I love biopics. I completely believe them when I'm watching, then spend the next few days scouring the web for how much nonsense I accepted as fact. After hearing that The Founder was on Netflix, last night I watched Michael Keaton portray Ray Kroc as he pried McDonald's away from the brothers who founded the original restaurant and invented its fast food techniques. The film portrays Kroc as a villain and the brothers as heroes. Judging strictly by the film itself, and not the actual facts, I question the idea ... read more

I love the smell of democratic governance in the morning. I'm back in Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress and their aides as part of the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Long Tail Fly-In. Around 50 web publishers have paid our own way to come to D.C. to explain how Google AdSense and other contextual ad networks power small businesses. This is my third year attending the event. We spend one day talking shop about web publishing and learning about new web privacy legislation, then spend the next ... read more

There's a dreadful sexist commentary on Forbes magazine today by Eric Jackson that suggests early Java executive Kim Polese caused herself to be wildly overhyped and the same mistake could be happening today to Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. Under a headline that dubs each woman a Silicon Valley "It Girl," Jackson makes comparisons between the two women that all relate to gender, aside from flimsy observations that "they both like(d) magazine covers and editorial spreads" and "they both get ... read more

There's a great interview in Willamette Week about my friend Matt Haughey, who has turned MetaFilter into a successful small business that employs around 3-5 people and gets 25 million hits a month. Haughey, who was one of the founders of Blogger, left Silicon Valley for McMinnville, Ore., several years ago. The interviewer does a nice job of picking up on the phrase "lifestyle business," which is used in the dot-com world to insult startups that make a sustainable amount of money for their staff but don't get ... read more

I'm in Washington D.C. as part of the Long Tail Fly-In, a group of around 60 small web publishers assembled by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). As a publisher who uses context-based advertising on the Drudge Retort and other sites, I was invited to meet with members of Congress to talk about why this form of advertising is important to online media. I attended this event last year and met aides for Reps. Diane DeGette (D-Colo.), Michael Castle (R-Del.), Bill Young (D-Fl.), Charlie Melancon (D-La.) and ... read more

Good news: The social bookmarking site Delicious has been saved from Yahoo's wrecking ball. YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen have acquired the site for an undisclosed sum. Delicious was founded in 2003 by Joshua Schachter, an entrepreneur I got to know as a contributor to his early group blog Memepool. Delicious is a free service to organize web bookmarks and share them with others. This was briefly a phenomenon before Facebook and Twitter devoured all other forms of link sharing. New owners Hurley and ... read more

I keep comments open forever on Workbench because the old blog entries here occasionally attract some interesting comments in the deluge of spam. A debt collector searching Google on Tuesday for the phrase debt collector sued for doing their job found my story on the $8.1 million judgment against a collector and posted an epic rant. The rant, which I've reprinted in full below, shows that debtor anger and the threat of being sued are getting to these bottom feeders. If you're bothered by calls from debt ... read more