With help from our readers, The Kernel has compiled the definitive list of the best and worst personalities in technology, media and politics this year.
Heroes of 2012
MIKE BUTCHER, european editor, TechCrunch
We’ve been utter shits at times to Mike Butcher, whose job it now is to fly around Europe getting twatted at conference after-parties. Nice job if you can get it. He hasn’t always deserved the opprobrium, but has consistently dealt with our critiques with class. (Apart from when he emails people to bitch about us in private. That’s not so hot.) Butcher deserves kudos for still representing the sine qua non of European tech blogging: hangovers, hanging prepositions and hanging around.
Last seen: boozing by night, attacking the keyboard furiously by day.
BEN ROONEY, tech editor, Wall Street Journal Europe
Bringing the attention of so esteemed an organ as the Wall Street Journal to our little corner of the universe is no mean feat, and Ben Rooney could have chosen a lot more prestigious appointments. As we’ve got to know him this year, we’ve grown to appreciate the spit and polish, professionalism and occasionally delightfully waspish sense of humour of the tech scene’s most respectable reporter. And oh, the stories he tells at speaker dinners! A dude.
Last seen: shoehorning Mariah Carey into the WSJ’s tech coverage.
ERIC VAN DER KLEIJ, does something over in Canary Wharf
Silver fox Eric van der Kleij (pronounced “kleedge”): remember him? Canny Eric spent two years (and a fair bit of taxpayer cash) presiding over the hopeless Tech City Investment Organisation, which is why we’ve given him such a hard time over the past year. But what we under-appreciated was how cleverly van der Kleij was insinuating his way into a lucrative gig over at the Wharf, where he can now throw dull as ditchwater but no doubt highly profitable boreathons in conjunction with “Wired” “Consulting” about the future of, you know, the London Underground and stuff.
Last seen: laughing to colleagues about getting Conde Nast to organise his events for him.
BASHAR AL-ASSAD, president of Syria
For liberating the Syrian people from the tyranny of Twitter. Can you even imagine how much happier they are without check-ins, status updates, lolcats and Instagram? Well jel.
Last seen: checking in to his private jet.
DAVID EBERSMAN, chief financial officer, Facebook
For nearly getting away with it.
Last seen: in the Ferrari showroom in Beverly Hills.
WENDI DENG, wife of Rupert Murdoch
She will be forever remembered for her spectacular black belt defence of Rupert earlier in the year, but what about her more recent bravery? Forbes recently reported that Deng personally invested in dopey dead-end dunghole website Luluvise. That takes balls!
Last seen: stroking Rupe’s head while issuing a one-two lunge kick at passing pedestrians.
As always, you sucked ass.
Last seen: getting upset in the comment section.
THE GUYS AT SUMMIT SERIES
For buying a mountain for their legendary invitation-only entrepreneurial retreats. It’s set to become the Playboy Mansion of tech; watch out for a Kernel report in 2013.
Last seen: advising Obama.
Last seen: telling his heavies to keep Levchin out of the VIP area.
NICK BELL, director of digital products, News International
It’s been an extraordinary year for fresh-faced Geordie chancer Nick Bell, who is rapidly ascending up the ranks inside News Corporation, having achieved remarkable commercial success with the digital offerings from the Sun and Times. Regularly referred to as the golden boy of Wapping, we hear there’s big news coming in 2013 for the fearless Northern lad…
Last seen: courting the younger relatives of esteemed professional networkers.
The most exciting start-up city in the world right now.
Last seen: kicking lecherous angel investors out of gay nightclubs at 4 in the afternoon.
ELIZABETH VARLEY, “chief executive”, TechHub
Lefty Liz, pictured here in younger, happier days, was the gift that kept on giving this year, after disgruntled TechHub residents showered us with horror stories about pisspoor facilities and soiled mooncup cleansing apparatus left out on display in the ladies’ loos. But we backed off, and she’s listed in 2012′s Heroes, after it was revealed that her loathsome boyfriend, whom Varley had nepotistically installed as TechHub’s head of international business development, had been getting physical with her out of hours. Good on Elizabeth: she fired him, dumped him, told her friends about his puny attempt at fisticuffs and the little scumbag has never been heard from since.
Last seen: getting her baps out for the Evening Standard.
Villains of 2012
JOANNA SHIELDS, incoming chief executive, TCIO
Like practically every female executive who isn’t Sherry Coutu, Shields bombed out of her career at its apex – in her case, to do marketing for the London borough of Newham. What a bloody shame. Still, Shields has made a pretty penny exiting disaster stories at just the right moment in her career, so perhaps she’s happy to now sit back and count her cash while jetting around the conference circuit “for work”. It’s a loss to women in tech and to the European ecosystem – even if former colleagues don’t actually have that many good words to say about her.
Last seen: in a real job.
NICK D’ALOISIO, chief executive, Summly
Poor Emi Gal: there’s a new fresh-faced upstart in town. No one this young (the little sod is 17) enjoying this much success could possibly be anything less than gut-wrenchingly irritating. And that’s before we get on to the subject of his dress sense. Seriously.
Last seen: having his chiffon and silk nappy changed. BASTARD.
For investing in Color. Partner Doug Leone, pictured, who joined Color’s board, should never be allowed near a term sheet again.
Last seen: not giving a damn.
THE OLD STREET ROUNDABOUT
Produce a proper company. Please. Just one.
Last seen: collapsing under the weight of a £50 million monument to Government hubris.
LUKE BOZIER, currently indisposed
We published the whole nine inches about Bozier this year after the former Tory MP Louise Mensch’s erstwhile business partner apparently admitted to a fondness for “jailbait” in an online sex forum. He was also caught sexting a “young girl” while at dinner with Mensch. To her credit, Louise immediately severed ties with Bozier and reported him to the police. Of course, the most entertaining detail in the whole story involved a certain misreported detail about Bozier himself. Perhaps young Luke thought the more he lied about his connections with Tony Blair the longer it would get…
Last seen: out on bail.
CHARLES ARTHUR, tech blogger, The Guardian
We ought to be flattered by the obsessive attention lavished on us by the has-been Guardian (seriously, you should see how many emails Charles sends about us every week). But we’re not. In fact, when all Mr Arthur can come up with to damage us is a few late invoices from last summer, the best we can muster is pity.
Last seen: turning down a job offer as The Kernel’s head of marketing after his first article about us prompted a double-digit percentage increase in subscriptions. Thanks, dude! And better luck in 2013.
DAVID ALLEN GREEN, blogger, New Statesman
Ladies’ favourite legal blogger David Allen Green, a flatulent blowhard who once threatened a Kernel staffer because our man had the temerity to call him out for bullying teenagers on Twitter, is set to have an explosive 2013. That’s all we can say for now. (To answer the inevitable enquiries: yes, that is his real hair.)
Last seen: blaming the dog.
JULIE MEYER, “chief executive”, Ariadne “Capital”
“The attachment bit didn’t work,” wrote polymath and lynchpin of the start-up ecosystem Julie Meyer, memorably, once upon a time. And oh dear God, that Question Time appearance…
Last seen: pretending to be a real Dragon.
It’s not big and it’s not clever. And you’re never getting laid again.
THE RECRUITMENT INDUSTRY
Everyone hates you. Your wife. Your children. Even your dog. Low-lying pond scum of the sort we reported on at great length this year are the bane of the technology industry, making founders’ lives hell and charging vast sums to do sweet F.A. – that’s when they’re not actively lying to and manipulating both clients and candidates. There are a few good eggs, but really: what a way to make a living.
SIMON DIXON, chief executive, Bank To The Future
We called him the “Walter Mitty of alternative finance”, and since publishing our damning report about Dixon’s sexed-up CV and dodgy work history, we were indundated with letters and emails thanking us for the report. The entire alternative finance industry is terrified that this fly-by-night wide boy is going to bring the party to an end playing fast and loose with the law – and his customers’ cash.
CLAIRE PERRY, Member of Parliament
Okay, so she reminds us of our mums, but that’s not going to get the Hon. Member for Devizes off the hook for proposing and championing ridiculous attempts to censor the internet. There’s a simple answer to protecting children from damaging material and nasty people, on- or offline, Claire: it’s called better parenting.
BINDI KARIA, for escaping the Borg cube, even if she still doesn’t have a real phone.
REED HASTINGS, for “Joanna who?”
3 BEARDS, for the sterling effort from Tech City’s events company of choice this year, about whom The Kernel first reported in April. A packed calendar of barbecues, meet-ups and town halls didn’t quite eclipse the annual shamazeballiness of Silicon Christmas, nor the riotous notoriety of the previous generation‘s drink- and (allegedly) drug-fuelled get-togethers, but these boys have been the cohesive glue behind east London week in, week out – even if pretty much every company at their events is a pile of pants.
STEVE “KARMEINSKY” KENNEDY: London tech’s creepiest hanger-on is about to find himself the subject of an embarrassing exposé. Watch this space.
BENJAMIN SOUTHWORTH, former member of 3 Beards, for joining Tech City. Sorry, Ben, but we had to. The Kernel jumped the gun slightly with this headline – by and large, people were happy for Ben – but we’re yet to see the positive benefits from losing Mr Southworth, who we have a great deal of affection for, from the private sector.
LULUVISE. Given a new lease of life by an as-yet unannounced round of funding (we promised not to leak this, but since Forbes somehow got hold of it and reported it, we reckon it’s fair game), we clutch ourselves in fear imagining what fresh horrors chief executive Alexandra Chong is currently cooking up…