Girlboss Meltdown

If even cruelty doesn’t work, what hope is there for capitalism?

The only Tab that really matters today is Anna Silman’s schadentastic Insider story about the collapse of the first iteration of Great Jones, a direct to consumer cookware company that’s not quite Le Creuset but was un creuset to work for under the leadership of co-girlbosses Maddy Moelis and Sierra Tishgart. Unable to reconcile the Westchester vs. West Village diversity in their leadership styles, Tishgart forced Moelis out and weathered a poorly-disguised takeover attempt from Moelis’s “multimillionaire real-estate mogul” father and a subsequent full-staff-quit, and the company claims to be “doing better than ever” now. The story has everything a business drama enthusiast could ask for, including:

✅ Funding from all the girlboss meltdown legends, like “Away founders Jen Rubio and Steph Korey, Wing founder Audrey Gelman, and Sqirl's Jessica Koslow.” Don’t miss Inc.’s 2019 conference panel, “Jen Rubio and Sierra Tishgart Share Their Best Advice for Pitching Investors and Mentors.”

✅ A glowing mention in Dan Frommer’s cursed newsletter, which would go on to achieve even greater anonymity as the “obscure newsletter” where Alison Roman fatally wounded her own career and laid the minefield that would eventually blow up several more.

✅ This anecdote, in which at least someone finally gets roasted:

For some staffers, a Domino magazine article in 2019 was a tipping point. In the spread, which featured a large photo of Tishgart in a silk robe dress, their boss described her tips for entertaining at home and shared her favorite roast-chicken recipe with readers — a recipe an employee had sent her earlier in the day. The employee said, "I wasn't going to ask for credit for a chicken recipe, but, like, I don't think she's ever roasted a chicken before."

✅ Even worse management anecdotes, like the artisanal almond butter story and the Mother’s Day cookbook story.

✅ The line: “Numerous venture capitalists Insider spoke with for this story said that employees today are too idealistic and critical…”

✅ The two co-founders passive-aggressively reënacting “rabbit season / duck season” with each others’ salaries:

In August, Tishgart proposed they reduce their cofounder salaries from $100,000 to zero. Moelis disagreed. What resulted, according to people on both sides and emails seen by Insider, was a tug-of-war in which the two women took turns entering the company's HR system to change their salaries.

Knives out from past co-workers, who have long memories of Tishgart’s time at NY Mag.

…and much, much more. Yes it’s paywalled, but as Silman points out, you can get behind the wall for just $1, and I feel I received more than a dollar’s worth of value for this tale. Alternately, you can wait a little while for the next time the poisonous venture capital financing system makes a perfectly straightforward retail business into an insane knife fight between wealthy narcissists. It won’t be long.

While I was gawking at all that chaos, Intern Linda Yu was thinking about rats and robots.

I'm probably preaching to the choir here when I say rubbernecking overly pedantic internet fights is fun. Some of the best ones are Wikipedia edit wars, and I've been checking in on the talk page for brown_rat_distribution.png for several years now. The debate is about whether the Canadian province of Alberta should be included in the chart or not, due to the region's 70-year-long battle to entirely eradicate rats.

As of today, the map has been reverted to one that includes Alberta, but ecologically speaking, the editors excluding it are correct. While stray rats have been found in the province, there aren't adult breeding populations and the local government comes down hard when they see any nests. It’s possible that both sides being sort of right is what makes the argument so contentious:

Give me a source. If you’re willing to say a population density In the double digits for a 650,000 Km² area qualifies as inhabited, can the next map include the oceans too? There are more rats living on boats than there are in Alberta.

Alberta even has a rat-sighting email hotline and recently there were worries because sightings had doubled, but it was just people mistaking muskrats for brown rats. Here's Josh Dzieza reporting in longform from the frontlines of the larger War on Rats.

Human editor fights are one thing, but did you know there's also a secret bot war on Wikipedia? In a 2017 study, Milena Tsvetkova, Ruth García-Gavilanes, Luciano Floridi, Taha Yasseri tracked the interactions between Wikipedia bots and found they would engage in sterile edit wars amongst themselves. (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0171774) Read the whole thing for some great bot-war details—apparently "some of the articles most contested by bots are about Pervez Musharraf (former president of Pakistan), Uzbekistan, Estonia, Belarus, Arabic language, Niels Bohr, [and] Arnold Schwarzenegger." 

For a human-bot hybrid war, see: sneaker bots. As a friend once said to me while setting up an eBay sniping bot: “why are the future robot wars so stupid?” —by Linda Yu


But forget the robot wars of the future, because the pellet ice wars of the present are heating up. Jaya Saxena launched a counterattack in Eater today: “Am I so out of touch? No, it is the pellet ice fanatics who must be wrong,” catching the Rosneristas off guard. Dispatches smuggled from the front report Sonic shock troops massing ominously and cube partisans melting into the woods to regroup.

NSFW in NSW: Also caught off guard were two nude men sunbathing in Australia, by a deer. While reading that Guardian story I was caught off guard by this incredible signing:

Pop star Halsey is apparently also a prestige film now. Edith Zimmerman used the power of AI to discover more surprising cropped details in famous artworks. ABC News reporter Jon Karl and corrupt Howard Cunningham Bill Barr teamed up in The Atlantic to launder Barr’s reputation and sell Karl’s book. “Etsy come to Brazil!” Binance has been banned in Britain, so good luck using crypto to buy your haunted Scottish village. “Scarcitymoved. Weirdly, stripping the unemployed of federal benefits hasn’t convinced anyone in MO to take a terrible job for bad pay. If even cruelty doesn’t work, what hope is there for capitalism? And in Inverse, Graeme McMillan covered Our Unfortunate Platform’s efforts to expand into comics. Glenn Greenwald and Jesse Singal angrily tweeted at comic artist Cully Hamner, who had nothing to do with the story, because they are idiots who won’t even click a link before jumping to performative outrage.

Today’s Song: Everclear, “AM Radio”

~ What if everything in the world were a misunderstanding, what if laughter were really tabs? ~