Sunday, November 02, 2008

Humor without the lies, please

I admit that I'm a frequent reader of Valleywag, a low-brow blog full of silicon valley gossip.  It's often pretty funny, and I know many of the people referenced in the stories, which only adds to the entertainment value.

Last week, however, the blog ran an entry containing a fabricated story.  The entry was meant to embarrass Jimmy Wales, an entrepreneur we backed two years ago.  If there is such a thing as an Internet celebrity, Jimmy is surely one of them, so he is accustomed to being attacked by web "journalists" -- particularly those at The Register, where they seem to attack him on a daily basis.  If he read the Valleywag piece, I'm sure he just shrugged it off.  But since the piece referred to me, I would like to set the record straight.   

A few months after we invested in his company, Jimmy transitioned from CEO to full-time executive Chairman, and he and I were fortunate to recruit Gil Penchina, a long-time eBay executive, to assume the CEO role.  Valleywag reported some nonsense about Jimmy getting fired because of a bogus expense report. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

If it weren't enough that Jimmy founded Wikipedia and Wikia, he impressed me even more so a few weeks ago when he volunteered to forgo his Wikia salary to maximize the company's flexibility during this lousy economy. I wonder how many Valleywag staffers would ever consider such a sacrifice.

I hope Valleywag continues to entertain readers with witty observations and curious photos, but I wish its writers would substantiate offensive claims before clicking the "publish" button.  I wonder how many times I have laughed at fabricated Valleywag stories in the past.  Now I know to laugh but not to believe.

1 comment:

Gregory Kohs said...

So, it sounds like you enjoy reading Valleywag and don't bother yourself too much with the veracity of its claims when it focuses on other people, but when it comes around to focus its spotlight on you, then you have a problem.

You sound like a perfect match for Wales (who isn't the "founder" of Wikipedia OR Wikia, by the way -- he was a CO-founder of both).