I can’t be sure about this exactly, but I would hazard to say Rafat Ali is possibly patient zero when it comes to taking a blog and turning it into a real, 21st century media company. Before the Huffington Post, before TechCrunch, even, maybe, kind of, before Gawker, Rafat founded PaidContent in 2002. He later sold it to the Guardian Media Group in 2008. Today he is the CEO of Skift.com, a media vertical in the travel industry space. Rafat has such an amazing story: an immigrant’s story, an accidental entrepreneur’s story, and, basically, the first-hand story of how blogging morphed into “professional,” modern digital media.