Evan Williams founded Blogger, Twitter and Medium, and he's perfected the aw-shucks role of a nice, pleasant choir boy CEO. Nevertheless, last week Williams told angelic role model and hero mom Sarah Lacy to "Fuck off," and now he's Bad Bad Leroy Brown, Baddest Man in the Whole Damn Town. In San Francisco, this is what passes for entertainment.
This started when professional feud picker Lacy turned her attention from Uber and decided to pick a fight with Williams. Lacy wrote an article on PandoDaily saying that tech guys (she named Pierre Omidyar of First Look, Chris Hughes at the New Republic and Williams at Medium) fail in the media business because they are too averse to conflict. Basically, she called them pussies.
Williams particularly takes Lacy to task for one statement that I must admit caught my attention as well. Lacy writes: "This is why journalists are such a nightmare to manage, or even have at a dinner party. They turn combative on a dime because that's the only way to survive."
Really? They do? Williams points out that in fact he knows many journalists and "mostly they're curious, pleasant, respectful people. I like having dinner with them."
I've spent my life among journalists and have found the same thing. But it is enlightening to see how Lacy believes journalists should behave.
Williams ends his piece by demonstrating that he has "gotten a lot more comfortable with conflict." To prove it, he adds this kicker: "So, fuck off."
I was trying to figure out why Lacy would pick a fight with Williams. Probably this is just a coincidence, but when Lacy had her feud with Uber and hired bodyguards to protect her, a guy named Lane Wood pointed out that she was overblowing the whole thing because she loves — nay, craves — attention.
Please note where that article was published: on Medium. Could these seemingly related events actually be related? Surely not.
And here, just because I know you now have that song in your head: