Well, kids, your big hero Sam Biddle has been smacked down again, this time by Farhad Manjoo of Slate who delivers a devastating critique of the Talentless Mr. Biddle. "Would You Just Look at All These Rich People!" is the headline, and the premise is that Valleywag could have been so great but instead has turned into a cesspool where little bits of gossip are spun out of context into a "larger, stereotypically skewed narrative about the tech industry." (Disclosure: Farhad Manjoo is an acquaintance of mine, and once worked for me at PandoDaily.)
This career-ending critique comes just a week after Nick Bilton savaged dear old Sam in the New York Times. (Disclosure: Nick Bilton is a friend of mine and counts among his industry sources several people who are investors in PandoDaily.)
All that spanking in such a short time is going to leave marks, I'm afraid. Certainly the message should be getting through, even to a dimwit like Sam. In case it isn't: nobody here wants you around, Sam. We don't like you.
You made a few big mistakes. You messed with Peter Thiel. (Disclosure: Peter Thiel is an investor in PandoDaily.) You messed with Paul Graham. (Disclosure: Paul Graham is a friend of mine and a hero to everyone in the entrepreneur community.) You attacked Michael Arrington. (Disclosure: Michael Arrington is my former employer and friend, and CrunchFund is an investor in PandoDaily.) You libeled Sean Parker. (Disclosure: Sean Parker is an executive general partner at Founders Fund, which is run by Peter Thiel, who is an investor in PandoDaily.)
You messed with PandoDaily, without realizing the kind of power and influence that we wield out here. Paul Carr and I now have committed ourselves to driving you not just out of the Valley (metaphorically, of course, since you don't seem to ever actually set foot here) but also out of journalism altogether. (Disclosure: Paul Carr is editor of NSFW Corp., which is funded by Tony Hsieh and CrunchFund, who are both investors in PandoDaily.)
None of these, however, were what led to your destruction. Do you even know what did it? I'm guessing you don't. Really, you're that clueless.
Let me fill you in. The key to your undoing, and the one truly huge mistake you made, was that libelous smear about Marc Andreessen and his marriage falling apart. Not only was it not true, but you crossed a line that everyone else out here holds sacred — you don't write about wives and children. You don't drag the family into things. Never, ever, ever. (Disclosure: Marc Andreessen is an investor in PandoDaily.)
For that alone you are now a marked man. Do you not realize the power that M.A. has with the people who write about our industry? Do you not realize that his PR person Margit Wennmachers has now made it her life mission to destroy you? And that she is actually quite capable of doing this? (Disclosure: Margit Wennmachers is a friend of mine.)
Sam, you went to war with the wrong people. Marc and Margit are connected and respected by everyone out here.
Don't expect libel suits. These people are going to fight fire with fire.
Expect more stories like the ones from Nick Bilton in the Times and Farhad Manjoo in Slate. (Disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co., whose CEO is Don Graham, who sits on the board of Facebook, as do Peter and Thiel and Marc Andreessen, who are investors in PandoDaily.)
Expect a relentless drumbeat that you are a piece of shit, a terrible journalist, a liar and a cheat. Expect every one of your stories to get scrutinized and critiqued. Expect every tiny mistake you make to be magnified.
Beyond that, since you've made it personal, expect to have the same done to you. That old police record? That arrest for DUI or possession of a controlled substance when you were in college? Those allegations by that ex-girlfriend that the college ended up dismissing because it was "he said, she said"? Ever use the "n" word? Yeah. Don't know if any of that ever happened, but if it did, expect to see it in print. Heck, even if it didn't, expect to see it used against you.
Have you ever been followed by a private investigator? Ever had professionals look into every aspect of your life and interview everyone who ever knew you? I'm not saying this is happening, because I don't know for a fact that it's happening, but I'd be shocked if it weren't. Make a list of all the people you've pissed off, and then try to estimate how much it would cost to do a really deep investigation on you — $10,000? $50,000? $100,000? — and then ask yourself, If I were a billionaire, would I even notice that kind of money, and would it be worth spending some pocket change to destroy some guy who is being an asshole and libeling me and my friends?
Sure it's fun to make fun of rich people, but see, the problem is that rich people can afford to fight back.
You were warned, Sam, and you didn't listen. So now you will be destroyed.