About The Pessimist™

The Pessimist is a daily journal of news, views and miscellany from the writers of Despair, Inc.

The Pessimist™ serves many purposes, all of them depressing.  First, it’s Despair’s realtime take on select news of the day- whether that be cultural, politlcal or corporate.  Favorite topics include the Motivation Industry, workplace culture and the boundlessness of human stupidity- but honestly, we’re great lovers of the occasional weird tangent, too.  (Actually we’re just great lovers, period*.)

But we’re not just interested in giving our infinitely enlightened daily take on news.  With The Pessimist, we’re also aiming to offer richer, more idiosyncratic fare.  Critical essays on Management Theory might rest uncomfortably alongside recollections of teenage psychiatric hospitalization, an employee-driven political liveblog, Austin shoutouts, or advice on how to remain a man while watching one of the girliest shows in history.

We also occasionally run photo caption contests, overhype new Despair products, and offer periodic glimpses into the life and peculiar history at Despair, Inc. itself.  Why would you care about that?  You probably shouldn’t.  But since we’ve been around longer than Google, invented the Demotivational Poster, trademarked an emoticon that pre-dated us by 16 years, tell a great pre-billionaire Mark Cuban story, unknowingly had our products included as set dressing in the Greatest Show in the History of Television, authored what the Financial Times called “the most daring, funny and subversive management book ever” and not so long ago made a $500,000 mistake that nearly bankrupted us, you could do worse.  (So our epic Internet saga is at least more interesting than that “rich, hunky giants get richer” sob story the Winklevoss twins keep telling, right?)

So we hope at least some of you will you’ll stick around and make The Pessimist a part of your daily or weekly reading.  We’ll try to not waste too much of your time.  We’d really rather you waste your money, anyway.

* Not really.  Sorry ladies**.

Meet The Team

Justin Sewell

Justin is the CEO and head writer of Despair. He eagerly anticipates the day when this will translate into special treatment at the finer Austin establishments. Or even the dumpier ones. Would it kill Opal Divine’s to spot him a shot of Lagavulin 16 now and again? No, it would not. He’s just saying.

Mark Straub

Mark began with Despair in 2004, and proved shockingly good at support. He’s now Managing Editor of The Pessimist (though he sometimes writes book reviews for NPR when he thinks we’re not looking). He continues, there and elsewhere, to insist his real name is Mike. He’ll figure it out sooner or later.

E.L. Kersten, Ph.D

Dr. Kersten is COO and a co-founder of Despair. He has a Ph.D in Management Communications- and no, it’s not the mail order kind that ‘Dr.’ John Gray has. We do not recommend arguing about Management Theory with him. Seriously, just don’t.

Ted Blundt

Ted works in Accounting. His perpetual water-cooler political grousing became so unendurable that we had no choice. We made him a columnist. Now he can annoy you as much as he does us. Sorry.

Some Temp

Some temp works in the warehouse with a lot of other some temps. Jam band bassist, unapologetic lover of tukes, and incisive political commentator. Pick one.

Amanda Joyce

Amanda isn't just an authority on online Marketing. She's also a fashion and manners expert from whom we constantly learn so much. (Like did you know there's a special fork your supposed to use to eat salad? We didn't!)

Walt Stokes

Saddled with the hardest and most thankless jobs at Despair, Walter joined the company in 2000. When he was ten. He's now irreplaceable. If you try to steal him, we will hunt you down and kill you. Just don't.

** Especially you, Penny. I tried. I really did.