Lazy reporter crowdsources new column

Paul Boutin · 10/27/08 12:20PM

Peter Kafka is Kara Swisher's latest star hire at AllThingsD. She stole him from Silicon Alley Insider, where he worked with Henry Blodget. At SAI, Kafka always seemed to do fine without invoking the wisdom of the crowd. Why is Kara pushing him to go on and on about nothing? His first post was the standard Web 2.0 "Hello, world." His second takes 400 words to restate its own headline. Peter, here's my first and last free rewrite. Give me credit for not saying "Kafka-esque."

Jerry Yang's unpurple prose

Paul Boutin · 10/24/08 02:20PM

Right now, a leader needs to do two things: Communicate clearly, act decisively, and project confidence. That's three things, but Jerry Yang can't even do one of them. In a two-part interview with Kara Swisher, Rupert Murdoch's pet eyeball-poker, Yang fails to sell, or even tell, Yahoo's story:

Reporters learn Yahoo's secret plan: Copy Facebook

Owen Thomas · 10/16/08 06:20PM

Don't call it a "social network" — the product that will save Yahoo is an "enhanced profile." Which just happens to look exactly like someone's profile page on Facebook or MySpace — friends, updates, and all of that. CNET News editor-in-chief Dan Farber got the PowerPoint deck, as did AllThingsD's Kara Swisher. Is it something they teach you in journalism school — that writing about tech involves fawning over something simply because it is new and you got to see it first? I never got to take that class. (Screenshot via Webware)

Ron Conway's secret message decoded

Paul Boutin · 10/14/08 11:00AM

Click to view"You better have a year’s worth of cash and a revenue model or you’re toast." There, now you don't have to sit through Kara Swisher's long, boring lunch with angel-investing mastermind Ron Conway. Swisher is one of tech's best reporters, as she never stops reminding us. She tidily quotes Conway's public story, "The game in this environment in survival until conditions change." That means a year's worth of cash and a revenue model. Swisher's own secret message: "I had lunch with well-known Silicon Valley investor Ron Conway." And we didn't!

Kara Swisher vs. Google

Nicholas Carlson · 09/26/08 01:20PM

The Justice Department met with Google and Yahoo's customers and competitors this week as it continues to build an antitrust case for its litigious hired gun Sandy Litvack. On top of that, Canada is now on Google's case too, having hired antitrust lawyer David Kent. Never heard of him, sure he's a hoser, eh. In response to all the haters, Google just made itself another enemy: Kara Swisher, the mean lesbian mommyblogger employed by Rupert Murdoch and partnered to Google executive Megan Smith. Fun times at home!Google's mistake: Creating a PowerPoint presentation and posting it to a site with the search-engine-optimized name "Facts about the Yahoo-Google advertising agreement." In the presentation, which we've embedded below, Google explained that the deal is not a merger and that Ford uses Toyota engines in some of its cars. It also misquoted Swisher, making her really mad. The presentation cites Swisher as saying:

Murdoch-owned tech site steals Henry Blodget's top blogger

Owen Thomas · 09/17/08 07:20PM

The latest hire in online tech outlets smacks of cannibalism. Silicon Alley Insider, the vanity blog vehicle of former Wall Street stock analyst Henry Blodget, has lost managing editor Peter Kafka to AllThingsD, the vanity blog vehicle of Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. Dow Jones makes for a steadier parent than AlleyCorp, the tech-startup holding company of DoubleClick cofounder Kevin Ryan. But one would think Swisher, who confirms the hire and says Kafka will start at the end of October, might have first raided the vast hordes of reporters working in the faltering medium of print before feeding on her own kind. Let's just hope she lets Kafka get out more.

Facebook's Brandee Barker hides from camera while denying Microsoft buyout

Nicholas Carlson · 09/17/08 04:00PM

BoomTown's Kara Swisher went to Palo Alto’s MacArthur Park restaurant for a luncheon hosted by Germany’s Hubert Burda Media yesterday, the organizers of the DLD conference. A target of her shaky videocam work: Facebook flack Brandee Barker, who hid behind a fern. Asked if Microsoft was buying Facebook, Barker shouted, "Never!" Brave words, if not exactly consistent with Facebook's fiduciary duties to shareholders to consider all reasonable offers. Besides Barker, Swisher captured Silicon Valley figures like nerd chanteuse Randi Zuckerberg; Wired writer Steven Levy, fresh from his fly-on-the-wall writeup of the making of Google's Chrome browser; and layoff-happy Loic Le Meur. The crowd is shown descending into a happy drunkenness, giggling about Wall Street all the way down. After the jump, the full clip and a guide to the best moments:Click to view

Michael Arrington mocked by Kara Swisher at Demo

Jackson West · 09/09/08 05:00AM

In the war of words being fought between the organizers of the DemoFall and TechCrunch50 startup conferences, AllThingsD reporter Kara Swisher unleashed quite a salvo yesterday: "Being lectured on journalism ethics by Michael Arrington is like getting parenting tips from Britney Spears." Zing! She proceeds to call out the TechCrunch50 organizers attacks on Demo for what they are — "Marketing 101." Walt Mossberg was a bit more diplomatic, offering more subtle jabs like, "It never occurred to me not to come here [Demo]." Here at Valleywag, we maintainthe highest standards of impartiality through our willingness to get kicked out of any and all such events.

Kara Swisher slaps bear, runs off to Alaska

Jackson West · 08/19/08 02:00PM

After slapping our beloved sweaterbear Owen Thomas for his description of Sheryl Sandberg's "reign of terror" at Facebook, Kara Swisher has left the lower 48 and hopped on a boat bound for Alaska. While bears may seem cuddly, danger may lurk in their embrace. Since we wouldn't want anything bad to happen to our favorite mommyblogger, here are some helpful tips on bear safety from your friends here at Valleywag. (Photo by B Mully)

Yahoo shareholder meeting virtually empty

Owen Thomas · 08/01/08 12:40PM

The Imperial Ballroom of the San Jose Fairmont, site of Yahoo's annual shareholder meeting, was nearly empty as the formalistic corporate-governance charade was about to start. The power went in and out, depriving reporters of electricity for their laptops, Kara Swisher reports on BoomTown. No, she did not resist the "power play" pun. (Photo by Kara Swisher)

Jerry Yang talks to Kara Swisher — the end must be near

Paul Boutin · 07/10/08 05:20PM

After avoiding the viciously loquacious Kara Swisher for a year — even at her big tech conference — normally mellow Yahoo founder Jerry Yang gave the AllThingsD reporter an earful. Yang says No Fucking Way will he hand the keys over to the comedy team of Carl Icahn and His Lack of a Plan B (I'm paraphrasing), in part because Yang doesn't trust that Microsoft, for all its talk, will actually buy Yahoo from Icahn. “And then what will shareholders be left with?" Yang fumes. "A weakened, Icahn-controlled Yahoo.” The best possible outcome — we mean for us — will be a deathmatch proxy battle pitting Yang against Icahn at the August 1 shareholder meeting. (Photo by AP/Paul Sakuma)

Who's Kara Swisher afraid of?

Paul Boutin · 07/07/08 08:00PM

Ruthless reporter Kara Swisher didn't get invited to superbanker Herb Allen's annual VIP gathering in Sun Valley. So she's taking matters into her own hands and ... complaining on her blog? Kara, stop it. I've seen you in action. You're The Bride of tech reporting. When you enter the room, security guards flee. PR bunnies chew off their own heads rather than face you. You disembowel Old Boys Club members with questions so sharp they barely feel a thing until it's too late. So quit whining and man up, Kara. Just get yourself to Sun Valley. You'll get in. You'll have the head table before dinner is finished. I almost feel sorry for the poor sonsabitches they send to stop you. Send us your posts and we'll lazily relink them. Now GO.

At long last, Yahoo reorg to put employees out of their misery

Paul Boutin · 06/26/08 05:40PM

Yahoo is about to perform that dreaded big-tech-company maneuver, the "reorg." For you young-uns who don't get why reorg is such a scary word: Think massive layoffs, lost mortgages, and people like your parents with no back-to-school money for brats like you. Multiply by 10,000-plus. I can only wish a soft landing for the folks who designed, built and shipped Yahoo's new search engine interface, and the marketers who dreamed up those radio ads that got me to — I can't believe I'm admitting this on a blog — actually use Yahoo to find stuff.

TechCrunch's fun with public markets

Nicholas Carlson · 06/25/08 10:40AM

Citing several unnamed sources, TechCrunch reported yesterday that merger talks between Microsoft and Yahoo were back on. Investors responded, buying Yahoo stock up 10.5 percent from the day's low to $23.71. Now CNBC says the rumors were false. Reporters' reporter Kara Swisher of BoomTown — who did a bit of reporting on the rumor and happily quashed it in a report today — admonished TechCrunch, writing that "anyone reporting on the situation should have been deeply cautious about floating rumors." But we wonder: Cautious for the sake of whom? Investors buying up stock based on a report citing anonymous sources, written by a blogger known to write about companies he invests in? Ms. Swisher, we're pretty sure those folks can't be helped. They're called "market inefficiencies" and they are who real investors exploit on their way to wealth.

Jeff Weiner's new bosses laugh about his funny name

Nicholas Carlson · 06/19/08 12:20PM

Want to know how seriously venture capitalists take their entrepreneurs-in-residence, those CEO-wannabes they toss a paycheck at to keep them off the streets? Ask James Slavet and David Sze of Greylock Partners. In this clip, they get a good giggle with BoomTown's Kara Swisher over new hire Jeff Weiner's funny name. (Confused? Pronounced weener, "Weiner" is a homonym for the schoolyard word for penis.) Swisher: "This is the pair that sucked Weiner away from Yahoo. Not that it was hard." Sze: "Hah! It was enjoyable! I may do it again!"

What happens when Sarah Lacy interviews Kara Swisher? One long interruption

Nicholas Carlson · 06/02/08 02:20PM

Tech Ticker's Sarah Lacy and BoomTown's Kara Swisher share a particular interviewing style: Badgering their subject into submission through interruptions, personal anecdotes, and swift corrections. The main difference is that Lacy smiles when she does it. The technique is effective with tech titans and media moguls, but did it work when Lacy interviewed Swisher? Check out the clip above to find out.

Photos from Marissa Mayer's "Sex and the City" screening

Owen Thomas · 05/31/08 12:30AM

CENTURY SAN FRANCISCO CENTRE 9 — Where are the girls? An event producer and I both nervously paced through the lobby. Where was Marissa Mayer? The Google executive had rented a theater for the 8:50 screening of Sex and the City, but she and 300 of her closest friends were nowhere to be seen. Late, of course — have you tried to walk the block-long distance between Mayer's Four Seasons penthouse and the Westfield Centre in a pair of Manolo Blahniks? Finally, I spotted someone I knew — gorgeous Googler Brittany Bohnet, girlfriend of Facebooker Dave Morin, above. ("People are saying I look like Charlotte," said Bohnet, pictured above. "Do you think so?" Yes. Cuter than Charlotte, actually.

Rupert Murdoch spits for 23andMe? This we can't swallow

Owen Thomas · 05/29/08 11:00AM

CARLSBAD, CA — In her bid to rob her new boss of all remaining dignity, conference organizer Kara Swisher has arranged to have gene-analysis startup 23andMe map aging media mogul Rupert Murdoch's chromosomes at the D6 conference, AllThingsD's John Paczkowski tells us. Come on. At 77, does he have any left? Leave the man's DNA alone, you mean lesbian! Swisher's DNA is also being tested, as is that of Googlers Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin. Brin's wife, Anne Wojcicki, is a cofounder of 23andMe; Brin provided the company a loan to get it off the ground. In a real-world DNA experiment, Wojcicki is expecting the couple's first child.

Jerry Yang and Sue Decker try to evade Kara Swisher's clutches

Owen Thomas · 05/28/08 06:20PM

CARLSBAD, CA — For most of their D conference interviews, Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg trade off interview duties. But why was Mossberg the one to do the D6 interview with Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and president Sue Decker? Swisher frequently covers Yahoo in her AllThingsD.com blog; I can't think of the last time Mossberg has typed the letters "y-a-h-o-o" in his gadget reviews. Here's my theory: Decker and Yang agreed to speak at D6, but only if Mossberg was the interviewer, not Swisher. Then Swisher tweaked them by asking a question — not on stage, but on video. If so, serves Yang and Decker right for not nailing down all the conditions. Think they'll be having words with Yahoo flack Jill Nash afterwards? (Photo by Asa Mathat/AllThingsD.com)