Here we go again.


So, I’ve finally decided to start a blog — I guess I’ve now joined the 21st century. It seems a little anticlimatic going from a web site that gets millions of pageviews per month to one that only gets a scant few, but there’s something refreshing about scaling down and having despotic control over your own little meaningless universe. I think I’m going to like it — although I could be horribly wrong, in which case this little experiment will come to a very quick and tragic end, like most of my impulsive actions in my life.

For those of you who have stumbled on this little peice of cyberspace, here’s a little bit about myself. I wear a few different hats. In order to pay the bills and restaurant checks, I’m a systems technology consultant and computer industry writer, focusing on Linux and Open Source. Most of my professional writing of late has been in Linux Magazine, where I write the Desktop and Shutdown columns and have been doing so since 1999 — I’ve also been known to guest column for Ziff Davis Internet, ZDNet and a few other techie places. I also write small “Quick Bite” restaurant reviews for the Sunday New Jersey Section of the New York Times, which I’ve been doing since November of 2004.

What I’m most known for, however, is being the founder of this little web discussion forums site and foodie not-for-profit organization called The eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. It originally started out really small, just like this blog, back in August of 2001, after the dot bomb implosion when all the content web sites basically vanished from the face of the earth and everyone thought you were insane for starting a new one. My Co-founder (food writer and former attorney Steven Shaw) and I thought it was a really good idea at the time and that it would be this interesting little side thing, and maybe we would make a couple of extra bucks, and if it was really successful, I’d get that brand new Mercedes and that condo in Hawaii I always wanted.

Well, over four years later, eGullet.com got a heck of a lot bigger (1M plus posts, over 20,000 registered members, and over 3M pageviews per month) and a lot more well known, but I didn’t get any richer (surprise! I ended up financing the entire thing for 3 years!), and we added close to 100 members of volunteer staff. We were making some money, but not enough to pay all these people. The alternative was to sell out to those venture capital guys and loose control of the site, likely destroying its identity and community in the process, or to do something that ensured the survival of this wonderful thing that we created. So we decided to become a Not for Profit organization and a culinary charity. I stepped back from the helm of eGullet, relinquished my ownership of the site, and handed over the transition and day to day management of the organization to Steven Shaw, who became Executive Director of the newly renamed eGullet Society for Culinary Arts and Letters. I joined the Board of Directors and now serve as the eGullet Society’s Director of Technology. In July of 2005, we were awarded our 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. Basically, in simple English, that means I now get to take orders from the new management of the site I founded (which I now can never make any money on) and spent an obscene amount of my personal finances on during its formative years. It’s done wonders for my self esteem and general comportment, and my in-laws and investor-savvy friends think I’m out of my mind. Sorry mom, no eGullet IPO.

So why a blog? Well, I have all this spare energy I’d like to harness, and not all of it is germane for eGullet. I like technology, I have political and social views, I have other non-food interests, and quite frankly, not every random utterance I have about food belongs on the most widely viewed food discussion site on the Internet. So in this blog you’re going to see the real me, the good, and the bad.

Welcome to my world.

5 Responses to Here we go again.

  1. FoodMuse says:

    Is it possible I am the first to wish you well on your blogging life? Bon Voyage. Couldn’t you have thought of some way to make a buck off of eGullet. Since when did doing good mean you couldn’t also be work hard and earn money doing what you love. Still I’m impressed, but glad I’m not your wife. Honey you did what? You walked away from an organization you poured your resources into? Any way, I just wrote my essay applying to be a participating member of eGullet. I only discovered your site last week.
    The last time I wrote an essay my greatest culinary achievement was cream cheese mixed with minced green onion for my morning bagel in college. I was so proud, I didn’t have to buy expensive bagel spreads. Gosh darn it, I could make my own. At the time this quite empowering.
    Looking forward to what you have to say.
    -Muse-

  2. Randi says:

    I’m glad you started a blog, as much as I LOVE egullet, I dont like a lot of the censorship that occurs there( and I know its for a good reason). Im still in awe that you started that site and walked away with zero. Why would you give up ownership of egullet? Can you one day write an entry about how you started egullet. I’ve met some wonderful people thru egullet and I’ve really upped my skills. I started a personal chef business because of egullet and I started a foodblog shortly after doing one of the weekly blogs. Thanks again.

  3. Frank says:

    I think I’d like to come along for the ride if I may.

  4. johnnyd says:

    Good Job, Jason!
    I’ve been wanting to get one of these up and running myself.

    I take issue with the conclusions of those who say you walked away “with nothing” by directing eG towards non-profit status. The success of the site would have me walking on air had I been in your shoes. The venue has accomplished much in epicuria and will continue to do so exponentially. That is much, much more than some people with mansions, boats and mercedes’ can say. Money isn’t everything, in some ways, it’s nothing at all. Bravo to your hard work and vision – you have made many people very happy and better chefs and that’s priceless.
    Johnnyd

  5. Greetings and Hello to everybody! My name is Angelita, from Ocala, Florida. Your Blog was easy to navigate, most informative, and it contained the information I needed for my college research paper, Have a nice day, and many thanks!

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