When David Hornik pitched VCs and entrepreneurs on his tropical funconference, The Lobby, part of the sell was that the whole affair was to be off the record. Ha! Good one, David. Turns out what happens in Hawaii only stays there long enough to launch itself toward our inbox. Take for example, what struck some attendees as a budding romance between TechCrunch CEO Heather Harde, the former Fox executive Michael Arrington hired to run his blog's business end, and Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress. Now, TechCrunch runs on WordPress, so it's possible that Mullenweg was just giving Harde blogging tips. But witnesses to their late-night canoodling at the bar say that wasn't the kind of pointer in question.
Several Valleywag readers have noted that Mullenweg has been going steady for a year with his girlfriend, who is both undeniably comely, and if friends' reports are accurate, likely to "string him up and gut him" if he were to stray. Harde, too, is known to take her professional image very seriously, and therefore, confidants believe, unlikely to put herself in a situation where one might perceive even a glimmer of something amiss. All of which makes the very rumor of a dalliance at The Lobby more eyebrow-raising.
Mullenweg commented below and also emailed Valleywag to deny that he was alone in the bar with Harde: "I was no 'closer" to Ms. Harde than to Garrett Camp or Erika Arone or Chris Sacca." (Our sources never said, nor did we report, that he and Harde were alone.)
If you ask Mullenweg, in other words, his answer to the question posed in this item's headline is an unequivocal "no." An eyewitness source, however, insists he saw Mullenweg "all over" Harde. At 1:30 a.m.