brad fitz below the fold
Young Web whiz blogs his way to a bundle
LiveJournal creator Brad Fitzpatrick, 24, sells the popular Portland-based online posting site he started in 1999
Friday, January 07, 2005
As a teenager, Brad Fitzpatrick bought his first computer server with money he made mowing lawns and used it to launch his first Internet business. From that sprang LiveJournal.com, one of the earliest sites for creating personal Web logs.
This week Fitzpatrick, 24, joined the ever-expanding club of entrepreneurs to make a small fortune off the Internet -- and perhaps became one of the first blogging millionaires -- after selling his company.
Such success seemed unlikely when Fitzpatrick started his company in 1999 -- and unthinkable after the dot-com bubble burst. But LiveJournal occupies one of the Internet's hottest niches. When Web logs started to pop up on the Internet, LiveJournal was one of few sites available to help people create them. As Web logs exploded into the blogging phenomenon, LiveJournal grew into an Internet mainstay -- 1.4 million people have updated their LiveJournal blogs in the past month alone.
On Wednesday, Fitzpatrick sold the Portland company that ran LiveJournal, Danga Interactive Inc., to a similar concern in California in a deal that could help take the technology behind blogging to the big-time.
"This is probably what the Web should have been from Day One, but it just took a while to develop the tools," Fitzpatrick said.
A simple way of posting information online, blogs were popularized by hobbyists who put their diaries and political opinions on the Web. They have grown into a communications and information tool used by everyone from celebrity watchers to political campaigns to Fortune 500 companies.
"We're about to enter the next stage of blogging," said Allen Weiner, a Gartner Inc. research director in Arizona. As blogs add video and become more sophisticated, he said, they will draw more users and all sorts of new applications will emerge.
Such optimism helped fuel a surge of interest in blogs' commercial potential and the companies providing the technology to make it possible. One such company, San Francisco-based Six Apart Ltd. paid an undisclosed amount of cash and stock for Danga and LiveJournal. Fitzpatrick said a price tag above $1 million "would be a safe guess."
Both Danga and Six Apart provide software tools to help users publish their blogs. Danga's LiveJournal caters to teens and twentysomethings, while Six Apart serves users with more sophisticated needs. Clients include the U.S. Air Force, Disney Cable and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Microsoft and Google now host their own blogging sites, which are formidable competitors for Six Apart. Fitzpatrick and his 10-member Portland staff will move to California, and he will become Six Arms' [sic] chief architect, leaving his lawn mower in Oregon.
Mike Rogoway: 503-294-7699; firstname.lastname@example.org