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Dan Lyons Used to be Fake Steve Jobs. Now He's the Chief Valleywag.

Heads up, Silicon Valley. "I really missed being a journalist."

Dan Lyons
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Valleywag’s chief editor Nitasha Tiku just left for the Verge. Here’s her replacement: Dan Lyons, the tech writer who is best known as the man behind “The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs.”

Up until today, Lyons had been a “marketing fellow” at HubSpot, a software company where he spent the last couple years. He also spent the summer helping Mike Judge write the second season of HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” He’ll start running Gawker Media’s tech site in January.

For some folks, Lyons + Gawker Media owner Nick Denton is a delicious prospect. I assume that others, including some of the ones Lyons used to skewer when he was blogging as Fake Steve Jobs, aren’t going to be pleased about this.

I enjoyed working with Lyons back when we were at Forbes, and loved Fake Steve, so I’m in the former camp. (That sentence is a disclosure, okay?) Here’s an abbreviated version of a brief interview I just had with him:

Peter Kafka: Congrats on the new job. Why did you make the move?

Dan Lyons: I really missed being a journalist. Over the summer, when I was in L.A. working on the show, I spent four months on the show with guys who are very much like us — they were like journalists, and they were making jokes about technology. I sort of forgot how much fun tech is and fun to write about.

I was always confused about what you were doing at HubSpot. What’s a “marketing fellow”?

That makes two of us. It really means “We don’t know what to call you. You’re not management. And you’re kind of old. So we’ll give you this quasi-academic title.” My job, originally, was to write blog posts for their HubSpot blog. They have a business model built on content. Then I was writing e-books for them, and after I came back from L.A., they had this new plan to launch a podcast.

So what’s your plan for Valleywag?

I think, at least for now, it’s going to be a two-person blog [with writer Kevin Montgomery]. I feel like Valleywag has been different things with different writers over the years. Up and down. I think it’s at their best when they get a legitimate scoop, like when someone leaks them documents. I feel like we could do more of that, breaking stories.

You’re in Boston, and you’re going to be covering Silicon Valley. So you’re going to hear that you can’t possibly do that from the other side of the country.

I think that’s legitimate. But I feel like the risk of being in the Valley is you get co-opted by the people there, and it’s hard to be critical, because you like the people. And I’ll be out there every couple weeks.

What kind of orders has [Gawker Media owner] Nick Denton given you?

I haven’t talked to Nick much. I’ve talked to [Gawker Media editorial boss] Joel Johnson more. We like the John Gruber model — he writes some long stuff that’s very thoughtful and analytical, and then other stuff, he just adds a bit of commentary. I like that.

So let’s say you started on the job today. How would you cover Uber and Sarah Lacy?

Oh god. I don’t know. If it was a movie, it would be called “When Loathsome met Awful.”

This article originally appeared on

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