BILLIONAIRE corporate raider Carl Icahn launched his long-anticipated blog yesterday, eliciting some rather bemused reactions from some of the blogosphere’s leading writers.
By starting The Icahn Report yesterday, the world’s 46th richest man with a net worth of US$14 billion joins the ranks of guys who work long hours for ad clicks, and who get excited and post pictures on the web when they get a new coffee table and rug.
Icahn, 72, first announced he would launch a blog back in January, but for weeks his website remained no more than a placeholder with a message saying “Blog Coming Soon.” That prompted the tabloid New York Post to start a “Carl I Can’t Blog Counter” on the business section of its website. The clock stopped yesterday after 138 days.
Rather than reviewing the blog myself (which I haven’t read in any depth), I thought I’d let a collection of other bloggers do that for you. I’ve rounded up some of the reactions from well-known tech bloggers below (note the best one’s at the end):
The blog, which provides “media, gossip and pop culture round the clock,” proclaims:
“A rich guy talking directly to you—so exciting!”
Tech Trader Daily
Eric Savitz, a writer with Barron’s, says:
“Investor Carl Icahn’s blog – the Icahn Report – is now live. There are now 7 posts on the site, one from today, and the rest dated over the last week. (Maybe he’s been practicing, or something.)”
Private Equity Hub
Writer Dan Primack, Editor-At-Large with Thomson Financial, writes:
VCs have been blogging for years, and now Icahn is one of the first big-money guys to take the plunge. I wouldn’t be surprised if folks like Bonderman, Kravis or Schwarzman begin blogging within the next few years. After all, just a handful of buyout firms even had websites a few years ago, and now almost all of them do. It’s just the next step in mass communication.
Blogging journalist Jack Davis of the San Jose Mercury News quotes a passage from one of Icahn’s posts:
There is much that is quotable on Icahn’s board, but we pass along this “slightly facetious” metaphor from his post Monday titled “About CEOs–Anti-Darwinian Metaphor–Survival of the Unfittest” about the way CEOs become CEOs in America:
“If you remember if you were in college the fraternity president was always there for you. When you had nothing to do or when you were a little depressed. Feeling down. You go to the club and the fraternity president would always be there. You wondered when he had time to study which he probably didn’t do very much of in school. He was there to sympathize with you if your girlfriend didn’t show up or didn’t call you back and you obviously sort of liked the guy because the fraternity president was usually a likeable guy.
“When the elections came up you would always vote for him. He had a couple qualities – the fraternity president. Politically, he was a survivor and he never made many waves. He did not promote controversy. Therefore when he went out into corporate America he was able to move up the ladder fairly quickly. Remember he survived, he didn’t make waves, and he wasn’t a threat. He kept moving up and up.
“Eventually he becomes the assistant to the CEO. The CEO had the same qualities. He’s a survivor. He’d never employ anyone underneath him who might be a threat. The boards like these guys… this type of CEO. The boards generally don’t own any stock (another problem with our system). The boards don’t really care to hold CEOs accountable. Remember it’s a symbiotic relationship. These guys pay the boards very well — they give the boards perks. The boards don’t care to hold them accountable because that might endanger the perks they love so much.
“When the CEO retires the assistant becomes the CEO. And remember what I told you. He’s a survivor. He would never have anyone underneath him as his assistant that’s brighter than he is because that might constitute a threat. So therefore, with many exceptions, we have CEOs becoming dumber and dumber and dumber. We can all see where this is going. It would almost be funny if it wasn’t such a threat to our ability to compete and to our economy in general.”
John Paczkowski, a blogger with the Dow Jones-owned AllThingsD.com, thinks Icahn’s posts are veiled jabs at Yahoo! Inc., with which the financier is in a proxy fight. His post alludes to a prominent list of top bloggers compiled by the Technorati blog search engine:
Icahn Announces Proxy Bid for Technorati 100
Unfit CEOs. Absurd poison pills. Absurd board elections. It’s pretty clear to whom Icahn is referring, isn’t it? Presumably he’s had his site admins ban Yahoo’s IP address from the blog. I’m told comment spam can be a real nightmare.
Writer MG Siegler, who owns that coffee table and rug I mentioned earlier, has fun with Ichan’s name in a play on the Lolcat web phenomenon where people caption photographs of cats in broken English, the most famous being those at the blog I Can Has Cheezburger?
Unfortunately, none of his rants are nearly as good as Gekko’s “Greed is good” speech given at the board meeting of Teldar Paper.
Instead, Icahn finds himself quoting Winston Churchill or better yet, himself, all too often.
|Bloggers had fun with the fact that Carl Icahn has started a blog|
Tech Confidential blog
The Deal.com writer Alain Sherter writes:
Come to think of it, perhaps Twitter might be a better medium for Icahn. It’s no-nonsense, like he is. Unlike a blog post, which encourages lots of self-indulgent prattling, a good Tweet is like a stiff jab to the chops, which sounds perfect for Icahn:
Carlwillproxyu: At Lugar’s. YHOO shares in terlet. Putz city.
Who needs a 13D when you can tear some exec a new one in 140 characters? Don’t let us down, Carl.
On a more serious note, investor relations officers and corporate secretaries cannot take developments such as Carl Icahn blogging lightly. If he does decide to begin using the blog in his fights with companies, it could very quickly become a major Internet destination, and you never know who his next target might be.