Bustle.com Founder Bryan Goldberg’s Unsatisfying Apology, Annotated

Pursuant to the hail of criticism that rained down from, among other places, this site yesterday, Bryan Goldberg, founder of Bustle, has issued an apology for his dunderheaded original post. “I have thick skin, and this was incredibly painful,” he confessed. But: “It helps when people care enough to really go into depth. I’d rather that they be harsh, if it means that they are also thorough.”

Message of contrition received, but let’s be, as he says, thorough. Goldberg promptly starts to trip over his own feet again in his first effort at acknowledging one of the underlying issues pointed out by Rachel Sklar: venture capitalists don’t fund women’s efforts:

Especially given how difficult it is for people (and women especially) to raise capital to bring their ideas to life. [Ed: FYI, Sklar’s point really was just about “women.” Or really, anyone not exemplifying the same demographic characteristics as one Bryan Goldberg.] I put an immense amount of time into getting Bustle off the ground. [Ed: Odd to strike a note of self-congratulation here, no?] I owed it to myself, my team, and all entrepreneurs to treat the moment with full seriousness. [Ed: I dunno about the “all entrepreneurs” bit.]

Then, Goldberg offers this as the mission statement for the future of Bustle. I’ve annotated it with a few questions and comments.

What will that space look like? It won’t just be about our content mix. [Ed: Please clarify the relationship of “content mix” to “intelligent journalism” and “good writing.” Or is it more a lady diet food, like Chex Mix?] There are a lot of sites with an interesting content mix. [Ed: CUT for vagueness.] Our mission is about voices — trying to find great voices who have yet to achieve mainstream recognition. [Ed: This “mission” is more or less a description of the task of “being an editor” at every publication everywhere.] After we find these talented writers, [Ed: Eeek, what about current writers, who have already been “found”?] we will work closely with them, pay them [Ed: The whopping sum of $100/day], and encourage them to write what they want to write [Ed: OK.]. And if more famous/esteemed publications offer our writers greater compensation and hire them away from us… then great — mission accomplished for both parties. [Ed: Just so we’re clear, this is code for, “we are mostly paying them with exposure to ‘more famous/esteemed publications'” — which isn’t really the same thing as motivating them to build Bustle itself into a great site.”]

Then, towards the end, though he’s really in no position to be giving advice on how to proceed with a project like this, Goldberg muses on life, the universe, and women in the workplace.

Most women are completely open to the idea of a man starting a company aimed at women, and hiring a large team of women. [Ed: I think we can upgrade that to all women are in favor of hiring a large team of women. Just ask some women, I’m pretty sure they’ll thumbs-up hiring women!] But for men who do so, it is not enough that we build strong relationships with our female colleagues — something that I have tried to do at Bustle. [Ed: Seriously, this sentence sounds like it was written by an alien. “Strong relationships” in the workplace are not nearly as important as competence.] We owe it to the public at large to approach the situation with great attentiveness. [Ed: Or just common sense and actual knowledge of your market.]

But at least he got it right at the end:

My blog post came nowhere near achieving that.

And now here’s another one to follow it.