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Announcing Earwolf's New CEO


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#1 Jeff Ullrich

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 09:24 PM

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Dearest Earwolf Community,

I'm writing to let you know that I am no longer going to be running things at Earwolf (or Midroll for that matter). Until recently, I have held the roles of both CEO and Head of Content. But for the past few weeks, Adam Sachs has been our CEO. And we are currently interviewing people to replace me as Head of Content.

I am now Chairman and will be helpful to Adam when he calls, but otherwise it is his company to run. Adam is trustworthy and thoughtful and loves Earwolf. He will treat it very well. I hope you get to know him soon. We published an official announcement where you can learn more about Adam and the details of the transition.

In addition to this post, Scott and I are trying to get in the studio this week where he'll guest-host The Wolf Den and I'm hoping it will be fun and interesting for our hard core fans who have rarely, if ever, heard from us together. Forgive me in advance for repeating some of what I write here on that episode.

Putting all this in plain english, there are only two important things going on: I fired myself and this is great news for Earwolf/Midroll.

Why is this great news for Earwolf?

None of the important stuff is changing and the rest is only going to get better. Some of the things that won't change: Scott is still Earwolf's Chief Creative Officer. Matt Gourley is still our podcast developer. I, while not active, am Chairman. The hosts will continue to record the best shows in the world. Our whole team, Adam included, love Earwolf and podcasting. We are still trying to innovate, working on a slew of show launches for the rest of 2014. Our culture, our sensibilities, are not changing. We will still push as hard as ever to create smart and hilarious content, while also pushing the medium forward through innovation and ambition.

What will change for the better? We have set a budget that is 50% higher for the next 12 months than it had been for the previous 12. We are really investing heavily back into the business. More staff, new shows, new technology, new projects of all kinds. I wish I could say more! The bottom line: we are trying even harder to make things great.

Another thing that will change for the better? We are basically hiring three people to replace me. All of whom will be better at their new jobs than I was at mine. Did I mention there will be three of them! Super qualified new blood who is excited to push the pace even faster with 50% more money to spend? That sounds pretty fantastic to me.

Now is a good time to say that there is no other woman. I am not leaving to go do something else (yet). I have NO plans for the future, outside of a little time to rest and play with my daughter. Maybe go to the Arclight and watch too many movies and eat too many Milk Duds and drink too much root beer. I am fortunate to have a successful wife who can pay the bills for a while, so I don't have to rush into anything new. At some point, I'll consider what is next, but not now.

You are probably asking yourself, "If you are selling us so hard on how great everything is going to be at Earwolf and how you aren't going to go do something better, why are you leaving?"

Fair question. Easy answer.

I'm tired. The kind of tired that a vacation doesn't cure. I am an old entrepreneur and father. I started Earwolf when I was 35, had Arden at 37 and founded Midroll at 38. I'll be 40 in 3 months. During that time, I also got sober and quit smoking. It's been a wonderful, eventful, but exhausting 4 years. Harder than I can even accurately remember. My mind has blocked a lot out. I'm still young and while I have no doubt that I have more to contribute to the world, it's time to take a break.

The team, podcasters, listeners, advertisers, everyone - deserve to have someone at the helm who has the vision, skills and energy to do great things. I realized that for this company, that was no longer me. So instead of sticking around and mucking things up, I want to leave things in the best shape I possibly can for the future. I am proud to say I am doing just that.

You wouldn't think it would be easy to fire yourself. But it really was. I always know what is best for my company and I try to always do what is best for the company. That is what this is.

I can't thank everyone personally, but of course, I'd like to thank all of our hosts. They show up and do amazing work each and every week. Without them, there is no Earwolf!

I'll properly thank Scott on The Wolf Den, but for those who don't listen - Scott's the best. He is the only person I could have done this with and I'll be forever grateful to him for taking a chance on me and my crazy idea.

And I'd like to thank my wife, Darlene. She really is the unsung hero in Earwolf history. For 4 years I've put Earwolf first. Long nights, early mornings, weekends, holidays. She has not only let me do it, she has enabled and supported me. If it wasn't for her, I would have quit a long time ago. She let me empty her Roth IRA to start this thing! She has nursed me through trouble with employees. Some quit. Some got fired. Some hated me. One even threatened our family. She has helped me when I thought it was all going wrong and didn't know how to fix it. She has always told me she loved Earwolf, even at times when I'm sure the opposite was true. She never got mad or jealous at the thing I was building, even though she had every right to do so.

In a nutshell - I couldn't have done for her what she did for me. Her selflessness knows no bounds. And we all owe her a debt of gratitude for that. I love you Darlene!

I know it is a lot to ask, but I have 4 requests before I go:

1. Keep loving Earwolf and making it the special thing it is. Call us on bad decisions, tell us when you love what we do and let the whole world know that they are missing out and you found us first.
2. I will come back to you in the future with an idea and say, "Hey look, I want to do this new (non-podcasting) thing, do you want to help me?". I hope you'll consider helping me with the next thing even a fraction as much as you've help me build Earwolf.
3. There will be some changes coming during the rest of 2014 - the ones you like were probably Adam's idea and the one's you don't like were probably mine. For the former, let him know (adam@earwolf.com or adam@midroll.com). For the latter, don't get mad at Adam. Blame me (jeff@earwolf.com).
4. Reply to this post with a bitch, a story, a compliment - anything. How has Earwolf made you feel? As Earwolf has grown I have felt less and less connected to you guys. And that sucks. Please help me make up for some lost time here, now.

I can't believe how far we've all come in 4 years. The small community we started has grown to over a million strong and you have consistently made me proud. Thank you for all the support.

Best,
Jeff

#2 Memphish_Boognish

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 09:33 PM

Jeff, thank you for all that you have done. Seriously. Earwolf is my favorite company. I have gotten countless hours of enjoyment out of many of the Earwolf programs. Also I have never met you, but I have asked many questions on this forum that you have answered for me and were always nice and gave some good info so I thank you for that

Good luck on whatever you do next

Jonah

#3 Memphish_Boognish

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 09:36 PM

Also will the Scott episode of the Wolf Den be the last episode of The Wolf Den or will you continue with it?

#4 Jeff Ullrich

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 09:39 PM

View PostMemphish_Boognish, on 15 June 2014 - 09:36 PM, said:

Also will the Scott episode of the Wolf Den be the last episode of The Wolf Den or will you continue with it?

I don't know if it will be the last episode or not, but I won't be continuing it much longer. Maybe someone else will pick it up.

#5 Michael Bay of Pigsmas

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 10:00 PM

Thanks for the mamories, ya boob.
^cool post

#6 Jeff Ullrich

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 10:04 PM

View PostMichael Bay of Pigs, on 15 June 2014 - 10:00 PM, said:

Thanks for the mamories, ya boob.

Come on MBP, my parents are probably gonna read this. Let's keep it clean.

#7 Bruce Reid Robinson II

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 10:15 PM

Thanks Jeff. Does this mean you will finally be reclaiming your garage from all the merch?

P.S. I hope Adam will be as open and thoughtful as you have been. You and Scott make it easy to support Earwolf.
Me IRL

"My name is Bruce. I fuck with viruses. I pull potatahs from the earth with my bare man hands. My beanie and five o clock shadow make me look like a longshoreman. And I can chill harder than a motherfucker."

#8 Jeff Ullrich

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 10:19 PM

View PostBruce Reid Robinson II, on 15 June 2014 - 10:15 PM, said:

Thanks Jeff. Does this mean you will finally be reclaiming your garage from all the merch?

P.S. I hope Adam will be as open and thoughtful as you have been. You and Scott make it easy to support Earwolf.

Thanks so much Bruce. I just moved Friday...and I can tell you, we moved the merch with us! So I'm not really sure when that will end.

Adam is great and Scott isn't going anywhere. We are in good hands.

#9 Bruce Reid Robinson II

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 10:23 PM

Awesome. It's about time I get a fresh Earwolf hoodie because mine is ragged. You may be hearing from me soon! Good luck with getting your personal life back though, I hope you don't get too stir crazy.
Me IRL

"My name is Bruce. I fuck with viruses. I pull potatahs from the earth with my bare man hands. My beanie and five o clock shadow make me look like a longshoreman. And I can chill harder than a motherfucker."

#10 Dan Engler

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 10:27 PM

Jeff,

This is sad news to read, but not at all surprising. The sheer quantity of time and energy you've fed into Earwolf during the past four years has always been apparent, whether this involved honest dialog with your audience, or reaching out to consult with people one-on-one (myself included) about the company's direction, or running yourself so ragged that your heart and/or prostate threatened to give out.

You've shepherded Earwolf through so many periods of growth and, each time, it's emerged stronger than before. I have no doubt you're leaving the company in good hands.

I'm not an Earwolf employee, but you've been one of the best bosses I've worked for. Thank you, and best of luck on whatever comes next. So long as it's not Pepsi Next.

View PostJeff Ullrich, on 15 June 2014 - 09:24 PM, said:

And I'd like to thank my wife, Darlene.

My wife.

#11 JeffreyParties

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 10:57 PM

Jeff, you've been good. Possibly even great. People named Jeff are destined for greatness, so you'll probably have a huge amount of success in everything you do. Best wishes, homie. Bye!

#12 Jeff Ullrich

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 11:01 PM

View PostDan Engler, on 15 June 2014 - 10:27 PM, said:

Jeff,

This is sad news to read, but not at all surprising. The sheer quantity of time and energy you've fed into Earwolf during the past four years has always been apparent, whether this involved honest dialog with your audience, or reaching out to consult with people one-on-one (myself included) about the company's direction, or running yourself so ragged that your heart and/or prostate threatened to give out.

You've shepherded Earwolf through so many periods of growth and, each time, it's emerged stronger than before. I have no doubt you're leaving the company in good hands.

I'm not an Earwolf employee, but you've been one of the best bosses I've worked for. Thank you, and best of luck on whatever comes next. So long as it's not Pepsi Next.


My wife.


Thank you Dan, this really means a lot. I can't thank you enough for all you have done, even though you aren't an employee :)

Come visit the studios sometime, I'll come out of retirement for that day.

My wife to you too.

#13 Bernard_Shakey

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 03:39 AM

Congrats on your success Jeff. Enjoy the down time with your family. And thank you for Earwolf and the laughs and happiness it brings all of us.

#14 Kickpuncher

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 04:29 AM

Jeff, thanks so much for everything you've done for Earwolf, not only for starting the site (which has become a bigger part of my life than I could have ever imagined back when I found out about a new podcast by the guys from Cheap Seats and a new site) and making sure the trains run on time, but for always being here to communicate with us. Good luck with whatever you end up doing, and until then, I hope you've found what you're looking for!

#15 Luke HENDERSON!

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 07:19 AM

You are one of the best men in the world and most underappreciated in this medium. Thank you for everything and I can't wait to see what you do in the future.

#16 Jeff Ullrich

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 07:36 AM

View PostKickpuncher, on 16 June 2014 - 04:29 AM, said:

a bigger part of my life than I could have ever imagined back when I found out about a new podcast by the guys from Cheap Seats


Truer words have never been spoken...how could you have known?

#17 Jeff Ullrich

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 07:37 AM

View PostLuke HENDERSON!, on 16 June 2014 - 07:19 AM, said:

You are one of the best men in the world and most underappreciated in this medium. Thank you for everything and I can't wait to see what you do in the future.

Thank you so much Luke! One day, we will meet!

#18 Luke HENDERSON!

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 07:47 AM

View PostJeff Ullrich, on 16 June 2014 - 07:37 AM, said:

Thank you so much Luke! One day, we will meet!


Highlander style?

#19 justsomeman

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 08:24 AM

It's going to be weird not hearing your name at the end tag. Best wishes to you and your future!

#20 Paul Ciampanelli

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 08:53 AM

Jeff Ullrich: A CEO whom people actually know, love and will miss. That is how great Earwolf is.