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Just One Question for Owen Thomas
Dec 17, 2001 :: Michael Sippey

Partly out of a strange compulsion to keep lists of "great things," but mostly out of professional obligation, over the past year we've been documenting the email newsletters that make us want to fire up Outlook Express, POP the box and filter the gobs and gobs of naughty teens getting rich quick.

At the top of the list (which we'll publish...eventually) sits Ditherati, where writer Owen Thomas has been skewering the digerati on their own words since well before schadenfreude became the operating principle of every pundit on the planet. (If you're not already subscribed, go do it, then come back. We'll still be here.)

Humor is one thing. Humor at the expense of self-important tech moguls is another. Humor at the expense of self-important tech moguls delivered daily right into your inbox? Now you're talking. Not surprisingly, it's Thomas' stamina that amazes us, so we had to ask him...

StO: My god, man, just how do you do it?

OT: With a little help from my friends.

Terry Colon drew the site's talking heads. Carl Steadman is the site's gracious host. Heather Havrilesky inspired me to get started. Paul Boutin suggests headlines, sometimes for quotes neither of us have even seen yet; more recently, he guest-edited for me while I took a week's vacation.

Josh McHugh lets me know when I've scored a direct hit. Danny O'Brien's NTK provides competition every Friday -- last week, we used the same quote, to our mutual chagrin. Lloyd Wood, Paul Kedrosky, Marc Joseph, Matthew Burns, Paul Spirito, Steve Morrison and countless others have sent in suggestions, which I've used with delight.

I once counted which tech personae I'd quoted the most. I haven't recently, but I suspect Scott McNealy is still in the lead, with Larry Ellison and Steve Ballmer close behind him. I should thank every person I've quoted, for unabashedly serving up their version of the truth for public consumption. The Internet has evolved, but its rhetoric hasn't (and thank goodness for that).

There's also a lovely fellow who waits patiently for me to log off, shut down the iMac, and come to bed. Thank you, Greg, for understanding my strange, daily compulsion.



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