Thursday, October 30, 2014

Signs of how First Look Media will fail

As someone who has had to learn a lot about management the hard way, its going to be interesting to watch First Look Media implode. This article by a few of the players laying out the reasons for Matt Taibbi's departure is a fascinating tale from a management perspective.

The bottom line is that you cannot hire an entire staff of anti-authoritarians and have no rules in place to which they are held accountable. If you hire really talented people, those rules do not have to be onerous or restrictive. But one of the most important things I ever learned was that "the best way to discriminate against someone is to not tell them what the rules are."

There will be rules - whether they are overt or covert. Failing to make them overt is a recipe for disaster.

So color me surprised (NOT) that things came to a head between Taibbi and First Look management when...
...a Racket staffer complained to senior management that Taibbi had been verbally abusive and unprofessionally hostile, and that she felt the conduct may have been motivated, at least in part, by her gender.
To have hired this guy and not been clear about the rules related to respectful communication and boundaries protecting women from gender discrimination was a HUGE mistake from the beginning.

For people like Glenn Greenwald, it seems as if the only thing they value is the importance of being anti-authoritarian. Left unchecked, that will inevitably lead to adherence to covert white male patriarchal "rules."


  1. In addition to the alleged incident between Taibbi and the female staffer, there looks to be no management planning or discipline at all on any level. How could a multi billionaire like Omidyar not go into a business venture without well defined products and services, objectives, goals, implementation plan, and management roles and responsibilities? That's Business 101 stuff. You're right, Ms. Pants - what else would one expect from a group of anarchists and nihilists who have absolutely no clue "how things work". And why would anyone of the staff conclude they had carte blanche to do whatever they felt like - oh, never mind. Stupid question on my part. We're talking about coddled, narcissistic dude bros after all. Like you, I saw this coming from the very beginning and must admit I am chortling with glee.

    1. So true!!!

      I'm also chortling that Greenwald and crew are finally immersed in having to actually solve problems associated with how the world is rather than how they want it to be. For example, I literally laughed out loud at this closing statement in the article:

      ...the ongoing difficulty of finding the ideal model for well-funded independent journalism.

  2. They would have been better of calling it First Look At Me Media.