CEO's $500,000 Salary Burns Startup Into Fire Sale

Owen Thomas · 02/27/09 09:04PM

8020 Media hoped to revolutionize the magazine business. Instead, it has circled down the drain, ending up in the hands of shadowy investors after a new CEO with a Condé Nast résumé looted the startup.

Halsey Minor, the angriest rich man in America

Owen Thomas · 12/05/08 01:00PM

Since he escaped the dotcom bust with a considerable fortune, Halsey Minor, the founder of tech-news site CNET, has been acquiring art, real estate, and a blonde trophy wife. You'd think he'd be happy. You'd be wrong.

Halsey Minor's $31 million hole in the ground

Owen Thomas · 11/12/08 07:20PM

This just in: CNET founder turned angry Internet commenter Halsey Minor promises he will "get it up"! "It," in this case, being the Landmark Hotel in downtown Charlottesville, for which he has promised $7 million of his own money and obtained $24 million in promised financing from a bank. There's the hitch: The bank has stopped lending money, and no one was paid for September. Minor says he's "furious" and is getting a lawyer. Local publication CVillain.com wonders, though, if the bank yanked its loan because Minor somehow violated a covenant of the construction loan. (Photo via CVillian.com)

CNET founder now just another angry Internet commenter

Owen Thomas · 11/06/08 03:40PM

Is Halsey Minor the "bad boy of Silicon Valley," as Portfolio recently dubbed him? The moniker may not be geographically precise — the founder of CNET turned venture capitalist has a house in San Francisco, not Woodside or Atherton. But what the magazine really should have called him was the bad boy of the blogosphere. Minor obsessively comments on stories about him, with detailed but completely off-topic critiques of the writer's prose. Take, for example, his reaction to the post Thomson Reuters reporter Connie Loizos wrote about Minor's failed attempts to buy a racetrack in Florida:

CNET founder's $22M mansion to get $15M makeover

Paul Boutin · 10/06/08 04:20PM

CNet founder Halsey Minor, whose 8020 Media isn't exactly repeating his success, has hired hotshot interior designer Michael S. Smith to redo his 8 bedroom, 7 bathroom, 17,895 square foot Presidio Heights place at 3800 Washington Street. Minor is still arguing with Sotheby's over $16.8 million in purchases he refuses to pay for. But he's moving forward with home remodeling, having told Portfolio that the place “needs a lot of work to go from this grandiose monstrosity to a real house.” After the jump, Google and MSN snoop shots.

Halsey Minor's Internet magazine company tries, tries again

Owen Thomas · 10/01/08 04:00PM

Street fashion always gets a nod in mainstream style magazines. But can it fill up an entire issue, month after month after month — and deliver the kind of returns venture capitalists expect? That's an experiment underway at 8020 Publishing, a San Francisco-based startup which publishes print magazines based on the contributions of Internet users. 8020's creative director, Mimi Dutta, recently sent around a note advertising jobs at the new fashion magazine. The company is backed by CNET founder Halsey Minor, but has struggled to expand from its original JPG title, a photography magazine created by the husband-and-wife team of Derek Powazek and Heather Champ and bought by 8020. In August, Everywhere, 8020's travel title, folded after only four issues. Travel seemed like a natural category to attract advertisers, and some involved with the project wondered whether it was given enough time to succeed. Adding to the project's costs, Everywhere's website was built with different technology than JPG's. And then there's 8020's management uproar.Paul Cloutier, the company's former CEO, has also left the company. Minor is famously erratic and distracted by his art collection and real-estate holdings. And 8020's current CEO, ex-Condé Nast executive Mitch Fox, commutes to the job from Long Island, despite telling the New York Post in March he'd be relocating immediately. For anyone brave enough to walk into the middle of this, here's Dutta's note about the jobs:

Halsey Minor and the deal with his art

Owen Thomas · 09/08/08 03:40PM

Why has the stock price of Sotheby's, the art auction house, been down for six days running? One might speculate that it has to do with softening stock markets and home prices worldwide, which are testing the finances even of Sotheby's wealthy clients. If you ask Halsey Minor, the cofounder of CNET turned real-estate investor, it's because Sotheby's is suing him to collect on $16.8 million it says he owes for artworks he bid on at auction, including Edward Hicks's early 19th-century folk-art painting, "The Peaceable Kingdom." In an email conversation, he tells Valleywag, "You should note that Sotheby's stock price has fallen six days in a row. The market seems to be voting." More than that, Minor informs us, this dispute is "about the very nature of media and discourse and getting rid of the middleman." And here we thought it was about a rich guy buying a painting. But perhaps he's right. Minor's emails, middleman removed, make for a better tale than we could ever tell:First, Minor disputes the contention that he advised CNET employees to hold onto their shares when he stepped down as CEO of the Web-content company in 2000: