Rupert Murdoch (NYSE: NWS) and Chris DeWolfe (co-founder of MySpace) were on stage at Web 2.0 last night. Fascinating interview. MySpace was acquired by News Corp for $580M two years ago. Today it could be worth more than 10 times that...maybe more. Mr. Murdoch is the biggest player in newspapers, television (Fox), the web (MySpace and Fox Interactive), and he just bought The Wall Street Journal. You might think Rupert is an old media guy and doesn't get it. You would be wrong. He REALLY gets it.
The big news for me was his plans for the Wall Street Journal. He said last night he plans to take the content on line in a big way. No big surprise there, but he also plans to take on The New York Times by adding international news, fashion, arts, and culture. He plans to transform the WSJ into an international newspaper to rival the NYT or any newspaper. Only Murdoch could think this big.
Murdoch also said that MySpace will generate $1 Billion in revenues within two years, and profits next year of $300 Million. Pretty impressive.
Ted Leonsis, co-chairman of AOL, and owner of the Washington Wizards basketball team, also spoke at Web 2.0 yesterday. Ted has a new company called Revolution Money that will totally disrupt the credit card industry. It is a big play and he has lined up titans in the industry to help him do it. Ted has also made angel investments in two startups I am working with. Clearspring is a widget distribution platform. Mahalo, founded by Jason Calacanis, is a new search engine powered by people. Mark Cuban is also an investor in Mahalo. These are big ideas. Pictured above: Don Dodge (Microsoft), Ted Leonsis (AOL), and Jason Calacanis (Mahalo).
Last night I met with Barney Pell, founder & CEO of Powerset, and today I am meeting with Melek Pulatkonak, CEO of Hakia. Both are search engines using NLP and semantics to provide superior search results.
Anssi Vanjoki, Executive VP of Nokia, gave a great presentation on the future of cell phones and computing...and how they are merging. Nokia is the worlds largest maker of cell phones. They will sell more than 400 million cell phones this year, and have big plans to make the cell phone the "first screen" in our lives.
Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, will be on stage today. Later today Meg Whitman, CEO of eBay, and Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom, will telling us their thoughts. Wow! Web 2.0 is the place to be this week!