The big news in the blogosphere/vlogosphere today is the apparent departure of Amanda Congdon from the popular video newscast Rocketboom. While this could easily be a publicity stunt or a situation that is quickly repaired by the two Rocketboom co-founders, things look pretty grim for the show right now.
I’ll withhold most of my feelings about Rocketboom as a show because frankly, it’s never been my bag and almost everyone I’ve ever asked feels the same way. I’ve always been under the impression that Amanda’s hotness (see bad pun in article title) is a big reason why 250,000 people watch the show. I could very well be wrong, but that’s just the impression I get. Neither the writing nor the delivery can hold a candle to say, Ze Frank’s The Show.
I’m more interested in the business and industry implications of this breakup. Firstly, unless the Rocketboom founder’s agreements were written abnormally in a way to really screw over Amanda, Amanda is by far the better-off party after this. Get fired and still own 49% of the company? Sign me up! If Amanda was smart, she made sure ahead of time that if a situation like this occurred, she would maintain at least most of her equity, if not all of it. There is, of course, a chance that the papers were written to strip away equity in this situation, and if that is the case, wow… it’s a stern reminder to always consult your own lawyer when dealing with employment contracts. Hopefully, information about the equity implications of this breakup will emerge shortly.
The second interesting aspect of this is any non-compete clauses in the Rocketboom employment contract. If I were Andrew Baron (Rocketboom’s other co-founder), I’d have written this in from the start, and it’s not an unreasonable thing for Amanda to have agreed to, but who knows what’s really in there. If there’s nothing in there, Amanda will either sign on with a big TV network, an upcoming video podcast, or strike out on her own. Either way, she’ll make out very, very well and still own a large percentage of Rocketboom. It’s a huge win-win for her and a huge lose-lose for Rocketboom. If there is, however, a non-compete, then something will perhaps be worked out where Amanda gives up a percentage of the company in order to get out from under it. Again, interesting to see what happens here. If it’s three months, I probably wait it out if I’m Amanda. If it’s a year or longer, I’m probably at the negotiating table right now.
Another interesting thing to watch will be who lands on their feet sooner. My money is on Amanda, as is probably most of the world’s. Rocketboom has about a month to find a suitable replacement, but if Andrew didn’t already have one in mind before “firing” Amanda, then he’s really dropped the ball here. Matthew Ingram suggests Amber McArthur, who in my opinion, is even more suited for the job than the woman she’d be replacing, but who knows if she’d even do it. If I’m Amber, I’m aiming higher than that right now. No one wants to be another Deborah Norville. In any case, go Amber Mac!
With all of the negativity surrounding this Rocketboom announcement, there is still a chance for Andrew to really prove his mettle here. If he’s able to find a great replacement and the show gets even more popular than it is right now, he deserves a lot of credit. He’s got everything to lose here: money, momentum, existing contracts, and reputation. It’s a ballsy move. We’ll see what happens.
Here we go. It appears the 49% is now officially “in question”. Thanks to Matt Savarino
for posting a link to Amanda’s latest post
detailing the latest exchanges between the two. Yes, it’s clearly dirty laundry, but it may be the only way to prove who said what.