Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sam Biddle: Disingenuous?

Wired has a long profile about Stewart Butterfield, the man behind Flickr and the new messaging service Slack.

It's available to read here: http://www.wired.com/2014/08/the-most-fascinating-profile-youll-ever-read-about-a-guy-and-his-boring-startup

Of course, what caught my attention is when Butterfield let loose a short complaint about Valleywag, and I think he does a pretty good job of summarizing Sam Biddle's approach to journalism:  
“I fucking hate Valleywag,” he says, finishing his macchiato. As he puts his cup down, he reels that back in a bit, recalling a pleasant interview with one of its writers. “Or at least I hate Sam Biddle.” Sam Biddle, for those of you who have yet to be personally insulted by him, is Gawker’s Valleywag editor, tasked with covering the technology industry and its foibles.
Valleywag gleefully channels the hostility and contempt people have toward tech-types in San Francisco and New York right now. We have to stop Google! Have you seen what Facebook is doing now? Tech bros are the new investment bankers: greedy, clueless, chauvinistic, unforgivably rich. Valleywag delights in popping the industry’s self-inflated balloons.
The problem, Stewart says, is that Sam can be disingenuous in a manner that borders on lying. He cites a Valleywag story about Ben Horowitz—an old friend of Butterfield’s whose firm is an investor in Slack. In the story, titled “Prominent Venture Capitalist Discovers Black People,” Sam cast Horowitz, who is married to a black woman, in a light that made him look racially insensitive. Stewart insists that Horowitz’s words carried the exact opposite intent, and Sam had to know it. (Sam points out that the post in question was based on a quote from Horowitz that initially appeared in The New Yorker, which it changed after publication. “I absolutely did not deliberately misinterpret or misconstrue Ben Horowitz’ words,” Sam says via instant message.)
I tried to figure out which Valleywag journalist Butterfield might've had a "pleasant interview" with, but so far the site hasn't mentioned his name.  (It was probably Nitasha Tiku, though.)

2 comments:

  1. Sam Faulkner Biddle has quickly overtaken Hamilton Nolan as my Gawkerverse's most hated writer. The guy is an extremely privileged (his daddy got him into John Hopkins University where he majored in Philosophy), bitter, and jealous person who wears stupid looking clothes. His viewpoint on people in tech (i.e. more successful than him) can be summed up with this quote:

    "Is it petty to not share in the happiness of someone else's success? Is it petty to wish-to beg, even, knuckles blistering, eyes bloodshot, beseeching each god-for their horrific downfall? Is it immature to consider another's achievement, to imagine them doing the job you wish you had-walking around in your fancy pants, sleeping with your wife in your own bedroom, eating your Frosted Mini Wheats, loudly slurping the milk-and sink into despair? Is this unfair? Should this be beneath me? "
    -Sam Biddle, 2010

    http://www.theawl.com/2010/07/diary-of-an-unemployed-class-of-10-philosophy-major-in-new-york-city-part-4

    Yea, he's a real piece of shit.

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  2. Sam Biddle's absolutely a piece of shit. I am patiently waiting for the day he bites off more than he can chew.

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