Passion and Purpose: Interview with Mark Johnson, CEO of Zite [Video]

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One of the best parts of my job is meeting people who are passionate about the work that they do.

I had the good fortune of meeting someone just like that yesterday – Mark Johnson, CEO of Zite.

I was invited yesterday to a special “Lunch 2.0” at Zite’s brand new headquarters in San Francisco.

Zite is a free online “magazine” (for the iPad and the iPhone) that aggregates articles from all over the web in a sleek, easy-to-read format based on topics.

Zite was selected as the #1 news app by Apple in 2011 and in my opinion, is one of the best apps available on the iPad or iPhone. I’ve been traveling all across North America the last 12 months talking about the best apps for real estate professionals, and Zite is always at the very top of my list – especially for content curation for social media.

I was one of the first people to arrive at the lunch with my colleague from Inman, and the office was completely bare. The furniture is on order – but for the time being, there is nothing there but a few folding tables.

We were greeted with a warm welcome and shown where lunch was being served. They had a great spread; sandwiches, sodas and even a keg (signs of a scrappy start-up with all twenty-somethings.) They also had a table of “schwag” from CNN (CNN aquired Zite about 6 months ago.)

There are only 11 people on the Zite team and they were all so friendly and engaging. I really enjoyed chatting with them about what we do at Inman and how the real estate industry is using technology and social media to work smarter.

We met one of their designers who worked previously for Microsoft, and he joked with us about “how outdated” email is. He said, (in complete seriousness) “why would anyone use Facebook email notifications – don’t you just leave a Facebook tab open all day?”

Wow.

Wondering what the twenty-somethings are feeling about social media and email? I think you just had your first clue!

I asked them if they would mind doing an interview and they all pointed to their CEO as the one to talk to. After a few moments, I met Mark Johnson, Zite’s CEO.From the moment I met Mark, I knew he was extremely passionate about his company and absolutely loved what he does.

You don’t always meet people like that – and it was just awesome to meet someone with so much energy and passion for creating an incredible product. He was literally bursting with genuine excitement for what they do at Zite.

He was so gracious with his time. In the middle of this party with 150 people he took the time to do a one-on-one interview with me. He opened up about his passion for Zite, some of the new things they are working on, and the impact CNN is going to have on their content.

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Thank you Mark and thank you for your team’s hospitality! For more information about Zite go to www.zite.com or find them on Twitter @Zite and you can reach Mark at @philosophygeek

Do you love Zite like we do? Leave us a comment below – I’d love to hear your feedback!

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