Condé past

Early on in my career, I learned a lesson that I do not understand to this day: Computers are political. They are dull, whirring, whizzing, amoral machines and yet they inspire the most amazing organizational venom.

At Condé Nast, Andrew Krucoff got canned — aka Condéd — for forwarding the most innocuous memo about the company’s cranky computers.

The computer department at Condé as one of my bête noires — we all had many bêtes — when I was there. Even so, I don’t understand why Krucoff got escorted out of the building for forwarding a memo to Gawker about downtime. You’d think he of all people would have been escorted out of Conde of all companies for reporting on something juicier than that: perhaps executives, not computers, going down.

But they’re down and he’s out.

: LATER: The Times’ Kit Seelye reports on this today.

It is not clear how or why the company traced Mr. Krucoff’s e-mail message, but Mr. Oxfeld said that Mr. Krucoff was confronted about the episode yesterday and escorted from the building.

Note well, Nasties: They may not know what you’re thinking, but they apparently know what you’re typing. As Gawker advises: “For the love of God, remember to use your Gmail.”


  1. erik says:

    I believe the term you’re looking for is “dooced.”

    So it was worth more to Conde to lose this guy, than to simply reprimand him? Now they need to hire and train a replacement, plus they had to know the method of his termination would leak out. There’s good financial sense right there…

  2. Alan Kellogg says:

    He was fired because he dared to question the high computer priests. It could’ve been worse, he could’ve asked for better documentation.

  3. Mike says:

    One of the things that drove me to freelance was the endless amounts of time I spent trying to get a computer or two for my print design group at Leo Burnett– the problem being that it was more profitable for Burnett to have us draw little pictures and then pay some studio exorbitantly marked up fees to have much less well trained people turn them into actual designs. Then one day a friend in IT showed me all the computers in storage (like computers get better with age!) waiting for approval to be be issued to somebody. That was when I knew that the client’s interests, and logic, were not high on the priority list of the geniuses at the top, and computers, which I considered something I actually needed to do my frickin’ job, were really merely pawns in the endless internal infighting. You know, sort of like employees….

    (But of course there were top of the line Macs sitting unused on the desks of top executives who had no idea what to do with them, and probably thought a mouse was a CB radio.)

  4. David says:

    It’s too bad that the occupants of White House don’t take the leaking of internal secrets as seriously as Conde Nast.

  5. Duneview says:

    To read Gawker’s weepy mea culpa, you’d think they actually cared. But, nah – not really. They just got ensnared in their own snark and sometimes when you dance too close to the flame…

    But to see Condé get all huffy about internal leaks gives irony a new meaning.

    Is Media just populated with smartasses and dolts?

  6. Conde Rice says:

    During my time at CNP, I heard a supervisor repeatedly refer to a subordinate as a “c*nt”–hr was aware of this and couldn’t care less. The fact that someone would get canned over something as silly as this is just proof that 4X2 is a three-ring circus for insecure British people.

  7. bahbloghug says:

    Re above: I spy Lauren Weisberger on Buzzmachine. (You got a million-dollar book deal for your troubles, so no more whining…)

    It sucks for Krucoff, but I learned a long time ago to use company e-mail as little as possible. THEY REALLY ARE READING EVERY WORD YOU WRITE. Get a yahoo account; it’s as simple as that.

  8. Noel Guinane says:

    I thought Gawker didn’t “give a fuck”?

    Hope Andrew finds something better, and freer.

  9. slavin says:

    Conde has actually fired more geniuses than they’ve hired. Which is no indictment of Conde, it’s just the nature of the species, and the ecosystem it lives in.

  10. M. Simon says:

    Early Hackers (cira 1975-79) knew the computer was political.

    My first mate and I did Ts with “Support the Revolution – Buy A Computer” with a cute R2 unit in the center in ’77. Star Wars had just come out and we sold a few at the Chicago Computer Club. CACHE.

    At the time I expected great things from computers. It has gotten out of hand.

    Around ’77 I envisioned a network of Apple Like Computers with top scientists and thinkers talking to each other through modems and an 800 number. I called it the Draco System.

    What we have now is much better than anything I dreamed of.

    Communications is always political. Information is power.

    It really is remarkable. Citizens control the media and the feedback is at the speed of thought. The time to transmit the message to the world is negligible.

  11. Jeanne says:

    It also might have been the best thing that could have happened to him. Onwards and upwards.

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