July 7, 2015

"I mean it when I say we screwed up, and we want to have a meaningful ongoing discussion. I know we've drifted out of touch with the community..."

"... as we've grown and added more people, and we want to connect more. I and the team are committed to talking more often with the community, starting now," writes Ellen Pao, the CEO of Reddit, apologizing for a big screw-up, which you can read about here.

I'm guessing "the community" will find the apology wan and uninspiring. I find it wan and uninspiring and I barely care about Reddit. Pao admits management is "out of touch," but only hopes to connect more and talk more. It's all about communication, and we just need to have some unstated additional portion of it: more. Let's have a meaningful ongoing discussion. When has a statement like that, coming from the out-of-touch powers that be, ever quelled raging rebellion?

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

As always, it's time for a national conversation on _____, in which we, the little people, will listen to and obey our elite masters on the topic of _____.

rhhardin said...

Would her feelings be hurt if I never heard of reddit. Trigger warning.

Darconville said...

"I and the team..."

What a curious construction...

rhhardin said...

I know twitter, though. There are four twitter sites I visit from time to time

http://twitter.com/iowahawkblog
https://twitter.com/marksteynonline
https://twitter.com/RichardAEpstein
https://twitter.com/curryja

Sometimes it asks me to join (once a day) but not recently.

Virgil Hilts said...

Yech -- completely wrong for the target audience. If she wanted to communicate "more effectively" to the reddit community she should have said that "we fucked up" rather than "we screwed up." And why not hire back Victoria Taylor? It looks like the biggest screw up was firing her, so why not do a "New Coke" reversal, admit that you really did fuck up, and actually rehire her? Think of how amazing it would be if she did this, but don't hold your breath. She'll be gone from reddit within 3-6 months. Per David From's brilliant tweet from a couple of days ago: "I'm not following the Reddit thing closely, but one thing seems obvious: corporations shouldn’t hire CEOs who hate their product & customers."

CJinPA said...

I read the article and still don't know what the uproar was about. They let someone go, or eliminated the position? What is the significance of the position?

Come on, this is the Internet and I need to know which side to hate! The heartless corporate drones or the whiney users -- I mean, I need to know the full picture so I can form an intelligent, nuanced opinion on the matter.

CJinPA said...

"I and the team..." What a curious construction...

She probably started with just "I am committed..." and an aide said, "You should reference the team, boss. So they know this is a company-wide response." I know what writing-by-committee looks like.

Mike said...

What skills exactly did she learn at Kleiner-Perkins as opposed to the SJW bullshit she learned in college and has put to use so publicly? She may be the speediest example of the Peter Principle in action, from grad school to litigant to ex-CEO in such record time!

Big Mike said...

"Pau" is Hawaiian for "finished," so I'd say Pao is Pau.

Mike said...

The most happening thing on Reddit is SexyCyborg and her underlit skirt. Laslo can take it from here...

Gahrie said...

Reddit was founded as a place with no rules, where anything goes. the whole point was to get away from scolds like her.

You can't turn reddit into facebook or twitter, you'll just destroy reddit.

Gabriel said...

@Darconville: "I and the team..."

What a curious construction...


Perfectly grammatical, though seldom used. You will find it John Steinbeck's Cannery Row. Mack uses "I and the boys" when he wishes to speak on behalf of the other bums.

Most people would have said "the team and I", or "we".

Matt said...

Pao been CEO since November 2014. She says these mistakes have been happening "over the past several years." She talks about "long history of mistakes" and "drifting out of touch," something that happens gradually. She talks about "we," apparently so she can include people who actually were there when these mistakes happened.

Pao is apologizing, but making clear that this isn't her fault.

Gabriel said...

@Gahrie:Reddit was founded as a place with no rules, where anything goes.

No, that was 4chan's /b, also destroyed when its founder got involved in SJW issues, through his girlfriend.

damikesc said...

Pao is an incompetent and Reddit screwed up by hiring a feminist "icon" (who has her credibility by a blatant attempt to scam money off her former employer) and they can now not rid themselves of somebody who doesn't understand their business or audience.

But, hey, feminists who don't use Reddit applauded the hire. For a day or so.

halojones-fan said...

In the brave new world of feels and microaggressions, Pao's statement is the kind of conflict resolution we can expect. Our feelings have been *felt*, very deeply, by the whole team. And we can be assured that they're working *hard* on coming up with a solution that we can all agree that we all agree on. So it's important for all of us to make sure that we work *together* on this one, users and site operators both, to try and make this be the best community that it can be.

Dan Hossley said...

When someone says they want to have a dialog about race, they really mean that you're a racist and they want something from you, usually more money or more power over what you can say or do.

When someone like Pao says she wants to have an ongoing and meaningful discussion, she really mean she wants you to sit down and shut up while she figures out a way around you.

Scott said...

"We screwed up" is far different from "I'm sorry." In fact, the word "sorry" was singularly missing from her self-justification that was palmed off as an apology.

If you say you're sorry, you're expressing remorse. Admitting mistakes falls way short of that. There is no remorse here.

"I know these are just words, and it may be hard for you to believe us." No shit, Pao.

YoungHegelian said...

Silicon Valley's descent in being SJW & Democratic Party operatives will, I predict, do much in the coming years to be a "value-subtract" (as opposed to a "value-add") to their businesses.

For one thing, why piss off a huge chunk of the heartland & much of the rest of the world that doesn't share those SJW values? For another, putting a herd of IT geeks (what SV runs on) into a politically correct minefield will just ensure that no one will survive to the other side. They're geeks, not graduate students in 3rd World Oppressed Persons Studies.

If SV management wants to change the world, do what Bill Gates did --- endow a foundation & let it do the good deeds.

damikesc said...

Wonder if she'll sue Kleiner-Perkins for not teaching her how to be a competent CEO.

EMD said...

Reddit is dead.

traditionalguy said...

She sounds a lot like Hillary Clinton redux. She intends to listen to you more as she ignores you.

Robert Cook said...

"Come on, this is the Internet and I need to know which side to hate! The heartless corporate drones or the whiney users -- I mean, I need to know the full picture so I can form an intelligent, nuanced opinion on the matter."

In all cases, hate the heartless corporate masters, as well as their drones.

This does not mean that sometimes the whiny users should not also be hated.

YoungHegelian said...

Izzit just me, or does Ellen Pao come across as just a really unlikeable person?

Silicon Valley has given us some really standout motherfuckers as CEOs, e.g Larry Ellison at Oracle. But, while guys like Ellison could have the air of a lovable rogue, or Steve Jobs the air of the socially obnoxious genius, Pao just comes across as a fascist version of Sister Mary Elephant & her paddle.

Is this Pao's failing? Or, can chicks just not do motherfucker-in-charge well?

Robert Cook said...

I see the replies to her statement are pretty excoriating...they're not buying her bullshit.

mikee said...

So Jessie Jackson agreed to do an "Ask Me Anything" interview on reddit.com, and Victoria, the widely-hailed reddit liason who assists celebrities doing these interviews, ends up fired after Reverend Jackson gets blasted with very direct questions about his fundraising, his illegitimate child & affair, his race-baiting and racial shakedowns, and so on. As such rude questions are pretty standard fare for such "AMA" interviews, the firing seemed extremely poorly timed if it had nothing to do with the Jackson fiasco, and extremely poorly thought out if it did have something to do with the Jackson fiasco.

Not only does Victoria get fired, nobody in the reddit administration told those lower-level moderators who relied upon Victoria about her dismissal. Other interviewees were left standing after the firing, unable to do their online Q&A, and those moderators found out about the firing of Victoria when the interviewees contacted them asking what was up. Incompetence, or malicious behavior, by those in charge of reddit? How does one differentiate when the results are the same?

I did not see the "apology" address this, which according to what I read on reddit was the beginning of the current mess.

The Drill SGT said...

Stick a fork in her, she's done.

Reddit is circling the bowl.

Victoria Taylor for CEO...

mccullough said...

The business model relies on volunteer moderators. Nothing like free labor. Hope Pao is a volunteer CEO because if they are paying her any money, it is too much

Ann Althouse said...

""Pau" is Hawaiian for "finished," so I'd say Pao is Pau.

In English: Pow.

damikesc said...

I'm glad to see internet non-SJW starting to smack around the SJW crowd. Gives me hope for the future. Atheism Plus was slammed. Gamergate routed its foes. The Sad Puppies authors are still making their foes cry.

Time to swing the pendulum the other way. Hard.

Kevin said...

"What skills exactly did she learn at Kleiner-Perkins as opposed to the SJW bullshit she learned in college and has put to use so publicly?"

Well, she tried sleeping with her boss at Kleiner-Perkins, but that didn't work out too well.

Joe said...

Reddit has mystified me, as has Craigslist, in that both are really badly designed, horribly executed sites which are lauded by some faction of users.

Tim Wright said...

"Never hire a mentally disturbed grifter to run your company"

Z mans take on it....

http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=4871

Tim

Larry J said...

There are SJWs and then there are CHORFs. I came across the term CHORF yesterday and find it more descriptive than SJW.

CHORFs: cliquish, holier-than-thou, obnoxious, reactionary, fascists.

damikesc said...

When your "employees" are all volunteers and highly unlikely to share the riches of your endeavor, you have a business plan that works until it becomes mildly irritating.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Hiring a CEO who dislikes the ethos of the company and/or it's users/customers seems like a bad idea.

EMD said...

"Reddit has mystified me, as has Craigslist, in that both are really badly designed, horribly executed sites which are lauded by some faction of users."

One could argue both are efficiently designed, like Drudge Report.

EMD said...

"But, while guys like Ellison could have the air of a lovable rogue, or Steve Jobs the air of the socially obnoxious genius, Pao just comes across as a fascist version of Sister Mary Elephant & her paddle."

Sexist but true.

Smilin' Jack said...

"... as we've grown and added more people, and we want to connect more. I and the team are committed to talking more often with the community, starting now," writes Ellen Pao, the CEO of Reddit.

This is the kind of shit that makes a glass ceiling necessary.

richard mcenroe said...

I think she's killed Reddit. Once people move on from The Next Big Thing they don't move back. Welcome to MySpace,Ellen.

richard mcenroe said...

""Pau" is Hawaiian for "finished," so I'd say Pao is Pau."


Pao Pao Oo Pau Pau,
Pao Pao Oh Pau Pau Pau...

David said...

The failure of her lawsuit is looking more and more like the correct result. Failure to take personal responsibility seems to be a defining characteristic.

Rick said...

This is actually the third issue she's screwed up while at Reddit (in fewer than 6 months).

1. Eliminating salary negotiations for new hires because women (supposedly) don't negotiate as well as men do, which in her mind makes it unfair.

2. Integrating social activist litmus policies on "diversity" into the hiring process.

3. Firing the head of the AMA subreddit immediately after Jesse Jackson made a fool of himself. Credible reports blame Victoria's objections to monetizing the AMA SR by various means including using video which more reliably delivers advertising.

If I were the owner I'd have fired her already. If she wants to be the lead Silicon Valley SJW that's fine. But that's not the job I need filled, and Reddit is a particularly stupid place to do this.

damikesc said...

If I were the owner I'd have fired her already.

She's untouchable and litigious. If I were the owner, I'd have never hired her.

Once you pay the Danegeld, you never get rid of the Dane.

Hiring a CEO who dislikes the ethos of the company and/or it's users/customers seems like a bad idea.

Gamergate showed that nicely.

Tarrou said...

Reddit is over! Long live Voat! Or, if your stomach is strong and your wits sharp, come swim with the real internet heroes on 4chan!

Anonymous said...

YoungHegelian wrote:

"Is this Pao's failing? Or, can chicks just not do motherfucker-in-charge well?"

No. Angela Merkel is getting ready to fire up the diesels {gas turbines?) of her Panzerarmee and head south to collect her €60 billion from those Mediterranean deadbeats. Watch the Greeks scatter when introduced to the concussion of live fire. I'm guessing she'll be in the lead tank. Hussein's testicles will recede back into his body when he reads about it.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I've just started visiting Reddit on a regular basis.

On my own accord, the variety there, not to mention the pleasant aesthetics of the layout of the site, and the massive amount of readers and their power, knowingly to them alone as "power" as all Commie's think of their/those* thoughts, makes for a good time when you are suffering from loneliness and unable to self-diagnoss amongst literally thousands (or more) of folks trained, certified, delivered, and not stopping particular ailments.

FYI I love Reddit!

GO TEAM COOOL YOUNG UNHATERS!!!!!!!!!

Zach said...

Pao does seem to have the ability to find every landmine in a field by walking directly over it.

Zach said...

Silicon Valley has given us some really standout motherfuckers as CEOs, e.g Larry Ellison at Oracle. But, while guys like Ellison could have the air of a lovable rogue, or Steve Jobs the air of the socially obnoxious genius, Pao just comes across as a fascist version of Sister Mary Elephant & her paddle.

Is this Pao's failing? Or, can chicks just not do motherfucker-in-charge well?


To be fair, nobody made Jobs or Ellison CEO. They founded the company, and made themselves CEO. If they weren't good at it, you never would have heard of them.

Pao came into the role by a very different route -- Harvard Law, followed by working at Kleiner Perkins. That's the no risk, suck up to the powerful route through life. And for some reason, elite institutions love the social justice warrior tut-tut, schoolmarmish, passive aggressive approach to the world.

As someone else pointed out, Angela Merkel is an interesting counterexample. But she also fits the mold of a self made woman more than an institutional woman. Her PhD is in theoretical chemistry! She grew up in a country that didn't even have democracy, and she went into the least political field she could find in it. The only reason she got ahead in politics after reunification was because she was good at it.

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