Monday, June 21, 2010

Jason Calacanis, please stop referring to yourself as a “tech entrepreneur” — or worse yet, “a CEO”

And just start using your real title, which is “Bitch.”

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

That big bold media disruption: an update

Recently I got some heat when I said that I don’t want to see us descend into a nation of bloggers. I was called clueless because hey, blogs are the future, right? These bloggers are the bright shiny new media barons who are going to take over the world and kill the New York Times, and they’re going to show those stodgy old media dinosaurs how it’s done, and dance on the graves of the old guys, blah blah blah.

Flash forward to today, when Michael Arrington of TechCrunch, arguably the most successful tech blog, hints at a conference that he wants to sell his company. (For added pleasure the photo above shows digi-tool Robert Scoble recording Arrington’s every precious word for posterity.)

The truth is, Arrington been trying to sell TechCrunch for years — at least since 2007 when he hired Heather Harde, an M&A guru from Fox Interactive, and named her CEO of TechCrunch. Back in those days Mike was full of talk about that big “liquidity event” that was right around the corner. Supposedly all the big brands were coming to him and begging him to sell. Now it’s three years later and he still can’t unload the thing.

Why is that? Why would every media company in the world look at this thing and pass on it?

Could it be — gulp — that TechCrunch really isn’t so great at making money?

Surely not. Why, it must make mountains and mountains of cash.

Why else would Michael Arrington want to sell it so badly?


Ah, but if you really want to get a glimpse into what deluded buffoons these bloggers are, you have to read Henry Blodget’s idiotic “offer” to buy TechCrunch. Henry says he’s all in, wants to buy TechCrunch, because “SAI + TechCrunch = World Domination.”

Just one problem. Henry doesn’t have any money. And, as he puts it, “equally sadly, we doubt Mike has the mountain of cash that we would demand to allow Mike to do a clever reverse merger.”

In other words: My world dominating business has no money, and neither does yours, because that’s how world dominating we are — we’re both so broke that neither of us can buy the other.

But clever old Henry has a solution! Some “Daddy Warbucks” will come along and invest a huge amount of money into SAI so that SAI can buy TechCrunch. Well, of course that will happen! Because what investor wouldn’t want to put a bunch of money into a dead broke blogging company so that it can overpay to get its hands on another dead broke blogging company?

Here’s clueless fuckwit Henry:

Our Daddy Warbucks partner is going to form a new company and stuff it full of cash. Then Daddy Warbucks is going to write Mike a colossal check for TechCrunch. Then he/she is going to write us a colossal check for SAI. Then he/she is going to merge both TechCrunch and SAI into the new company called World Domination, Inc., give us a bunch of equity, and then sit back and get rich while we do all the work.

Good Lord. Watching these guys play at being businessmen is like watching developmentally disabled midgets going at it in a wrestling ring. The mind reels.

The only thing that will make this more entertaining is when fellow digital media baron Jason Calacanis jumps in with some brilliant business advice of his own. Or better yet — maybe Calacanis can make a no-money offer of his own to rival Henry Blodget’s no-money offer, and then we’ll have a bidding war!

Honestly, people, how did Henry Blodget ever make a living as an analyst on Wall Street? But somehow he did. And now he’s convinced some poor sap to invest in his blog, which, several years in, still can’t find a way to make money.

Solution: Buy someone else, and dig a bigger hole!

Of course, Blodget did end up getting thrown out of Wall Street and banned for life. So maybe markets really are rational after all.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My bad: Turns out we already got to Zuckerberg

He already erased his libelous post last night. To all involved: Well done.

How to save newspapers

The answer has been right here in front of us, all along. Guns.

We will be extracting a retraction and apology from sweaty weasel Mark Zuckerberg

In case you missed it, the sweaty weasel came out and said some untrue and unkind things about the iPhone. Something about needing to buy four chargers to keep the battery from dying on him, and having to install a land line “so I can actually make phone calls.”

Katie has been in touch with Elliot Schrage and the rest of the team at Facebook. Our feeling is, everyone’s entitled to an opinion, but that opinion must be based on facts, and this stuff about battery life and not making phone calls is just not factual.

It’s a lot like the situation we had with Ellen Degeneres, where she was claiming that iPhone is difficult to use when of course it is not at all difficult to use.

In Ellen’s case we simply needed to remind the networks that carry her program of the very special relationship that we have with all of them. We just explained how special that relationship is to all of us, and how fragile it is, like a tiny glass Christmas ornament, and how it has to be nourished, like a delicate little seedling plant.

So, same with us and Facebook. Either the Christmas ornament, or the little seedling. Either way, we’re pretty sure the little weasel will post a correction soon. Or, since it’s Facebook, they’ll probably try to walk it back in stages:

1. That’s not what Mark said.

2. That is what Mark said, but that’s not what he meant.

3. Mark regrets that people misunderstood what he said, even though that’s not really what he said.

4. Mark says okay, he only bought three iPhone chargers, not four, and he might have installed a land line anyway, just because it’s a good idea to have one, so he cannot really blame that on the iPhone, so are you happy now? Can we all just move on with our lives? Jesus! Thank you.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Scoble: I’m GLAD that AT&T might leak my email address!!!

Just got email from uber-blogger Robert Scoble and though he didn’t include explicit permission to publish what he wrote, let’s face it, it’s Scoble. The guy craves attention. And I think it’s important to show that not everyone is being hysterical and sensationalistic about this iPad privacy issue. So here goes:

Dear Steve —

Just wanted to let you know that not all of the A-list pundits are against you on this AT&T security breach. I’ve bought several iPads, including a 3G model, and was hoping my account had been breached so that I could blog about it. Unfortunately I was not on the list, which left me temporarily without anything to say on the matter, until I realized — jeez, here I am, wishing I’d been breached, and that in itself is something to write about! I tried to think of why I would feel that way and the best thing I could come up with is that if hackers got hold of my email address they might post it somewhere, and this would only reinforce my belief that there is no such thing as privacy and we’re all just living our lives in public, every moment of every day. If anything this whole episode just makes me want to buy another 3G iPad even more than I already did, which was a lot because honestly the iPad has changed my life and I no longer use any other computer because I can do everything on the iPad. So, thanks for everything, keep up the good work, and call me if you’d ever like to have lunch or just bounce around some ideas.

— Robert

Sent from my iPad

Kara Swisher, girl, you need to get a grip

Just check out pissy little Kara Swisher of AllThingsD being all menopausal because not only did AT&T publish her email address but they also didn’t grovel enough in their apology to her. Earlier today Kara bitched about the fact that her name was on the list of 114,000 people whose email addresses got leaked after they registered their 3G iPads. Now AT&T has apologized, but Kara isn’t happy. She says AT&T’s apology to her is “sort of like telling me that only one room of my digital house was broken into, although nothing good was taken, so not to worry.”

Oh please. Get over yourself, you big drama queen. It’s just your goddamn email address! Suddenly you feel all violated, because someone could see your email address? What’s gonna happen? Someone might write to you?

But here’s the twist. For some reason, in her whining blog posts, Kara decided to publish her own super-duper top-secret personal email address — yeah, the one she was upset at AT&T for not protecting.

She went ahead and published it on her blog.

Well, the thing is, if you plug that personal email address into this new hacker tool called Google, it turns out that this email address was already available on the Internet — alongside some other information about Kara, including a street address and phone number.

None of which anyone would have known about it if Kara herself hadn’t just posted this email address on her own blog.

But we’re the bad guys. Yeah. Nice work, Kara.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

God bless you, John Gruber

For pointing out the sheer hypocrisy on the part of AdMob, which is complaining because we are blocking AdMob from our platform to punish AdMob for selling itself to Google instead of to us. Gruber also kneecaps John Battelle for his similarly inane response to our totally legitimate decision to do everything we can to destroy AdMob.

As Gruber points out:

1. “Google started this.”

True, and exactly what I would have said, except I would have added, “Nyah nyah.”

Because let’s be clear. Google had no right to enter the mobile device market. What they’ve done with Android is akin to the Russians landing on the moon and putting their flag next to ours and claiming that the moon now belongs to both of us. Well, sorry. That’s not how the world works. The moon belongs to us, and we’re not going to share it just because someone else figures out how to land on it.

We’ve been pushing the FTC on this because it’s pretty outrageous anticompetitive behavior on Google’s part. So far we’re not getting the kind of response we’d like. If all else fails we may file a lawsuit against Google. Some people are telling me I should just let it go, but honestly I just can’t do that. I’d rather quit.

2. “If AdMob had sold itself to Apple instead of Google, they could still sell in-app ads on iOS.”

This is exactly what we told AdMob when we were trying to buy them. I mean come on. This is how vertical integration works. And if we didn’t do stuff like this, any company would just be free to go out and sell itself to any other company. I mean think about it.

Email ID leak still well below the national average

Gawker reports that some hackers broke into AT&T’s network and stole email addresses for 114,000 people. Then the hackers called Gawker to crow about it.

Let’s stop and think about this for a moment.

First, 114,000 accounts breached is still a very small number when you consider that we’ve sold more than 2 million iPads, and even smaller when you consider that there are 300 million people in the United States, and 1.3 billion people in China. Basically we’re talking about less than one-one-hundredth of one percent of the U.S. population here. So let’s all take a deep breath and remember this is not a big deal.

Second, the people who did this broke the fucking law! Now they want to be treated like heroes because they call themselves “Goatse Security,” like they’re some kind of legitimate security consultants? Yeah. Good luck with that.

Third, is this Gawker’s new business model? Colluding with people who steal stuff? Really? Well, here’s an idea. Try breaking into the houses of celebrities, stealing their stuff, then running pictures of the stolen goods on your blog under a headline that says, “Huge security breach discovered at Jack Nicholson’s mansion.”

Then, when the cops arrive, tell them that they can’t come into your office, because you’re a journalist, and you’re not going to tell them who broke into the mansion, because you’re a journalist, and the whole point was not to steal stuff but to make a point about how easy it is to steal stuff.

Because you’re a journalist, and this is what journalists do. They steal shit and write about it, and then blame the people they stole from for not having better burglar alarms.

Fuck you, Gawker. FBI should be arriving at Ryan Tate’s house in three, two, one …

Monday, June 7, 2010

“Think of your VCs as produce suppliers”

Seriously, that’s what some dipshit VC says on Alley Insider. Which I guess is accurate if you believe in a world where your produce supplier is secretly plotting to catch you off guard and ass-rape you in your own kitchen, then steal your restaurant from you. Yeah, in that case, I can see the analogy. Huh. Cool.