Former Fortune executive editor Josh Quittner, best known there for covering the Scrabulous beat, has returned to Time.com, where he worked a decade ago, with a much-hyped exposé; Time's publicity department emailed us to make sure we saw it. The revelatory piece shows off the depth of Quittner's Valley rolodex and the extent of his Web-industry connections: the identity of the pair behind "You Suck at Photoshop." The story also reveals the path Troy Hitch and Matt Bledsoe, two advertising-agency refugees, took to greatness: Their website appeared on Digg and Boing Boing. Displaying Quittner's Web skills, the article also contains hyperlinks. (Photo by Matt Gilson/Time)
Josh Quittner, former editor of the defunct Business 2.0, has extricated himself from his unhappy stay at Fortune by returning to Time, where he previously worked. Tellingly, Time editor Rick Stengel refers to him as a "writer" for Fortune, though he had the ostensible title of executive editor. Stengel's memo is included below. Quittner's new gig is his old gig, covering consumer technology, which takes him back roughly 13 years in the progress of his career. Funny, because we'd heard that Quittner had held serious talks with Michael Arrington about joining TechCrunch, around the same time he wrote a laudatory column about the tech blogger. All that puffery, and no job in exchange? A shame.
Josh Quittner, the Fortune executive editor who's reportedly plotting his escape from his gilded cage at the magazine, has written a perfunctory profile of TechCrunch blog impresario Michael Arrington. Nothing we haven't read before — including the obligatory paragraph about Arrington's conflicts of interest in writing about startups even as he invests in them. Quittner observes that the practice seems to boost Arrington's reputation in the Valley. One conflict Quittner never mentions: As editor of Business 2.0, where I worked for him, he tried to strike a deal with Arrington to save the magazine by merging it with TechCrunch. The effort failed, landing Quittner at Fortune.
What is Josh Quittner, the former editor of Business 2.0, doing for his next act? Since September, he's had an unhappy career at Fortune, the Time Inc.-owned corporate sibling which took him and a few other refugees from the magazine in. He's been earning what we hear is a mid-six-figures salary playing Scrabulous, and then writing about it. (Actual quote from a recent column: "Clearly, I had too much time on my hands.") The latest I'd heard on Quittner, my former boss, was that he was leaving Fortune to return to Time, where he worked before joining Business 2.0, as its Marin County-based tech correspondent. But he may have another exit strategy in mind. in 2006, Quittner registered roofmagazine.com.
An extraordinary public slap, rarely seen in the genteel world of magazine publisher Time Inc.: Fortune appears to have momentarily taken executive editor Josh Quittner's Techland blog away from him and handed it to rival tech writer David Kirkpatrick. Quittner's recent blog rant about Facebook's Beacon was wrongheaded enough, but entirely undeserving of this humiliation — republishing, duplicatively, a Fortune.com column by Kirkpatrick in Quittner's blog. Kirkpatrick, left, declared that Quittner, right, had been "silenced" on the Facebook issue. He went on to tear apart, at length, Quittner's argument. All the more shaming, because Kirkpatrick is — how to put this gently? — a laughingstock among his colleagues.
I remember, distinctly, when former Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner's love affair with Facebook began this spring. He couldn't stop talking about it, and I could hardly avoid hearing about it, since my office was next door to his. With all the zeal of a late convert, Quittner evangelized Facebook for most of this year — and now, feeling betrayed by Facebook's Beacon ads, he has attacked them with all the betrayed fury of a new apostate. Facebook is dead — to him, at any rate. Quittner's fickle rage perfectly captures the Silicon Valley hype cycle, and the press's complicity in it. Having built up Facebook, Quittner and his fellow reporters must, inevitably tear it down. But in this latest episode, it's Facebook's critics, not Facebook, who have jumped the shark.
Remember former Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner, whose tech magazine got shut down by parent company Time Inc.? Now an executive editor at Fortune, he outranks, on paper, assistant managing editor Jim Aley — the man he replaced as Business 2.0's editor five years ago. Which makes the following curious: The New York-based Aley, pictured above, is in town this week. Valleywag hears he started off his visit with a breakfast with Quittner. And then Aley met with the remnants of Business 2.0's staff, who now make up Fortune's San Francisco bureau — without Quittner. Remind us again who's in charge here? And if you want your startup written up in Fortune, who's the right guy to schmooze?
WEB 2.0 SUMMIT — In an interview with former Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner, Quincy Smith, the frenetically dealmaking CBS Web chief, looks so bored. So bored. As Quittner rambles on with a long, involved tale about his mancrush on awesomely geeky GigaOm blogger Om Malik, Smith is scanning the audience and jotting down notes, as if he's plotting, mid-panel, which startups he's going to buy at the show.
Former Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner confirms our scoop that MySpace will not announce a software platform for third-party apps next week. According to Quittner's source, MySpace will instead reveal a "directory of apps" — what Quittner calls a "PR move" to show off internal MySpace programs. The main takeaway: TechCrunch was wrong — to the dismay of application developers, who are clearly enthusiastic for an alternative to Facebook. [Netly News]
Josh Quittner, the former editor of the late, lamented Business 2.0 — where, I'll disclose, I worked for seven years before joining Valleywag — has gotten one more kick in the pants from Time Inc., the tech magazine's publisher. In a cover wrap sent to subscribers with the last issue, he's listed as the magazine's "managing editor," even though he's always gone by the title of "editor" in the masthead.
Time Inc. has officially announced Business 2.0's closure in an internal memo obtained by Jossip. In it, Time Inc. executive John Squires explains that folding in some of Business 2.0's staff into Fortune will give it "the largest San Francisco bureau of any major business publication." The Wall Street Journal bureau will still be twice its size, but never mind — we assume Squires meant "magazine." No, what's interesting in the memo is what's not said.
Despite the protests of literally twos of thousands of Facebook members, Time Inc. has kicked Business 2.0 to the curb. According to an unusually emotive blog post in the Times and its dry print follow-up, editor Josh Quittner and nine staffers will be shuffled over to Fortune. (The rest of 'em will be sending you resumes when the kill teams are done a-killing.) We'd be bitchy about this, but it always sucks for actual real people when a company runs a magazine into the red and then won't let a willing buyer turn it into a competitive product. The only silver lining: Mrs. Quittner, AKA Michelle Slatalla, the Times' Andy Rooney-of-the-internet, will have plenty to columnize about now with these hubby troubles!
Fans of Time Inc. tech title Business 2.0 have taken the bold step of starting a Facebook group to show their support for the troubled publication. So far, the group has amassed over 50 members, including Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner, Quittner's wife, New York Times columnist Michelle Slatalla, Gizmodo editor Brian Lam, TechCrunch's Michael Arrington, and LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman. Oh, and former Business 2.0 editor and my new boss Owen Thomas. Let's hope this roster of Valley luminaries is more effective than other futile Facebook groups, such as the 29,359 people who believe strongly in removing the "is" from the Facebook status message.
Times columnist Michelle Slatalla and Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner live together in wedded bliss, but according to an announcement in today's paper, they also "live in I.M. windows on each other's screens." That's why Michelle's "Online Shopper" column is now called "Cyberfamilias." From now on, she's going to write about how Information Superhighway has changed "almost every chapter of family life." Her inaugural column examines how sometimes kids search for medical information online, leading to humorous misdiagnoses like "strip throat" and "sick as hell anemia." Nothing, oddly, about homespun saccharine folksiness-borne diabetes. Also, some experts weigh in: "'Now more than ever, search engines are absolutely central to how people search,' said Susannah Fox, associate director at the Pew Internet and American Life Project." OH FOR PETE'S SAKE.
Josh Quittner is the editor of Business 2.0. Michelle Slatalla is responsible for the New York Times' inexplicable "Online Shopper" column, a collection of hyperlinks well-gussied up with advice on how to Google things that for some reason appears in that paper's print edition on Thursdays. In it, you can learn how to buy English muffins that cost five dollars. Five dollars. Michelle and Josh are married to each other! Boy, are they ever.
PAUL BOUTIN - Business 2.0 editor Josh Quittner has an exit strategy: He's placed himself in the running for dean of UC Berkeley's journalism school. J-school wonks respect him for his decade with TIME, but I remember Josh Quittner as the guy who used a QuickCam to give me the finger online in 1995. That grainy photo, plus a timeline of JQ's decade of misbehavior after the jump. (You can attend Quittner's public presentation to the school on March 21. Don't be late - this is the guy who once made Steve Jobs reschedule a keynote.)