The day has come where Josh Laurito, OG founder of the FMG data blog, lover of eggs and logs, is leaving us. To say goodbye, former and present Gawker/GMG/FMG employees have come together to share their memories of Josh, get a few last jabs in, and send him off in true Kinja fashion.
Goodbye, eggman, and good luck.
Oh Josh!! Where to even begin. It’s been so good getting to work with you the past few years, and I am seriously going to miss you. Who else will I go to battle with over newsletter signup strategy? Who else will build me a hat out of garbage to wear to a Mac Sabbath show? Who else will sing karaoke with me at the company holiday party? Who else will I be able to talk to about garbanzo beans? Without you my life is now a cracked discarded egg shell. All jokes aside, you’re a wonderful human and I’m going to miss you. Please don’t forget that the next Mac Sabbath show is March 11.
Recently inaugurated DadMan Josh Laurito has never failed to be a great Jenga party bro, caring listener and career consult.
I endured severe trauma when Josh served me my first cease and desist letter from Hasbro, rendering me owned for life. I’ve been told I’m too much of a liability for Unimoda LLC to hire me back. Josh, thank you for that.
In adherence to full transparency standards, I’m obligated to inform you that you were never actually hired by Squarespace, you still work at GMG and this post is a total joke. Please continue to log your hours.
Lauren Bertollini, former COO and SVP of Product at FMG, current Chief Product Officer at The Daily Beast
Josh Laurito is responsible for educating a lot of stubborn people about data, myself included.
Before he started, there was no single person who owned data or analytics at Gawker Media, so we all just pulled reports ad hoc and did our best to hope that it was both cleaning collected and interpreted correctly.
Within a few weeks of Josh starting, we ran our first legitimate A/B test of our product and I was eager to see the results as they came in. Josh locked me out of the account and would not let me see them until the full test had ran. I was incredibly unhappy and if I’m remembering correctly, it ended with a heated discussion in a conference room (I yelled at him).
He was eventually able to convince me that this was the best way to keep people like me from seeing early results and impulsively using that information to make bad decisions (like ending the test early and releasing the product). He was totally correct, and for the next four years his team would run tests that were completely blind to the product team until the moment the results email was sent out.
This led to a strong partnership between the data and product teams, where more often than not, testing a change led to some adjustment prior to the product going live. We caught a lot of bugs, proved a lot of internal myths incorrect, and were able to build Kinja into something that we could all be proud of.
Saying no is now my favorite thing and this process reinforced the value of saying no and sticking to your guns, especially when you’re introducing something new to an organization. And more importantly, it taught me that when you are working with new people you can’t let your fear of change prevent them from helping you do your job better.
We’ll miss you. Thanks for your dedicated years of building out the company’s analytics, team, and logging culture.
I’ll start by flat-out stating that I wouldn’t still be working here if it wasn’t for Josh. He served briefly as my manager during a pretty tumultuous time for my team, and his leadership, advice, and advocacy meant a lot to me. Since then, he’s consistently been someone I could rely on for guidance, honest feedback, and when prodded, a good argument.
As someone who came in after the Gawker era, to me Josh embodied the spirit of the company as it looked from the outside - not only is he incredibly smart and passionate about his work, but he’s also a fierce advocate for his team and unwavering in his beliefs. I learned a lot from him and will miss him greatly.
He’s also probably the only person alive who gets as excited sharing data charting his baby son’s growth as he does sharing pictures. So that’s cool.
Despite many reasons to take a hard-boiled approach, Josh Laurito is one of the kindest people I know, who is well liked and respected by his colleagues and peers. I’ve always looked up to the effortless nature around both his work and management style; I don’t know if I’ve ever seen him scrambled. He has a tendency to find the sunny side in everything he does, and always ensures anything he’s involved in goes over easy. Squarespace poached themselves a golden egg. Josh will be deeply missed.
I first met Josh during my interview with FMG last year where he was one of the interviewers, and, oh boy, did he make an impression!
But he will be remembered not for this. If I had a diary, there would be two entries about Josh: one good and one bad.
The good one is that Josh created a new shiny database for me that stores texts of all our published stories. Believe it or not, but it didn’t exist before so to get text data for me was not a trivial exercise. Now I can easily download whatever data I need and do whatever text analysis I please. Thank you, Josh!
The bad entry would describe (in all the details!) one particular day in December when Josh stole my gift during our White Elephant gift exchange! It was such a cool message board on 30 (?) characters which I planned to use to practice my direct communication. But alas :( Until recently I at least could comfort myself with a thought that the message board stayed in the company. But... (sad sigh :( )
Josh, I wish you the best of luck in your new company and hope you’ll meet there as good people as you met here! Just try to avoid participating in the White Elephant during your first year there.
I personally am planning to stay in touch so you don’t have any choice :)
I remember when Josh started at Gawker very clearly because I almost immediately started dumping responsibilities on him. From A/B testing to maintaining the Spark infrastructure, there was no amount of extra work he didn’t eagerly take up. I’ve never worked with a bigger sucker. Miss you Josh.
P.S. Did you know Josh’s legal name is “Jegg”?
Smart, kind and understanding of all perspectives, I’ve learned a lot from Josh. He has been my guide and partner since I started at FMG. He’s set a foundation for us as a company to be successful through the datawarehouse, he’s inspired a culture of data driven testing, and he’s always taken a strong stand for his beliefs: protecting our audience. I appreciate all I’ve learned from Josh, the wearer of many hats, and I appreciate all Josh has contributed in his role. To Josh: don’t forget to stop by and bring Simha!! I wish you my very best and happiness in your new role.
Ever since Josh’s largely egg-based diet became known to the team, there has been a lot of speculation and worry as to his health. But such concern reflects an outdated view of dietary cholesterol that is entirely out of step with the consensus of the medical establishment. According to healthline.com, “Eggs are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. Just imagine... a whole egg contains all the nutrients needed to turn a single cell into an entire baby chicken.”
Imagine that! But those who know and have worked with Josh (who is the size of several or more adult broilers, combined), do not need a strong imagination to see the power of the egg in action; the evidence is right before our eyes.
We are living in the age of the nootropic stack, when people take to the pages of Reddit and Kinja to debate the virtues of arcane combinations of ingredients, comparing and contrasting sophisticated synthetic nutrient sources like Alpha-GPC and CDP-Choline. Those who rely on these substances might poke fun at a simple man like Josh who is content with the unprocessed output of a few egg-laying hens, but the joke is clearly on them who would rely on advanced manufacturing to satisfy their daily choline needs. When the supplement factories are nationalized in a desperate last-minute bid to avert a global superbug, the man with a few chickens will be king.
Josh may have other virtues besides his ability to eat a large number of eggs on any given day, but I’ll leave such conjecture to my colleagues.
If I had to describe Josh to someone who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing him personally, I would say the following: data king, eggman (does this even need repeating anymore?), and all-around really tall guy.
As my short-term manager for only a few months, Josh was great. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to show me the GMG ropes. Well, his only real guidance was to assume that everyone here was a little weirder than most, but still (Thanks, Josh, for that).
Josh - come back every once in a while to show us kid pics, please.
First and foremost, I’m going to miss having a boss who I can sass and borderline bully every day without being fired. The amount of things I — and the entire tech organization — make fun of Josh for on a regular basis without consequence is pretty astounding and I doubt I’ll ever have a boss like that again.
But putting all the egg-jokes aside, having had the opportunity to work with Josh for the past two and a half years was inarguably one of the best things to happen to my career, and life, and I am actually heartbroken that he is leaving.
I started working at Gawker in 2012 in ad ops, and flash forward to 2015, I had managed to grow into a role that was half business analyst-y, but half still very much just doing ad ops. As probably anyone who has talked to me for more than 20 min knows, I really did not like ad ops (sorry Kerrie) and I had been trying very hard not to do it anymore.
Right around the time that I had really gotten to the end of my rope in my role, Josh started as the first member of the newly founded data team. To make a long story short, I was given the opportunity to move out of biz to work with Josh.
Josh could have easily said no to the prospect of me working for him — a lot of people would have. I had no traditional analyst experience, he would have to put in a lot of time to train and mentor me. But Josh was willing to take a chance on me and to put that time in, and this completely changed the trajectory of my career - for the better.
I am so grateful to have gotten to have Josh as a manager and as a friend and I’m really not sure what I’m going to do without him. Luckily I have his phone number, and am connected to him on at least five types of social media, so I fully intend to continue to bug him with my endless stream of questions.
Also I’d like to take this opportunity to share a picture of me and Josh that I think sums up the majority of our relationship.
There’s a picture somewhere of Josh doing a keg stand after an intense Jenga session at the office and this is the only thing I choose to remember him by.
There are many things I’m going to miss about Josh, but many more things that I’m not going to miss about Josh. To include, but not limited to:
- Stories about Josh in high school
- Stories about Josh eating eggs
- Seeing Josh in a sweater vest
- Josh’s rants about our “incorrect” usage of the word “vague”
- Josh’s rants in general
Josh has been a great boss, and an even greater friend. I am fortunate for the time we worked together, but heart broken that it was so short. He will be missed.
Fun facts about Josh:
- Loves chickpeas🍛😋
- Passed on his hatred of pears to his baby 🍐😠
- Eats many eggs on a regular basis 🍳🍳🍳🍳🍳
- Knows more about the trains than you do 🚂
- Obsessed with beating Jenga 🙇💭🏆
- Hidden talent: karaoke 🎤🎶
Josh came to the Kinja team a few years ago, and since then he has not only championed the development of the analytics system that we rely so heavily on today, but also become an inspiring leader who embodies the qualities that make this culture so great. Oh, and he’s also largely responsible for the thriving prank ecosystem we live in. Say hey to him if you see him walking down the street.
Thanks for being an awesome coworker, leader, and friend! Good luck in your next venture!
When I was in college (for those keeping track at home, this was basically yesterday), my friends always joked that one day I would go work at Gawker. That didn’t exactly happen... But today, as the newbie in the data engineering family, I credit Josh as one of the people who brought me into the fold here and made it feel close enough.
Josh is the textbook definition of a good manager, who let a team come together and thrive, all while not letting us take ourselves too seriously. He’s the kind of leader that changed what I thought it meant to be in charge and helped me get hooked on the data team’s gospel early during my time here. It also helps that he’s saved me from embarrassment a few times and listened to my endless rants about the meaning of the color purple (the color, not the book). Oh, and he didn’t fire me on the multiple times I low-key called him an old man, so that’s nice.
So, thanks Dr. Eggman (if that’s even your real name). I’ll miss you and promise to keep logging my hours after you leave. Just don’t expect me to turn on the lights in the tech huddle.
In a sea of endless Joshes, Laurito shone as a leader above all others.
I considered Josh my friend until he started referring to me solely as ‘the devil.’ Now he is my enemy. Good riddance, Eggman. Just kidding, love ya Josh. I bully to cover up my sadness. It has been a joy to work with you and to Jenga with you.
Kanwar Kultar Gill, former Director of Dev Ops at Gawker, current Engineering Manager, SRE at Flatiron Health
I met Josh a very long time ago, a time when things were happy and some dude with the initials HH was just your usual shitty actor. I was regaled with his stories about circumnavigating the world. I was enthralled at how passionate he was about his `big data`. Which, looking back, I think he was talking about something else.
Alas, it is an interesting situation to find myself (having moved on from the world of Kinja some time ago) saying Good Bye to this big walking mass of every stereotype you can think of associated with a Josh. Well, let’s see.. how will we be affected by the loss of the greatest Josh I know?
I just spent the last 3 days trying to put this together and all I can come up with is that Josh has ruined all other Josh’s for me. Any time I go on to meet someone called Josh I automatically put them to the standard of the greatest Josh of all time. They always fail to meet expectations.
To wrap this up for you all... Josh is one heck of a guy, the fact he has a mini-Josh in this world makes it that much better. Now, the legacy of how great Josh was and all he will ever be can be passed down through the generations.
Josh, if you’re reading this: