Arianna Huffington: How I Built A Blog Empire And What's Next for HuffPo

Arianna Huffington

Photo: Business Insider

With its mix of attention-grabbing headlines and opinionated writing, the Huffington Post grew from a rabble-rousing blog in 2005 into a journalistic empire under founder and leader Arianna Huffington by 2011. From the start, the site’s bold features were an easy target for snark, yet HuffPo resonated with readers and netted 25 million monthly. Then AOL, in an ongoing quest to remain a relevant content portal, snapped up the property for $315M last February.That’s how most startup stories go: “It was tough, but eventually success was inevitable!”

Hear the deeper story from the editor-in-chief herself at Startup 2012, Business Insider’s conference on entrepreneurship and business-plan competition, where Huffington has just signed on to be a keynote interview. The event is May 3 in New York. Reserve your seat now.

She’ll tell us about the pivots and tough calls she had to make — the unglamorous guts of company-building behind the mega-success. (Kevin Systrom, who yesterday sold Instagram to Facebook for $1 billion, has said that changing his company’s strategy and product was one of the hardest decisions he ever made. He also spoke about Facebook and Instagram at BI’s last event in March.)

And whither Huffington Post now that it’s part of AOL? What’s really going on behind the scenes, as Huffington is tasked with the shaping of editorial at the Internet giant? We’ll find out next month.

At Startup, you’ll also get insight from the founders of Fab, TaskRabbit, Lot18, Branch, Lifebooker and Gumroad — recently dubbed Silicon Valley’s most interesting teenager by BI’s Alyson Shontell — on topics from funding to scaling to exits. VCs and investors will share war stories on the road to success. And the audience will vote for the competition’s $75K winner. Check out the speakers and agenda for more.

Meanwhile, we’re excited to hear from Huffington. Her last interview in December 2010 with BI’s editor and CEO Henry Blodget produced some amazing commentary (it was at IGNITION, BI’s media conference), notably:

  • Glenn Beck’s show is “pure, unadulterated fantasy” — and “dada-ism.”
  • “You, guys, are all about who has the biggest swinging d!$k.” The journalism industry needn’t be who-eats-who. Instead, there’s room for multiple properties to flourish.

What will she say about entrepreneurship and life after acquisition? Come find out. See you next month.

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