Kinja Data Team

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Ernie, the Prince of Kinja, Has Left the Building

Ernie in his normal day-to-day getup
Photo: Victor Jeffreys II

After more than half a decade dealing with bad blogs, wonky support tickets, several sales, and #_k_the_roundtable, Ernie “bigman5” Deeb is finally following the advice of health experts and is never coming back. At least that’s what we’re telling people. In reality, the horde of A.V. Club commenters found him and chased him out of town. So it goes.

Alas here we—his friends, frenemies, outright enemies, and bloggers—are to celebrate the tenure of a man whose time here was once described as “good work.” While we might forget the patience he had in dealing with us, we will never forget his company memes or strange obsession with construction #content.

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On Ernie’s last day, it is only fitting that we would receive a post save error while trying to put together this tribute to his 6+ years on the Kinja team.

Jamie Levinson, senior product manager at Kinja

Ernie Deeb has questionable taste in baseball teams and bad sports takes. That’s basically a lie. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten into a legitimate debate with him, but it feels good to roast! He is also fond of showcasing a sword in his apartment when he is on a video call. Which is a mildly threatening move for a “nice” guy. Despite all of these shortcomings I’m going to miss him. A lot even. Ernie was one of the first people I met after The Onion merged with GMG and I knew instantly that he was pretty cool. I think most people have similar Ernie stories so I’ll skip the details (I sure hope I’m not the only one that sent a response to this roast). Goodbye Big PM5. See you on the other side.

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Ali Phillippides, former Kinja product manager

Ernie is the coolest person to ever work at G/O, Gizmodo, Gizmoda, Gawker, GMG Media and all the evidence you need is in this photograph that he made me take of him on the roof of the old office.

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Long live Ernie, the king of Kinja!

Nick Eckhart, former Kinja product manager

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Michael Butkovic, Kinja engineer

Before I go on saying anything else about Ernie, let me start out by saying he has, essentially, what amounts to an innumerable number of bad opinions. I don’t think a day went by in our two years of working in the same office where I didn’t think “Jesus, what a stupid opinion.” Whether it be his weird, unyielding loyalty for the Mets or the Knicks, his hatred of LeBron James (the greatest Basketball player of all time,) or his bad takes on candy or any really food item, dude is chock full of just straight garbage ideas. His proclivity for saying dumb bullshit, though, is only really beaten by his ability to put up with things that no other human being should ever have to put up with. My start of working with Ernie was with the “Migration Team,” a small group of developers on a death march to make exactly no one happy, migrating the AvClub over to Kinja. During this time readers were confused and somewhat angry about perceived and potential changes to the site. To smooth this gap over, Ernie had the great idea to fly out to Chicago, lock himself in a conference room, and let the entire commenting community yell at him for around 3 hours. When I finally saw him around the end of the day, I asked if he was ok after what amounted to an unmitigated disaster, and he essentially shrugged off the question and left for the day. Later, on a separate but equally terrible migration, a coworker lending some assistance to the project and I were talking about the crazy timelines these projects tended to have and they quipped “I don’t know how Ernie does it, he’s like a wizard or something.” And in a weird way they were totally right. He was the most level headed and chill project manager you could have on projects where people should be absolutely losing their minds and pulling their hair out. That’s the last good thing I ever want to say about Ernie though, so goodbye. Good luck at your next gig and for the love of god please throw away your Funko Pops.

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Tom Ley, features editor, Deadspin

Ernie Deeb is the only objectively cool person who has ever worked for G/O Media, Gizmodo Media, and Gawker Media.

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Jenni Bruno, employee at G/O Media

As others have mentioned, Ernie is one of the coolest people at G/O Media. He’s so cool that I didn’t know how to talk to him for the first six months we worked together — even though we sat directly across from each other. One day, I made a point of saying “Good Morning! How was your night?”, and then the next morning I asked again, and again, and again, until it became a tradition. Ernie and I no longer sit together, and our tradition has long faded... but in its place is a friendship that I will miss terribly once he leaves (because he will officially be dead to me).

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Goodbye Ernie and thanks for all the memes!

Michael Hertzberg, senior Kinja engineer

Ernie, it’s been such a pleasure to have known and worked with you. I know that although I’ve never had Jarg with you at Sick (Sweet) and Vicious, I’ve at the very least shared some of the most vile flavors of La Croix with you (coconut — sorry). Also, I lost my draft post. Do something about it.

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Josh Laurito, former head of data engineering

Ernie likes to keep things short. He shortened his (already pretty short!) name into a nickname, then squeezed that into 5 letters for his twitter handle. His goodbye post to Allison was only one word long! Heck, he even roots for the Knicks and Mets solely because he’ll never have to worry about them extending their seasons.

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So let me be brief: Ernie is terrific. I am excited to visit him at work in the future and make his coworkers uncomfortable with my fanboi-dom, whether he invites me or not.

I have tons of other things I’d like to say, but I’ll just link to them instead, to keep it quick. Ernie, best of luck at the new gig, and I’ll see you at the bar.

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Allison Wentz, former director of engineering, editor of Spreadsheets, etc.

Ernie has been my sworn enemy for the entire time he’s worked at Gawker/Gizmodo/Fusion/G/O Media. I’m pretty sure our enemyship began when I was a lowly ad ops coordinator and Ernie was on the support team, where it was his job to listen to my frequent complaints that “ads were broken” and attempt to triage the issue. Turns out, 90% of the time it was an ad ops issue (i.e. my fault) but I continued to bug Ernie often, and so began our glorious antagonism.

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Ernie “long straw” Deeb

But it hasn’t been all hatred between us. Thanks to Ernie, I’ve learned a small amount about sports, from following him on Twitter and reading part of that Knicks liveblog that he, Mason and Nick did (which, fun fact, was actually in the top 5 liveblogs in terms of number of updates posted, beating the majority of editorial liveblogs).

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And, in one tech talk recently, Jesse was saying something about Ernie leaving and referenced his “seven or eight” year tenure, and I stopped myself from yelling out “actually six and a half.” So you’re welcome for that, Ernie.

But in all seriousness, Ernie has always been one of the true believers in and defenders of our brands and Kinja, and G/O Media will undoubtably be a much worse place without him. But I know that, no matter where you go, you’ll never stop pumping those fellers, Ernesto.

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Also, sorry I didn’t listen to you about unionizing until it was too late lol (yikes).

Tyler Alicea, business intelligence analyst at G/O Media

I have mixed feelings about Ernie the Kinja tech. On the one hand, he is a great person and fights the noble fight on the memes front. On the other hand, Ernie is the sworn enemy of my good friend, former boss, and meme queen Allison. You can see how I’d be stuck in a tricky situation.

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So instead, I’ll just say this: This company has done some whack stuff in the two or so years I’ve worked here. But pushing out Ernie—a man who already must suffer enough from being a New York sports fan and supporter of bad candies— is one of the most questionable decisions yet. Not only has this guy seen some shit, he’s the one gritting his teeth, doing your dirty work, and then making some good ass Kinjas inspiring commenters like this:

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Respeto. Randy and I will pour one out for you at Shake Shack.

Josh Holbrook, former senior engineer at FMG

I will never roast ernie

Prithvi Gandhi, analyst at G/O Media

Ernie is the best, and I’m really going to miss him! Even though I never directly worked with him on any projects, he still made me feel a part of the tech team. He’s always doing his best to make people feel welcome and included and his calm demeanor during these company changes helped a lot! I wish him the best on his next adventure!

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Ben Regenspan, former Kinja developer

In the biblical story of Samson, Samson is a fellow with super-human strength who is sneakily forced by Philistines to get rid of his long hair, which it turns out was the source of his power. Substitute “super-human strength” with “supernatural ability to keep Kinja running”, “hair” with “shorts”, and “Philistines” with “the G/O Media Dress Code”, and now you have the story of Ernie. This is a man who does not like being told not to wear shorts, but is otherwise a fantastic human being and the best possible coworker/Philistine-slayer.

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Tell Paul Ford I’m sorry that we probably didn’t actually fix all the bugs he posted about.

Claire Neveu, former staff engineer at GMG

When Ernie moved into product management, I was working on a very technical project. Our head of product thought it would be a great project for Ernie to get his feet wet. If I’d known saying yes would result in Ernie and I being joined at the hip for the next year and a half, I would have said no.

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Of course, that would have been a mistake on my part. While my constant partnership with Ernie was somewhat reluctant, it was ultimately what I needed to get through a difficult year in GMG history.

As Univision asked more and more of us and wrecked what we’d worked hard to build, Ernie kept a level head. When I stressed out about getting impossible asks done on time, Ernie gave me perspective. Ernie trusted my judgement even when he didn’t understand and helped even when he didn’t have to.

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Good luck Ernie.

Kelly Monson, former frontend software edgelord

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Joyce Tang, executive managing editor at GMG

Ernie is a legend. Everything I know about life I learned from Ernie. Let me revise that. Everything I know about Kinja I learned from Ernie. I’m not sure that’s saying much because I don’t know all that much about Kinja (its powers are so vast). As is his way, Ernie opened his arms to the site formerly known as Fusion and the people who worked for it, helped migrate our content over to Kinja, then redirect it all to Splinternews.com (it’s Splinter!!!, long live), and did that with such efficiency and competence that all the work involved felt invisible, at least to a chump editorial person such as myself. Ernie has been one of the kindest people I’ve met at this company. He’s proven to be a true champion of the editorial team, and someone who cares deeply about these sites’ readers and their experience of it and the communities built up around them. He is, like many people who have passed through this place, someone who can’t help but do the right thing. Guess that’s why he’s leaving us. Goodbye to a(nother) real one.

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Jon Eiseman, head of social and audience

Ernie Deeb singlehandedly built Kinja, and now that it is completely free of bugs or any problems, he gets to ride off into the sunset. Congrats, ernie.

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Melissa Kirsch, editor-in-chief, Lifehacker

I am mulling this ancient Zen koan, “What is Kinja without Ernie?,” and it’s certain to occupy my waking and sleeping hours for the rest of my days. Ernie knows how I feel about him leaving. It may be many lifetimes before we grasp the profundity of the loss.

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Stephen Totilo, editor-in-chief, Kotaku

Ernie is irreplaceable—an ally to editorial with an unerring instinct about what has made this place special. He’s also the best Joker.

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Riley MacLeod, editor-at-large, Kotaku

At another recent going away party, Ernie, another writer, and I had a long conversation about starring images versus embiggening posts to make the top image big. Ernie—who would know—insisted they did the same thing; the writer and I were unconvinced. As we hollered incredulously to each other in the noisy bar, I got to witness in person the immense patience Ernie has to evince every day as he makes us stuff, tells us he made it, and then watches us break it. If Ernie ever got mad at the distractible, ego-filled bloggers and readers who find ways to ruin Kinja on a daily basis, he never let on. He never even told me to shut up for constantly talking in tech problems Slack. I hope in his new life he does not have to deal with people constantly asking him how to file a bug report, even though he put the option right there in the CMS so we would stop asking him.

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Tercius Bufete, commerce editor & Winston-main

Ernie is a goddamn Hanzo-main. Good riddance.

Danielle Belton, editor-in-chief, The Root

Dearest Ernie:

I will always remember how certain members of my staff at The Root played a rude guessing game of “what is Ernie” while drunk on power and “froses” at the now-defunct restaurant, Republic, in Union Square. But, more importantly, what I will always remember is that during that lengthy, bizarre, borderline kind of rude discussion (...that I fully participated in), was that I was right. I was totally right about you. As in I was correct that you took a DNA test, and, as it turns out, you are 100 percent ah-mah-zing ... a snazzy dresser, funny, charming and an all-around talented and wonderful individual. Feels good being right. Feels good, indeed.

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P.S. I will miss you. Don’t forget to write.

Love,

Danielle

Kelly Bourdet, editor-in-chief, Gizmodo

It’s tough to roast Ernie because, as I’m sure many of my other colleagues will note, he’s one of the kindest and most competent people who have worked here.

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I will say that one day over the summer Ernie added me to a private slack channel dedicated to tea. At first, like any sane person, I believed I had been invited to a secret gossip slack, and I was both excited and flattered. “if memory serves correct kelly bourdet is a teahead,” Ernie wrote. Still under the impression that this was a shit-talking channel, I agreed.

It was later revealed to be a slack for actual tea enthusiasts, and I have no idea why Ernie thought to add me (I don’t drink tea). But I appreciated the gesture, and I will miss Ernie and his tea takes very much.

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Drew Magary, columnist at Deadspin

Ernie when I paste something into Kinja the cursor suddenly teleports somewhere else in the body of the post! What the fuck, man? Can you help fix ty

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Barry Petchesky, deputy editor, Deadspin

Ernie is a lifelong, committed, haplessly optimistic fan of the New York Knicks. I can’t roast him any harder than life has already.

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and finally...

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