PAY FOR PERFORMANCE….More from Ezra on pay for performance:
I’m always amused by well-paid journalists and pundits complaining that teacher’s compensation isn’t closely enough linked to performance. Is Megan hauled into James Bennet’s office once a week, presented with updated traffic numbers where traffic boosts and drops are disaggregated from intra-Atlantic links and general noise, and then paid less or more depending on her performance?
Until recently, most Gawker bloggers were paid a flat rate of $12 per post for twelve posts a day, with quarterly bonuses adding to the bottom line; these bonuses could be used to buy equity in the company, which took two years to vest. Now, Denton is moving to a pay-for-performance system. He has always tracked the page views of each individual Gawker Media writer, thinking of them like stocks in a portfolio, with whoever generates the most page views as his favorite. If each writer was only as valuable as the page views he drew, then why shouldn’t Denton pay him accordingly?
[Alex] Balk, the site’s primary troublemaker, quickly posted an item on Gawker about this change with the slug “Like Rain on Your Wedding Day, Except for Instead of Rain It’s Knives.” Denton wasn’t amused. “Your item makes the argument for performance pay even stronger,” he responded in the post’s comments. “This awesomely self-indulgent post — of interest to you, me, and you, and me — will struggle to get 1,000 views. Which, under the new and improved pay system, Balk, will not even buy you a minute on your bourbon drip.” (Balk gave notice two weeks later.)
Moral of the story: watch what you ask for (or talk about). You might give James Bennet ideas.
This was just an excuse, by the way, to link to Grigoriadis’s article, which was fascinating in a train wreck kind of way. The vast emptiness at the core of what these people do is almost unfathomable, and their self-loathing ranks right up there with crack addicts and pole dancers at seedy nightclubs. That may not sound like a recommendation, but it is. I couldn’t stop reading.