I blame Guy Kawasaki. Ten days after the relentless listmaker joined the advisory board of Vancouver-based citizen journalism hub NowPublic, the site published a link-baiting "The 50 most influential people in New York." We've had this piece in our inboxes since Friday morning, but we couldn't figure out how to get anyone in the Valley to care about a list topped by Noah Brier and Jeff Jarvis. More interesting is me-blogger Anil Dash's take on the genre: "First and foremost, organizations create these lists to promote their own authority." Exactly. We've been pitched to do a Valleywag 100 or Valleywag 40 or whatever by consultants who crank out marketing events for a living. But they balk when we ask for a deck of playing cards emblazoned with the faces of 52 People We Want Gone.
What's wrong with Anil Dash? As of today, the New York blogger, Six Apart's vice president of evangelism, has been at the San Francisco-based blog-software company for five years. Dash, the company's first employee, is one of its largest individual shareholders, but he's mostly vested by now. Why stick around? In Silicon Valley, the custom is to job-hop, to continuously optimize one's career for maximum gains. In staying loyal to Six Apart cofounders Ben and Mena Trott, Dash is betraying one of the industry's unspoken rules. No wonder so many of the ruthless careerists who populate tech companies find him grating. The concept that one might be vested in something other than stock options is alien to them.
As a part of a new "blogging services" strategy, blog software firm Six Apart has acquired social media applications builder Apperceptive and launched a new ad network. SAI questions whether the world needs another ad network. It doesn't. But we also wonder about Six Apart's timing. Why not launch the ad network during Ad:tech a week earlier? The Moscone Center crowd might have liked to lay some bets on some SXSW-style kickball action organized by publicly snarky, privately earnest Six Apart marketing guru Anil Dash. All we got were booth babes in fishnets.
Automattic, Matt Mullenweg's blog-tools startup, is readying an upgrade to its WordPress software this week. Anil Dash of Six Apart took the occasion to let WordPress users know they can upgrade to his company's Movable Type instead. It's a move straight out of Oracle's handbook. But Mullenweg freaked out, calling the post "desperate and dirty." Dash responded by charging Mullenweg with "slander." Some are under the delusion that this nerdfight is about software. It's not. It's about money.
Professional funnylady and amateur gossip Heather Gold just invited Julia Allison, professional gossip and amateur tech event crasher, onto her panel on — ha, ha — Gossip. "Explain to Shaila [Dewan, New York Times correspondent] what you do again," asks Heather, "since her coverage is of real disasters and not the Internet." Her response?
Honestly, does anyone come to SXSW Interactive for work? There are just enough earnest Web-design panels to make it a plausible tax writeoff. Anil Dash of blog-software maker Six Apart gets it: For years, he's been organizing a kickball game in a park near the Austin Convention Center. Sadly, no fights broke out over his calls as umpire.
Who is Penelope Trott? According to a Twitter sent by Six Apart executive Anil Dash, a close confidante of Ben and Mena Trott, the founders of the blog-software company, she's made him "smile all day." We can only guess that Penelope is the name of the Trotts' long-expected offspring. If so, congratulations. We await the day when Mena and Ben bring their daughter to work and declare, "Some day, all of this will be yours. Well, except for the parts we sold off to our venture capitalists."
I never intended for the blogger-baby story, which began with the birth of Ollie Kottke to A-list bloggers Jason Kottke and Meg Hourihan, to become quite such a saga, but news has a way of happening. Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield are no longer expecting a baby — they have a daughter, Sonnet Beatrice Butterfield, according to fellow Yahoo executive Bradley Horowitz. Here's the rundown on the rest of the couples mentioned in yesterday's baby poll, which — well done, readers — you guessed correctly.
Last week, the birth of a son (and future blogger) to Jason Kottke and Meg Hourihan reminded us of another famous Web personality who
triedhad a colleague try, bizarrely, to claim that the mom-to-be's pregnancy was "off the record." (Memo to other would-be secret-keepers: "Off the record" is always a matter of mutual agreement between reporter and source, not something you can declare unilaterally.) We asked for guesses on who it was, and you had lots of good ones. Now it's time to vote, picking out the baby-hiders from among these glamorous A-list bloggers. Pictures of the people you've speculated about, and a poll, after the jump.
NICK DOUGLAS — TechCrunch acquired FuckedCompany, eh? Ha...ha? As Anil Dash said one year ago, "Your April Fool's Day joke sucks." Sure, kudos to TechCrunch for exploiting some timing, but what website hasn't run a press release on April 1 announcing a fake merger or a radical change of focus? But the problem with celebrating April Fool's Day online isn't just the three or so tired jokes. It's that on the Internet, every day is April Fool's Day. This is the world of flying penis attacks, cartoons on the backs of business cards, and cops raiding a camboy's house. April Fool's Day does to the Internet what Valentine's Day does to love: tarts it up, fakes it out, and leaves us disappointed. So put down your ironic press release, pick your own day for fun, and go raise some real hell.
LOCKHART STEELE — You might not have heard of the new foodsite Serious Eats yet, but at the rate that noted food journalist Ed Levine is stockpiling blog talent, you probably will sooner or later. (Or, if you choose to keep reading, now! Thirty-second backstory: Levine, recognizing that his vision for a next-generation version of foodie message board Chowhound would require some serious tech and editorial chops, brought in Blogger.com founder Meg Hourihan as a consultant a few months back alongside popular food bloggers such as Adam Kuban and The Amateur Gourmet, each of whom contribute to the site and participate in an ad network on their personal blogs. Serious Eats formally launched earlier this month.)