Calacanis and Denton — Envy 2.0

A couple of stories today came together in my mind as evidence of what you might call Envy 2.0. The first is the New York Times story about how the rich are envious of the super-rich. It seems that Web 1.0 success stories like Reid Hoffman of PayPal (now running LinkedIn) are envious of former colleagues Chad Hurley and Steve Chen of YouTube, who are now hundreds of times richer.

What a problem to have, right? I feel sorry for poor old Reid, as I’m sure all of you do too. The article is cited by some people as evidence of a bubble mentality, and it’s hard to argue with that perception. There’s no question that the urge to make a mark, particularly a large financial one, is part of what drives many entrepreneurs — and that’s a good thing in my mind. But when it becomes raw envy, it can make people do stupid things. Nice to see that the Hot or Not guy is trying to take a step back.

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The second Envy 2.0 story is the bitch-slap going on between Jason Calacanis — until recently the head of Netscape, and former CEO of blog network Weblogs Inc. — and Nick Denton of competing blog network Gawker Media, who is writing the gossip site Valleywag after the rather sudden departure of former editor Nick Douglas. The match au pissoir got started when Nick wrote about Jason jumping ship because Netscape is cratering.

Not one to take that kind of thing lying down, Jason posted some comments on Valleywag about how Nick’s numbers were all wrong (even though he claimed to have gotten them from Omniture, which would be internal-only, and to have cross-checked them with ComScore), and then posted his own invective about Gawker and how it is getting creamed by sites like TMZ and PerezHilton. And of course Jason used Alexa traffic stats, which are widely viewed as unreliable.

Is Nick envious of Jason for selling Weblogs Inc. to AOL for $35-million $25-million? Maybe. Is Jason envious of Nick for being able to say whatever he thinks and do his own thing, instead of having sold out to The Man and then having to quit? Perhaps. Plenty of envy to go around, it seems.

11 thoughts on “Calacanis and Denton — Envy 2.0

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  4. Seems that envy is part of the human condition, since we judge how we’re doing relatively and not by an absolute standard. I remind myself of that when I feel envious about someone who has more than I do, because I know if I got to where they are, then I’d just compare myself to the next higher person.

    And then I get back to the fun of it all. To me, that’s worth way more than a new car or millions of dollars in the bank.

  5. I totally agree, Anne. Like the guy from Hot or Not said in the NYT story, if you have a Porsche Boxster, you envy the guy with a 911 Carrera, and if you have a Carrera you envy the guy with a Ferrari. Best to do something you love and let the chips (or cash) fall where it may.

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