May 01, 2009

Forgive, But Remember - It Never Pays To Hold a Grudge

The saying is to "forgive and forget", but people aren't built that way. Once you feel you have been wronged, whether in a critical manner or one that is relatively trivial, it is practically impossible to erase the memory. But that doesn't mean you need to hold on to it - because for the most part, time does heal wounds, and the truth is, you never know the full story from the other person's perspective. Often, there will come a time when you will cross paths with that person again, and the next time, it just might be different.

Last month, I was asked by a well-known blogger if two of the public flare-ups we had on this site (with Mashable and Duncan Riley) had been for show, ostensibly for short-term traffic. I said that they were not contrived, but that we had come to terms quickly. Since the flare-ups, Mashable altered their editorial focuses, I've gotten to know some of the authors better, and others have moved on. Meanwhile, Duncan is a sharp guy who I often see on social networks, and bounce e-mails off of when we have ideas.

I was thinking of this again when I learned the news of Valleywag's changing of the guard today. As Owen Thomas departs, the void is set to be filled by Ryan Tate, previously the night editor at Gawker.

Eighteen months ago, I highlighted Ryan's launching of a new blog, called "The Hack", and at the time, I mentioned we had "occasionally clashed politically" more than a decade ago when we were both staff members at the Daily Californian student newspaper at UC Berkeley. He and I started working together back in 1996, both on the news authoring side, and the online publishing side. By the 1997-98 year, he was Editor In Chief at the newspaper, and by the 1998-99 year, I had moved on to work in the Silicon Valley (where I've been since).

Ryan and I had a lot of positive overlaps, as we collaborated on breaking news stories, longer investigate pieces, special sections and the online site's layout and focus. But of course, we bumped heads too. At the time, our clashes seemed critical, and now, they seem trivial. We both let those wounds heal and fade into the history, which is exactly what it was. And now, I am excited to see Ryan promoted to his new post, seeing it as another peer who emerged intact from the crucible which was the daily paper, where journalists and future bloggers were forged. One of these days, I should chase down all the names who were there when he and I shared spots on the editorial board, but they dot some of the top news media sources in the world.

I could have stayed ticked at Ryan, and he me. I could have turned my back on Duncan and Mashable too, but that's not fun, and it's not healthy. It's a small industry, and we're all working toward shared goals - to find interesting news quickly, and post with quality. Now, when the tendency is to get ticked, take things personally and go off on some rant, I know to hold my breath and pause. It's less exciting, and it doesn't get tons of traffic, but you won't see rants here, and I'm not carrying a grudge. You never know when you'll need these people again.

Congratulations, Ryan. I wish you well at your new post. But remember, if you come after me, I have 14 years of e-mail backed up. :)