What took Forbes so long to strike a deal to sponsor The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, now that Forbes editor Dan Lyons has been revealed as the faux Apple CEO? Fake Steve has been complaining about money woes for most of the year. It turns out that he asked close chum David Churbuck for help securing a sponsorship back in February, and lo and behold, Wired signed up as a sponsor that same month. And a couple of months later, without much ado, Fake Steve dropped Wired. At the time, Lyons, as Fake Steve, told me this:
"I dropped them. I'm weighing a few different new deals and wanted to be free of any ties while I negotiate with new partners. I do miss the money though, I must admit."
That was mostly a fib, except for that last part. Here's what I think is the truth.
Granted, this is informed speculation, not anything I know firsthand. It's now blindingly obvious to me what must have happened. Lyons was forced to drop the Wired deal when he outed himself to his bosses at Forbes back in the spring. But Forbes, like many magazines, has a divide between its print and online sides, which operate as feuding fiefdoms. While Lyons's print bosses, who pay his salary, could make him abandon the Wired sponsorship, they couldn't get Forbes.com to pony up extra cash for Lyons to do the blog on the company dime. Until now, that is, when Lyons's outing by the Times left them little choice.