Hey ho, another day, another firing. And I think this one might actually be a new record – what’s it been? Five weeks?
Several people have emailed me asking what happened. Others have been supportive on Twitter. I wasn’t going to say anything, mainly because this latest firing barely registers on my fire-o-meter. And yet – annoyingly but tragically predictably – I’m hearing whispers of weirdness from ’sources close’, so I figure I might as well write something. If only so I never have to talk about it again.
This morning I received from (weirdly) the boss of my editor at The Telegraph. I quote…
“I’ve been looking at the latest traffic figures for your blog and also our budget and how we’re spending it. And I’m afraid I’ve reached the conclusion that your time blogging with us should come to an end… Our limited budget just cannot sustain these sums without a bigger bang for our buck.”
I short, I wasn’t driving enough pageviews to justify what they were paying me.
But here’s the thing. When they first approached me to blog, I wasn’t convinced about writing for the Telegraph. My politics are wrong for a start – I’m a Guardianista through and through – and then there was the fact that I have a book to write and TechCrunch had made me a compelling offer to columnise for them weekly. I didn’t really need another gig .
But they told me what I wanted to hear, so I said yes. It was extra pocket money, and I’d have another platform to egotise from.
A few weeks later, according to the internal numbers they sent me, I was the most highly trafficked of the Telegraph’s tech bloggers. And yet, the numbers still weren’t great. Even worse, the open letter to Sam Sethi, which I posted on my personal blog after the Telegraph refused to publish it, has to date received over seven – count ‘em – times more page views than the total of everything I posted on the Telegraph. Seriously.
No wonder they thought I wasn’t giving enough bang for their buck – the traffic to a single page on my personal blog dwarfs what I was giving the Telegraph. And my columns at TechCrunch attract a zillion times that.
That open letter to Sam and my TechCrunch columns are the stuff I write, full of swearing and legally risky opinions and all that good stuff. Stuff that I simply couldn’t write at the Telegraph. No wonder my traffic was shit.
And it’s for that reason that I’m not pissed off at the Telegraph for suddenly firing me. Not really. Rather, I’m pissed off at myself. By joining the Telegraph, I disregarded my own politics and principles for a bit of extra cash – and to keep the gig I agreed to creatively castrate myself at every fucking turn. I should have turned town the gig, or quit after I was suspended for two hours for tweeting a holocaust joke, but I didn’t. Instead I phoned in mealy-mouthed, uncontroversial bullshit because I didn’t care enough – about the publication, or the racist commenters who read my words – to fight.
I would have gone to the mat for the Guardian, and I would do the same for TechCrunch because I’m confident my editors there – Charles and Stuart at the former and Mike at the latter – would do the same for me, if it came to it. They would give me lawyers when I needed them, they would never suspend me without warning, they would pay me on time and – if and when they needed to lay me off, as the Guardian did, they’d do it with class.
My editor at the Telegraph couldn’t even bring himself to fire me himself.
So, yes, I’m pissed at myself.
I behaved like a whore, and I got dumped like one.
I’m writing this post as a reminder.
It will never happen again.