It's been four years since Valleywag, the blog-of-record for Silicon Valley gossip and tech industry machinations, folded. Now, Gawker Media has relaunched the site "dedicated to mocking the stupidity, incompetence, and avarice of Silicon Valley and the gargantuan grift known as the 'tech sector.'"
The relaunch comes as part of a Gawker redesign that places more emphasis on the site's commentariat with tools and structure designed to "make it more likely ... that informed sources and subjects will bring their voices to bear on our stories, unmediated and of their own volition" and "banishes untrusted or new sources to the outer reaches in a "pending queue." Good luck with that!
The new Valleywag will be run as a Gawker syndicate and helmed by Sam Biddle of Gizmodo, who issued a rousing mission statement that should strike fear into the hearts of half-baked start-up wannabes and tech titans alike:
"The extent to which the bubble blowers of today make, do, or really generate anything of any worth is irrelevant to their sycophants—investors, groupies, conference organizers, and beat reporters, all of which now usually overlap. Your startup doesn’t need to be good, it just needs to be disruptive (read: daringly convoluted), if only for a moment. It doesn’t need to be competent, it just needs to be impetuous. It doesn’t even really need to be—a “Coming Soon” website with a nonsense name is enough for a seat at the table. Get a computer science degree, head west, think of a silly title, drop the vowels, shake hands, and wait for free-flowing millions you don’t deserve in exchange for a service no one needs.
Today’s tech boom isn’t an economy of ideas, but an economy of fantasy: the fantasy that anyone wants a company to digitize their paper junk mail, the fantasy that Pictionary on your iPhone is worth a $180 million acquisition, the fantasy that any half-baked idea will eventually lead to a job at Facebook, and whatever status that lends at a bar in Palo Alto. Fad economies are nothing new, but never has so much cash floated atop so little: at the end of the day, tulips still looked pretty on a table. Hawked above all is the fantasy that all of this posturing and programming represents the American best and brightest, some new pixel-industrial vanguard. That insane dream that our national future has little to do with creating, building, or even selling, and more to do with... Chat Heads? At least Wall Street bankers have the decency and self-awareness to hate themselves.
The days of reckoning for the silicon wunderkind are near, and so here we are: to watch them stumble, catalog their hypocrisies, their excess, their layoffs, and the gradual abandonment of their dreams. The Zuckerbergs who bought the household name recognition they always wanted will be given due scrutiny at a time when they’re rarely getting it. We’re picking up right where Valleywag began because nothing's really changed: seven years later, everyone else is still either too conflicted or craven to bother speaking truth to the Valley."
We're hoping the new Valleywag can avoid the pitfalls of its last incarnation (poor leadership, inaccuracies, an inordinate fixation on people's sex lives) to succeed at its rather grandiose mission. For now, this.