I'm happy to announce that we have been acquired by TechTarget. This is really cool because it means that Gabe and I can focus 100% on writing and interacting with the community, and we don't have to be weighed down by all the operational minutia of running a business.
For those of you unfamiliar with TechTarget, they're an IT Media Company. They have something like 60 IT-related websites, including IT Knowledge Exchange, NotebookReview.com, LabMice.net, and all those "Search" news sites (SearchWinIT.com, etc.) They also host about 300 events and conferences per year. (I actually attended one in DC today about desktop virtualization, with presentations from Mark Minasi and Barb Goldworm. Very cool!)
A few other sites picked up our acquisition news from the press release, and some bloggers have openly asked a few questions like "What are Brian's plans?," "I'll bet Brian will bolt," and "I wonder if TechTarget will ruin BriForum and/or BrianMadden.com?"
I'd like to address each of these questions here.
First, my plan moving forward is to do the job I've been doing the past five-and-a-half years. I plan to blog, write, and speak about the application and desktop virtualization industry from a technical and independent standpoint. The great news is that by being part of TechTarget, I'll be able to focus on this 100%. My life running The Brian Madden Company has been amazing, but running a small business is hard work. Really, really hard work. Over the years I was probably only able to spend half my time actually writing and doing my "day job." The rest of my time was spent doing overhead BS tasks, like building and managing the website, setting up new advertisers in our banner ad system, rebooting servers, working with the accountants about taxes, and about 1,000 other things that required my time. All of this was critical, but none of it directly enhanced the value we bring to the community. That all changes by being part of TechTarget, and I think the most immediate change you'll see is that I'll be able to write a lot more than three articles per week.
As to whether I'll "bolt," all I can say is "no way!" I've been in this business too long to bolt now. I've been using Citrix for over ten years, and I think the next three-to-five years will be the most interesting yet. I didn't come this far not to see this whole VDI thing through. But what about leaving TechTarget? Would I just sell to them and then leave? Again, no way! Working for TechTarget is my dream job--I get to keep the good parts of my old job--while other folks at TechTarget handle all the operational work that I wasn't too interested in to begin with. Now I get to be a full-time blogger while someone else worries about keeping the lights on!
Regarding BriForum, we're planning on having BriForum 09 in Chicago as planned. It will be the same BriForum as years past. The same community-led speaking process, the same independent focus, the same Geek Out game show, the same side-by-side video player, and the same DEMO Lab. The only difference is that I won't have to personally print 500 name badges the night before, Gabe and I won't have to manually enter all of the session info into our database, and I won't personally have to lay out the Pocket Guide. Also, we'll have a full-time sales department to help bring more products into the DEMO Lab and more attendees. And all of this means more technical content. Woo-hoo!
The same goes for BrianMadden.com. The website itself will stay the same. The URL will still be BrianMadden.com. Jon Brown (my new boss) put it best. "It's like when Proctor & Gamble bought Gillette," he said, "There are operational efficiencies on the back end, but people still buy the same Gillette products, and most of them don't even notice Gillette's not an independent company anymore." TechTarget has won dozens of awards for editorial excellence and independence, and I'll be able to write with exactly the same freedom that I've enjoyed the past five-and-a-half years on my own. This is absolutely critical to me, and something that Gabe and I really checked out before we moved forward with this deal. We talked to several the hundreds of TechTarget journalists, and we asked them point blank about whether they'd ever received pressure to change a story or to be nice to a certain vendor. And in every case, the journalists told us that they were able to write what they wanted, and if an advertiser got mad, that was too bad.
As I've alluded to a few times in this post, Gabe will also be part of TechTarget. His full-time job will be as a site editor for BrianMadden.com. Previously, Gabe spent probably 90% of his time at The Brian Madden Company doing overhead work--managing Exchange and our Blackberry server, making and editing DVDs for BriForum and our training class, backing up our servers, etc. All of that overhead work will go away, and you'll see great technical articles (like this one) from him almost every day instead of just a few times per month.
The bottom line is that by being part of TechTarget, Gabe and I can focus on what we like to do most: writing for BrianMadden.com and hosting the best independent conference in the industry. This is the most exciting thing that's happened for us since we've been part of The Brian Madden Company, and we're eager to share that excitement with you. Just watch.
And as always, please join in the conversation!