Giving pop culture more fizz
The gig: Chief of Buzznet Inc., a Los Angeles-based Internet company he describes as a one-stop shop for pop culture.
With contributions from paid editors and amateurs, the company’s websites include Buzznet, Celebuzz, the Superficial, Just Jared, WWTDD.com, Absolute Punk, Stereogum and official celebrity blogs such as those of Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian. Together, the company says, the sites draw more than 37 million users. “In the 1980s, Sumner Redstone and MTV got that there was an insatiable demand for pop culture and that pop culture is built from the ground up,” said Goldman, 42. “That appetite and the ability to feed it has only grown with the advent of the Internet.”
How does it work? In addition to covering pop culture with its staff of 90 (including an editorial team of about two dozen covering celebrity and music), Buzznet asks its community of users to help cover the subjects they are obsessed with, whether it be writing blog posts on a band’s concert tour or putting together a slide show on a celebrity such as Britney Spears with photographs and music that Buzznet provides. “If you have the best content about the topic, you have the best conversation about it,” he said. “One of the beauties of the Web is that it enables you to deeply program a topic by incorporating all forms of media collaboratively through millions of users so there is something new there every few minutes, or in some cases, seconds, for users to digest and discuss.”
Aren’t there already a lot of celebrity sites? “Not to sound like the Carpenters, but we have only just begun.”
How he got his start: Selling sodas and peanuts in the bleachers at Candlestick Park when he was in junior high school. “I learned that I would have a hard time moving up to Polish sausages if I didn’t join the union, and that Atlanta Braves fans, as few as there were then, liked something called Mr. Pibb.”
How he broke into entertainment: A fifth-generation San Franciscan, he went to Dartmouth College, Kellogg Business School at Northwestern and Northwestern Law School, eventually working as a lawyer in London, Brussels and Palo Alto. He heard that sports attorney Leigh Steinberg was looking to add to his sports practice. Goldman sent him a proposal delivered by a singing man in a chicken suit. He was hired and represented clients such as Manny Ramirez, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Warrick Dunn and Evander Holyfield. Before joining Buzznet, Goldman was a senior vice president at Movielink -- a joint venture owned by Warner Bros. Studios, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and MGM for the digital distribution of video content. It was sold to Blockbuster. He also founded Broadband Sports Inc., an Internet sports site.
His advice: “I have learned a lot by seeking out opportunities that I thought were fascinating, working with or for interesting, challenging and smart people.” From his job selling food at Candlestick, he learned “business is a great outlet for creativity -- try selling malts at a weekday night game against the Expos in the upper deck when it is 37 degrees -- and that hard work was incredibly satisfying and invigorating when it was something I enjoyed doing.”
On naming his kids: Goldman and his wife, Elaine, an actress best known as one of the Coors Light Twins, gave their children names influenced by family, personal history and branding. They named their daughter Alexa Stella Firenze Paige Rothschild Goldman. Their baby boy is W. Sawyer Phillip Casimir Carnegie Goldman IV. The Carnegie is after Andrew Carnegie, the steel baron and philanthropist.
And the “IV”? “There isn’t a I, II or III, but we thought it was a nice old-fashioned touch.”