Read This Roundup and Be Fab, or Jason Will Fire You

Jun 28, 2013

Jason Goldberg FabLike Rube Goldberg, whose name is a synonym for unnecessarily complex systems, Jason Goldberg appears destined to have his name linked to business startup controversy.

The serial entrepreneur, whom you may recall as the founder and CEO of ill-fated Jobster, is back in the news, defending his latest venture Fab from “blatant misrepresentations” in a Bloomberg article published this week.

“I don’t usually make it a habit of taking to my blog to rebut press stories,” Goldberg writes, and then goes on for almost 1,600 more words doing just that. Well, not actually rebutting, but more explaining.

Oh my how Bloomberg misunderstood and misrepresented his memo threatening to not pay employees who didn’t upload their photo to the company website.

Ignoring the fact that withholding pay is illegal, Goldberg blogged he was just incentivizing staff. “The bit about holding out pay was a way to get everyone’s attention. It worked.”

A different email,  forbidding employees from modeling the products Fab sells, wasn’t serious when it said, “If you have time to model, you have time to get fired.”

Come on, laugh. Didn’t you get the joke? That’s all it was, says Goldberg, “a joke.”

It would be a lot easier to see the humor if the whole thing didn’t look like the Jobster debacle. His idea was actually brilliant, if just a little ahead of its time, marrying social media to recruitment. What sunk it was Goldberg’s spendy ways and lack of business management experience. (In a bio-vid interviiew, Goldberg smilingly says he “basically got educated” on the $48 million he raised and burned through in less than four years at Jobster.)

His blogging got as much, perhaps even more, attention than the company itself. He blasted Jobster’s competition, bemoaned the state of recruiting, and wrote about company issues with the same indelicacy as his infamous post about ruining a pair of expensive Prada shoes.

Fab’s precursor,, a social site for gay men he launched, ended up in a controversy over a freeze on its bank account, getting more attention about that than it did anything else. It morphed into Fab, which has now raised $310 million in venture funding, giving it a market value of $1 billion.

Woo hoo! A billion dollars. Maybe Fab can now design itself a management style that is as au currant as its products. And take a comedian out for coffee to learn humor.