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Meet Michael Baum, the CEO of recently funded enterprise software company Splunk. Is he a hero for raising so much money at a splendid valuation, when all the Valley's buzz is on profitless consumer plays? Or is he deserving of our Silicon Valley Tool award for being a colossal jerk? Our commenters are leaning strongly towards the latter.

From Ghostwriter:

Michael Baum is a self-loving a-hole. I first came across him about 8 months ago on a United PS flight from SFO to JFK. He was the row behind me in business class. The guy wouldn't shut the fuck up the entire flight. And he had a splitting loud voice. It was a nightmare. Then the following week I get on the same flight back to SFO, and I have my headphones on. I couldn't concentrate because someone behind me was talking incredibly loudly. I turn around, and sure enough it was him again. He was having full-blast conversations about things that were way too private for half the cabin to be listening to.

About three weeks later I he was on my flight again, thankfully not seated by me. I knew who he was now, considering I'd previously had 10 hours of listening to him self-indulge to some unfortunate subordinate.

The topper came the night after the third flight. I was at the Elite Cafe on Filmore having dinner with my girlfriend. We were seated in a both, next to a table of about 6 guys loudly eating and drinkig. I couldn't see the table, but they were fucking loud and drunk. They kept staring at my girlfriend, who finally made me switch places with her. Of course, I sit down, look over, and it's fucking Michael Baum, and he's now ruining my dinner. WTF. At some point I go to the bathroom, and when I come back, my girlfriend tells me that one of them has just snapped a picture of her with his treo (remember this is like 6 months ago). So I turn and walk over to him "You're Michael Baum right?" "Uhhhh Uhh yeah.."... "Great, why don't you keep your camera in your pocket. And stop taking the 5:30 United flight from JFK on Thursdays..."

He was pretty dumbfounded. The best though was when they spilled a full bottle of red wine and a bunch of glasses all over the table about 15 minutes later... pure class...

From thewriter:

I used to work for the thebaum and you're spot on! So are the comments by the Ghostwriter. Mr. Baum is so full of himself he is widely hated by all who come in contact with him: employees, vendors, customers, and apparently anyone who is stuck on a plane or in a restaurant with him. Thebaum is not a tall man, but clearly thinks he tops 7 feet—the joke is everyone calls him the little jockey.

Embarrassing doesn't even begin to cover his behavior sometimes. Try being at a company dinner with 30+ people while he asks the waitress to ask the other waitress with the big boobs to bring him dessert.

Funny thing is, if you meet his two brothers, you find out he's the decent one! And I'd heard him say on more than one occasion that the only people worth hiring went to ivy-league schools.

Amazingly, the company is great. They have been able to hire a lot of fabulous people who are building an amazing product, but quite a few people interview with thebaum and won't even consider taking a position there.