Best of VatorTV 2007: Executive interviews - Dance Jam, Visible Tech, Turn Here

John Shinal · December 24, 2007 · Short URL:

This is the first in our week-long series that will highlight the most popular stories in the newsroom this past year, based on the combined text and video views for each story.

First up is the top stories from our bread-and-butter category -- the startup executive interview. Later this holiday week we'll share the best from our conversations with investors, news makers and for our Lessons Learned series with veteran entrepreneurs. 

We interviewed scores of startup CEOs during's first full year and heard a lot of exciting, inspired ideas. For those who may have forgotten, finding an audience for these interviews and helping startup execs build an online presence for free was the rationale behind the founding of, which has now grown into the Web's largest online social network for startup executives.

While nearly all the companies we talk to do business over the Internet, the markets they play in range from search and data mining to wine and online dating. We also bring in late-stage companies that serve large enterprises. Our December interviews with open source database provider Ingres and virtualization security firm Blue Lane Technologies were among the best of that category.

But thanks to the star power of music and dance entrepreneur MC Hammer, our most-viewed interview was the first half of Bambi Francisco's conversation with Hammer and Geoffrey Arone, co-founders of the hip-hop and dance show site DanceJam.

Many people don't realize that Hammer, who was nicknamed by Hall of Fame slugger Reggie Jackson, has been  part of the business world since he was 13 years old. That's when Hammer began serving as an executive vice-president to the late Charles O. Finley, the flamboyant and controversial owner of baseball's Oakland Athletics.

In the upcoming third part of our conversation with Hammer, he called Finley one of the greatest marketers in the history of the sport who pioneered many marketing activities that were considered non-traditional -- even controversial -- in the early 1970s.

That interview, in which Francisco draws out Hammer's entrepreneurial insights by probing him regarding some of his own controversial history, will run during the second week of January. For now,  check out Part 1 of the DanceJam conversation.

Finishing behind DanceJam, in a virtual tie for second-most popular story in our newsroom, were our talks with Adam Selig, CEO of Visible Technologies, which makes online reputation-management software, and with CEO Brad Inman of TurnHere, the producer of mini-Web documentaries by independent film makers.

Rounding out the 2007 Top 5 executive interviews on were Tom Patterson, CEO of, the product research and review site, and Sagi Solomon, CEO of Open Bottles, which finished third in's Wine 2.0 business plan competition.

On Wednesday, Dec. 26, look for our top interviews with investors, including Ross Levinsohn, Jeremy Liew and Richard Rosenblatt, who is an investor in On Thursday will look at the top newsmakers and, on Friday, lessons learned from entrepreneurs.

Have a happy holiday. 



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