Paul Smalera on spinning off Slate: the video IMterview

By Felix Salmon
September 2, 2011

Felix Salmon Paul Smalera, you’re the king of all media!

Paul Smalera Well yes, I suppose I am.

Felix Salmon First you post a piece about how Slate should spin itself off to some VCs

And now we’ve gone and done a video too!

So, I threw lots of very sensible objections at you

Paul Smalera Indeed you did.

Felix Salmon And at the end of the whole thing, I assume that you inwardly conceded that I was right

You’re really just trolling, right? You’re not actually serious.

Paul Smalera Ha! You assume incorrectly!

This is no Swiftian Modest Proposal, Felix.

I really do think Slate needs to tap into the cash, talent and ambitions of the tech economy in order to have a shot at making it another 15 years.

Felix Salmon And you honestly think that someone out there thinks that they can make VC-type returns by investing in Slate?

Paul Smalera I think if the Washington Post co. can spin Slate off with the right leader at the helm, the angel investors of Silicon Valley and Alley can be convinced there are less bad options than Slate out there for their money.

Arrington should do it!

He’s got $20 million in the CrunchFund and no editorial control over a media platform.

Felix Salmon Perfect!

I can just imagine David Plotz working for Mike Arrington. A match made in heaven!

Paul Smalera Ok, maybe I’m being a little Swiftian with that one.

Felix Salmon It’s creative destruction, baby

One comment

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I think it’s attractive to think of Slate in the terms that Smalera is thinking about but Slate doesn’t lack for authentic/interesting/thought provoking writers. In fact, they just laid off a bunch of them!

I’m unconvinced of Smalera’s assertion that Slate would be better off with $1.5MM of some rich guy’s (or combination of rich guys’) money. Even the guy that he wants to run this newly spun off Slate is probably making, on his own, close to half of that $1.5MM budget. So then where’s the money to hire interesting writers?

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