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Santa Barbara’s Unlikeliest Media Moguls

It’s been a long time coming, but the cat is now completely out of the bag with regards to Lynda.com, a fee-based educational website launched in 1995. The Carpinteria headquartered company was the first ever title sponsor at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival and in May, got a full five minutes of on-air attention from product sampler Howard Stern.

The company’s remarkably savvy evolution from humble website and classroom beginnings in Ojai is wonderfully charted today in the Santa Barbara Independent by D.J. Palladino. Co-founder Lynda Weinman, who oversees the operation with husband Bruce Healin (pictured), went to high school in Sherman Oaks with Simpsons creator Matt Groening. Early on, she tried her hand in LA at a more conventional commercial model:

After college came retail back in Los Angeles, first a museum gift shop and then her own two clothing stores called Vertigo on Sunset and Melrose, founded on a $20,000 loan from her grandfather. “I went out of business,” she said grimly, but added, “I learned what a terrible model retail is.” There’s much less waste, she’d later discover, in cyberspace.

Thanks to the founding couple’s tenacious decision to charge from the get-go for their TV studio offerings, they now have numerous job openings to fill and a new CEO, Eric Robison, who previously worked with Paul Allen and Paul McCartney.

[Photo credit: Paul Wellman]

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