Here is a prediction for 2015: the oldest writer at Gawker Media, a veteran of Forbes and a resident of Boston, will establish a healthier tone for power gossip and set the conversation in Silicon Valley more uproariously and effectively than any of the callow locals. I'm talking about Dan Lyons, 54-year-old Editor of Valleywag.
I have a $100 bet with Jonathan Abrams of Nuzzel that Dan Lyons will last more than six months. Well, Dan has a summer job as a writer on HBO's Silicon Valley, so I'll only win the bet if he comes back to the Gawker Media tech gossip site after that break.
My confidence is informed in part by inside information. We have long wooed Lyons. I have been an acolyte since the days of Fake Steve Jobs, the anonymous blog written in the voice of the Apple founder. (When editing Valleywag, I was so obsessed that I unmasked the wrong man.)
But the main reason I expect and hope Dan Lyons will be a lasting presence at Valleywag: his brutality is laced with humanity and humor; and he tells not just the truth, but the full and textured truth. Here's an example.
Yahoo's Marissa Mayer is easy to bash. None of the internet company's recent deals such as the acquisition of Tumblr hold the promise of its earlier relationships with Alibaba in China or Softbank in Japan.
But Lyons has been around long enough to know how empty is the judgment of her critics. Her bad press is the manifestation of a system, not an individual's performance: Lyons' Valleywag already eschews the cheap shot, and reserves the real scorn for the orcs of Wall Street.
Marissa Mayer leaves Yahoo. It's not her fault. Yahoo is Yahoo. It's never going to be Google or Facebook. But there is an unwritten rule that Yahoo must have a new CEO every six to 12 months, and Mayer has already been there for more than two years. According to hedge fund manager Eric Jackson, Yahoo may actually have negative value if you strip out the value of its Alibaba stake. Now the savages on Wall Street are calling for Marissa's head. You may have noticed that this is something that the savages on Wall Street like to do. Of course there is no messiah who is going to save Yahoo. But changing leaders maybe gives the stock a pop. Or maybe the guys on Wall Street just like to stir up shit because they're bored and they have money. Marissa can go spend time with her kids. Or run for political office.
Take a read through the rest of the new Valleywag's predictions for 2015. He extracted a guffaw from me every other paragraph, even for the reference to Marc Andreessen's dome. (I'm sensitive to jokes about head shape and size). As one journo mentioned, the only question is why it took so long for Gawker Media and Dan Lyons to come together. So I'm long on this bet.