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Moulitsas…in Berkeley because it makes Bill O’Reilly cry

Markos Moulitsas, founder of Daily Kos, and a Berkeleyan

Daily Kos is the largest liberal blog in the United States, with up to 3 million unique visitors a month. And it is beamed out to the world from right here in Berkeley, having been founded by Berkeley resident Markos Moulitsas, co-author of Crashing the Gate: Netroots, Grassroots and the Rise of People-Powered Politics. Daily Kos will celebrate its ninth birthday on Thursday.

Recently, Moulitsas decided Daily Kos needed a bricks-and-mortar office — having run until now as a virtual organization with contributors located across the country — and he rented a Berkeley space. Berkeleyside caught up with Moulitsas to quiz him about Daily Kos’s new home, as well as his thoughts on living and working in Berkeley.

Why an office now?
We’re growing like crazy. Started the year with 10 employees, across six states, just three here in the area. But we’re now at 15, likely to be around 20 employees by the end of the year, and it was getting unwieldy to manage that size of an organization virtually.

Where were you before?
Virtual, across six states.

What area of Berkeley is your new office in?
Near Ashby BART, a couple of blocks from my house. I made it clear, when we decided to get an office, that if I had a real commute, I would never come in. My current commute is 1) I wake up, 2) I reach over the side of the bed, 3) I pick up my laptop, 4) I flip open the screen, 5) Squint for about 15 seconds as my eyes get used to the light, and 6) Presto! I’m at work. It’s impossible to beat that commute. So anything more than a two-block walk was going to be problematic.

Daily Kos's new office space, close to Ashby BART

What’s it like?
It’ll be more orange after I’m done decorating.

How big is the team?
We’ll be about 12 in this office this year, plus we’ll be regularly hosting many of our remote employees. We’ll also have friends join us to help fill out the space. It’s bigger than what we need this year, but we plan to grow into it.

Is this an open office — can people drop by with comments, submissions… for coffee, to chat?
No. That’s what Netroots Nation is for.

Do you consider yourself a Berkeley business owner now? If so, what does it feel like?
Daily Kos is national in scope, and we have readers from every corner of this country. So the business is national, and that’s how I see it.

Now I happen to live and work in Berkeley, and wouldn’t want to live or work anywhere else. Partly because it’s a great place to raise my kids and I’m not going to commute far from my home, but also because it makes Bill O’Reilly cry.

Related:
Daily Kos’s Markos Moulitsas to discuss radical right [09.07.10]
Happy birthday to Daily Kos [05.26.10]
Sunday Routine: Markos Moulitsas — New York Times [03.27.10]

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_V6KQTJGAQAZXMNEIKG5LM2IHZU Tizzielish

    I wonder why you don’t give the address? just curious.  I keep wanting to imagine where the office is. ‘Near the Ashby BART is pretty vague”. The photo looks like it might be in the new Ed Roberts space. Does that building rent out to private, for-profit businesses? I don’t suggest they shouldn’t. I’m just trying go imagine where the Daily Kos office is. Is their location a secret?!

  • http://berkeleyside.com Tracey Taylor

    Markos didn’t reveal the address so we decided to respect his desire for privacy. Agree with you it looks a little like Ed Roberts space but they they mainly lease space to ERC-sponsored organizations: http://edrobertscampus.org/leasing.php

  • http://www.webhamster.com/ The Sharkey

    I’m not sure it really makes Bill O’Reilly cry so much as it reinforces Bill O’Reilly’s pre-existing generalizations and assumptions about the sort of people that live in Berkeley.

  • SZunderwood

    If I may venture a pseudo-Talmudic parallel to this privacy dilemma… 

    Balaam is analogous to Berkeleyside standing on a height providing our entire community with a view into Kos’ camp and personal tents.   Balaq is akin to Bill O’Reilly.  This personal profile of Kos affords us a general perspective on his enterprise, but, by not supplying an exact business address seems to fulfill Rashi’s dictum that we not peer directly “into the other’s tent (Baba Batra 60a).”
     
    See example below quoted from:
     
    The author of this work is Ellis Weinberger
    This work was accepted towards a MSc. (Econ) in Information and Library Studies at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.
    Privacy, Databases, and Jewish Law

    One verse, from the Book of Numbers, reports an incident wherein Balaam, a prophet, has been hired by Balaq, the king of Mo’av, to curse the Children of Israel in order to stop their advance towards Mo’av (situated in what is now the Kingdom of Jordan). The interesting verse itself is the one wherein Balaam changes his mind and decides to bless the Children of Israel instead of cursing them. The reason for this change of mind seems to be the emphasis placed on privacy during the pitching of the tents in the camp. Balaam is standing on a height and viewing the entire camp.
     
    “And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel dwelling in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of the eternal was upon him.” (The Pentateuch, The Book of Numbers, chapter 24, verse 2)
     
    Rashi, a mediaeval Jewish commentator on the Bible continues:
     
    “Dwelling according to his tribes: he saw each tribe dwelling by itself not intermingled one with another; he saw that the entrances of their tents were not exactly facing each other so that one could not peer into the other’s tent (Baba Batra 60a)”

  • Guest

    Will be two blocks from one of these addresses.  2025 Prince St, BERKELEY, CA 94703
    1531 Fairview St #A, BERKELEY, CA 94703

  • http://berkeleyside.com Tracey Taylor

    Guest: We have removed the specific house numbers from your comment. There is no reason to publish the home address of a public figure whose line of work probably makes him many enemies. 

    While many addresses are the public domain, let people do their own research. We are not in the business of invading people’s privacy here on Berkeleyside. I hope you understand our reasoning.

  • http://berkeleyside.com Tracey Taylor

    I have now deleted the comment with the home addresses as my attempts to merely remove house numbers and zip codes failed. 

  • John Holland

    I think it’s awesome. Markos has pointed out that this is no major dotcom play like huffpost, but a labor of love. Nonetheless, it’s great to have another Internet/media company in Berkeley. 

    Also, I’m not going to pretend like DailyKos isn’t strongly progressive, but there is no litmus test for writing. If you have a conservative viewpoint, it’s not going to get taken down. You may be criticized a lot, but hey, most conservative blog farms kick off liberal bloggers.

    I’ve appreciated using DailyKos as a blogging platform, as there is an active readership that will comment on your posts, as opposed to posting into the ether on WordPress.com. So congrats on bringing jobs to Berkeley!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_33MCBKYJT4LUSNFVWRFSXCAWGA Mark

    Daily Kos is a joke pure and simple. It’s great that Markos can fool people into sending him a ton of money so he doesn’t have to have a real job or anything, but besides the fact every single article on his “site” can be disputed by someone with even a rudimentary understanding of politics, anyone who disagrees with any point made is automatically deleted and swept under the rug. As if the whole country is a group of extreme left wing fanatics with no hold on reality.

    One of the funniest “facts” about this “news” blog is that is gets 3 million unique visitors a month (2.5 million of which tune in for a daily dose of humor). It is a very entertaining site no doubt, but still…you would think reading blatent insanity would get old after awhile.

  • enc

    What in the hell are you talking about? I doubt you’ve ever looked at
    the site. Accounts are not automatically deleted due to differing viewpoints. That’s completely dishonest. There are plenty of good old-fashioned debates that take place on the site, and most of them are very constructive. Such a large pool of users offers an extremely wide range of perspectives, life backgrounds, and knowledge which only adds to the conversation.

    What’s a “real job” anyway?

  • enc

    What in the hell are you talking about? I doubt you’ve ever looked at
    the site. Accounts are not automatically deleted due to differing viewpoints. That’s completely dishonest. There are plenty of good old-fashioned debates that take place on the site, and most of them are very constructive. Such a large pool of users offers an extremely wide range of perspectives, life backgrounds, and knowledge which only adds to the conversation.

    What’s a “real job” anyway?

  • Ed

     What would help distinguish your comment from “rant” vs. “argument” is specific items or facts you could point to.  If “every single article” can be disputed, why not cite 1 or 2 you find as the most egregious examples of your thesis?

  • Ed

     What would help distinguish your comment from “rant” vs. “argument” is specific items or facts you could point to.  If “every single article” can be disputed, why not cite 1 or 2 you find as the most egregious examples of your thesis?

  • DC

    I think Mr. Moulitsas adds a lot to Berkeley’s scene, and am happy he’s expanding here.

    But I am deeply disappointed in Berkeleyside for their choice of this headline language. This kind of editorial choice only feeds into the dyspeptic partisan poking, ranting and crude anger that is so prevalent in today’s political climate.  I neither read The Kos nor watch Mr. O’Reilly as I prefer calmer, less partisan sources for my news and information.  The language above only leads to and feeds the kind of hostility shown in some of the comments below.

    There were many more positive ways to headline this. I realize Berkeleyside was quoting  Mr. Moulitsas, but they didn’t have to do that front and center.  It’s playing to the worst instincts in today’s media.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paul-Hobbs/1081084751 Paul Hobbs

     The Kos is a partisan Democratic blog. It’s purpose, which you know if you’ve read the FAQ, is to elect more and better Democrats. The idea that anyone with a conservative view has their comments automatically deleted is pure hogwash. People may disagree with you, but they’re almost always respectful. If a person comes on and spews right-wing talking points, conspiracy theories, or is dishonest they may get hidden, and eventually banned. 
    It’s a partisan site. It’s pretty hard to imagine why a non-Democrat conservative would go on and comment, unless it’s to troll and generally annoy people.
    DailyKos is definitely not a joke. What’s a joke is your notion that Markos doesn’t have a real job. He does, and he’s doing good work.

  • http://www.webhamster.com/ The Sharkey

    Is the biased, left-wing partisanship that The Daily Kos promotes any less objectionable than the biased, right-wing partisanship that FOX News promotes?

    When I was younger I used to respond to that question with an emphatic “HELL YES!” but I find myself less and less sure of that as I get older.

  • http://www.webhamster.com/ The Sharkey

    Dyspeptic partisan poking is sort of a trademark trait of The Daily Kos, so it makes sense that a story about its founder would use that same kind of language.

  • DC

    Yeah, but my point is that it ISN’T a trademark for Berkeleyside (rather the opposite), and since it’s quoted in the body of the article anyhow, there’s no need to make it the headline.

    I can only assume the purpose of using it as a headline is to gin up the sort of partisan nonsense and media attention-mongering that we see far too much of these days.

  • buddhistMonkey

    ((( “Is the biased, left-wing partisanship that The Daily Kos promotes any less objectionable than the biased, right-wing partisanship that FOX News promotes?” )))

    The difference is that FOX “News” purports to be unbiased, yet it fraudulently uses public airwaves to broadcast right-wing political propaganda thinly disguised as legitimate news. By contrast, Daily Kos is openly partisan and political, and entirely honest about its philosophy, goals, and intent. Daily Kos makes no effort to deceive its readership into believing that it is a straight-news organization.

  • http://www.webhamster.com/ The Sharkey

    I believe FOX News stopped using the “fair and balanced” tagline several years ago, but I haven’t watched anything on that channel in so long that I don’t really have any idea what it’s like now.

    Straight news may not be what the Daily Kos dishes up, but it’s exactly what I want when I want to learn about political goings-on. I guess that’s why I gravitate towards NPR’s Political Junkie segments and ignore both Kos & FOX.

    http://www.npr.org/series/1930201/political-junkie

    (But I do miss Al Franken’s radio show. Air America was fun while it lasted.)

  • Jesse Townley

    Really? It’s attention-getting (the point of a headline) and funny (a nice change from most headlines).

    It made me grin and then click on the link and read the article. Since when do headlines, even on Berkeleyside, have to be humorless?