Steve writes: “After four years running and nearly ten years in the industry, I am once again closely examining the hedgerows for opportunities. is now making a profit (surely not!) from its subscription business and should have a good 2003 – so I reckon that’s a pretty good cue to move on. I’m still on the board and I retain my equity.”

Steve, along with Ivan Pope, founded the Webmedia agency in the very early days of the UK internet industry. Ivan went on to become head of NetNames, then a VC, and now – it appears – is a conceptual artist (see

Steve on the other hand, seemed bound by a desire to make the web work as a medium and as a tool in the way many had hoped it could. Thus was born. Although it was subject to some of the interesting excesses of the era (installing a lawn in its plush offices at the height of the boom) it had enough guts to pull back from a public listing. This was partly out of self-preservation, but, running against the tide of the era, made good business sense. It also saved prospective investors the dubious prospect of getting into a business which would have been subject to the same drastic loss of confidence that all Internet companies experienced.

What that decision resulted in was a return – well before many other Web companies in 2000 – to solid business thinking, and a focus on making the business profitable.

Well, it appears to have worked.

Perhaps the question now, however, is will continue to plough its own path or will it use its new found profitability to find a buyer? Not for the moment at least. Stuart Tily, the site’s long-standing CTO, takes over and is moving the company to even-cheaper Brighton. The canny Robin Klein, the founder of the Innovations catalogue, remains chairman.

In the meantime, Steve says he is “happy to talk about opportunities, business plans, lunatic schemes, hair-brained ventures and half-baked wheezes.” You can catch him at