AOL's Saul Hansell Tells Us Why He's Quitting And What He Thinks Could Screw The Company

Saul Hansell

Saul Hansell has had quite the career. A former New York Times techology journalist, Hansell left to create AOL’s Demand Media killer, Seed. When Seed flopped, he became Big News editor at Huffington Post.

Now, Hansell is heading over to Betaworks as Entrepreneur in Residence.


“I have watched too many people over my career build cool things out of nothing and I couldn’t live with myself without trying to do that,” he told us over the phone. Hansell will work on some of Betaworks’s projects in the news business.

Betaworks both invests in startups and incubates them. Some of its portfolio companies include, ChartBeat and TweetDeck.

Hansell says he’s not running from AOL and is a big fan of Tim Armstrong.

He says AOL’s big challenge will be “whether the capital markets will give the company the chance to stay on the path they’re on now.”

“If everybody calms down and understands that a media property takes a while to figure out what they want to be, this is going to be a great spectacular company.”

He says there is a danger that people inside the company could become distracted by “external events” and “turn the steering wheel too sharply” and thereby change the company’s current, “strong,” course for the worse.

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