All right, all right: Perhaps it was a tad bit mean-spirited to begrudge young parents their first vacation to Disneyland with a child. Six Apart president Mena Trott, who spent the weekend in the happiest place on earth with husband and CTO Ben Trott, is hilariously unapologetic about taking a vacation right after laying off 16 staff members at the blog-software company they cofounded. Beating Valleywag to the punch, she's written the worst captions she could invent on pictures of her highly adorable daughter and way hot husband at the theme park. Not that this will be any comfort to the people she laid off, who will only remember how Trott followed up the cuts by announcing that she was going to Disneyland in the manner of an NFL player who just spiked a football in the end zone.
Six Apart, the San Francisco blog-software company which helped spark the blogging boom, just laid off 16 of its 200 employees. And its top executives took a 15 percent paycut. Such noble sacrifice! Except that those cutbacks have not crimped the holiday plans of cofounders Ben and Mena Trott. She surprised her husband with an irony-free trip to Disneyland. That they can so blithely afford the trip reminds me of persistent rumors that the couple cashed out some of their shares in the privately held company when it took an earlier round of venture capital. (Photo by Jackson West)
The trolls will always be with us, because the Internet is full of insane sociopaths. Charming sociopaths, clever sociopaths, perhaps even magazine-profile-worthy sociopaths — but sociopaths all the same. Wired profiled a videogame-heavy set of Internet trolls in January. The New York Times Magazine hunted and nabbed bigger game this weekend — Jason Fortuny and the troll known as "Weev," who was photographed for the story (above). This photo in particular may draw fascinated stares.At one point, Weev says that he's the hacker known as Memphis Two. "Weev says he has access to hundreds of thousands of Social Security numbers," Matt Schwartz writes in the Times piece. "About a month later, he sent me mine." Now Schwartz knows how Six Apart cofounders Ben and Mena Trott feel. Their Social Security numbers, as well as those of other Six Apart executives and investors, were leaked on the Internet last year. At the time, a tipster told us he believed that Memphis Two, working in conjunction with a Six Apart employee, was responsible. While working on an unrelated story, I received a call from someone who identified themselves as Weev; the caller ID indicated the call came from Technorati, a startup located one block from Six Apart's headquarters. How can such a small world contain such a large hate? (Photo by Robbie Cooper/New York Times)
In June, Six Apart's Mena Trott told a CBS reporter, on camera, that she thought her baby was ugly. "Babies that age are kind of meh," she said. "I mean, Penelope has always been cute in our eyes, but looking back at pictures we think 'this is cute?' Not throw-up ugly, but definitely not as cute as now." Her comments did not air, but she inexplicably posted them on her blog, where Penelope — who is actually very cute, as the above still shows — will surely read them years from now. Her husband Ben, who cofounded the blog-software maker, made it on TV with an appropriately fatherly statement: "We just actually feel that she is that cute." Ben, who's pretty cute himself, has always been the shyer one in the Trott family. But we're starting to think he might have the makings of a better spokesperson than the loose-lipped Mena. Ben's TV appearance:Click to view
Since acquiring LiveJournal in 2005, Six Apart has gotten little but grief from the blogging site. Now, at last, it's gotten some cash. The San Francisco-based blog-software company has sold LiveJournal to Sup, a Russian media concern. Ostensibly, the purchase of LiveJournal two years ago was meant to improve Six Apart's Web technology and accelerate its entry into ad-supported blog publishing. Instead?
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."
We just heard an outlandish rumor: That San Francisco-based blogging company Six Apart, whose software powers many of the world's most popular blogs, considered splitting in two earlier this year, under former CEO Barak Berkowitz. But the company recently upgraded its CEO, replacing Berkowitz with executive Chris Alden, and a spinoff or sale is no longer on the table. By shedding its LiveJournal and Vox consumer blogging sites, Six Apart would have left behind enterprise blog service TypePad and the Movable Type software product — exactly the businesses new CEO Chris Alden ran before his promotion, which is likely why this old rumor is gaining fresh circulation.
It's a big year for Ben and Mena Trott, the husband-and-wife founders of Six Apart. The blog-software company was named after their six-days-apart birthdays; Mena just turned 30 yesterday, while Ben begins his fourth decade on Saturday. (Such a cradle-robber, that Mena.) Six Apart's board of directors just gave Mena the best present a founder could ask for — a new CEO, in the form of the eminently capable and blogging-savvy Chris Alden. Putting Alden, the former CEO of the Red Herring (back when it was an authority on tech, not its current incarnation) in charge should do much to clear up the company's bouts of less-than-transparent behavior. It's hard to top that kind of gift. So if you're in a generous mood, save it for the next generation of Trotts. The Trottlet, as some around the Six Apart office call Ben and Mena's next product release, is expected next month, according to their baby registry.
Word is that Brad Fitzpatrick, the founder of LiveJournal and chief architect of Six Apart, is leaving the troubled blog-software company. And the fact that you're hearing about from a gossip blog rather than the transparency-loving company is itself a sign of how deep the problems run. Fitzpatrick, who sold his company, Danga Interactive, to Six Apart two years ago, has vested his shares, declared his boredom with Six Apart, and after weighing offers from Google and Facebook, has chosen to head to Google, a source close to Fitzpatrick says. The only reason that Six Apart management hasn't announced it, the source adds, is that they can't figure out how to spin it. Here, let me help, guys! It's bad. And Fitzpatrick's departure is just the tip of Six Apart's reality-denying iceberg.
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.
Why make such a fuss over who's disclosing their pregnancies? I worked at Wired Ventures, then the publisher of Wired magazine, in 1996 and 1997, in the midst of the agony of its failed IPO attempt. One controversy at the time was the disclosure that cofounder Jane Metcalfe, the magazine's publisher, was pregnant and planned to take maternity leave shortly after the planned IPO. For the record, no one I know believes that Metcalfe's pregnancy had anything to do with Wired's troubles. But for a top executive to take a leave is always a strain on a young, growing company, and is a fact best disclosed, as Wired Ventures did. Hence my surprise that Mena Trott waited until now to talk about her news. Caterina Fake, the cofounder of Flickr and an executive at Yahoo, has, by contrast, written publicly and often about her pregnancy. More on the status of Fake's pregnancy, and the rest of the couples mentioned in our poll, shortly.
Mena Trott, cofounder and president of Six Apart, the blog-software company, is pregnant. There, I said it — and now, so has she. Trott blames her superstitions as a first-time mother for keeping the pregnancy a secret for so long. The lack of disclosure, though, has been uncharacteristic for Trott who, as a spokesperson for her company, has long made blogging about herself an integral part of Six Apart's publicity strategy. Six Apart's new blogging site, Vox, however, makes it easier to keep some posts limited to a small circle of readers — which is part of how Trott kept her pregnancy quiet. For a blogger, work and home life are never far apart.
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.