New graduates of the Dotcom School of Smugness

I read the most irritating quote from the founders of, when I worked as a technology journalist six or so years ago.

Dotcom failures Ernst
Malmsten and Kajsa Leander
described flying on Concorde as: "incredibly cramped". Apparently, nothing
could beat: "the pampered-luxury of a LearJet 45".

Six years on we have some new graduates of the Dotcom School of Smugness – Mena and Ben Trott, the founder’s of SixApart. SixApart is behind blogging services MoveableType, LiveJournal, TypePad and Vox.

The Trott’s, or should that be the Trotters, committed the ultimate PR gaff in an interview with the Sunday Times by bragging about their new-found "Silicon Valley celebrity lifestyle" and the "100,000 air miles" they racked up in global travel last year. 

The couple, with their Colgate smiles, are pictured beneath a caption reading "Blogging All The Way To The Bank". I

"Far from being a dollar short, she [Mena Trott, age 30] and her husband can now
tantalise one another by discussing the telephone-number valuations
that are being attached to their business".


Mena Trott: "We talk about this a lot…if you don’t sell for $1bn, when do you sell. I joke. I’ll take half that. It’s still an obscene amount of money…would we sell for $1bn? Yes. Probably."

OK, let’s get a few things straight. All entrepreneurs want to sell-up as soon as possible – ideally for a lot of dosh. Nothing wrong with that. But your blogging customers don’t want to read you bragging about it,  particularly over their cornflakes on a cold, January, Sunday morning. Frankly, that’s…."obscene".   

OK, Mena, so you’re young, attractive and getting close to being able to send your kids to Eton. Perhaps you’ve considered buying your own personal LearJet 45? After all, why slum it in Premier Class on Virgin?

Fine. You’ve got a bit of cash stashed in the piggy bank. But let’s not be flash about it! You’ve made a bit of dosh out of "social networking", but soon you’ll be a social outcast.

TypePad users are very loyal and don’t want to see "their blog" sold to Rupert Murdoch. Most of your customers, i.e. your bloggers, blog for the love of it.   

I joke . A few serious points:

  • TypePad is good for those people who don’t have time or the skill to code. But rival services such as WordPress are slowly becoming easier to use.
  • The world has changed since WordPress is offering a hosted solution AND IT’S FREE – just go to It used to be a bugger to set up, so people went to TypePad – but that’s all changing. For what you get, TypePad is looking increasingly expensive.
  • TypePad is not very "Web 2.0" when compared with WordPress. WordPress has lots of lovely hacks and it’s very customisable.
  • WordPress is getting aggressive. It’s made it so simple to transfer a site from Blogger, TypePad or any other rival service.
  • Techcrunch use WordPress, as do a lot of the big online media companies. OK, so Sky News, Times Online and The Daily Mail may still use TypePad in the UK – but that could change soon.
  • I’ll be teaching WordPress to my students next year.

Don’t get me wrong, I like TypePad and the founders make a cute couple.But they’ll have to start to innovate beyond their "widgets" pretty soon. (OK, so we love the widgets!).

Finally, don’t assume that the "ten of thousands of customers" (as quoted in The Sunday Times), who pay increasingly expensive-looking subscription rates, will remain forever loyal.


The Blogging Journalist – more discussion of SixApart

Business Communication Resources for Students – Mena Trott harnesses the power of Blogs

Blog Is A Verb – Mena Trott discusses the importance of Blogs.

Blog-o-desi – Discussion of Vox, a new MySpace-with-privacy service from SixApart

2 Responses to New graduates of the Dotcom School of Smugness

  1. Kim January 16, 2007 at 1:03 pm #

    I used Moveable Type back in the day when it was free because I liked having the control over my content. It’s still installed on my old site. But Moveable Type seems so outdated when you’ve got ‘instant’ flexible publishing tools like WordPress. MT seems so clunky now! Even Blogger’s had a makeover.
    As Gloria Estefan didn’t say to arrogant smug dotcommers, the blogs are gonna get you!

  2. Insider February 20, 2007 at 9:40 am #

    the new is on its way – the countdown has started, see the new holding page for more info –