Looks like someone woke up from his nap of the last three years and is hungry. Sadly, I don’t have much food for him. I’ll keep this as brief as possible — and I promise this will be the last thing I ever say about Dan Lyons, as he’s clearly done.
The truth is that I pre-responded to Lyons earlier today before he even wrote his post. You could see it coming. What I wrote yesterday directly attacks the way he makes a living. When you do that, people get irrationally upset and write posts like the one Lyons just wrote. Just to reiterate, the line that applies here from the film Moneyball:
It’s the threat of not just the way of doing business, but in their minds it’s threatening the game. But really what it’s threatening is their livelihoods, it’s threatening their jobs, it’s threatening the way that they do things. And every time that happens, whether it’s the government or a way of doing business or whatever it is, the people are holding the reins, have their hands on the switch. They go bat shit crazy.
Bat shit crazy. Dan Lyons. Exactly.
Outside of accusing myself and Michael of shaking down startups (libel?), accusing me of lying (I totally didn’t scoop the Kindle Fire story, I made up all the details which we used to make an oddly accurate rendering of the device from scratch — and I totally got the name of the product wrong), and getting things flat-out wrong (guess who told me Andy Rubin deleted his tweet? Someone who works at a place with a capital “G”…). Lyons doesn’t actually say all that much. He certainly doesn’t address any of the issues in the tech coverage space that I brought up.
Then again, he probably doesn’t have an opinion on any of them. I’m not sure he’s written anything relevant in years.
I thought this Tweet from Matt Buchanan sums it up well:
This was the best post Lyons has written in a long time simply because it had actual passion behind it. It wasn’t the vanilla garbage he normally writes of late which is flat-out wrong a good percentage of the time.
It’s actually quite sad that the only thing that gets writers like Lyons and Kara Swisher fired up anymore is writing about others in their space. During the fucked up AOL situation, Swisher’s post on the matter was clearly her most impassioned post in years as well.
These people don’t love technology. They love wagging fingers and saying “I told you so”. It’s all they care about. It’s so obvious in their writing. And because they can’t write about such things all that often, they live for moments like this. They get to take a break from reporting about Yahoo personnel news that no one actually cares about to writing passionately about “too insidery” things that no one actually cares about. But with flair!
And nicknames. It’s no coincidence that the two of them love dishing out nicknames. It’s a crutch. It’s because at their core, they’re not very good writers. Swisher is a good reporter, there’s no denying that — her beat bores the hell out of me, but she’s good at it. But she’s not a very good writer in the pure sense of the word. Both she and Lyons rely on cutesy gimmicks. See also: Fake Steve Jobs.
Michael and I actually care about technology. We love startups. That’s why he started TechCrunch. That’s why I joined TechCrunch. That’s why we’re doing CrunchFund.
That passion is conveyed in our writing. And it’s conveyed when we meet with startups. Ask any company in our portfolio why they accepted us as investors. That Dan Lyons would imply it’s some sort of shakedown shows how very clueless he is.
And it shows exactly why he could never do what we do. His words reek of jealousy. Of disillusionment. He’s angry. He doesn’t get it. And worst of all, he simply does not matter anymore. The only time he did was as a joke. He’s that guy who used to be that guy that was pretending to be Steve Jobs once upon a time. That must be extremely frustrating.
But at least he’s going out with guns blazing. Great post, Dan. Really solid work. Important stuff to get so fired up about before slinking back behind the shadows for another decade. As they say: it’s better to burn out than to fade away.