Media vets Wolf and Dash launch Activate

Firm takes progressive approach to consulting services

NEW YORK -- Entertainment industry and consulting veteran Michael Wolf has launched a new business focused on strategic growth and technological positioning advice for companies in the media, entertainment, communications, Internet and tech spaces.

Wolf's partner in the new consulting venture, called Activate, is blog and social Web pioneer Anil Dash. The duo wants to take a very different approach from that of traditional consultants.

As the technology and media sectors continue to converge, the firm wants to help clients develop products and tools that suit the digital age and tackle such strategic and financial challenges as a changing distribution landscape and increased competition for consumers and advertisers.

"This is very different from the legacy consulting business with its focus on such things as cost cuts and restructurings," Wolf told THR. "Many of the old tool sets are not sufficient anymore. We want to focus on growing and building new things."

Added Dash: "Many companies have seen technology as a disruptor, but we see it as an opportunity to get excited about."

The new firm is headquartered in New York and plans to open a Silicon Valley location within the next year.

It has started working with first clients and is looking for more among both big sector players and small innovators. Activate will not charge the latter fees, but instead take equity in them and board seats.

The duo of Wolf and Dash wants to build a team of non-traditional consultants, or anti-MBA types, who have entrepreneurial experience and were "born digital" as Wolf put it.

Wolf is a former president and COO of MTV Networks and head of consulting firm McKinsey's global media and entertainment group. He has been focusing on advising digital media firms in recent years. For example, Wolf has served on the boards of social entertainment firm Slide, broadcaster Entercom Communications and online content publisher and syndication network iAmplify.

Dash made a reputation as a technologist and blogger. His site began in 1999 as one of the earliest blogs on the Internet. He is also the founding director of Expert Labs, a non-profit that creates Web technologies to help the U.S. government tap into the expertise of the public. Dash also previously served as chief evangelist at blogging software company Six Apart.