It would be an understatement to say that it’s been a while since I’ve posted to Mena’s Corner. Personally, I’ve needed to take an extended break from corporate blogging and luckily this break was enabled by the great work our teams have done on the various product blogs.
However, it just wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t take the time to wake up the corner and personally write a post about some Six Apart related news that we’re announcing today. In brief, Chris Alden (who has served as EVP and GM of our professional division – basically, the Movable Type and TypePad businesses) is going to be the new Chairman and CEO of Six Apart, having been handed the reins by Barak Berkowitz.
When Barak officially joined Six Apart as our CEO in July of 2004 (he’d been acting CEO since January), I wrote in great length (my God, it’s five printed pages!) about the reasons we wanted him to be a part of the company and what it meant to Ben and I on professional and personal levels.
Naming Barak as CEO brought on a new phase for the company and for Ben and me personally. While it was a really tough decision for both of us when I handed over my CEO reins to Barak, we knew that it was a necessary step to take the company to the next level. Barak helped Ben and me to expand our own ambitions for the company and to really see how Six Apart could grow the blogging industry as a whole, and since he joined the company as CEO, that’s what he and Six Apart have continued to do. And for that, we’re incredibly appreciative.
In the post I wrote three years ago about Barak, one of the stories I told about him was when he did the wiring in our old San Mateo office:
At our office, we had phone cables running up and down walls and doorframes and across the floor. This mess was around for months until one day Barak came to work with a T-shirt, some tool-belt type thing and some device to do phone wiring. During the course of the afternoon, Barak installed our phone lines and cleaned up the office. … The fact that Barak will do this sort of grunt work is why he fits in at Six Apart.
What’s worth noting is that when I talk to people who have read my post, the above anecdote always sticks in their mind most clearly: that Barak is a guy who’s willing to be hands-on at any job at the company, and whatever he does, he’s going to dive in and do a good job at it. For people who know Barak, I think that’s something that really rings true about his character and personality, and it’s certainly one of the things we’ve appreciated most over the years.
And now, today.
We’re incredibly excited about what Chris will be bringing to his new role at Six Apart. As GM of our Professional Division, he’s led, inspired and motivated an amazing team that has injected a new passion and life into Movable Type 4.
While Chris will be the first to admit that reinvigorating and building Movable Type 4 was a group effort that involved his entire team at Six Apart as well as the outside community, I couldn’t help but be blown away by how Chris made us all feel the energy around the product.
While Ben and I were lucky to be able to contribute in small ways to the development of Movable Type 4, it wasn’t until we saw Chris present a preview of the product at our internal weekly company meeting that we understood just how exciting the launch was going to be (and frankly how much the product had grown). Over the past couple of years, it’s no secret that Movable Type hasn’t had the attention it deserves; that was just the reality of having such ambitious (and good) goals and a relatively small team to accomplish them.
To see the glow of Movable Type come back not just as a glimmer, but as a full-on spotlight, literally gave me goose-bumps, and the result—Movable Type 4—is the best version of Movable Type we’ve ever created at Six Apart.
It’s a really exciting time for Six Apart and I continue to have great faith in what we’re accomplishing. As I realized myself, being a CEO is a big job, and Barak has filled it for four years of hard work as we all built this amazing company. He moves on, but will continue to be a valuable advisor to us all. The Six Apart that’s empowering millions of people to express themselves wouldn’t be what it is without Barak, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.
Here is Chris's post on the transition.