As you’ve undoubtedly read by now, Roger L. Simon, our co-founder, is stepping down from his command post as CEO and Maximum Pajamahadeen. It’s been quite a ride these last seven years; here’s a link to the post I wrote in 2005 when I first met Roger in person, tongue-in-cheekily titled, “Secret Neo-Con Cabal Plots High Above Hills Of Silicon Valley.”
In November of 2005, when PJ Media publicly launched in New York, I can’t tell you how many “they’ll never last” posts I read, mostly from those who thought the train was leaving the station without them. Seven years and a lot of experimentation later, we’ll still here, and much of the credit must go to Roger’s steering us through the uncharted waters of new media.
On the PJM homepage today, Aaron Hanscom, who makes the trains — or at least the articles on the homepage — run on time at PJM, links to his first project here, videotaping Roger’s 2007 interview with Mark Steyn. During those Jurassic days of PJM, our first podcasts launched, hosted by Austin Bay. I was producing these up here in Silicon Valley (with Austin in Texas and everybody telecommuting in). The initial idea for them began in my kitchen, when Roger was back up in the San Jose area in early 2006 for a conference, and stopped by to talk with my wife and me.
Just as PJM’s early video experiments would eventually become PJTV, those podcasts were the prototype for PJM’s show on Sirius-XM from 2007 through the end of 2010. But both had to go through a very public period of experimentation to get good. And being able to do that live without a net, taking a leap of faith with people who were new to new media but eager to make their mark, is something that Roger deserves a lot of credit for overseeing, and quite frankly having the guts to do.
On the other hand, all during this period, Roger had numerous writing projects — for screen, print, and theater — percolating in his head, waiting for sufficient time to be able implement them. As my fellow PJM colleague Richard Fernandez writes in his own encomium to Roger, “when Roger says, ‘I am going to return to my creative writing while I still, to be honest, have some ability to do it’ he has in some sense no choice in the matter. There are some things he has to say before the curtain falls.”
To keep the railroad metaphors in this post going, Orson Welles famously said that a movie studio was the best electric train set a boy could have. In the 21st century, a new media studio on the Internet isn’t a bad train set either. Thank you, Roger, for letting us play with the controls, even after we occasionally crashed the locomotives from time to time in the early days.