Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Condé Nast to Portfolio.Com Blogger: Don’t Tell Anyone We Canned You!

One advantage of blogging for a big-time publication: You can turn your pink slip into a post.

That’s what Portfolio magazine’s Kevin Maney tried to do last Friday, when he announced that as part of the cutbacks at Condé Nast, he’d no longer be writing his Tech Observer blog.

It had a great lede: “If Tech Observer looks a little sparse from here on, that’s because it is dead.”

But by Monday, Maney’s post had disappeared. Is Maney going to be writing the blog, after all? No, I’m told, he’s not. But Condé’s just not that excited about telling people that, especially since it may try to keep a small crew of bloggers working on the magazine’s site even after it fires the majority of the staff.

Luckily, I still happened to have a browser window open with Kevin’s now-vanished goodbye post. Here’s the full text:

Oct 31 2008   7:50PM  EDT
The End of This Blog

Kevin Maney writes: If Tech Observer looks a little sparse from here on, that’s because it is dead.

Some of you may have already seen the news that almost all of’s staff is getting cut, and the site will be reformulated as something less costly and ambitious. As part of that, my contract to do this blog has been terminated.

I’ve enjoyed being here. To quote Douglas Adams: So long, and thanks for all the fish.

If you’re in the Bay Area, come see our band play on Dec. 2 at the charity event Silicon Valley Rocks. Or buy our CD, Privacy. Perhaps you can help me leave journalism to become a rock star. (You know, I’m looking for a profession with more job security…)

Next fall, keep an eye out for my book, to be published by Doubleday. At the moment it’s titled, The Fidelity Swap: Why Some Things Catch On, and Others Don’t.

And I’ll still be writing for Portfolio magazine … and hoping the economy gets fixed. Soon. Really soon.

Take care.


Unfortunately, it’s almost certain that we’re going to be seeing a lot more goodbye posts over the next few months. The silver lining is that sometimes people write really good stories as they’re being fired. Not sure I’d be up for writing one myself, but I sure do appreciate reading good stories.

Here’s the best one I can recall: Seth Mnookin’s report on the end of his job at Brill’s Content/, from way, way back in October 2001. I scoured the Web looking for this one but couldn’t find it, and ultimately asked Seth for help.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one; I think this story is now a bit legendary. And Seth turned out just fine–fancy jobs, big deal books–so this tale has a happy ending. Here’s hoping this era’s layoff stories turn out the same way.

[Image Credit: Shht!]