John Stoneman is General Manager, International at TripleLift. John left the Mirror Group 1997 where he was Online Editor to join MSN. In the last two decades he’s worked for AvantGo, Nokia, InMobi, PubMatic and now TripleLift.
Who is your digital hero?
My digital hero is Judy Gibbons who launched MSN in the UK back in the late 90s and then rose up through thersoft ranks to run the global consumer business across 40 markets worldwide.
What has she done to win hero status in your eyes?
When MSN UK first launched, Microsoft had plans to launch a UK version of MSNBC in the market, but for one reason or another the mandarins in Seattle changed their minds.
Sadly for the launch team we had already all handed in our Fleet Street jobs in order to be a part of this brave new journalistic world – suddenly we faced the dole queue. Judy stood up to the likes of Steve Ballmer et al to make sure we had roles, and we repaid her by launching one of the UK’s first digital only news organisations – Microsoft News UK.
How has her heroism helped drive digital?
During her 11 years at MSN she played a significant role in developing two fields – the first was developing the legitimacy of the digital advertising industry in the UK and the second was her achievement of being a powerful female leader, mentor and role model in a world hitherto dominated by men.
What the biggest challenges in media we need another hero to solve?
We need to face off the destructive powers that social media has on the world of local journalism.
Large scale media organisations are struggling to survive as the duopoly sucks all of the oxygen out of the advertising markets, but local newspapers are just simply closing down. At a terrifying rate.
These organisations are the traditional breeding ground for the next generation of journalists who we will need to ensure that the stories that need to be written are being written.
Plus, I’ve always wanted to be editor of the Whitby Gazette…
What is your most heroic personal achievement so far in digital?
Wow, if ever there was a question designed for massive career introspection! I
have always wanted to be part of brilliant businesses that people feel proud of working for. I’ve tried to build teams of people who look at their career histories and say that our company was the best place they ever worked.
I must have personally hired nearly two hundred people in my various different roles. I’m proud to have helped them build their careers and pay their bills.