Monday, April 28, 2008

Jeff Dachis re-emerges as Mr. Web 2.0

Like a bad penny, you know Jeff Dachis is always going to turn up somewhere, so, you may have read, that the former Razorfish chief has secured as much as $50 million (or as his press release put it, $50 Million), to start a social networking consultancy. In fairness to Jeff, he did have a good idea or two back in the day, but I'm a little unclear as to what qualifies him to run a big Web 2.0 company. There are similarities between the old Web and this new one, but to an extent it's a different sensibility, and there's no evidence that those who succeeded at the former will succeed at the latter. Of course, the one post I saw about Dachis' venture (on Gawker, natch), makes much of Razorfish's descent into a dot-bomb, but in that, the company was hardly alone. Still, if you have a strong acquaintance with the facts, you have to marvel at some of the detail in the press release. Not that what's said there isn't true exactly, but on the other hand ... For instance, there's this roundabout reference to Avenue A/Razorfish's acquisition by Microsoft: "Continuing its growth, although Dachis left the company in 2001, Avenue A | Razorfish now part of aQuantive, was recently sold to Microsoft for $6 Billion in May 2007." True enough, but how much of that price tag was attributable to Razorfish? Not much, I'd venture—no funding pun intended! It was mostly about Atlas. And then there's the references to where he's been quoted, including CBS' 60 Minutes, which neglects to mention that the interview with Dachis was one of the most infamous of the dot-com era. But, hell, maybe I'm just pissed off. I talk a good game too, and I don't get paid nothin' for this stinkin' blog.

4 comments:

jdachis said...

Cathy,

Like a tarnished penny, you do seem pissed off and I'm not sure why.

Im starting another company. Not a Web 2.0 company, just another company solving problems for businesses.

I welcome your informed and incisive comments on my qualifications to run companies and will be happy to engage you in the discussion of the facts if yould like.

Razorfish consistently had operating profits, free cash flow, and growing Ebitda for over 20 straight quarters, and grew its revenue 54,000 % over that time period.

Even after the Internet meltdown began in early 2000, Razorfish continued to post its 2 best quarters in its history.

Once the slowdown began, it began for everyone, and Razorfish was no exception, but that could hardly be attributed to any of the 2200 talented worldwide employees, nor to myself. That slowdown was not only reflected in the stock price of Razorfish, but in the stock price of EVERY technology company on the Nasdaq and the public service companies in particular.

For shareholders and employees, we did our best to create every opportunity we could to enable them to achieve a path to liquidity at a valuation that reflected the nature of the growth we were delivering. Those that took the opportunity were handsomely rewarded.

I can't take responsibility or credit for what the company did after I left or where it is today, including its sale, but the worlds leading interactive services firm has the name Razorfish in it.

While we most definitely made some mistakes, had to do lay offs, got sued (successfully defended and had the cases dismissed), and learned some lessons, by far and away the majority of the people who worked for and with Razorfish were, by and large, affected in a positive way and many would say it was one of the best work experiences of their lives. Today, many of the Razorfish from that time are still at the company. Many others have gone on to do other amazing things.

Feel free to criticize me or the company all you want, but its been almost 8 years and here we are talking about it. So, given the chance, I thought I would take this opportunity to contextualize or re-contextualize your comments.

Anonymous said...

Jeff,

Face it you left behind a legacy of being an arrogant bastard woh ran his company into the ground while refusing to listen to others with more experience.

I grew up across the street form you on 28th street (rememgber camille carlson - shat a looker) and it is common knowledge that your brother Gary made his money dealing Ccaine with Merle Shapiro (Brad and Chad's fatehr), and the two of them used their connections with Lyle Berman (one of their blow customers and former owner of Berman Buckskin leather goods) to get into the Casino service business.

You're just lucky to have been in the right place at the right time for the web 1.0 craze. I'm betting your new business in Austin goes belly up in two years or less.

Guess you and your VC backer have not learned anything from your previous disaster. Just doon't go on 60 minutes again.

jdachis said...

@anonymous

I'm glad I recently came across your comment.

What it points to is a great example of the democratization of the media and publishing business that digital technology, and now social technology has created.

Everybody has a voice.

Cathy Taylor can post her opinion on how she feels about me and my new venture.

As a highly respected and well known journalist, Cathy has a responsibility to act with integrity, and to encourage an honest, truthful, open discussion.

Fortunately, I have the ability to respond in kind.

As the subject of Cathy's post, I have the ability to set the record straight and participate with other reader's comments.

The lesson here is that with freedom and democracy comes responsibility.

@anonymous, Your voice is weak. You failed at your responsibility to participate in a meaningful way. Despite the fact that Cathy opened the door by posting an odd bitter personal critique, your comment is devoid of any substance, truth or meaning other than a irrelevant personal attack on me and my brother/family rooted in mean spiritedness and insecurity.

Even when democracy is at its best, its easy for people like you to cowardly hide behind an anonymous (poorly spelled) comment and hurl insults and untruths.

Anonymous said...

doushay monsieur dachis!

your wit is scintillating, your business acumen, not so much.