Scene: Chris Hughes in the cavernous, empty offices of The New Republic, stabbing a ratty old Mac keyboard with both index fingers.
He stabs harder and harder, swearing louder and louder.
What the hell? “An Unexpected Error Occurred.” Yes, reopen. Where’s my password, ok, yes, Log In.
Goddamn it, goddamn it, goddamn it, I didn’t save! Ah, never write in a web form!
Hughes slams the keyboard repeatedly against the desk. He pulls out his iPhone and taps the top entry in his Favorites list. He waits, listening to the sound of dialing. Then:
Hey, Zuck! I guess you’re not picking up. It’s Chris. Mark, I can’t get our CMS to publish this piece about the staff walkouts. It’s Drupal or WordPress or maybe they built it in-house. Browser keeps crashing.
Anyway, Guy is going to get somebody he knows in to rebuild it. Says it will only cost about $25 million. But I need to publish this in the meantime. Listen, here’s the closer:
If you really care about an institution and want to make it strong for the ages, you don’t walk out. You roll up your sleeves, you redouble your commitment to those ideals in a changing world, and you fight.
Stirring, right? Can you get one of your people to call me back? Thanks, Mark.
Hughes drums his fingers on the desk. He gets up and walks around the room, looking into offices, sighing. He looks at his phone, willing it to ring. He finally starts scrolling through entries until he finds the right one.
Fuck it, I’ll just call Bezos.
The moral: friends don’t let friends use CMSes. Or become publishers.