You know it’s going to be interesting when Gawker’s Nick Denton and Business Insider’s Henry Blodget share a stage. The latter interviewed the former earlier today at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference in Manhattan about the Gawker redesign, currently in beta, as well as the future of blogging. Much of what Denton had to say came straight out of the manifesto he published earlier this week. It was the short exchanges – of the sort that could only be traded by the likes of Denton and Blodget – that made the interview unique and hilarious.
Here are seven memorable moments from the Blodget/Denton interview:
1. About the Gawker redesign: Does this really signal the “end of blogs,” as Denton has previously suggested? Well, he explained to Blodget, “We’re sensationalists.” Shocking, right? Also unsurprising is the fact that the Gawker gossip guru plugged the beta site less than 60 seconds into the interview.
2. Apple-hating: All those magazines betting on the iPad to save their industry? Denton’s remark implies that it’s a waste of time: “I don’t really believe in the iPad as a platform for media applications,” adding “I don’t think they’ll be that successful.”
3. Envy as motivation: Regarding the new layout’s focus on the “big” story, Denton cited Drudge Report and The Huffington Post as inspirations, saying, “I’ve always been jealous of drudge’s splash.”
4. Maybe there is money in content: Blodget asked Denton if he “sees a path to hundreds of millions of revenue. Denton’s deadpan reply was, “I can see us getting to $100 million in revenue.” This is an aggressive target, given that the recent acquisition of TechCrunch by Aol reportedly reached a mere $40 million.
5. Early and long beta: Denton explained to Blodget that the public and lengthy beta of the redesign has led to considerable feedback, which should mitigate the risk of backlash. However, it raises the issue of a different kind of risk: what if another blog copies it? Denton didn’t seem worried: “Most organizations are way too sluggish to copy it.” When Blodget expressed an interest in “borrowing” the new layout, Denton countered of Business Insider, “You guys have always been fast followers.”
6. Pay to play: In reference to what he calls the “dong shot” of quarterback Brett Favre on Gawker property Deadspin, Denton noted, “I love paying for information.” Blodget gave him a bit of an out, providing some context regarding the British tabloid culture, which does as well. Denton added that, even though he doesn’t think about valuation (chuckle), the cash he paid for the “dong shot” of Favre “probably added millions of dollars to the value of Deadspin.”
7. Checkered pasts converge: Blodget congratulated and sympathized with Denton over the recent lengthy profiles written about him (such as the one in the New Yorker), admitting that he’s all too familiar with what that’s like. Denton, frankly, was Denton: About profile: ND to HB: “I don’t have quite the same issues that you do.”
Tom Johansmeyer is a freelance blogger in New York. He contributes regularly to The Huffington Post, Business Insider and Gadling and has just launched Third World Company.