Jon Udell is leaving his job at InfoWorld and joining Microsoft in January.
He may see this as a change of employment, but I believe Microsoft has just acqhired a media brand. I feel certain that no media investment bankers were involved and Infoworld is not getting Microsoft’s first-round selection in next year’s draft of rookie tech-writing stars, but there’s more going on here than a mere change of employment venues. This is nothing new in business — stars get paid well no matter what industry. However, it’s a phenomena worth noting — and further consideration.
I also see Jon’s change of jobs in another context: He’s a superstar who works for a business-to-business media company moving over to a marketing company that realizes it’s in the media business. (Granted, Microsoft realized this a long time ago.) Back in April, I applauded Folio: magazine’s wisdom for naming Jon one of the most influential people in the magazine industry and noted why I’m a big fan. Jon explains (in his interview with himself) that he no longer wants to merely have an audience of Alpha geeks (translation: merely speak to a business audience), but would like to explain what’s going on to regular people, as well. By the way, I think that’s good and I think Jon Udell is uniquely qualified to explain the complex to the non-technical — indeed, I’m example A that he can. (Fortunately, he’ll still be doing the the alpha-geek stuff also.) I don’t know Jon, but I’ve learned a lot from him. I wish him the best and look forward to updating my RSS feed of his insights, from wherever they may come.
Prediction: In the future, agents and investment bankers will become involved when high profile bloggers change jobs. (I and others have made this prediction before, so it’s not new.)
Clarification on the title of this post: Actually, my favorite blogger who works at Microsoft will continue to be someone whose blog is an indie project.
Update: Due to the Techmeme’ing (current page version) of this post, it’s enjoying some rather robust traffic. For the record, the word I used, acqhire, was not a typo. I’ve been trying to turn it into a buzzword for a long time.