Danny Sullivan: My new role as advisor for Third Door Media

After 21 years running sites about and covering digital and search marketing, it’s time for a change. I’m becoming an advisor to Third Door Media, a shift from my position as chief content officer.

Third Door Media is the company that I cofounded with our CEO Chris Elwell, VP of programming Chris Sherman and VP of sales Sean Moriarty. It publishes our Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, Digital Marketing Depot and MarTech Today sites and produces our SMX: Search Marketing Expo and MarTech conferences.

I’m extremely proud of all that we’ve accomplished since the company began back in 2006. We have the aforenamed industry-leading vertical publications and successful conferences. Our company has grown to over 40 people. And it’s all been done organically, without VC funding, and has been consistently profitable.

Update October 6th, 2017: Danny Sullivan joins Google, leaves advisor role at Third Door Media

Time for a change

My move to a new role is because I’m ready to try something different. What that is, I don’t know! I have no immediate plans, other than to enjoy some time off. I might do some consumer tech writing down the line, which I enjoy and did a bit in the past, in my extra time. I might explore other types of writing, perhaps about science fiction on TV and in movies. All I know for certain is that I’ll remain pretty active on Twitter with opinions about tech and beyond.

Goodbye to a great team that remains

We’ve transitioned to the change internally over the past few months. Michelle Robbins has been promoted to SVP for content and marketing technology — congrats, Michelle! She has great knowledge in search and marketing technology, having been on the front lines of that for years, making her well-suited to oversee the strategic direction of our coverage.

The excellent Matt McGee has already been overseeing our day-to-day and long-term coverage aspects since 2012. Barry Schwartz — the hardest-working person in SEO — continues as our news editor, employing his superhuman powers to monitor thousands of sources of information.

Ginny Marvin remains watching over the paid search space for us with an insider’s knowledge that’s unmatched, as well as the digital advertising space in general. Barry Levine keeps on as marketing technology reporter extraordinaire. Amy Gesenhues continues doing her insightful interviews with CMOs, CMTOs and coverage of all aspects of digital marketing. Greg Sterling remains our go-to person for all things mobile, local, legal and big picture analysis. Tim Peterson will keep on getting the scoops and deep coverage in the social media space, along with both Greg Finn and Tamar Weinberg.

Beyond our reporting staff, our stellar features team will continue doing the hard work that’s largely unseen, recruiting and editing content from in-the-trenches contributors. Pamela Parker, with her associates Jessica Thompson and Desiree DeNunzio, do such an outstanding job to ensure that our content goes above and beyond. And Liz Craig, our copy editor, makes certain that all of our content reads professionally.

On the conference side, Chris Sherman remains heading up our SMX shows, as he’s done since the beginning. His nearly two decades of experience in the search conference space is unmatched. Karen DeWeese knows the ropes of all our event logistics and will keep things running as smoothly as she ever does. Our MarTech event continues to be programmed through our partnership with Scott Brinker, the leading voice of marketing technology.

Our social and growth teams, who I worked with closely, will continue to do their great work for Marc Sirkin, our SVP of experience and marketing. Monica Wright is so wonderful for ensuring that our engagement stays strong. Lauren Donovan keeps our content flowing on Facebook, Twitter and delights on Instagram. Kyle Pouliot does the same for our conference content and is a madman when we unleash him on Snapchat filters. And Katie Jordan helps them all where needed, our former intern — and third-degree blackbelt — so good that we brought her on full-time last year. Elisabeth Osmeloski keeps developing our audience and improving the experience of our conferences, including being instrumental in making our Search Engine Land Awards a great event.

See you at the Search Engine Land Awards!

Speaking of the Search Engine Land Awards — also known as “The Landys,” they’ll happen again at our SMX East show — and I’m looking forward to attending those this October and seeing people from our SMX and Search Engine Land communities.

Not just work colleagues but a second family

The people I’ve named above are those I’ve worked most closely with over the years, but our company includes many more people in our sales, marketing services, conferences and administrative areas. Everyone at Third Door Media is amazing. Our company is entirely remote. We have no central office, no headquarters, nor a need for that. It’s possible because of a great self-starting team that does its utmost each day.

A few years ago, my youngest son asked me if it was fun helping to lead a company because “you get to boss everyone around.” I told him it was much different than that. Helping run a company, I explained, was like having an entire second family. You worry about them. You want them all to succeed. You care about them. Or at least, that’s how it’s been for me at Third Door Media. It’s been a second family. It’s been a wonderful family, and I’m thankful to everyone in it. I’ll continue to be part of that family in my new role, offering advice as needed.

I know that the company will continue to do well with so many phenomenal people in it. I also know it will continue to do well headed by Chris Elwell, our CEO and my great friend, who I’ve worked with in our Third Door Media partnership and before that back to 1997. He has been the guiding hand that saw a company launched right just before huge economic downturn of 2008 get through that unscathed and ensure that we’ve grown and thrived. I look forward to watching him, along with everyone, succeed in the years to come.

I don’t have big reflections on my years reporting about search, because I largely did that last year, on my 20th anniversary of covering the space. If you’re interested, please see them here: 10 big changes with search engines over my 20 years of covering them.

I’ll repeat what I said at the end of that. I’ve been fortunate to have had a front-row seat in watching the search and digital marketing space unfold. It’s been an honor and privilege to cover the space. I’m glad that there’s a great team in place that will continue to do that, to help digital marketers succeed.

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