Pajamas Media/OSM

Like most of the blogosphere, I’ve followed the problems Pajamas/OSM has had during their launch. I’ve made some concrete suggestions directly to them where I hope they may do some good, because I’d very much like them to succeed – a rising tide will lift all blogs, as they say. I believe that bloggers who are rooting for their demise are making a mistake, and that their failure – like the failure of any blogger or blogger-backed venture – would hurt us all.

Because I’ve been directly named in this, I think I need make some kind of simple statement about this whole sheebang.First, I was involved in the founding of Pajamas, as readers here will know. I left when it became clear to me that the business strategy I was interested in – providing technical, financial, and marketing ‘plumbing’ and making it available widely to blogs in what Jeff Jarvis would call an effort “to use tags and microformats and social interaction to link together the topics and opinions and information people care about on that distributed web” of blogs – wasn’t the strategy that the other two founders, Roger and Charles, and their investor were interested in pursuing, and that their strategy didn’t make me passionate either. My feeling then as now was that they were better off as a smaller group in close agreement as to their goals, and they deserved an opportunity to implement their business strategy as they saw it, which I believe they are doing.

We parted amicably, if sadly, in my case. Under the spirit and letter of our agreement, that’s about all I’ll have to say on the subject.

I’ve still got a bunch of ideas and some designs and relationships in this space that I’d love to play with, and would love to connect with some other entrepreneurial, engaged folks who have some interest in this stuff. Drop a line at the address above, or leave a comment.

I’ve got a few posts in the queue expanding some thoughts on these issues (the open/edge web vs. the closed/core web) and will try and get them out over the next few days (unless I fly to Oregon to pick up a new motorcycle).

We’ll now return you to regular blogging.

15 thoughts on “Pajamas Media/OSM”

  1. I know you talked to Dean Esmay about this when he and I were working on a similar idea. It’s sad that the original idea has become so distorted, so closed, and so parochial.

    And you’re right about the problem with wishing its demise. If it goes under, it’s going to tar the blogosphere for a while.

    I wish you luck and I’m glad you were not associated with this latest iteration.

  2. I appreciate Charles and LGF, but to a point.

    Recently I have found LGF demagogic. The ra-ra echo chamber there is second only to Kos, just in the other political direction.

    It’s fine with me that Winds is not closely associated with that, though I wish OSM well.

  3. “I believe that bloggers who are rooting for their demise are making a mistake, and that their failure – like the failure of any blogger or blogger-backed venture – would hurt us all.”

    How, pray tell? I’m still not clear on exactly what it is they’re trying to do. What is the value added here? Why doesn’t it deserve to fail? And why should this bother me or anyone else not associated with them?

    The credibility of bloggers stands or falls on their output. A blog is a representation of a person on the internet, and bloggers are amateur writers, nothing more and nothing less. “Amateur” is not a pejorative; on the contrary, it’s part of what makes blogs so good. Simon and Johnson have evidently lost sight of this in their attempt to turn it into something professional. That’s why, other issues aside, this project was misconcieved from the outset.

  4. Blogger are indeed on a roll and credit this to the creation of blogging sites. However, I noticed that most of the sites have flaws that hinder the bloggers. The affected once are those who put capital in blogging. As we all know, blogging nowadays can be a great source of income.

  5. I think it will be brief, that time when bloggers looked at the MSM and said we’re different and better. Soon it will all be media people doing media.

  6. Hmmm.

    “I believe that bloggers who are rooting for their demise are making a mistake, and that their failure – like the failure of any blogger or blogger-backed venture – would hurt us all.” – Armed Liberal

    I disagree on this.

    At this point, with all of the problems inherent in the execution and startup – lack of business plan, trademark infringement, causing dropped blogers to lose ad revenue because of exclusivity contracts, just to name a few that have come to light… I’m going to have to say that OSM’s success coming out of that foundation wil do the blogosphere a LOT more harm than its demise will. It’ll demonstrate that the way to start a blogging media business is to toss one’s ethics aside the minute that business and money get involved.

    Bst for the blogosphere would be for it to die horribly and serve as a bad example to others on how to NOT start a blog based business venture. If it succeeds, it’ll only encourage other half-baked weasels to copy it complete to the idiotic lack of business plan and trademark infringements. And there’s plenty out there that would, too.

  7. If Kenton Kelly has some kind of material grievance with Roger and Charles he should tell it to his attorney, because his bitching makes my eyes glaze over.

    If I were a captive audience in a jury box – listening to hours on end of this crap – what would be going through my mind is the fact that when it came time to sign the papers, the papers were not signed. No papers, no partnership, no nothing. As the Drill Instructor said, sounds like a personal problem to me.

    So this is mainly of interest to scholars of Kenton Kelly’s injured feelings. But when someone names himself “Jethro Bodine” and then pretends that Roger Simon called him that, I’m thinking that at least some of these wounds are self-inflicted.

  8. Glen, if Kenton’s allegations are true, then Simon misled them and used Kenton’s and “Rocco’s” time and growing expertise to launch the OSM behind the backs of his first partners. It was a slippery way to get value from two innocent people while intending to sidestep them if a better partnership could be created, leaving them out. Written contracts are best, but verbal contracts still have the force of law, if someone wants to spend the time and money to try to enforce them.

    Kenton’s experience has the ring of truth. Makes me sad to read this account about someone whose writing I have appreciated since he took a right turn.

  9. Margaret –

    If there’s a verbal contract, let him tell it to a judge. Judges listen to this kind of stuff all the time, especially when people who are not business professionals do professional business. There are always people who get involved at some point and then think they got stiffed.

    Now Kelly can write and say what he wants, but I say it’s not a good idea for him to spread his grievances all over the neighborhood. Here is Exhibit A, your honor:

    This is about my self-respect. This is about getting rid of the nagging feeling that the first time Roger L. Simon saw me, he said to himself, Jethro Bodine, and sized me up as someone he could use and throw away at his leisure. Without consequences. For my own sake, I need to know that Roger L. Simon will regret that judgment for the rest of his life. Now I think he will.

    Now I don’t want to put Kelly down or annoy his friends, but for crying out loud look at what the man is saying here. He puts words into Roger’s mouth, and then demands that Roger regret them for the rest of his life. Thank God that’s all he wants, and not an eternity of adamantine chains and penal fire.

    I have been very conflicted about just how far to take this, but instinctively I knew I had to get Roger to respond before I could put this post up. When he posted “Words”, I knew I had him.

    Humphrey Bogart fans will recognize this: it’s the great strawberry investigation from The Caine Mutiny.

  10. Partners, joint venturers, etc. generally owe a fiduciary duty to each other to exercise utmost good faith and honesty in all matters relating to the business. A writing may reduce or clarify that duty.

    On the other hand, #13 Glen points out statements that suggest Kelly may be defaming Roger. And I think Kelly admitted that he signed a confidentiality agreement, so . . .

    To Ted Rall or not to Ted Rall, that is the question.

  11. I almost had the sensation that you were saying something… And if you get the impression that this wasn’t a ringing endorsement, you’re right.

    It’s not that I don’t believe in you. It’s that I think your muse has become a sausage.

    Well, mine too. Maybe we need a tuning fork.

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