This is the first conference for the Business Insider, and Henry Blodget et al. showed they know how to host these sorts of media forums with style. There was a lot of food, plenty of room for laptops and gizmos, and all the staff was nice. My only critique is that the segments–while delightfully short and fast paced–didn’t allow for any questions from the audience or journalists.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to hear all of the segments. And I missed Steve Case, the former CEO of AOL, who spoke this morning.
But I did get to see and hear Tim O’Shaughnessy, CEO of Living Social, talk about why he thinks Google is getting Groupon on the cheap at $6 billion. “[Groupon] should hold out for a lot more,” he says. “There are huge economies of scale.” Naveen Selvadurai, Foursquare’s co-founder, also confirmed that the location based social networking website was getting close to 5 million members.
The highlight for me was Arianna Huffington. She went toe-to-toe with Henry Blodget, Business Insider’s CEO and Editor-in-Chief, and every time he pressed her on how big the Huffington Post would get, she slapped him down. “This conversation is just another demonstration of which one of you guys have the biggest swinging d*ck,” Huffington said.
Blodget also asked Huffington about Tina Brown’s allegedly saying the Daily Beast would steam by the Huffington Post. “I never heard her say this,” she said. “This is just another stereotype. You have two strong females so there must be a catfight.”
Now I must give credit to Blodget, who as a journalist (and former Wall Street analyst), knows his job is to keep asking the tough questions. He asked her if the Huffington-Post would go global or how big the online publication could get. “God, Men are from mars?” she said. But Huffington Post will go international, she said.
Blodget also asked Huffington if she had considered buying Newsweek. “No. We are not in the print business. We have a very robust business. We have 24 million unique visitors a month.” Huffington Post is also profitable, she said.
Through it all, Huffington was funny, upbeat, not mean and had something to say. Someone should give this woman a show.