Sherlock Homo

This Lesbian Media Power Broker Makes Mark Zuckerberg Sweat. Here’s Five Reasons We Love Her

kara-swisher-shadesThere’s a reason Kara Swisher makes Mark Zuckerberg twitch and sweat: She’s one of the most powerful digital media players today.

In fact, she wields such an influence on Silicon Valley’s wheelings and dealings, its been reported that Yahoo execs can sit and watch their stock prices plummet in direct response to her posts. She’s confrontational, hilarious, prolific, and counts the likes of Martha Stewart, Barry Diller, and Al Gore among her friends (or “frienemies,” as the case often is.)

Her lifestyle is, in her own words, “ripping apart technologists, then going to a party with them.” And yes, she’s also gay, m’kay? Having just sold her tech blog Re/Code to Vox Media, we thought it would be a good time to let everyone know about Queerty’s latest crush.

How Do We Love Tech Columnist Kara Swisher? Let Us Count The Ways. (Okay, There Are Five.)

1. She’s a strong personality who can charm any room –– or any male executive –– anywhere.

Swisher’s career began the day she rang up Larry Kramer (but not that Larry Kramer; the former Metro Editor at Washington Post). The moment he picked up the phone, Swisher lambasted the paper’s parade of factual inaccuracies and typographical errors under his watch. (Her family gave Kara the nickname Tempesta, Italian for “storm,” for good reason.) Kramer dared her to come and say that to his face. She did, and he punished her on the spot — by hiring her as a freelance reporter. Thus began a trend that’s since defined her career: expediently moving up the food chain by standing up to bigwigs.

2. The fact that she’s a lesbian isn’t nearly the most interesting thing about her.

The Princeton, New Jersey, native and Game of Thrones-obsessive is an advocate for the cause simply by being her own brash, outspoken, shameless self. (She even refers to herself as Sherlock Homo.) Her father died of a cerebral hemorrhage when he was thirty-four, and she was only five — and one of her coping mechanisms was to cultivate an unswerving, obsessive work ethic. She breaks news every week, and has an uncanny knack for weeding out well-hidden, unpleasant truths about the tech industry and the shifty people operating in it. The dearth of women in Silicon Valley is an ongoing concern. She was first to report that Mozilla’s Brendan Eich donated to anti-marriage equality Proposition 8. She exposed the fact that RadiumOne’s Gurbaksh Chabal was charged with 45 felony counts for beating his girlfriend.

“It is a constant joke in the Valley when people write memos for them to say, ‘I hope Kara never sees this,’ Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg told New York. It certainly takes a special kind of intelligence to nearly legitimize Kim Kardashian’s “entrepreneurial” exploits, as Swisher demonstrated in an intimate Re/Code interview last year.

3. She married well, very well.

In 1999, Swisher married Megan Smith, who currently serves as the Unites States’ first female  Chief Technology Officer. A highly influential executive, and one of the valley’s richest women, Smith’s intimidating resume includes a long tenure as a Google Vice President (she focused on New Business Development for nine years before becoming a VP for the leadership team) and a prior turn as the CEO of now-defunct LGBT media company PlanetOut.

For reasons unknown, the power duo — who have two young sons — are currently separated.

4. She managed to unload her tech blog to a great company (even though it’s not very popular.)

Despite the fact that Swisher’s relatively new website Re/Code hasn’t been particularly well trafficked, she’s strategically taken advantage of the ever-changing digital landscape by selling the site to Vox Media for an undisclosed sum. The all-stock deal situates Re/Code alongside popular properties The Verge and Racked, a move that’s certain to drive up traffic, which has been conspicuously flagging since Swisher and fellow journalist Walt Mossberg left the popular AllThingsD column (owned by Dow Jones) to start the venture.

“Everybody is bigger than us,” Swisher told the The New York Times. “It’s not a secret that being a smaller fish is really hard.”

5. For someone with a seriously lacking fashion sense, she’s not afraid to criticize others.

Swisher’s well aware that she doesn’t know how to dress. “I don’t have bad taste,” she told SFGate in a 2012 profile, “I have no taste. I wear a lot of the things I wore in high school, but not the cowl-neck sweaters.” (Note to Kara: cowl necks are back in.) Fortunately, that doesn’t stop her from making entertaining jibes at the ill-advised fashion choices of her peers. On investor Tony Conrad: “He’s a very good venture capitalist,” she told New York. “He also dresses like a lesbian.” This, the magazine notes, is an insult she keeps on heavy rotation: She also had the nerve to tell Twitter CEO Dick Costolo that he dresses “like Ellen.”