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Merry Christmas to Ted Leonsis

Yes, you read that right. Merry Christmas to Ted.

I don’t do SEO contests, but this one has been special so I played along. And I have learned about Ted Leonsis in the process.

Ted rose to the top of AOL (not my favorite company) and stayed there (not something I usually respect). And along the way he made a lot of money. But he’s still prime, now rich, and he knows people so he can exert influence to do what he wants. Sure he got all that fast car stuff going once he was riding the wave of money, but maybe he’s got it out of his system and can now afford to be a genuine human being? Maybe it’s time for a new 101 list that is less about the ownership thing and more about making the world a better place?

And we have been helping him raise his profile in the “modern” techno world with this “contest”. Merry Christmas, Ted, we’ve been promoting you for free. A few months ago Jason Calcanis was the most popular name in web marketing world to comeout of AOL. Now it’s you. Hah! I saw that smile. Good for you. Enjoy your Christmas, and say hello to the family for me. 

Ted’s got the potential now to do much, much more than ride AOL through it’s prime. Ted seems to like to lose money (Washington Capitols, are the Wizards making money now?), but as Microsoft’s Paul Allen has shown us, if you have enough to waste you can get some good stuff done along the spend.

Ted’s just made Nanking, an independent film that cost him reportedly over $2 million. I haven’t seen it yet, but I will. I, too, was impacted quite a bit by the tragic death of Iris Chang.

I wasn’t cruising the Carribean in my yacht when I read about her death, like Ted was. At that time I was more lilkely to be cruising Barnegat Bay in my inflatable Zodiac boat, crabbing with my two very young boys, and lamentng the loss of water quality in the over-developed bay area. And Ms. Chang’s death didn’t move me to make a movie, as it did Ted, because 1.) “Make a Hollywood Movie” isn’t on my “to do” list and 2.) I would never consider “making a movie” to be in line with my emotions regarding a tragic wrong mis-handled in the world. I’m not a BigMediaMogul, I suppose.

Ted wants to tell the story of Nanking to the world, as Iris Chang wanted to do. I prefered to learn from Iris that constant, bridled negative emotions can kill, and that we all need someone sometime (we can’t do everything alone), and that every one of us, at some point, may be fragile and worthy of some consideration. I suppose I am a bit of a humanist. 

Of course Ted’s on to Sundance or Cannes with this film, and I just know it’s not because he wants to win, but because he wants the film to get wide exposure so it can do more good in the world. See what I mean? He’s already acting more benevolent. Good for you, Ted. After filling the landfills with billions of plastic AOL CDs and countless pounds of elaborate plastic cases, holders, and mailing packages that nobody wanted, there is room for you to do good in the world. I’m confident this is but a start. Again, good for you.

Merry Christmas Ted Leonsis. And many more to come.