Simon Waldman, who has just left his post as the Guardian Media Group's director of digital strategy and development, warned today about becoming too fixated on the debate on the pros and cons of paywalls.
Speaking at the JEEcamp in Birmingham, he said: "If you are stuck on paywalls as a business, you will be stuck as a business."
He said paywalls had become an "emotional issue" when in big media businesses subscriptions in absolute terms were marginal. "It's not about paywalls it's about how you succeed in the advertising market. The challenge is in the ad market . There is a danger in becoming fixated about paywalls."
Waldman added that it was "a fantastic time to be entrepreneural" and predicted another decade and a half of opportunity to build new businesses.
His new post is group product director for the DVD rental subscription service LoveFilm, which is moving into digital distribution. Waldman was launch editor of Guardian Unlimited in 1999.
Also at JEEcamp, Nigel Barlow co-founder of new hyper-local blog insidetheM60, was asked what had surprised him the most since launching six weeks ago. He said: "The sniping from the local media and the support of the community."
Stewart Kirkpatrick of Scotland's online newspaper, the Caledonian Mercury, welcomed the new coalition government's decision not to go-ahead with the Independently Funded News Consortia. He told JEEcamp: "It means my competitors won't get a bucketful of public money".
Kirkpatrick also said: "There's never been a better time to be a journalist. And there's never been a worse time to work as one."