Don Imus. Michael Vick. Dick Cheney. If 2007 has taught us anything, it’s that pricks can lead successful careers.
When I set out as a blogger two years ago, I was excited by the prospect of becoming a virtual journalist. I vowed to write honest descriptions from my life experiences without holding anything back. I was inspired by a number of vanguard voices—Afrobella’s daring take on being Black in the U.S., a few avant-guard marketing blogger’s daily report on bleeding-edge trends, and even, I’ll admit, Michael Arrington's razor sharp sarcasm.
The first two groups of bloggers I admired for their honesty, expertise, and most importantly, for their openness and eagerness to engage in meaningful dialogue with their readers. And Michael Arrington, despite his reputation of being nauseatingly arrogant, I respected for his entrepreneurial spirit and ability to turn blogging into a career. I saw his jerky side as a necessary front used to create a provocative TechCrunch brand.
But this weekend, I discovered that Michael Arrington doesn't understand one thing: there’s a time and place to be combative and complacent, and there’s a time and place to be collaborative and constructive.
When fighting legal bouts and competing against rivals, bringing out a little "prick" is appropriate. But when a guest at your own party and a supporter of your company seeks you out for conversation, there’s simply no place for egotism and condescension.
I learned that one silly conversation and one silly photo opp can speak volumes. After a painstakingly awkward exchange where it became increasingly clear that I was being mocked by Arrington and his pals, we took a quick photo together. I smiled and was just about to thank him when he snickered this out of the side of his mouth, “Whatever. It was certainly a pleasure meeting you too.” Then he turned his back to me and laughed with his friends.
This exchange left me completely… well, shocked to tell you the truth. Sure, Michael Arrington has a tremendously successful blog worth millions. People know him, respect his company, and may even respect his personality.
But is it all worth it? Because now, Michael Arrington also has one former reader sitting here wondering if anyone, other than his mother, really likes him.
2007 has also taught us that foul assholes are inevitably sniffed out. Genuinely rancid personalities are never good for business… they eventually just stink up the whole place.