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Revisionist History at IDG

By - March 29, 2007

I have a lot of respect for Pat McGovern, he backed me when I was young (at the Industry Standard ) and he let me make mistakes, but we butted heads more than we agreed, and unfortunately, we could not see our way to making that business work.

I had pretty much left it at that till I read this interview on MediaShift. Asked why the Standard died, McGovern claims that management (er, that’d be me) refused to sell and blindly pursued an IPO. For the record, he has this entirely backwards. I tried for all of 2000 to get Mr. McGovern to let us sell the company to a stronger buyer, one who believed in our vision of the Internet Economy. He refused, and pushed us to go public instead. It was this very conflict that led to our differences and, partially, to our demise. I had three very real offers on the table that I took to McGovern, and three times he refused them, telling me that instead, we’d make more taking the company public or, at the very least, telling the potential buyer to double the price. Given that the price was between $250mm and $750mm, such a response was, to my mind, non sensical. But he owned the majority of the shares, and his word was what mattered.

McGovern taught me a lot, and I’d wager he may have learned a thing or two from me as well. But while not many things get me upset, this attempt at revisionist history requires it’s own revision. Now, onwards….


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3 thoughts on “Revisionist History at IDG

  1. Erik says:

    John,

    Pat and I did hula dance together in 1995 at the IDG Books anniversary party. We were both wearing grass skirts and coconut brassieres. (Really.) The point is, those were pretty silly days, and I think each of us has memories we’d rather forget – or at least revise.

  2. denise says:

    Hmph (to Erik’s comment).

    1. If you want to revise history, make sure it’s just your history you’re revising.
    2. You can call it anything you want, but it’s still lying.

  3. www.misanthropytoday.com says:

    Yeah the worst is when people do that, or when they steal your ideas verbatim and start to think they actually came up with it after awhile.