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Conde Nast Takes a Page From the BuzzFeed Playbook -- By Hiring BuzzFeed's Data Dude

We've seen this story before, but in reverse.

Macey Foronda, BuzzFeed
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

It used to be novel when people moved from Big Media institutions to BuzzFeed. Then it became old hat. So here’s a new version of the story: A Big Media institution has hired one of BuzzFeed’s big names.

Conde Nast has grabbed Ky Harlin, BuzzFeed’s director of data science, and will put him to work as its vice president of growth and data science, a new position for the magazine heavyweight. Via a press release, Conde digital director Fred Santarpia said Harlin is going to “devise unique business solutions and identify new growth opportunities.”

Translation: BuzzFeed has gotten really good at generating online eyeballs, and a lot of that has to do with the team of smarties they’ve got analyzing data. We want to do the same thing.

You can get a sense of what Harlin has done for BuzzFeed for the past four years (a magic number for some startup employees) by looking at press clips. Here’s one that describes him as “BuzzFeed’s Secret Weapon.” Here’s another where he explains the connection between Jennifer Lawrence and penguins (we’re not sure if he’s serious, but that’s almost beside the point).

If you are a close follower of BuzzFeed HR stories, you may recall the site recently announced that it had appointed Dao Nguyen, who had previously been in charge of data and growth, as its publisher. Harlin reported to Nguyen.

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