Gawker recently decided to declare bankruptcy, thanks to the good works of Peter Thiel and Hulk Hogan, among others. But don’t celebrate the death of Gawker yet. Bankruptcy is a rescue plan, not a funeral. Gawker is looking for a buyer to keep it in business. Ziff Davis has already shown interest.
That’s the part that makes me curious.
At some point recently, an underling at Ziff Davis had to pitch the Gawker acquisition idea to CEO Vivek Shah. As you know, underlings travel in small packs, so let me describe the way I see that meeting going down.
Underling 1: I think we should buy Gawker’s business. It’s a perfect fit with our company.
CEO: In what way?
Underling 1: Well, Ziff Davis is a digital media company that specializes in websites for consumers making important buying decisions.
CEO: Go on.
Underling 1: And Gawker is like a rapist eating his own vomit.
CEO: Wait, what?
Underling 2: That’s not all. When you think of Gawker, you automatically think of Hulk Hogan’s penis. That’s like a celebrity endorsement without the licensing fees.
CEO: Why in the world would we want that in our portfolio?
Underling 3: They get a lot of clicks.
CEO: But reputation-wise…
Underling 1: Gawker isn’t the only property we’d be buying. It comes with Jezebell.
CEO: Tell me about Jezebel.
Underling 2: Well, Jezebel is what you’d get if a Zika virus took the wrong prescription meds, burrowed into a day-old turd, and called itself a publication.
CEO: What would the whole thing cost?
Underling 3: Probably only $100 million or so.
CEO: And what exactly would we be buying?
Underling 1: Well, we’d mostly be buying their talent.
CEO: Such as?
Underling 2: We’d get their writers, who apparently can’t get jobs at credible publications. And we’d get an executive team that is filled with sociopaths who chose one of the rare employment situations in which you can destroy the lives of strangers from a distance.
CEO: Hypothetically, would buying this company change our baseline in a way that makes it impossible for anyone to know how I’m performing on the job, while at the same time creating the appearance of bold action?
Underling 1: I suppose so.
CEO: You should have mentioned that first.
If you hate dog turds that are full of Zika virus, you might like my book because it is almost the opposite of that.