Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Subject: Serious Business Matters
Date: Wed, 29 Jun 2005 20:31:54 +0900
From: Scott Jarkoff
To: Sotira Angelo
CC: McCann Andrew


I apologize for having to handle this via email rather than in
person. As you know, I wanted to discuss these serious business
matters with you while I was visiting Los Angeles however I was
unable to do so. It had been 6 years since I have seen much of my
family, and they are priority one, therefore it was rather difficult
to get away to handle matters of this nature. Certainly you
understand that.

In any event, on to why I am writing you now. There are some serious
deficiencies in how internal business matters have been handled with
respect to the structuring of the company among others.. Surely you
know what I am referring to as it was your hand that sculptured the
"behind the scenes" portion that I speak of. Since you have been
offered the ability to work without constraints, and essentially
unchecked by the way of standard corporate checks and balances, you
have run amok with *our* company.

Please take a look at all of the attached files. You will notice
that I have the *original* bylaws and the *original* Form 2553, among
others. You can clearly discern the pattern of behavior that you
have chosen to make use of once you compare our original company
documents with the more recent ones. Couple these documents with
your lack of ability to timely offer me the financial documentation
that I am legally entitled to (which I have been asking to see since
November of 2004 and you conveniently continue to purposely
withhold), as a shareholder in deviantART Inc., the underhanded
methodology you utilized in order to fill the board of directors, as
well as your many other esoteric moves, and it becomes quite obvious
that you are purposely acting in a bizarre manner for someone in your
position. deviantART is about *ART* and *ARTISTS*; it is not the
music industry that you continue to be so in love with.

You and I both know that there has been some serious misconduct on
your behalf. I would appreciate it if you merely own up to that fact
rather than trying to play games with me; the same games that you
have been playing for the better part of the last 14 months. While I
may be stupid I am not blind; I am quite capable of seeing what it is
that you have been doing.

The deviantART Staff, whether the individual be a paid employee or a
volunteer, has been diminishing quite rapidly as of late. Our staff
is leaving in droves, not because of time constraints or other
innocuous reasons that they put up in their public journals on
deviantART, but because they can not take working with and for you
any longer. Do I need to point out the true reasons behind why ****,
Kevin and various others have left? Do I need to remind you how you
*used me* in order to push Matt out so that you could obtain a larger
chunk of the deviantART pie?

If you have half the maturity that you claim then be humble enough to
step back and look at what *you* have done here. Ask yourself if
*YOUR* vision of deviantART is the one that the staff, both paid and
volunteer, believes in. Without these people you have nothing. Ask
yourself if you have really acted in a professional manner,
appropriately and with the integrity that all subordinates require of
their leaders.

I am certain that we both know the answer to that.

The corporate culture that you have built as the CEO is hardly what
anyone would believe to be healthy. You overwork the entire staff,
to the point where it violates state and federal law, and have not
properly prioritized projects which will help the site move forward
in to the areas that it *needs* to. Furthermore, your experience
within the entertainment industry has created a smoke-filled room
like aura; you appear to be more interested in keeping things behind
closed doors rather than open, honest and healthy discourse. It is
because of this reason that a great number of folks have already left
deviantART staff with even more standing in line to walk out the door
unless there is a drastic change in operating procedure that improves
company morale.

At this stage of the game I have enough information (pay close
attention to the attached documentation) to put a serious damper on
your activities as the deviantART, Inc. CEO. I seriously doubt that
the few remaining staff members that are loyal to you now would
continue to be if they were aware of the backstage politics and
machinations that you seem to involve yourself with on a daily
basis. As is, your arbitrary decisions about random things seem to
get thrown out in to the open with complete disregard for their long-
term effects or staff morale.

I have no desire to cause a ruckus at deviantART but truth appears to
have a way of coming out on its own. We both saw that with the
recent staff leaks. It is a fact of life - disgruntled employees,
especially those not being paid a dime for their hard work and
dedication, will leak. Happy staff do not. Do the math.

If you truly love deviantART the way that you say you do then stop
using it as an engine for your own career and your own glory. Come
back down to earth and realize that you have hurt a great many
people, stolen credit from others and made it your own. Be a man,
step up to the plate and lets get the problems fixed once and for all
before more people leave.

Along with the individuals that you see listed on the to: and cc:
lines I also bcc:'d certain people within the organization in order
to guard against your propensity for firing people who stand up to
you. A certain ex-employee named **** **** comes to mind.

We both know who's "brainchild" deviantART truly was. Do not think
there are not people here who do not remember what really happened in
order to give birth to this wonderful site.

I will make myself available to speak to you this week in the event
that you desire to do so. Please let me know ahead of time so that
the proper arrangements can be made.

Best Regards,

Scott Jarkoff (jark)
Co-Founder/Director of Community Development
deviantART, Inc.


Blogger AberrantAngel said...

I thought I'd point out the irony of Spyed's web-persona being a ninja.. an honorless warriors who strikes with poisons or from behind from the shadows...

11:40 AM  
Blogger Otab said...

Taking the letter as genuine and unedited (apart from the ****s) for the sake of argument:

"At this stage of the game I have enough information (pay close
attention to the attached documentation) to put a serious damper on
your activities as the deviantART, Inc. CEO."


"I have no desire to cause a ruckus at deviantART"

If this is true why has he done what he had no desire to, and not curbed Angelo's CEO status as he stated he had the power to?

The music industry comment leaves me in the dark.

The leaks comment is interesting. It's as good as a warning. Definitely an acknowledgement that it was possible, even probable. Given that scenario, this is no longer a private email among Deviant Art staff. This is written to ALL OF US. With an audience in mind. Therefore it, and any following correspondence, must be considered unreliable - as it was written in the context of a structure with leaks, and acknowledged as such.

There ARE ways to communicate privately if you know there is a leak. Jark chose to make this available. Maybe, just maybe, he was planting a few seeds, playing a PR game of his own.

Could be there's no real winner here. Spyed might be ruthless. Jark might have been blind, at least for a little while. If you're blind for a little while in a big business, you get burned. Could Jark have been hoodwinked out of his place as President and on the Board? Liquify doesn't doubt it, and makes a convincing case. I've seen the quotes stacked up against Angelo. In a certain light, it looks bleak.

If these emails are the real deal, then they WERE written with leaks in mind. Therefore we cannot, under any circumstances, treat them as fair statements of the facts - because this should have been conducted in private, and the only reason I can think of why it was not, was that Jark wanted it to leak. Ergo, it is written for our benefit, to reflect well upon Jark and badly on Spyed. It offers just enough detail on one or two aspects to seem authoritative, and if you're not careful, you can end up believing things it doesn't even say. Try to find a really solid example of what misbehavior Jark accuses Scot of. He says just little enough not to break his NDA to bad (though he surely bends it) when this went public.

I'm just saying a grain of salt and some common sense could go a long, long way here. I'm approaching this cynically because it's how I feel. And because someone has to.

5:38 PM  
Blogger koshmo said...

@ aberrantangel:
"[H]onorless warriors"? Hardly.
I think the irony would be much more accurately described as the fact that Angelo Sorito's web-persona is a ninja -- that is, a warrior whose very existence thrives on honour.

9:03 PM  
Blogger Dia B. said...

smells fishy... does jark want to be CEO? a future spyed perhaps? maybe at first he didn't want to cause a ruckus at deviantART, but he sure is doing it now. it's like he wants the DA community to take his side. hmm...

10:42 PM  
Blogger darkjag said...

there is the aspect that Jark did not wnat to cause a rukkus, but Spyed fired him and force Jark's hand.....we are to assume that this letter was written before his termination and not afterwards.

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Blogger Adrian said...

and how the story ended bro?

1:55 AM  
Blogger Adrian said...

emailed u on scott@deviantart but got bounced back, so u don't have that account anymore, so, how the story ended coz I'm curious... thx

1:57 AM  

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