Media Mavens 2013

Media Maven John Borthwick: Shrewd Digital Investor

Betaworks CEO Creates Buys And Sells, Invents New Business Models

By Published on .

Betaworks is a company with no defined vision or single product, making it difficult to describe. CEO John Borthwick, 46, calls it a "media company for this century" in that it's tech-centered, data-driven and focused on creating new business models instead of replicating old ones.

John Borthwick
John Borthwick

n practice, the company creates, buys and sells media products in areas ranging from website data collection (Chartbeat) to mobile gaming (Dots) to finding and sharing the web's most popular GIFs (Giphy).

Mr. Borthwick's most notable success was buying the defunct Digg and turning into a heavily-trafficked news aggregator shortly after Google Reader was shuttered. He's also proved a shrewd investor: Betaworks saw a return of 125 times on its $50,000 investment in Tumblr upon its sale to Yahoo earlier this year.

What is your guilty-pleasure TV show?
"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart;" "Dr. Who."

Who is your favorite follow on Twitter?
Hmm ... I have about 10. Right now liking [the] @BenedictEvans feed a lot.

Describe your daily media consumption.
Twitter, check into the stream. I have a curated private list of 10 or so people, quick dip every morning. Digg home page and then Digg reader.

Which obsolete tech device do you wish you could have back?
My watch.

If you weren't doing this job, what would you be doing?
Creating this job.

My favorite medium, bar none, is...
The intertubes.

Most Popular