Washingtonian: Is the Blogger “Mr. Cranky” Out to Save DC’s Tech Industry—Or Destroy It?
For years, Glen Hellman has been sniping at local digital bigwigs. Now, they’re starting to shoot back.
One morning last April, a FedEx worker showed up at Glen Hellman’s red-brick Colonial house in Oakton. Hellman typically works out of an office upstairs, posting entries on his blog, Driven Forward, which covers DC’s tech-startup scene. After signing for the package, he opened a letter that read urgent—for immediate review. Inside was a cease-and-desist letter from a lawyer representing the co-founder of Trustify, a startup that has been a consistent target of Hellman’s blogging over the years.
“It was a complete surprise,” says Hellman, who considers himself an unofficial watchdog of the region’s tech industry. “I remember thinking, ‘This is going to be so fun.’” His wife, Nancy Nolting, was less thrilled. When she went out that night with friends, they’d already heard the news. “One of them looked at me and said, ‘What’s going on? Glen’s getting sued?’ I was floored,” she says. “That kind of stuff makes me nervous, but he seems to be fine with it.”