McDonalds.com prankster in Berkeley takeover bidPAUL BOUTIN - Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner has an exit strategy: He's placed himself in the running for dean of UC Berkeley's journalism school. J-school wonks respect him for his decade with TIME, but I remember Josh Quittner as the guy who used a QuickCam to give me the finger online in 1995. That grainy photo, plus a timeline of JQ's decade of misbehavior after the jump. (You can attend Quittner's public presentation to the school on March 21. Don't be late - this is the guy who once made Steve Jobs reschedule a keynote.)

Josh Quittner's alt.bio

  • Early 1994: Pens classic early Wired tale, The War Between alt.tasteless and rec.pets.cats.
    It takes a particular kind of genius ... to shock people who have devoted a lifetime to collecting revolting facts, disgusting jokes, and synonyms for the word "penis."
  • Late 1994: Registers mcdonalds.com after the company repeatedly ignores his warnings.

    $whois mcdonalds.com
    Domain Name: MCDONALDS.COM
    Administrative Contact: Quittner, Josh quit@newsday.com
  • May 1995: Overblown Tom Wolfe 2.0 essay, The Birth of Way New Journalism, nonetheless shows that Quittner understood a dozen years ago how Web journalism would eventually differ from its print and broadcast predecessors.
  • Oct 1995: During the launch of TIME's official online experiment, The Netly News, Quittner gets into a food fight with Wired's unofficial online experiment, Suck.

    McDonalds.com prankster in Berkeley takeover bid

    So we yanked out Noah's QuickCam, took a picture of the three of us giving a one-finger salute to the Duke, and uploaded it to the URL to which Suck pointed. Now, when anyone clicked on a Netly link, they'd be greeted with the rude image of us and the exhortation, "Dear Duke: Suck on this!"
  • 1996-2001: TIME stuff no one remembers now.
  • January 2002: Not only does Quittner get an exclusive cover story on the new flat-panel iMacs for TIME, not only does he get Jobs to reschedule the launch event to fit TIME's onstand schedule, but thanks to an inattentive Canadian sysadmin Quittner actually breaks the story before Jobs takes the stage! This, people, is the stuff j-schoolers dream about pulling off.

    McDonalds.com prankster in Berkeley takeover bid

  • October 2006: Issues Business 2.0 requirement that all reporters must blog. The move is mind-numbingly dull to bloggers and Web surfers, but to print reporters he's as crazy as that guy who translated the Bible into English. It's just not done!
Here's hoping Berkeley gives Quittner the job. Business 2.0 ("Do This, Get Rich") is no home for a guy with a Merry Prankster streak a mile wide. Will he put Berkeley's classes on YouTube? Foster a student blog for Apple trade secrets? Upgrade from goofing on McDonald's to goofing on the White House? Come on, Josh, you know you want to.