The (B)Log-Rolling Post
Why have a blog, I say, if you can’t write about people you actually like in it every now and then. And also make grainy videos (see below after the jump).
First, the news that Owen Thomas, who writes the most excellent blog Beta for Business 2.0 magazine’s Web site, where he has worked in a variety of reporting and editing jobs, will take over as lead writer and editor of Gawker Media’s Valleywag. His last job at Business 2.0 was as online editor for the Time Inc. title.
It’s an interesting move by Gawker Media, the gossipy blog network that is Valleywag’s parent company, and its publisher Nick Denton, to hire a more experienced and essentially mainstream reporter like Thomas, who has deep sources in the Silicon Valley community and is well respected.
Denton has actually been writing the blog about the business and often personal foibles of Silicon Valley since November, when he sacked its first editor, Nick Douglas. At the time, Gawker execs made it clear that the young and green editor was too inexperienced and not authoritative enough (although Douglas still writes posts regularly for Valleywag).
But traffic to Valleywag has tripled to 1.5 million monthly page views under Denton, who covered the Valley in the late 1990s for the Financial Times and who was well described by venture capitalist Fred Wilson as an “evil genius.”
This is due to the fact that he has focused more on deals and business and less on the–let’s be honest, mostly dull–personal lives of players in the tech sector. Denton has broken a number of juicy stories, as well as providing up-to-the-minute coverage of a missing python at Google’s New York headquarters.
But one of his biggest misses, he wrote me in an email, was being wrong twice in his ongoing effort to determine the identity of Fake Steve Jobs–including incorrectly naming AllThingsD.com’s Digital Daily evil genius John Paczkowski as the mystery writer of “The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.”
Interestingly, it was Thomas who managed to get FSJ to send him this picture as part of a recent poll on Business 2.0’s Web site.
“The coverage of Silicon Valley has been a labor of love, and hate. It would have been hard to give up Valleywag to just anybody,” wrote Denton to me. “Owen Thomas is the first person I ever approached about the job. And I hope he’s the last.”
And, this past weekend, I let New York Times reporter Matt Richtel use my home to throw a book party for his first novel called “Hooked: A Thriller About Love and Other Addictions,” which officially debuts this week.
The book, which is set in the Silicon Valley environs and has a heavy digital bent complete with evil-genius venture capitalists, begins with an explosion in a San Francisco cafe and never stops from there. “Hooked” is getting excellent customer reviews on Amazon, and Richtel has a number of readings around the Bay area and elsewhere in coming weeks.
So here is a short movie I did at the party, talking to Matt, as well as Wired writer Fred Vogelstein and Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, about Matt and other stuff.