LumberJocks Joins Escalate Media

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Blog entry by Martin Sojka posted 01-03-2011 05:40 PM 10581 reads 1 time favorited 116 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We’re beginning this new year with big news. LumberJocks, as well as HomeRefurbers and GardenTenders joined Escalate Media few days ago.

I know this is a really big surprise to you, it still is for me, and I want to share with you the history behind this decision…

This was easily the hardest decision I had to make in my life so far and I’m still full of mixed feelings but I also believe that it is a change for the better that had to happen sooner or later. LumberJocks will be five years old in February and it has been growing quite rapidly all this time. That not only includes the impressive growth of membership and traffic but also the growth of the features and content. I really never thought that LJ would become this big and I learned many lessons along the way. With the increased membership and activity came increased responsibility and even more work. I suddenly found myself spending a lot of hours on the site maintenance – be it content policing or resolving small daily issues – and was slowly losing my passion that was driving LJ in the first years. I didn’t want to admit it but I was in need of some change. Also, due to my involvement in other projects I didn’t have enough energy to grow the team as it needed.

In early June I found an email from Escalate Media COO Lee Dodd in my inbox. He asked me how things were going in LumberJocks and that he’d like to discuss the possibility of acquisition if I was interested. This was the third acquisition offer email I received last year but this one was different. I liked the friendly tone and the following sentence got me interested: “We have no intention of coming in with big changes and have interest in continuing to work with you”. Another plus was that Escalate Media is a company with a proven track record focusing on cultivating online communities so there would be no danger in twisting the LumberJocks independence in the woodworking industry. As Lee and I started talking during the next weeks it was clear that Escalate Media has a solid team and know-how in the areas that I was in need of for keeping LumberJocks as a valuable website. In short, it offered the leverage that I was lacking.

Despite all these logical reasons it wasn’t an easy process. I simply couldn’t imagine working on LJ with another team but the more we talked the more sense it all started to make. Lee reiterated numerous times that their main intention is having Debbie and I continue working on the LJ, HR and GT by providing us enough resources and support so we can do again what we like most – planning, brainstorming and working on new features.

Since one of my key requirements was keeping Debbie in our team I asked her to share her take on this with you:

“I am really excited about the possibilities that are now sitting at the doorstep for our communities. This positive feeling wasn’t my first reaction. Originally I was surprised, shocked, and hoping that the vision for the CreativeHands Network would continue on as it had been. But, as discussions with Escalate Media unfolded I began to see that the vision could blossom and grow beyond expectations. And a little glimmer of intrigue began growing and I am now thoroughly excited about what has started to unfold and what the future holds. This will be a “win/win/win” situation for everyone – our members (present and future), the sites as a whole, Martin, and Escalate Media.”

And, now, who else can better introduce Escalate Media to you than Lee himself and Nathan who oversees the Building and Home & Garden verticals.

Lee: “I am so very excited to be a part of these great communities. We have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Martin over the prior months and really feel like we can come on board and assist him with the continued growth and improvement of LJ, HR, and GT. This truly is a great step forward for the future of these great communities. We want to free up Martin’s creativity and see his passion reignited to really enjoy the great communities he has nurtured over the years. The Escalate Media team looks forward to getting our feet wet and getting to know the community over the coming weeks and months.”

Nathan: “I’ve been an admirer of the LumberJocks community for many years now. I myself have experience starting and growing communities so I know how much hard work goes into them and Martin has done an amazing job. Not only is LJ, HR, and GT full of friendly people the site itself has some amazing features that make it stand out from other communities. I’m very excited to be able to work with Martin and Debbie going forward and I know as a team we can do great things. Please feel free to ask me any questions that you may have and I’ll try to answer them below.”

To all our members, I thank all of you for being part of this special community and I will continue to do my best to keep it special for all of us.

116 comments so far

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4077 days

#1 posted 01-03-2011 05:49 PM

wow…does this mean more and bigger prizes??? good luck with it all…you deserve the best Martin!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3195 days

#2 posted 01-03-2011 05:49 PM

I don’t know what to say Martin. Congrats I guess. As long as you are the one maintaining LJ i think it will be a good deal for you.

I found out not two weeks ago that the company I work for, Aprimo, was being acquired by TeraData for half a billion dollars. They say they want to keep everyone including management etc because they are investing in us since we are the leader of marketing software and they are one of the leaders of data farming. They realize they aren’t good with managing their software but we are so they say they want us to run as is… we’ll see in a few months when the deal goes through how much we lose. I sure as hell hope I dont lose my amazing benefits…or job for that matter lol.

Good luck though and congrats. I wish you the best of luck with this deal. I hope it only brings improvements to LJ without any big changes.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View Furnitude's profile


380 posts in 3507 days

#3 posted 01-03-2011 05:49 PM

I’m happy to be the first to say congratulations! This is well-deserved and sounds great for you and the great communities you’ve started. I couldn’t be happier for you.

Edit: well, third anyway. :)

-- Mitch, Also blog at

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 2856 days

#4 posted 01-03-2011 05:52 PM

Nice one

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3174 days

#5 posted 01-03-2011 05:58 PM

Big congratulations, Martin.

I’ll be very interested in watching how this unfolds, from a user perspective.

In my experience …. things DO begin to change, and … usually rather quickly.

Let’s just hope that those changes are for the better, and inure to the benefit of your loyal membership !

Happy New Year !

-- -- Neil

View BillyJ's profile


622 posts in 3203 days

#6 posted 01-03-2011 06:02 PM

Congrats Martin. I can only imagine the various feelings you have, watching your child go out into the world on its own without your daily attention. These sites are by far the best out there, I’m glad someone else shares your vision.

-- I've never seen a tree that I wouldn't like to repurpose into a project. I love the smell of wood in the morning - it smells like victory.

View DrSawdust's profile


323 posts in 4098 days

#7 posted 01-03-2011 06:07 PM

Congratulations Martin. I look forward to more amazing things to come.

-- Making sawdust is what I do best

View Bothus's profile


441 posts in 3176 days

#8 posted 01-03-2011 06:19 PM

Hi Martin,

You have worked hard and created the best woodworking forum on the net. Thanks for all you have done and will continue to do. I am excited for you, congratulations.


-- Jerry Boshear, Professional Kitchen Designer, amature woodworker.

View chrisstef's profile


17386 posts in 3006 days

#9 posted 01-03-2011 06:21 PM

Congratulations to you Martin. Its every business mans dreams that they have done such a good job at what they do that someone else wants to purchase their company (or website). It should also be a testament to everyone that participates in this site!

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View patron's profile


13604 posts in 3341 days

#10 posted 01-03-2011 06:35 PM

congratulations martin

someone has to enjoy your life

might as well be you !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View helluvawreck's profile


31096 posts in 2866 days

#11 posted 01-03-2011 06:37 PM

Congratulations, Martin. This sounds like it will be a positive step for you and I certainly wish you the best. I know that you have worked hard on this site and you deserve whatever is best for you. Best wishes.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3334 days

#12 posted 01-03-2011 06:45 PM

Congratulations Martin. I can well understand your desire and need to get some of the day-to-day work off you’re back, especially considering all the activity and related maintenance. With you still spearheading it, I’m looking forward to continued enjoyment on this great site.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View woodcrafter47's profile


352 posts in 3105 days

#13 posted 01-03-2011 06:47 PM

Congratulations to you Martin. Its every business, we also strive to make it better for the customer. We are excited as to what the new guys will bring . I think YOU did an excellent job of making this a great site for ALL.
Am glad for you and Debbie and am looking forward to seeing some projects from you, now that you may have some free time. May God Bless you and yours in 2011 and beyond.

-- In His service ,Richard

View ellen35's profile


2738 posts in 3432 days

#14 posted 01-03-2011 07:00 PM

Congratulations, Martin, as long as we can continue to have you and Debbie at the forefront of LJ, this is a wonderful opportunity. You deserve only the best for what you have created.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3648 days

#15 posted 01-03-2011 07:02 PM

Well, Congrats. hope this means more time for you for yourself, the one thing money cannot buy.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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