I have some news…from a post yesterday on Pando.com:
“If there is a single moment when it seemed like my journalism career suddenly caught fire, it was the 2006 Business Week cover story I wrote about the rise of Web 2.0 companies.
It was hated. It was loved. It inspired weird half-assed halloween costumes. And it won me a book deal which allowed me to buy a house in San Francisco and then led to my job at TechCrunch (v1), and eventually to founding Pando.
At the time I wrote that cover, I was the most junior, least pedigreed member of the BusinessWeek tech team, but I knew a good story when I saw it. Just as importantly I was young enough that I could see the ever-changing Silicon Valley ecosystem through fresh eyes. A lot of much more experienced journalists expressed doubt over the story and subsequent book, arguing that I was wasting my time shadowing “has beens” like Marc Andreessen or upstarts like Mark Zuckerberg who was merely playing at the next incarnation of Friendster. Was this guy really the future of Silicon Valley?
The reason I’m thinking about this story today—fifteen years after that first big cover story—is because this post marks another personal and professional milestone for me.
This is my last post as editor in chief and CEO. Paul Carr and I have sold Pando to a brand new owner. And for the first time in my career, I am no longer a journalist.
I have so much to say about the sale, which is to BuySellAds, a company we started working with at Pando back in 2012. I want to tell you why I’m so excited about this deal. I want to tell you why I’m so proud of Pando’s legacy, and the dozens of fearless journalists who helped us build this brand. I want to talk about what I plan on doing for the rest of my career.
But mostly, I want to explain to Pando readers why I’m leaving journalism.
As I watched colleagues peel off for other easier more lucrative careers over the decades, I thought I was the one who’d be a lifer. But I realized in the last few years that I’ve become like those jaded journalists a generation before me who could no longer see the Valley through fresh eyes.
Simply put: Over a 20-year run spent ahead of the story, chasing the story and sometimes becoming the story, too much has happened between me and Silicon Valley.
It’s a place where I’ve been sexually harassed more times than I can remember. It’s a place where I’ve been lied about, where VCs have arm-twisted editors to fire me, where billionaires have threatened those doing business with me to cut all ties. It’s a place where I’ve had people turn on me again and again and again simply for doing my job. It’s a place I’ve been betrayed by people I trusted. It’s a place where one-time friends threatened my children because I wrote about things they did.
And of course I’m not the only one, and my experience was far from the worst: In the last few years I have been overwhelmed by stories of sexual assault and harassment told by so many incredibley women in the Valley, holding back so much talent and driving so much talent out of the industry.
I have absorbed so many more stories than I have reported, more than I can ever report, about the dark side of Silicon Valley. And if you are a Pando subscriber, you know that’s saying something.
That Sarah Lacy—the journalist who’d run out of f*cks to give— was the perfect version of me to cover the run up, apex and colossal destruction of the bro era of Silicon Valley yet, where chasing unicorn valuations was really about chasing masculinity. An era I’ve called the bursting of the toxic masculinity bubble. While the early Web 2.0 era may have inspired a version of me who could believe in the Valley again, the era that has culminated in the evaporation of $40 billion in WeWork worth needed someone who could report out the absolute worst of the Valley without flinching. There’s a reason that in story-after-story Pando was months—if not years—ahead of peers in reporting the worst of the Valley. (We wrote lots of positive stories too, but we know from the data and every conversation I have with readers, those aren’t the ones you remember.)
I am hopeful now that once again things are being reset here. But I am no longer the right reporter to uncover it or the editor to guide a team of fresh eyes to cover it or the entrepreneur to ask people for money to fund it. And as soon as I realized that, I knew we had to find a home for Pando.
You can read more on Pando.
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- How to showcase transferable soft skills on resume?
- Can you get a dog from a breeder and feel OK about it?