Update: Tech Moguls and the TNR Meltdown
Excellent article by Megan McArdle. Click forth and read all:
Reading what went on at FirstLook and TNR, I suspect that Omidyar and Hughes were more blind than most to these differences, because if you squint right, a tech company looks kind of like a media company. After all, aren’t we all in the business of acquiring content and selling it on the Web? And didn’t I just prove that I’m really good at identifying those sorts of business opportunities, and monetizing them? We’ll take over, identify some top talent, get some good management in there, and kick this industry into the 21st century.
This overlooks a number of problems. First, they seem to have missed the fact that journalists will not respond well to the kind of management that may work splendidly in Silicon Valley. Attempts to use a conflict-avoidant, buzzword-filled, meeting-heavy management style fail miserably with journalists who are by nature and profession confrontational, cliche-avoidant, and in need of many solid, unbroken stretches of alone time to complete their work.
Three former editors of The New Republic — Hendrik Hertzberg, Peter Beinart and Andrew Sullivan — have joined more than a dozen of their fellow TNR veterans in protesting the “destruction” of the magazine at the hands of owner Chris Hughes.