The legal follies associated with bankrupt gossip tabloid Gawker expand.
Added to the theatre surrounding "Hogan v Gawker" is a new show. It's lawyer Charles Harder's letter to Gawker to remove an article about Donald Trump's hair.
In it Harder's clients Ivari International and Edward Ivari are allegedly presented in a false and defamatory way. Here is the coverage in The New York Times.
In this act is now high-profile Gawker general counsel and president, Heather Dietrick. She responded that the request was too broad. She contends Ivari plays a small part in the article.
Dietrick has been featured in the media lately as an atypical general counsel. That's because of both her spokesman-like role in the company and that she also serves as the president. Some question that dual role as eroding client-attorney privilege.
Meanwhile there is a question if venture capitalist Peter Thiel has been directing this latest scene. He is supporting Trump.
The organizational culture at Zenefits was found to be short on ethics. Buzzfeed outed how 80% of health policy sales in the state of Washington were made by unlicensed agents.
After that was discovered, the startup got a new head - David Sacks. He announced that he is firing 106, offering buyouts to others, and closing the Arizona sales office. Here are the details in Recode.
The question, of course, is can this high flyer even lift off again. Time will tell.
Meanwhile that other high flyer Theranos looks like it may never have the resources to regroup. Walgreens, its primary source of revenue, dumped it. The regulatory agency didn't accept its proposal for correction of problems. And the feds and SEC are investigating it.
What Theranos has going for it is that on its board and "guiding" founder Elizabeth Holmes is superlawyer David Boies. He got hedge fund player Steve Cohen off the hook with the SEC. Time will also tell is Theranos can find a way back.
"The broad theme that seems to run through the feelings of many Americans right now is loss of control - inability to control their economic fate, inability to control the level of fairness in society, inability to control the country's borders, inability to control world affairs." - Gerald F. Seib, The Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2016. Here is the article.
Obviously, one powerful marketing message is: We help you regain/increase control.
For example, some would-be travelers to the Middle East may be discouraged from looking into a possible trip because they view themselves having less control these days. That applies to every aspect of the trip, from flying to security when there. Nations which want to boost tourism have to embed control into their branding. Tourism is currently a brand business.
The realtor who wants to sell me a house in Tucson, Arizona, should pitch how much more control I will have over my budget and lifestyle. Rents keep going up. In this state property managers don't have to renew your lease. And, I can be the pet parent of more than one or two four-footers.
Community colleges can brand themselves as the educational and training institutions which give you control over your career. Your industry implodes? Regroup with a certificate in X or Y. Technology galloping ahead of you. Take these three courses.
It was by taking control of the sales call that I set my communications boutique on an upward trajectory. The prospect needs to know someone is in control.
Media reports portrayed a nation caught up in mourning about the massacre at the Pulse nightclub. But real life was quite different. Actually it was more Mayberry R.F.D.
Many I spoke with in person here in the Southwest, on the phone, through social networks, and via email were caught up in their little lives.
Some had not heard about the tragedy.
Others have adopted the habit of filtering out situations elsewhere which don't concern them. As children, for example, they were made to pray in Catholic school for the conversion of Russia. And then they got to thinking that maybe the Russian people didn't want to be converted to Catholicism.
And then there were those who have their own sadness. One woman was struggling in and out of denial with her husband's dementia. Friends like myself have stopped alluding to it. We don't know where she is in participating in her spouse's unreality.
Me? My life was on an upswing. Finally after 25.5 months in the Southwest I had a social circle. My communications boutique was too busy, making me feel downright overwhelmed. And rescue dog LOV no longer was aggressive. Kisses and repeating the mantra, "Mommy loves you so much" had freed him from his own horrific past.
Can we get by in our little lives and in being able to make a living without paying attention to and reacting to the news? Well, that seems okay in Mayberry R.F.D.
Yes, influential Vanity Fair has covered the tragedy of the Florida Massacre. That's breaking news and its writer Benjamin Landy jumped right in. Here is his take.
Vanity Fair, obviously, is doing whatever it takes to remain relevant in this fast-changing media market.
Its monthly glossy still sticks with the elite. The Summer issue covers, in depth, Queen Elizabeth and her dogs, as well as fallen finance start Andrew Caspersen (pedigree includes Groton, Princeton, Harvard Law.)
But, as New York Times Inc. has learned, the top tier of readers is not enough to stay in business.
Although I will never make it to Crusty Circles, except as their ghostwriter, I enjoy reading about their antics. So, I feel great joy that the leadership at Vanity Fair is smart about survival.
In Bloomberg, Eric Newcomer takes stock of where Nick Denton stands after the bankruptcy of Gawker.
Sure, Newcomer agrees, the brand is diminished. For now.
But if Gawker wins its appeal of "Hogan v. Gawker," Denton could be in the position to become the thought leader everyone wants to hear about free speech. Money could be thrown at him to put together a foundation to protect journalists. And he could become an establishment player.
He could also purchase whatever his baby Gawker had turned into.
And he could become a symbol of the David who survived the Goliath. Peter Thiel could wind up looking like the bad guy.
Meanwhile many of us wonder what is the future of the snark that was Gawker's signature style? Abovethelaw eliminated its comment section. That was heavy with snark, much of it mean-spirited.
On my three syndicated blogs (the other two here and here) I cut out the snark about three years ago. It no longer attracted new business. And, for me, that is my primary reason for investing so much time in blogging.
The selling device in blogging is currently the How-To. Provide the 7 Tips how a restaurant can fill all the seats every night using Facebook. And, the 9 Must-Dos on leveraging the personal to pitch professional services. Public affairs firm kglobal is a master of the latter. On Facebook and Twitter, partner Gene Grabowski keeps fusing the two: the human touch and business.
Incidentally, it was three years ago, Jack O'Dwyer, founder of Odwyerpr.com, clued us in on that hunger for information/insight applied to real professional problems. Clever wasn't cutting it any more.
If Ziff-Davis buys Gawker the company, the high-profile content/commenting gossip site Gawker could disappear.
That's not where the real money is. In fact, had Gawker founder Nick Denton and his merry band of mischief makers invested less attention in Gawker and more in ecommerce, they might have prevented "Hogan v. Gawker" and been billionaires today. Instead the company is bankrupt and Denton has put his Soho apartment up for rent for $15K a month.
As John Herrman points out in The New York Times, the company's value is in its potential for ecommerce. For instance, with all the data gathered from Lifehacker and Kotaku, it would be easy to pitch products and services to highly targeted segments.
On those sites there could be enough content to keep attracting visitors. But those visitors would continually receive marketing messages. And Ziff-Davis could be generating big profits.
Theranos is not dead. And may never die, since superlawyer David Boies is on its board and "advising" its founder Elizabeth Holmes.
Yet, a film is planned about the rise and fall of Holmes. AsFortunereports it will be done by Gary Sanchez Production. Depicting Holmes will be actress Jennifer Lawrence.
It will be fascinating how the film characterizes Holmes. Was she a master manipulator? A plain-vanilla crook? Or crazy?
Since last October, when The Wall Street Journal outed Theranos' problems, some of us are simply puzzled by Holmes. Even before starting Theranos, she had so many going for her. Then, it seems to all be going down the drain.
Another thing we are wondering: Will Boies figure into the script?
Nick Denton, founder of Gawker, has been a busy guy. Today, his baby filed for bankruptcy.
And also, as BusinessInsider reports, he is considering suing Peter Thiel. As the world knows Thiel is the tech billionaire who ponied up $10 million to finance the litigation "Hogan v. Gawker." The jury award of $140 million, which a judge later refused to reduce, put Gawker in big financial straits.
What could the Gawker lawsuit of Thiel be about? Well, BusinessInsider says it could contend tortious interference, racketeering or other whatevers lawyers can dream up and try to make stick.
As pushback, Thiel could countersue. All those legal bills are exactly what Denton can't afford. In addition, Thiel could outlawyer the kind of legal expertise Denton could hire.
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