Back in 2015, I wrote a story about a trio of tech moguls who had turned their sights (and sites) on fixing journalism. It was seemingly an altruistic move, and I believe a well intentioned one at its core.
There was Pierre Omidyar, who committed $250 million with First Look Media, after mulling a purchase of the Washington Post.
There was Evan Williams, who started Medium, chagrined at what the Internet had become in no small part due to his previous company, Twitter.
There was Chris Hughes, of the Facebook dorm room, who purchased The New Republic.
At the time, I pointed out struggles each was having and said the central quality each was missing in becoming a media mogul was the willingness to engage in confrontation, a quality that has only become more essential in a time when the President is encouraging his crowds to berate journalists and companies like Uber are threatening smear campaigns to silence them.
The only direct response was Evan Williams telling me to “fuck off” and then immediately backpeddling and insisting he was only kidding. I believe the “fuck off” was more sincere than the backpeddling, which kind of makes my point.
One of the three has certainly adapted, and it may be the most surprising: Pierre Omidyar...