About Pando

Some of you may have read Sarah Lacy’s post today stating that I’m no longer on the board of Pando Daily.

This wasn’t a complete surprise to me, the company notified me last week that they weren’t happy that I and MG Siegler (my partner at CrunchFund) were going to speak at TechCrunch Disrupt this coming May.

Part of the reason that I’m speaking at Disrupt is that I have a contractual commitment to do so as part of my break with them last year, which Sarah knew about before our involvement in Pando. But MG and I are also speaking there because we still love TechCrunch. And we both speak at many other conferences as well.

I’m thoroughly confused about how and why this happened. Obviously much of the communication I’ve had with the company the last week is private and confidential. I will share this email that I sent to Sarah this morning, though:

Where exactly do we stand? Last week Andrew said there was no way for us to continue to be involved if I (and MG?) speak at Disrupt. Later there was talk of a need for an apology to make things right. I’m not sure where your head is at Sarah and there’s no rush from our end, but I’d like to settle things eventually. We’ll do what’s right for the startup.

I still think the world of the Pando Daily team, which includes many ex-TechCrunchers (here’s what I wrote when they launched). I wish them the best and I look forward to continue reading the site.

Ultimately none of this matters. A startup is a stressful thing and entrepreneurs need to make quick strategic decisions on how to move forward in an ever evolving environment. Even when I’m being thrown out, I support the entrepreneur. If Sarah feels that they’re better off without our involvement, I support her completely. Our friendship goes back years and years. It can, I hope, withstand this hiccup.

72 thoughts on “About Pando

  1. I saw her post earlier and have to admit was pretty shocked by it. It all seems a bit childish really. But I guess her plan is to make Pando bigger than Techcrunch and that desire is blinding her.

  2. Amkosh says:

    The more I see about this, the more it seems to me that Sarah has a very thin skin.

    • heddi cundle says:

      You can’t say that – you don’t know the details of what happened. Don’t claim respectable people are thin skinned when you have absolutely none of the facts, clearly (from your comment). It’s easy to slam someone yet it’s still not right or decent :)

      • David Callahan says:

        … yeah, and you know all the “facts” — right?
        The “sisterhood loyalty” is at work, again…

      • Spade says:

        Well…. there was that whole rant about Paul Carr and his trolls. Entertaining, inspirational — even made me pull the trigger to buy The Upgrade — but ultimately it slanted a little unprofessional. Thin-skinned seems like an appropriate observation.

        • West says:

          Unprofessional is really the word for it. The Paul post, the way she keeps on insisting that Trevor Gilbert is sacred and everything he says is golden, the turning off of the comments on this issue and the deleting of comments on various articles…. Sum it all up and I’d tell you: Sarah Lacy is very childish and unprofessional.

          Also, losing Michael and MG is probably one of her worst decisions yet.

      • Fran says:

        So.. we should be passive in the face of immorality? What a great society someone like you would create.

  3. droidtoday says:

    This thing seemed like it was completely avoidable and the real Devil here is either assumptions or poor communication. Mike and Pando both knew in advance this could be an issue down the road, but forged ahead. There was probably an assumption either by Mike that this wouldn’t be such a big deal, or by the board that Mike would find a way out of the contract to speak.

    In any case, you just know Arriana has had a good laugh today.

    Communicate people!

  4. I think Sarah’s hands are tied. I think this is the classic high school thing of which team are you on? Don’t investors know this is business? Yahoo collaborates with Facebook while countersuing each other at the same time. It’s business. I wish they grow up and support the startup because this is Pando’s loss.

  5. I just rushed here to find an explanation to Sarah’s post which left many questions unanswered … glad to see you’re still committed to full transparency. It’s a shame to see you and MG depart from Pando, it’s a great loss and I honestly don’t see the reason why :(

  6. Anonymous says:

    All I’m going to say is props to you for leaving your comments open. A blog like Pando that disables comments can not be taken seriously. It’s like a newspaper asking it’s readers not to discuss the articles. It’s also a slap in the face to the readers.

  7. Thank you for the post Michael and nice to see you left comments open, Pando did not which showed they did not want to really get into it and be open.

    • That’s just the way Sarah does things. I had so much respect for her before Pando Daily. Now, I don’t think much of her because of her actions and reactions. She’ll soon find out that what goes around comes around…

  8. I only read Pando because MG, well now i’m out! Like when I stopped reading engadget after Josh and Nilay left.

  9. David Wo says:

    But since when have you not published private emails? You and TechCrunch used to do so all the time. Is it because they involve you this time?

  10. Without Mike and TechCrunch, Pando wouldn’t be possible… or at last it wouldn’t be part of my Google Reader.

    • Ed Hornsby says:

      You may have hit the nail on the head. But using people to help your career and then disposing of them when you don’t need them anymore is sadly a fact of life. Except in this case, she also disposed of MG, one of the best tech writers of his generation. Good decision…Did the board think about how removing him would impact the growth of the company? Booo, pageviews…who needs those.

  11. If the reason for Pando’s decision to continue their journey beyond today without you, is only because of your involvement with Disrupt, then its such a defensive strategy (if we call it a strategy at all). In today’s world of open source collaboration I think Bloggers and that too resourceful ones like you, should/can work/write/contribute to competing blogs.

    One can’t judge Pando because of this move and on basis of incomplete information but certainly it has left a bad taste for many and impression of it being more of emotion driven and less of strategy driven blog! My visits to Pando are expected to be further reduced and now Pando needs to come up with few really really amazing posts to get users like me back!!!

  12. Yael says:

    Wow. Sarah’s post was dry and cold, and disabling comments is ridiculous – she would rip apart any other blog that did that!
    A huge part of Pandos credibility was the support it got from you and MG and other Techcrunchers, and its surprising its so quickly forgotten. I sure know how a few months can seem like years in a startup, but that part about thanking you for your support in “the early days of the company” made me laugh and is very
    revealing – the *are* the early days of Pando, and
    they’re making expected roockie mistakes….

  13. hicontrast says:

    As a Bay Area native (and fellow CMC alum who is appalled by an administration that picks on certain students and plays favorites with others- but that’s a whole other story) I’m so disappointed to see how unnecessarily political things have gotten here. The culture of web 2.0 has forgotten that the Valley thrives on both competition and collaboration. Now I hear my generation saying they want to move here to make their first million, not because they have a great idea they believe in. It seems like startups for startups sake is the new motto here, and Sand Hill has become the new Wall Street. If Facebook can hire a former Google exec to be its public face, why can’t Pando understand your Tech Crunch roots? It seems to me that spitefulness and jealousy have become more important than inovation and entrepreneurship. These people are appropriating and corroding what they think is the ethos of Silicon Valley- they believe in the Sorkin Social Network fabrication more than the Sun Microsystem’s success story.

  14. ji says:

    Too much drama.

  15. socialmedianewsau says:

    IMO – this seems like a rather poor management decision from Sarah and the board at Pando.

    The reason I am reading Pando is because you Mike funded and pushed it along. It’s your reputation that has helped this blog grow – not Sarah’s.

    There is no transparency going on here from Sarah and that is not fair to the loyal readers.

  16. Wow, surely Sarah and the board at Pando are better than this?

    Astonished by the decision and lack of transparency.

  17. Props for leaving the comment open, Pando failed their readers! One reader gone…

  18. Not Amused says:

    Sarah who?

  19. aKabweza says:

    Surprised Sarah disabled comments on that post!

  20. G says:

    Sarah really needs to get over the past issues she had with TechCrunch and focus on creating something interesting at PandoDaily. The world is big enough for both blogs to co-exist quite easily. Expecting Mike to have nothing more to do with TechCrunch is just pathetic. Also interesting is the fact she did not allow comments on the post where she announced this. Afraid of the backlash from her readership, perhaps?

    Sarah, I am sure you will be reading these comments: I like what you and your team are doing at PandoDaily, but this is a really disappointing move on your part. At least one of your regular readers thinks you can and should be better than this… whether you are remains to be seen, I guess.

  21. From an outsiders point of view I can understand why Sarah has done this. It appears as though you and the lemon can jump about as you wish from publication to publication but you have an invested interest in one of these. From a viewers perspective (without inside knowledge) you’re backing one horse while egging the other on. The other one which was viewed as having a rather nasty exit, but you’re happy to jump back into when it suits.

    Perhaps it’s just about removing themselves from any possible future issues before they get any bigger and end up in a bigger fight? It will be interesting to see what you hear back?

  22. Steve says:

    She may be a good reporter, but this is insane. PandoDaily needs Mike – heck, that’s the reason we started reading TechCrunch and (I’d wager) the only reason most of us know who Sarah Lacy is.

    Talk about letting a bit of investment go to your head, what a dumb move for a fledgling company to kick off a director who’s so intuned with web content.

  23. You and MG knew this would happen as soon as you decided to speak at Disrupt. What were you thinking that such a decision would have no obvious consequences?

    • “… you decided to speak at Disrupt …” — Mile has a CONTRACTUAL obligation to do so! READ the article!
      … useless. Chicks will always go to bat for the “sisterhood.” Facts and reality be damned…

  24. Jon Lerner says:

    PandoDaily has always had a pact with readers that we’ll be open and honest– particularly on the subject of our investors.

    Until we don’t find it in our interest.

  25. dnathe4th says:

    Bummer. And here I was thinking all the drama was through. Just another chapter i suppose. Best of luck to Sarah and the Pando crew, and to you and MG

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’ve never been able to take PandoDaily seriously.

    Glad you left comments here open, unlike PandoDaily where they were scared to address the feedback they were getting on that post.

    See:
    http://www.quora.com/PandoDaily/Why-did-PandoDaily-disable-comments-on-the-Arrington-removal-post

  27. I’m just a coder, but it seems to me that their attention should be focused on building an awesome site and gaining readers. Spending time with all this political nonsense seems to be unimportant, anti-productive and poisonous? I just don’t get why this is something they are spending ANY time on. Maybe the people who thought spending time on this was a good idea to spend time on are the ones that should be leaving?

  28. I doubt she even wrote the thing. Not even a shred of her in there. Actually it seems like by making it so dry she’s trying to make it clear that she’s fulminating about the decision.

    What a terrible, terrible decision for this young start-up. What’s wrong with the tech blog space? Everything always end up in such a mess.

  29. Big mistake from Pando.

    All that matters at a startup is gathering the best team and building something your customers want. You have to have a laser focus on that and nothing else.

    Getting distracted by competition and internal politics is probably the #1 cause of startup death, especially when those things result in weakening the team and worsening the product for customers.

    Competition is not what matters. Team cohesiveness and product is.

    When you get to a hundred people, those things start to creep in, but to get bogged down by this right out of the gate does not bode well for Pando.

  30. I didn’t realise Pando was still going. Hasn’t shown up in TechMeme for a while so I guessed it had dried up and blown away. How can it be the journal of record of the Silicon Valley with no real content?

  31. I had really high hopes for PandoDaily but Sarah is really going down the tubes lately. She really needs to get some thick skin and a personal blog where she can blow off steam when she feels the need to vent.

    Trolls are being mean to Paul Carr! And he’s a friend of mine so it matters! Randi Zuckerberg is making an unflattering show about the valley! Here’s my long, drawn out thoughts on the matter! Michael and MG are working with TechCrunch! Oh noooes!

    Kudos on your handling of the matter Michael, it sounds like you are a true friend and I hope she comes to her senses in this matter.

  32. diar says:

    Sarah (and/or her company) is being ridiculous. You can put restraints on your executives and employees but you can’t limit what your outside investors or contributors do. And ending a mutually beneficial relationship like this one over an appearance at one conference? Maybe Pando has some inside info we don’t have, but it seems short-sighted, emotional and dumb.

    And disabling comments? Punk move.

  33. It’s hard to keep track of this soap opera. First it was on the TechCrunch channel, then on The UnCrunched channel whilst some episodes were on the lemon channel, then came along the Panda channel and now it’s all over the shop – in the age of Social Media, couldn’t you help us by creating a site that has all of the episodes? It would be easier to follow this stuff – you couldn’t make it up. There’s happiness, tragedy, drama, sadness, loss, forgiveness, aggression, friendship, betrayal – wow – great stuff.
    Just one question – have you ever stood back from all of this and asked yourself – how did an incredibly talented entrepreneur get caught up in all this drivel? Seriously.

  34. The fact that Arrigngton can still speak at TechCrunch Disrupt has made him an even much bigger person to me (pardon the pun, I’m large too) and I respect him much more for that. Getting kicked out twice in a year for conflict issues will be good material for great memoirs and an autobiography.

  35. PatDDixon says:

    I was surprised by the ‘tone’ of Sarah’s post today. However, neither side is able to reveal full disclosure, this is private business and both are successful in their own right. Hope to see this move forward in an amicable and classy way. Props for not disabling comments. No guts, no glory baby!

  36. NickP says:

    Mike, this sucks. I know you still have your voice on your own blog, but it would be great to have you run your own news site again and not have to deal with stuff like this. All this best.

    • “… stuff like this …”
      There is ALWAYS stuff like this — plus, running a blog like TechCrunch [the real one, not the current crap] takes a lot of work, dealing with all kind of “divas,” male and female, aggravation, etc. — Mike already made his money and he has moved on: he is an investor…

  37. Michael says:

    Why do folks air this stuff in public? Until resolved, this is clearly a private issue with between the both of you. It’s very awkward seeing this stuff played out publicly. Just pick up the phone and sort it out.

  38. Olog-hai says:

    Mike, like you, my former boss used to be a practicing attorney. He went on to run a machine parts distribution firm. When something as small-picture as a telephone system service contract came in, he would make dozens of revisions and send it back for review. Why don’t you embrace your lawyerly side and work out ironclad agreements so that organizations like Fusion Garage, AOL, and Pando and people like Jason Calacanis don’t end up pubicly pushing you around?

  39. Jillian Randell says:

    Sarah needs to learn not to bite the hand that feeds her. The audacity of her is just amazing. She’d be nothing without Mike.

  40. freshmanfather says:

    dude, another fight?

  41. nemrut says:

    It seems you create a lot of drama wherever you go…

  42. Sara says:

    The irony here is that Sarah wrote a hit piece in regards to Randi Zuckerberg’s new reality show which depicts Silicon Valley as a grownup drama filled high school. From her post today it seems she herself should’ve been cast as a main character. Her immature display only makes me want to watch Randi’s show even more.

  43. Michael, we want you to write for us.

  44. Danny says:

    Ground Balls Win Games: comment all you want on this one
    http://legendarymoves.com/?p=301

  45. jamesrileyjr says:

    I think she disabled comments because there was an active discussion as to why she was posting something like that and considering whether there was something else going on behind the scenes that they couldn’t (wouldn’t?) talk about. (full disclosure: seven of the fifteen comments were from me)

    Of course, it could just be that she didn’t want to talk about it at all.

  46. they are both has-beens. easy prey.

  47. jackolito says:

    I can see Ariana smiling in one corner. It’s sad that Sarah made that decision.

  48. Larry says:

    Mike and MG need pando daily because after techcrunch they both are not really important aside from what there moms might think. I check out this site once a month and leave asking why I wasted my time.

  49. gregorylent says:

    the pettiness and me-too-ness of pando is sad

  50. I guess the reasons can be summarised as such:

    - We won’t support our competition
    - Making a public firing gets great buzz/page views (to compensate for the pageviews TechCrunch gets from Mike and the cute little rottweiler attending Disrupt)

  51. Arturo Perez says:

    Thank you for the post Mike, much to be admired in it. You are a good crew together and I thought that was the whole point of Pando, TC part-of-the-story included. Hope this is a hiccup indeed…

  52. It does seem strange to me anyway as a total outsider that Sarah would expect you to exclusively deal with Pando in these things. Funny how people react when they’re the boss isn’t it.

  53. Very classy, thoughtful note Michael.

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