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Carlos Watson (born September 29, 1969) is the founder and publisher of The Stimulist, a "snark-free" news and information website. He is also a contributor on MSNBC.


Watson was raised in Miami, Floridamarker with three siblings. His parents are both school teachers. As a working class family, they often struggled financially throughout his youth, regularly needing help from food stamps. Being labeled a problem child early in life, Carlos was asked to leave kindergarten in 1974, but entered first grade the next year. He attended Ransom Everglades School in Miami, then Harvard Universitymarker. During high school and college Watson wrote over 50 articles for the Miami Herald and the Detroit Free Press, and worked for Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez and Sen. Bob Graham.

Watson graduated with honors with a degree in government from Harvard Universitymarker in 1991. He then worked as Chief of Staff and Campaign Manager for Florida Representative Daryl Jones and managed Bill Clinton’s 1992 Election Day effort in Miami-Dade Countymarker.He then attended Stanford Law School, where he was editor of the Stanford Law Review and president of the Stanford Law School Student Government.

After graduating from Stanford Law School in 1995, Watson began work at strategic consulting firm McKinsey & Company. After two years at McKinsey, Watson left to co-found Achieva College Prep Service based in San Mateo, Californiamarker. Watson sold Achieva in 2002 to competitor Kaplan, Inc..

The Stimulist

Watson launched The Stimulist in May 2009 as a streamlined daily magazine-style alternative to the major news aggregators. The site provides a six-part daily brief: (1) a wrap-up of the daily news, (2) a profile of one emerging star, (3) an opinion piece about one provocative idea, (4) a historical anecdote about one current issue, (5) one recommended thing to try (movie, book, music, etc) and (6) a daily blog from Watson. The site calls itself "the optimist's daily brief" because of its commitment to finding positive news to promote. Drawing early praise from BusinessWeek, The Nation, WebNewser and FishbowlNY, the Stimulist targets what Watson calls the Change Generation (25-49, "educated by edgy"). Watson is the principal investor in the site, with personal investments from a noted Silicon Valley VC and launch sponsorship from Kaplan and AMC. Watson has a previous relationship with Kaplan, having sold his education firm to Kaplan's parent company in 2002. In keeping with Watson's previous work, The Stimulist has flagged education as an area of special concern.

Television and media

In early 2009, Watson was named co-anchor of an hour-long MSNBC segment on Wednesdays and Fridays at 2pm with Contessa Brewer, while continuing to appear bi-weekly on Morning Joe. Carlos’ most recent work includes the week-in-review news show "7 Days in America" alongside Arianna Huffington, making him the fourth MSNBC host with radio platform, after Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and Joe Scarborough. This Air America Media program runs every weekend, and features Carlos & Arianna serving up interviews with newsmakers as well as smart debates about what’s really going on behind the news.

Watson began a television career in 2002 with guest appearances on Fox News and Court TV as a political analyst. On Labor Day, 2003, Watson hosted a highly rated prime-time interview show on CNBCmarker featuring Howard Dean, Joe Montana, and Eva Longoria. Watson hosted a second interview show and was offered his own continuing interview show on CNBC, before joining CNN as a regular newscast contributor.

For two years, Watson appeared regularly as a political commentator on CNN, most notably covering the 2004 presidential election with Wolf Blitzer, Larry King and Jeff Greenfield. Also while at CNN, Watson wrote a column on CNN's web site and hosted two airings of his own prime-time show interviewing Shaquille O'Neal, Barack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Heidi Klum. Watson also hosted Meet the Faith on BET.

In 2007 Watson began hosting a series of one-hour primetime interview specials on Hearst-Argyle television stations across the country called “Conversations with Carlos Watson”, which won a Gracie Allen award for "Outstanding Portrait/Biography Program" and an Accolade Award in 2008.

Watson was named one of People’s “Hottest Bachelors” in 2004, as well as Extra TV's list of most eligible bachelors in 2008.


Watson is a basketball fan, and he plays pickup games when he travels. Watson has played games in Icelandmarker, Francemarker, Brazilmarker and Zimbabwemarker. In the 2004-2005 pick-up league at Stanford University he played frequently and posted an average of 45 points per game and a 92% 3-point field goal percentage (a record that still stands).

He is currently on the board of directors for College Track, a program he co-founded that aids students in East Palo Altomarker and Oaklandmarker.



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