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Topix: A Fond Farewell

Today is a bittersweet day for me as I announce that I have decided to leave Topix. While my departure is done in conjunction with Rich's departure, I firmly believe that I could not be leaving the company in any more capable hands than that of Chris Tolles, the company's newly appointed CEO, and the remaining employees.

Chris is lucky enough to take over a company stocked with some of the smartest, hardest working folks I've ever had the pleasure of working with. So, first off, a big congrats goes out to him and a warm goodbye to the rest of the folks. Now, I'll indulge myself with a bit of history...

Topix was born sometime in 2002 by Rich, Bob, Bryn and my brother Tom. At that time, I was in the process of selling my last company (Terraspring) to Sun, and these guys were setting up in the worst office space in Palo Alto, working through ideas. Over the course of the next year, I spent most of my time traveling the world and golfing, and occasionally stopping into the aforementioned crap office space to check in on progress.

Sometime around mid 2003, it became clear that the ideas that were being chewed through were actually crystallizing. My visits become more frequent, and next thing I knew I was down there pretty much full time doing everything from product management to bus. dev. to pr/ marketing. After our launch in early 2004, we brought in other folks and I settled into my role as VP Bus. Dev.

In any event, what a ride it has been. I think in my 4 years at Topix I have done a deal with pretty much every major newspaper, every major ISP, all the search engines, TV networks, the major wire services, and pretty much any other type of media company (large or small) you can think of. All the while, the company got purchased, raised money, re-branded, grew in traffic to record heights, created a classified network and became the place on the net for local news and community. Now a top 20 news site, I couldn't be more proud.

With that, after 4 years (the longest period of time I've ever stayed with the same job!) I've grown tired and decided it's time to let someone else take over the bus. dev. role. Chris has the perfect sales/ marketing background to lead the company to new heights in its next/ newest phase of growth. Whoever is lucky enough to take over my spot will certainly be in a great position to meaningfully participate in this growth. As an continuing equity holder, I look forward to Topix continued success.

But for now, my immediate plans are to take some time off this summer, other than some continued blogging. Accordingly, I bid Topix adieu. Before I go though, I wanted to give Rich, Chris, Jack, Tim, Tom M, Bob, Bryn, Tom F, Dan, Brigid, Allen, Hilary, Ross, Jeff, the entire Topix team and everyone else I met and worked with along the way a big thanks for letting me take a seat on what's been the ride of a lifetime.

Oh yeah, one more note: once Topix was purchased in 2005, I became a member of the partner advisory board of ShopLocal, a sister company to Topix. At our first partner meeting in Chicago in 2005, I met a ShopLocal employee named Kelly who I hit it off pretty well with. Anyway, fast forward a couple of years and Kelly and I are now married living in SF. Like I said, quite a ride....Thanks Topix!!


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Comments (2)

Rob Torres:

You'll be missed, Mike. If not for you, I would have never developed my own version of the Markson Squint Test™ and might still be designing pages using less sophisticated methods.


Congrats on the success and I look forward to seeing what you guys pull off next. I remember the Terraspring timeframe during nuclear winter well. You guys are further proof some great stuff gets build during tough times.

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