There's a new wag in town. And I'm feeling good. This sleepy little burg has a thousand secrets, and I can't wait to start telling them. But for the curious, I'll start, briefly, with the real story of how I got this job. Nick Denton has his version, of course, but I think mine's better, because it involves tormenting Denton.The short version: Much as I wangled a gig at Suck.com by being a complete pest, I got this job by bothering Denton. Nonstop. For two years. The torment, of course, mostly consisted of repeatedly turning down the job of running Valleywag — and then turning around and IMing Denton daily — no, hourly — no, minutely — to tell him how, precisely, I thought he ought to do it. My passive-aggressive campaign for the job culminated in drinks in San Francisco's Mission District a couple of months ago, when he finally confronted me:
So, Owen, you mean to tell me that you've just been playing hard to get for two years?
And with that, he called my bluff. "Duh," I replied. And that was it. So that's my no-longer secret tale of how I became the Valleywag. Now that you know how I got the job, you may be wondering why. Here's why — because, unlike most reporters in these parts, I'm not afraid to come out and say things. For example:
- Venture capitalists wouldn't know an original idea if it hit them in the bank account. A wise source advised me to go easier on entrepreneurs and harder on the Sand Hill Road crowd. Fair enough: They're slavish imitators with little to contribute besides money.
- Entrepreneurs are absolutely in it for the money. I said "easier," not "easy." Sure, they want to change the world: They want to change it from a world in which they are poor to a world in which they are millions of dollars richer.
- Bloggers are actually rather dull. People with something to say are interesting. But actual ideas, knowledge, and journalistic ethics, alas, don't come as part of the standard WordPress install. No wonder people are getting bored.
- Google is increasingly evil. Insiders like to talk about how Google, now that it's a big company, is getting "complicated." I don't think it's that complicated: If Larry Page and Sergey Brin ever really solved the search problem, as they've been promising to do for a decade, they wouldn't have a multibillion-dollar advertising business.
- I'm actually a complete bastard. I'm keeping Nick Douglas and Megan McCarthy around, but mostly because they amuse me. From hanging out with me at parties, they somehow concluded I was a "nice guy" and hence would be a total softy as a boss. Hah! At this very moment, I have Douglas out fetching me a quad frap and McCarthy holed away in a cubicle cross-indexing S-1 filings. I'm also hiring a set of newbies to abuse. With that warning, still care to apply? No resumes, please; just send me the URL for your blog.