Lisa Stone, Blogher, Woman Entrepreneur

Logo Of course I knew about Blogher, how could I not?  I have been watching them grow over the past six years.  It is surprising that it took this long before I finally got to sit down with Lisa Stone, one of the founders, last week for the first time as our one degree of separation is pretty small. 

Lisa was raised in Missoula, Montana that had a population of about 40,000 when she was growing up.  Images-1   Like many communities, the population has grown and Missoula is much different now.  As Lisa put it, the biggest export out of Montana is probably the youth.  She left herself and shocked her family by getting into Wellesley College one of the most prestigious womens colleges in the country. 

While she was in college, she went to visit her sister at Stanford University and realized that she was much more suited to the West coast.  After graduating, she moved to the Bay area and has yet to leave except for a short hiatus.  She got a job at a management consulting company working in fuel futures.  Learning about fuel and the areas of Europe that she was focused on lit an interest in her to become a journalist. 

She left consulting and found herself at the Oakland Tribune.  At the Tribune she wrote and broke a series of articles about the FAA's lack of being prepared for an emergency.  This got on CNN's radar and they recruited Lisa to come work for them.  She was four months pregnant and Mark Carter hired her at CNN.  Carter was the chief strategist for CNN at that point and is now the Executive Director of the Committee of Concerned Journalists.  Lisa was at CNN when the Time Warner merger happened and everything changed.

Lisa was 30 years old, had been married eight years and had a one year old.  She left CNN and her marriage and went online.  She bartered her skills to work at Webtv so she could learn.  Lisa ended up at Woman.com where she launched a variety of sites from fun to serious.  Then Woman.com was bought by iVillage.com  The whole woman's space was trying to find their place and roll-ups were happening in all verticals.  I lived through that era too. 

It was 2001 and Lisa became a Neiman Fellow at Harvard where they had yet to have an internet journalist accepted into the program.   She spent the first six months of the program at MIT watching games and the second half at Harvard analyzing business models to leverage this new tech world. 

Once the year ended she returned to the Bay area.  Lisa started working in social media took a job with Law.com where she developed a sponsored network that got really high cpm's.  On the side she was blogging for the LATimes so she could keep honing her journalism skills.  People kept asking her at this point, it was 2004/5, where do all the woman blog?  So in 2005, Lisa and her two partners who she met through the internet world, Elisa Camahort Page and Jory Des Jardins, launched Blogher. 

I love the story of how the name came to be.  Lisa was working for Jennifer Collins at Law.com.  She told Jennifer what she was going to create a site dedicated to a community of women that would be a place where women could publish/blog.  They were struggling with the name.  Sheblogs?  Jennifer, in one second, said Blogher.  And so Blogher was born. 

In 2011, Blogher is the fifth largest women's network.  They get 12-26 unique visitors a month depending on which analytic site you believe (Nielsen of Comscore).  My gut is that is it somewhere in between.  They are creating a new way for women to write and get paid for their influence and words.  The verticals are wide from Green to Food to New Media to Money, Sports and Style.  Blogher puts on conferences too. 

I loved talking with Lisa.  We could have talked about women and business for hours on end.  It is always great to meet other women who are trying to change the world for women entrepreneurs.  If you haven't checked out Blogher, get on line and take a look.  A growing community where women speak their minds on a daily basis.