never heard of them.  It doesn’t matter.  I just love live music.

Susan Bratton: Well, because we’re podcasting, there’s always this problem… I wanted to play your theme song for you.  Your and Nancy's theme song – I think I’m not saying that grammatically correctly -- and it’s the same song that I had written in my high school yearbook.  It was my theme song for my high school yearbook.

Scott Kauffman: Wow.

Susan Bratton: And the problem is that I can’t just play the song on the show because it’s illegal, right?  I’m not going to hunt down Harry Fox and pay him the 80 cents.

Scott Kauffman: [laughs] I used to run a music service.  I’m reasonably well aware of your rights and lack thereof.

Susan Bratton: So, exactly.  You certainly are, with your background in the music world.  So I was wondering if you and I could just sing The Secret to Life?

Scott Kauffman: I could certainly do that.

Susan Bratton: Okay.  So should we, should we just start with “The secret to life”?

[both singing]
So, the secret o’ life is enjoying the passage of time.
Any fool can do it.
There ain’t nothing to it.

Scott Kauffman: Is that enough?

Susan Bratton: Yeah, because that next part goes really high! [laughs]  That was great!  And so…

Scott Kauffman: I read somewhere that you get people to do things in these podcasts that they would never acknowledge doing or believe that they could do.

Susan Bratton: [laughs]

Scott Kauffman: So getting me to sing has got to be right up there.

Susan Bratton: You’re a good singer, though.  Very good.  Thank God for you – you were on tune.  I was just trying to hang on with you.  That was good.  Well that is what you have inside your wedding rings, right?

Scott Kauffman: It is, yeah.  So, and there’s a great story behind that.  So, in my Entertainment Weekly days and doing what you do at a Time Inc. magazine that’s in the business of entertainment we had great access to lots and lots of things, so we had co-sponsored a rain forest benefit concert at Carnegie Hall, which featured James Taylor, Sting, Eric Clapton, and I’m missing one or two.  But you know, a great lineup, and we had the pleasure of being able to show James Taylor both our rings and the inscription inside the wedding rings says “Secret o’ Life”, and that’s actually the name of the song, it’s “o – apostrophe” [o’] because he didn’t want it to sound too pedantic, and he was staring at a pack of lifesavers when he decided to name it “Secret o’ Life” instead of “Secret of Life”.  And then my wife had given me a watch on our wedding day, and on the back with the inscription, “Enjoy the passage of time,“ which also comes from the song.  And as much as one can imagine he could be moved, having heard a billion trillion times how wonderful he is, he did seem genuinely touched.

Susan Bratton: Nice.  That must have been an amazing time, huh?

Scott Kauffman: It was a lot of fun.  My kids are… especially my daughter is still angry at me for not staying with Entertainment Weekly.

Susan Bratton: So, Scott, if music is your religion, what are dogs?

Scott Kauffman: Wow, they are the closest thing to god on earth, I’ll tell you that much.  I get a high from a concert that I can only equate to what some people describe as the feeling they get when they express their faith.  Not being particularly indoctrinated, but I do think dogs are the single greatest living thing on the planet.

Susan Bratton: But why?

Scott Kauffman: You know, I wish I could put it into words.  It is... I am deeply in love with my dog, and I love all dogs, and dogs seem to love me.  It’s just, I can walk anywhere and a dog will run up to me.  I jus think they’re a great expression of nature and great companions and my relationship with my dog is just second to none.

Susan Bratton: [laughs]

Scott Kauffman: Maggie sleeps right in the crook of my neck, every night.

Susan Bratton: If I were your wife, I wouldn’t like to hear that.  I was thinking maybe you were going to be a little…

Scott Kauffman: [laughs] Well she feels similarly, although you know there are always those moments where she’s just a little worried, but…

Susan Bratton: And I thought you were maybe going to pull “a Bridget Bardot” on me and tell me you have like 25 dogs or something.  You got one little dog!

Scott Kauffman: Yeah, I’m a …  you know, James Taylor has an album called One Man Dog.

Susan Bratton: [laughs] And if she sleeps in the crook of your neck, she can’t be very big.  What kind of a pup do you have?

Scott Kauffman: She is a border terrier.  They’re built like Jack Russell terriers.

Susan Bratton: Oh, yeah.

Scott Kauffman: They look like mutts and [indistinct] There’s Something About Mary.

Susan Bratton: More wiry.  Yeah.

Scott Kauffman: Puffy is Border terrier, and border terriers are used a lot in the movies because they’re extremely smart, easily trainable and they look like mutts.  So in the Look Who’s Talking movies…  Benji is actually a longhair border terrier.

Susan Bratton: Huh.  Wow, that’s a lot of Border terrier trivia I have never…

Scott Kauffman: And they’re not very popular dogs in this country.  You know, they don’t typically make the books; you know the books of So You Wanna Have a Puppy?  You don’t see border terriers in those books.

Susan Bratton: And is there any particular reason?

Scott Kauffman: We bought a book called What Kind of Dog for You?  And we went through all the little criteria and it was it all came down to… we had two young kids at the time, and the house was kind of busy, and we had a big yard, but we needed the dog to have some level of independence and it was border terrier.  So we went looking, and we were lucky that the premier breeder of border terriers in this country – they’re very popular in Scotland and England – the premier breeder just happened to be within driving distance of us, so…

Susan Bratton: Nice.

Scott Kauffman: We got on the wait list and we waited and we waited, and we got a call.

Susan Bratton: True love forever.

Scott Kauffman: Forever.

Susan Bratton: So, you’re really busy with work.  You have a…  You live in Palo Alto; you have an apartment in New York.  You fly all the time for work.  You’re out at concerts all the time.

Scott Kauffman: Mm hmm.

Susan Bratton: What if you had more time?  If I could give you a couple of extra hours a day, what would you squeeze in, that you’re not currently doing, that you feel is missing?

Scott Kauffman: I would be lying in a hammock reading a novel.

Susan Bratton: Mmm, so just the time to relax and read?

Scott Kauffman: Yep.

Susan Bratton: And if you were reading, what kinds of books would you be reading?

Scott Kauffman: I want to reread a lot of the stuff I read in college.  So I want to read all the Dos Passos novels that I read, that I wrote my senior paper on.

Susan Bratton: What are they?  I don’t know “Dos Passos”.

Scott Kauffman: USA, principally; it’s a trilogy about sort of the birth of the nation around the turn of the century.

Susan Bratton: Oh.

Scott Kauffman: I’d go back and read Henry James, Jane Austen, Dickens, just classic novels.

Susan Bratton: Mm hmm.

Scott Kauffman: Preferably the penguin paperback editions.

Susan Bratton: Oh, yeah, nice and light.

Scott Kauffman: Yeah.

Susan Bratton: Now what about downloadable books?

Scott Kauffman: Well I took a run at that with video.  We had downloadable magazines.  We did some textbooks.

Susan Bratton: Like that was Zinio, right?

Scott Kauffman: Yeah.  So I’m still a big fan of the tactile experience of turning the page and knowing where you are and marking your progress.  I see some value in… particularly for trade reading, business reading, of having all of your journals and newsweeklies and the newspapers available and searchable.  I like that idea.  But for pure pleasure reading, it’s a hammock and it’s swinging slightly, and there’s a little bit of a breeze, and I’ve got a drink magically nearby that doesn’t make me sleepy, that isn’t hard to put down – I don’t know how that happens exactly – but it doesn’t create moisture on the pages, and I’m just reading.  And I don’t’ get tired and I knock off a novel in a day.

Susan Bratton: Yeah, you know that does become one of the biggest problems.  When you finally get an opportunity to lie down and read a book, you fall asleep! [laughs]

Scott Kauffman: And I blame Maggie!  Because she’ll curl up right there with me, and it’s like a hot water bottle and it’s just very soothing and, poof, you’re out.

Susan Bratton: I love it.  Well, you know you’ve accomplished so much in your career.  You’ve shared the highs; you’ve shared the lows.  You’re in a really exciting time right now.  There are a lot of people who would like to follow in your footsteps and really get a LOT of experience, like you have.  I think that that’s something that people, many people, crave, and they look at someone like you, who has this breadth of experience and a lot of operating experience, and what, if you could…  For those listeners who are still looking to get to your level, if you could give them one piece of advice about having what you have, going for what you have, what would it be?

Scott Kauffman: Take risks.  Move outside your comfort zone.  I did it on a number of occasions when literally everybody around me other than my wife was saying, “You’re crazy.”  And I think you have to marry well too because I have a very supportive partner in crime who was willing to uproot a family with me, willing to maybe take a less… less of a safety net in exchange for maybe some more upside.  But in particular, moving to Columbus, Ohio, leaving Time-Warner, was an enormous risk, and then moving out to the West Coast to start running startups was also risky.  And without those risks, you don’t get these rewards.

Susan Bratton: All right, so take the chance.  And the last thing that I want to say in thanking you for coming on the show, once of the things that I noticed when I was doing my research on you, was that on your Facebook page – now you’re going to have 500,000 Facebook requests – on your Facebook page you have photos of your family, of your friends, of your wife, of your dog, Maggie -- is that her name?

Scott Kauffman: Maggie.

Susan Bratton: Of Maggie.  But one of the things that I really noticed about those photos was that there are many pictures of Nancy, your wife.  And they’re clearly taken by you.  And you can tell in those pictures that she feels treasured.  I see that look of you loving her when you’re taking that picture of her.  And I found that very touching.  I understand why she wants to be with you for 25 years.  And I just saw that in the way you took her picture, and the way she expressed herself to you, and it was really beautiful.

Scott Kauffman: That’s wonderfully put.  I can’t add anything to that, other than, “Here’s to the next 25.”

Susan Bratton: And I will toast to that.  So, Scott, thank you so much.  I know people are banging on your door.  You’re holed up in your office and people are like waiting outside your fishbowl to get at you today.  It’s a big day and you know I really appreciate you keeping your commitment to come on the show.  You didn’t have to.  You had a great excuse to bow out.  And so, thanks for sharing yourself with us today.  We really appreciate it.

Scott Kauffman: It’s been my pleasure, Susan.

Susan Bratton: All right.  So, I’m your host, Susan Bratton, and again if you want to call in with any of those “Where are the Media Masters?” or with any comments, I’m at 206-350-5333.  Say your name and your question, and if we can use it on the air, let us know.  Have a great day, and I will talk to you next week.  Bye-bye.

[Music]

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