LSA15: Joe Walsh’s Return to Industry After Time as Investor & Consultant

During this featured speaker discussion, Joe Walsh, CEO of Dex Media, talked about his recent journey as an investor, consultant and board member and his subsequent return to the industry at the helm of Dex Media. He has developed a new perspective on the local space after his time “in the wilderness” and gave some perspective on this.

Taking a step back, he explained exactly how he made this transition. Joe said that Peter McDonald, former CEO of Dex, invited him to look at Dex from a strategy standpoint. Given the tremendous amount of evolution and growth in the digital media space, he was somewhat hesitant.

“It can be overwhelming when you think about all the changes and challenges of the industry over the years,” said Joe.

After a few discussions with Peter and his team, he was excited to take the handoff and continue the tremendous progress already underway at Dex.

He talked a bit about the many platforms consumers use to interact with local businesses. Joe felt these outlets don’t necessarily serve the best interest of the business.  While platforms can be a great way for consumers and the platforms themselves, the business owner that takes the risk of owning a business aren’t necessarily rewarded and profits are often marginalized as a result.

In relation to the directory space, Joe had envisioned much more consolidation than has occurred to date. He still believes this is likely to occur because the nature of the local space is such that responds really well to scale. And scale brings more resources and the ability to specialize.

While many traditional media outlets have been impacted to the major disruption of digital technologies and outlets, Joe doesn’t think directory and outdoor media organizations, for example, will merge.  He feels it is an issue of focus and for that reason it is less likely to happen.

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