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Cracking the Blagica Files

Eat Your Heart Out, Mulder and Scully!

Friday, November 13, 2009 | Posted by Aaron Goldman

Posted In: Press / Press Coverage

Earlier this week, a good friend and colleague of mine, Blagica Bottigliero, posted an interview with me on her blog, The Daily Blagica.

Thought I'd steal a page from the Huffington Post (who's made a business out of stealing pages) and repurpose the content here...

The Blagica Files: Meet Aaron Goldman

By Blagica Bottigliero

I took a look at my career over the last 12 years and realized that I've come across some amazing and talented people in Chicago's digital media and tech scenes. Many of these folks started their own companies and/or continue to shape the digital landscape in Chicago.

The first of these profiles aims to recognize those people that have been around Chicago's dot come world since the 90s. From agencies, to developers to start-ups, you'll never know who you'll meet on this blog week to week.

Without further ado, let me introduce Aaron Goldman. Aaron and I first met when I was at Orbitz and he was our sales representative for L90.  Since those days, Aaron helped kick start Resolution Media (now part of OMD) and recently launched his own company. We were also on the CIMA Board of Directors together.


Who are you?

I'm Aaron Goldman -- tweeter, blogger, writer, soon-to-be author, business owner, URL-spotter, husband and father.

How did you get started in the Chicago digital scene? How long have you been here?

My first gig in digital was during college in the late 90's when I sold banner and print ads for the Daily Illini. Then I was hired out of school at L90, an early online ad network. I started there in 2000 as a sales planner and worked my way up to running the Midwest before leaving in 2004 to help build Resolution Media. We sold to Omnicom in late 2005 and I spent another 3 and a half years there before venturing out on my own.

What are some of the most interesting projects you've worked on?

Getting in at the ground floor with Resolution Media was really rewarding. We built that shop up to 100 folks and $250 million in annual billings and it's thriving today. (Disclosure: I'm still consulting for them.) Our challenge was to make search engine marketing sexy. We constantly fought for the attention of CMO's that were always smitten with their TV spots so SEM was relegated to the end of the meeting if we got any time at all. It was especially gratifying to see that dynamic flipped on its head in recent years with search now leading some conversations and every CMO obsessing over their Google listings.

What is the difference between working in the space during the 90s compared to now? Did you experience any of the dot com bust?

I saw the walls fall down around me at L90 with round after round of layoffs. And there was a ton of M&A. We were acquired and/or acquired other companies 5 times during my 5 years there, eventually landing under the IAC umbrella.  These days, everything (and everyone) is so much more accountable. People aren't hiring ahead of the revenue. And all plans are backed up with meaningful metrics and projections.

What are you up to now? Tell me about it.

I'm in the process of building the first trusted marketplace for connecting buyers and sellers of digital marketing solutions. Think Angie's List or Service Magic for the digital marketing space. Marketers will be able to leverage my platform to find agencies, media companies and technology providers that are the perfect fit for even the most obscure project. I've got about 50 companies that I've personally vetted signed into the network. Over time, I'll add thousands more through a network of independent agents and enrich the database with client ratings and other measures of quality. My hope is that Connectual will be like the BBB of the digital space -- a beacon of trust and a way for companies to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Any misconceptions you think Chicago has when it comes to digital media and tech?

I think there's a notion that all the innovation is happening on the coasts and that's just not true. The start-up culture in Chicago is totally under the radar but really vibrant. Look at folks like crowdSPRING, GrubHub, Threadless, Groupon and the list goes on and on. These guys are making it happen. And there's a ton of great work coming out of the agencies in town too.

Tell me something I don't know about you.

There's nothing not to know. My life is an open book. And I'm publishing it one tweet at a time.


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