Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Monday Morning Quarterback: The Poor Little Rich (and, in Mitt Romney's Case, Humorless) Boy Edition


In a front page article Sunday, New York Times writer Gary Rivlin drags out that old Silicon Valley chestnut about how hard it to is be just a plain old millionaire when everyone else around you has all those hundreds of millions and–worse!–billions.


I always enjoy Rivlin’s work and even spent a lovely few weeks with him and also Po Bronson on a lecture/debate scheme hatched by our Random House editor called the “Bleeding Edge” book tour in the summer 1999. (Here’s a quick recap: I thought the Internet was underhyped at the time and Rivlin did not, while Bronson dreamily sold more books than both of us combined.)

But it’s a bit of a stretch to imagine anyone–even in the gold rush days of the Web–not being happy with several million in the bank.

Notes Rivlin: “…Those with a few million dollars often see their accumulated wealth as puny, a reflection of their modest status in the new Gilded Age, when hundreds of thousands of people have accumulated much vaster fortunes…”

Oh, good heavens.

But Rivlin did manage to get his interview subjects to say appalling things, such as calling tech work the “Silicon Valley salt mines” (um, the food is a bit better and there are no whips and chains I have ever seen except by personal preference).

My personal favorite was a quote from Match.com founder Gary Kremen, who apparently without irony declared, “You’re nobody here at $10 million.”

At this, I can only quote the poet Emily Dickinson:

I’m nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there’s a pair of us–don’t tell!
They’d banish us, you know!

How dreary to be somebody!
How public, like a frog.
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!”



Speaking of nobody we knew until just now–the Times’ Brad Stone also managed to finally out the creator of the popular Fake Steve Jobs blog. As it turns out, it is not our own John Paczkowski, but Daniel Lyons (pictured here), a senior editor at Forbes magazine.

While some will care more than others about Stone’s identifying the snarkaholic FSJ (Owen, stop crying now), it’s, of course, about the need to sell a book. In this case, Lyons’s “Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, a Parody,” coming out in the fall.

In a post Sunday, Lyons asked for suggestions for a new verb for Stone’s first name, and then suggested himself: “To bust a fellow filthy hack without mercy and spoil the fun for everyone, in a quest for personal aggrandizement.”

Yes, just like Harry Potter spoilers on the Web! In fact, the Harry-Potter-as-middle-aged-man-looking Lyons would know all about that kind of thing.


And Mitt Romney needs to get over himself, after he viciously attacked the snowman named Billiam. The frozen questioner was posing a pretty good question about global warming in the YouTube/CNN presidential debates recently completed with Democratic presidential candidates.

The GOP wannabes were supposed to do the digital debate in September. But that has been stymied so far when the former Massachusetts governor said a video question from a snowman was undignified, noting, “I don’t know that it makes sense to have people running for president answering questions posed by snowmen.”

Given snowmen have the most to suffer from the climate heating up, I say: Who better!?!

In all seriousness, the Jon-Stewart-tone of the Web is something all the candidates had better get used to. In fact, years hence, queries from snowmen are going to look tame by comparison.

Here’s a Dow Jones Online video on the topic with the chilly question from Billiam:

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle