Flipboard is getting an editorial director. Josh Quittner, a director of digital editorial development for Time Inc., is leaving the magazine empire to join the fledgling tablet magazine startup. He will make the transition after the July 4th weekend, according to the New York Post.
Time Inc. is the publisher of CNN Money, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Money and, of course, Time Magazine. He is perhaps best known in tech circles for an article he wrote in the early 1990s for Wired titled “Billions Registered: Right now, there are no rules to keep you from owning a bitchin’ corporate name as your own Internet address.” In the article, Quittner had bought the domain name mcdonalds.com and tried to give it to the fast food giant, which was clueless about the Internet at the time.
Some choice lines from the “Billions Registered” article:
“My fingers trembled, as if ripping open a Big Mac. I checked:
“$whois mcdonalds.com Domain Name: MCDONALDS.COM Administrative Contact: Quittner, Josh firstname.lastname@example.org
“Oh, that’s McCool. I feel like McPrometheus. I have stolen McFire.”
Quittner was the editor of Business 2.0 from 2002 to 2007 before the magazine folded. Business 2.0 was a mix of forward-looking tech news and advice on how to conduct business in the Internet environment with issues like “How to build a bulletproof startup” and “The man who owns the Internet.”
Quittner has been with Time Inc. in some capacity since 1996. He started with Time Magazine as a tech editor, writer and columnist for Time.com before moving to Business 2.0. He spent nine months as the executive editor of Fortune before becoming a Time Inc. editor at large, helping to develop digital magazines on tablets for Time Inc. properties. He left that position in February of this year and has been the director of digital editorial development for news, sports and business until announcing his departure.
Flipboard is excited to bring a publishing industry veteran into the fold. According to the company, he will be a part of helping Flipboard grow their publishing partnerships, which have extended to publications like Oprah’s magazine and National Geographic in recent months.
“We’re really excited to have Josh joining Flipboard. As you know partnering with publishers is a central to Flipboard’s future and Josh is going to be a fantastic part of growing Flipboard’s publisher partnerships,” Flipboard’s Marci McCue said via email. “By hiring Josh we are adding a seasoned publishing executive to the team, creating an important new position at Flipboard to further our publisher partnerships, drive collaborative product plans and explore new opportunities to make publisher content even more discoverable on Flipboard. His broad editorial background, deep understanding of the flow of content and his publisher business perspective are going to be a fantastic addition to the team.”
It is notable that Quittner is now in a leadership position at what’s essentially one of the world’s leading Twitter clients, yet he himself has only posted to Twitter five times over the past six months.
The move is reminiscent of last Summer’s departure of Newsweek Editor Mark Coatney to join red-hot blogging platform Tumblr to run publisher partnerships. You’d think media was being disrupted.