MG Siegler: Success and Fame Breed Stupidity

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A couple of years ago, Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis did something stupid when he unleashed a public tirade against an employee who’d had the nerve to stop working for him. It seems as though Calacanis learned from his mistake; he’s probably still not the easiest dude to get along with, but there haven’t been any more profanity-laced public tirades.

Not so for MG Siegler.

Siegler, formerly a writer at TechCrunch and now a venture capitalist working with for Michael Arrington, has said stupid things in public before. My favorite example of arrogance from this young guy who’s become successful through luck more than talent was when Siegler told the world that TechCrunch couldn’t survive without Mr. Arrington. As you might recall, Arrington had founded TechCrunch and sold it to AOL, and was later fired when AOL realized that the profession and practice of journalism require that certain ethics be followed.

MG Siegler outdid himself last week, when he started sniping about content policies at Google+. I’ll say for the record that I agree with Siegler’s position; Google is going to create some pretty big problems for itself if it doesn’t take a look at how it polices content. But my point today is about communication by real people, not huge multinational companies.

I’ve ranted about this before, and I harbor no illusions about whether the MG Sieglers of the world are paying me any heed. I’ve gone so far as to say that Google CEO Larry Page has social issues. It seems to be about youth; young people aren’t learning much about etiquette and basic manners; it accounts for atrocious behavior like texting at the dinner table, or even texting during sex. In this way, I’ll stand by something I’ve said many times: young people just aren’t as smart as older people.

Experience counts. Calacanis showed it. MG Siegler is showing the opposite. Despite his good fortune, and having made a good point, Siegler’s childish-sounding rant and subsequent “follow up” say nothing other than “I think I’m important”.

Siegler, while not important, is famous; Michael Arrington’s seen to it and to Siegler becoming rich as a reward for being an obedient puppy. Siegler is also a great example of genuine business change taking place all around us. Despite that, Siegler has no responsibility to anyone but himself.

And that’s the point.

Even if MG Siegler can use his rather large, rather well-networked pulpit to help bring about the kind of change Google needs to make regarding its content policies, it’s time for young Mr. Siegler to put on his big boy pants and stop doing stupid things like swearing in public just because he thinks he’s clever. It just isn’t necessary. It’s OK for Ron White to swear, because that’s his shtick. I’m not a censorship advocate; as Howard Stern‘s said for years, if you don’t like what I’m saying, change the channel.

But doing business requires that you understand the big picture, and MG Siegler the newly-minted junior venture capitalist is still behaving like MG Siegler the brash young writer at a gadfly blog.

Time for some business change, MG.

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  2. Today's Subject: Arrogant Felonious Conduct. And Gizmodo. - [...] maybe this is what journalism has come to. Track backward from this article to read about MG Siegler, Mike Arrington, AOL, …

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