2012: A Year of Building

If you think about it, every year takes on a character, or theme, of its own depending upon goals we’ve set, decisions we’ve made and unplanned events that take place along the way.  2011 was driven by a few great endings, my son leaving high school and getting into Arizona State Computer Science, selling MerchantCircle in a successful exit. As I look back on 2012, this past year was all about building.

54050cadf862fd00250f6a7067005e48First of all, no year-end review of mine would be complete without a discussion of my college football exploits. After selling MerchantCircle to Reply! in 2011, I saw about 12 games in 2011, ending with an Alabama National Championship and seeing Stanford barely lose the Fiesta Bowl.  While my 2012 game attendance decreased a bit, I managed to see some phenomenal games. The year started with going to watch Alabama beat Michigan in the new Cowboys stadium in Texas; included being there to see my son’s new college, ASU beat Navy in a bowl game in San Francisco; and ended with going to see Stanford win its first Rose Bowl since ’72 and of course seeing Alabama beat Notre Dame in the National Championship.  I’m now looking forward to another Alabama National Championship in Pasadena with them playing Stanford in 2013 for the National Championship.


On the subject of building…In early 2012, I started working with Accelerator Ventures founded by my partner Alex Lloyd to invest in and coach early-stage technology companies. In April, I came on board as Wanderful Media’s CEO to change the local discovery shopping landscape. It’s been rewarding and exciting to see both new ventures take off and we’ve made a lot of progress on both fronts. There’s nothing better than the act of creation and the satisfaction of seeing something come to life.

With Accelerator Ventures, Alex and I worked with numerous start-ups – companies like QuickPay, Influitive, Roqbot, and Well – that are largely consumer-facing and/or eCommerce businesses, helping them move to the next level.

198525_183824811752824_1786699678_nWanderful Media officially launched on September 25th and we celebrated with 150+ guests and partners at our 4th Annual Shotguns & Chardonnay Event. Don’t worry if you missed it. A 5th Shotguns & Chardonnay Event is definitely on the calendar for 2013!

Since then, we’ve been moving quickly, working toward a Spring 2013 product launch. We acquired iCircular from the AP in October, which helped us to broaden our products for mobile devices and tablets. And since November, a functional prototype of our new web-based product, which we’ve been previewing with key partners, has been available.

Wanderful - logo (Small)We’ve built a solid team at both the executive and staff levels with Doug Kilponen, COO; Steve Trefethen, CTO; Dave Thomsen, EVP of Product & Design and Grace Chan, VP Product Management at the lead. Wanderful has also gotten some great press as the industry watches what we’re up to. And, we’re literally building as well.  New office space in Chico, CA is under renovation, complementing our Los Gatos, CA headquarters.  Our move-in date is February.

1722.1-325-BROADWAY-RENDERING-SMOOTH-night-shot-850x325I already know what 2013’s theme will be – Delivering.  We’re gearing up for the launch of Wanderful Media’s web, tablet and mobile products in April. There’s a lot that we need to do between now and then, but we’re well on our way and couldn’t be more excited.

Thanks to all of our employees, partners and friends for making 2012 a great year. Can’t wait for 2013 – It’s going to be a good year !  It is all about fishing not catching, so I looking forward to enjoying the year with all of you.

About Ben T. Smith, IV

Founder of, investor in and advisor to technology and media companies
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