“Had [Ezra] Klein housed his new operation in a place like ESPN, where Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight now resides, I would be expressing more optimism about his future. ESPN occupies the safest moat in all of media, and as long as Silver anchors his enterprise in its waters, he will be safe. Likewise, if Klein had a history of attracting customers to paid conferences in the manner of former AllThingsD impresarios Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher (who recently started Re/code), I’d predict that his new Vox site would replicate that success. But Klein has no comparable conference biz background, which has become increasingly competitive, and would probably be a bigger slog than establishing his new site. Nor is Vox as deep-pocketed as billionaire Pierre Omidyar, whose fortune constitutes a mighty moat.
I’m not selling Klein short, mind you. But neither am I going long,” – Jack Shafer, the man behind a moat with a big bucket of cold water always on hand.