It’s time for something completely different …

When it’s time to change, you’ve got to rearrange,/
Who you are and what you’re gonna be
.”
— The Brady Bunch

I remember the first time I saw the Internet. It was through The Electronic Trib, a BBS that featured Albuquerque Tribune content, chat rooms and a tenuous link out to the Internet via a text-only Lynx browser.

It blew my mind. I could access information from across the world. I could see the card catalog at the University of New Mexico. And I remember telling an Albuquerque entrepreneur this was going to change everything. He wasn’t convinced. But I was adamant.

I jumped into the Internet with both feet. When I moved from The Trib to the Denver Rocky Mountain News, I started agitating to launch a website at the paper. And when management decided to go for it, they turned to Paul Pershing and me, the two guys at the paper with ponytails and an HTML jones.

We had no idea what we were doing, but we managed to pull it off with considerable help from Jack McElroy, a senior editor who was the project’s guardian angel and who also was a catalyst behind the Electronic Trib a few years earlier.

It’s funny, though. As much as I embraced the Internet and all the change I thought it would bring, I’m generally averse to change. In fact, I’m terrified of it. I’m a creature of habit. I like to know what’s coming next and I take a deep comfort in the tried and true.

This ruthless consistency, this hobgoblin of ruts and familiarity, is my greatest nemesis. It was with considerable trepidation (and a swift kick in the ass from my wife, Lara) that I moved from Albuquerque to Denver. And moving from Denver to Austin in 1996 to work for a web startup called GoWest was even more daunting. But I did it, and each time I moved out of my comfort zone to the land of nightmares and churning stomach acid, it opened the door to fresh horizons, exciting opportunities and new friendships.

It’s time to shake things up again.

After 13 years in a series of corporate interactive roles at Scripps, I’m quitting to join a partnership that is a veritable league of Super Friends called Maroon Ventures. My partners in this endeavor are amazing. It took only one meeting to convince me this is the right move. I can’t describe the electricity in the room while we tossed ideas around and planned world domination. I haven’t been this energized since those early days in Denver when I was staying up all night to learn HTML and mine the mysteries of the Internet on a Mosaic browser.

Of all the changes I’ve embarked on, though, this one is the toughest. Probably because I’m leaving an incredible company and the best boss I’ve ever had. I hate to resort to the old breakup cliche that

23 replies on “It’s time for something completely different …”

  1. congrats on overcoming your doubt demons once again! this sounds like a great opportunity for you to re-energize. i look forward to reading about maroon ventures in an upcoming edition of wsj. and when you find yourselves in need of a weatherbeaten mainframe cobol analyst (which you suredly will), you know where to find me…

  2. Best of wishes Bob! I admire your brave leap and am anxious to see the results. Scripps is a better place because of what you brought to the table and your departure leaves some very big shoes to fill. Good luck!

  3. I certainly agree with Glenn!

    It’s been fun ride on the Benz Bus. I’m not quite sure whether it was the mountain roads or the driver, but it’s been better than a roller coaster.

    Good luck and you can still buy me lunch — anytime.

  4. Congrats on the move Bob!

    Though I haven’t been with Scripps quite as long as other folks around here, I can honestly say it was inspiring to work with you.

    I can’t wait to see what bad-ass ideas Maroon Ventures will unleash upon the market.

    And I’m glad I got to experience the legendary Benz Christmas party once before you left!

  5. It definitely saddens me that you’re leaving, but I know that wherever you go, great things are bound to happen.

    In the year and a half that I’ve been here at Scripps I can definitely say that you’ve been a true motivator and it has been a joy working with a man of your intelligence and passion for what he does.

    Thank you for the inspiration! You will be missed.

  6. Bob, good luck with your new opportunity. Even though it seems like a decade ago, working with you and your team on FanaticZone way back is still something I remember fondly. Take it easy!

  7. Hmmmm…. Bob Benz and Wes Jackson join forces again. I can’t wait to see what Maroon Ventures produces.

    Best of luck in the new venture! We’ll miss you.

  8. Just to be perfectly clear: The ponytail is dead. I vowed long ago that I wouldn’t turn into an old fat dude with a ponytail. Can’t control the old or the fat. Can keep the ponytail in check.

  9. I expect you to kick equal parts ass in your new endeavor! Congrats on the jump…I feel your trepidation, as I am too, a creature of both habit and desire for adventure. Best of luck!

  10. Congratulations, Bob. You just know when it’s right, don’t you? As Miracle Max would say, “Have fun stormin’ da castle!”

  11. Adventure is there only for those who take it. Good luck to you, Bob. Thanks for all your assistance over the years.

  12. You go, Big Guy! I was wondering when this would happen — and sort of expected it sooner than this. Every big change I’ve ever made was really, really hard and really, really worth it. I have a good feeling about this for you, and can’t wait to hear more.

    Gina

  13. When they asked Seinfeld why he stopped the show, he said it was all about timing. Leave on a peak. Good plan. Hoping our paths do continue to cross, Bob — best of luck.

  14. Hey Bob,

    Didn’t get a chance to catch up with you before you left, but I wish you all the best in your new endeavor and applaud your courage to go for it. We’ve had quaite a ride together here at Scripps. I’ll never forget some of those early days with you, Wes, Neal, and Feinbaum in particular! Rest assured that we’ll continue to do our best to support Jay and all the Newspapers as our company goes through this period of change within as well.

    Again, All My Best,
    Bryan Allen

  15. Congratulations on killing the idea of being an old fat man with a ponytail.

    Oh, and good luck with the new business too.

    Tom

  16. You’re kidding right? this is all just a bad dream and this blog site isn’t real, right??? you’re just on a short vacation? good. I’ll see ya next week…..

    Your completely-in-denial old boss….

Comments are closed.