Q: Tell us a bit about your role and a bit about the path that brought you here:
A: I’m the Chief Content Officer at About.com, where I lead our content production efforts, as well as SEO, Data Sciences, video production, and email marketing. That’s a lot of ground to cover, but the path that brought me to About has also covered quite a lot of ground. In fact, my career sometimes feels like it’s been a bit of a random walk – but really fun as well. After a brief tour of duty as a corporate litigator at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, I made a hard left turn into digital media. Over the years since, I’ve worked at both start-ups, like CMJ and Howcast, as well as much bigger places like Yahoo! and Google. What’s been great about having walked such a crooked professional path is that it’s allowed me to gain insights into so many interesting and varied areas. Now, all of those diverse, past experiences are helping immeasurably in working with Neil Vogel, the CEO of About, and the rest of our terrific team as we take About to the next level as the world’s most trusted source of Expert information.
Q: What do you think is the most important aspect of your job:
A: A successful company is only ever as good as its people. Since IAC’s acquisition of About from The New York Times a short number of years ago, we’ve had tremendous success in attracting an incredibly talented team, with new leadership in every part of our business. About’s content business is very focused on those content verticals of greatest relevance to people in their everyday lives; things like Health, Money, Food, Home, Style, Travel, etc. And we’ve been able to recruit business leaders for these content verticals with backgrounds from places like Condé Nast/Epicurious, Elle Décor, WebMD, The Wall Street Journal, and the like.
Q: Describe one of the most unusual or most memorable experiences in your career:
A: Every year, About hosts a weekend-long conference in New York City, gathering many of our Experts together from around the world for a discussion about industry trends and just to catch up a bit face-to-face. One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had so far during my tenure at About was the very first conference I had the pleasure of attending. It was an incredibly powerful and moving experience for me to witness, first hand, the passion that About’s Experts have for our collective mission of informing, helping, and delighting our audience. That weekend, each Expert I spoke with shared with me stories of the many interactions they’ve had over the years with individuals who they have helped and the various ways in which they’ve touched people’s lives. Being able to play even a small part in all of that is very satisfying. Not many of us are in a position to try to change the whole world, but I think we all nonetheless have an obligation to try to brighten our small corner of it. I believe that the work that we are doing at About does exactly that.
Alex Ellerson is the Chief Content Officer and oversees content production for About.com’s 17 content Channels, including its Expert network and product strategies. Prior to About.com, Alex was Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel for Howcast Media. Previously, Alex was the Head of Entertainment and Premium Content Partnerships for Google Video and YouTube. Before joining Google, Alex was the Senior Director of Business Development for Yahoo! Search. During his 7-year tenure at Yahoo!, Alex also held positions as the General Manager of Yahoo! Health and Director of Business Development for Yahoo!’s media group.
Alex holds a J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law and graduated from Swarthmore College with a degree in English Literature. He also serves as a member of the Programming Committee of the N.Y. Chapter of the U.S. Copyright Society.