Last week, Nextdoor co-founder and soon-to-be-former CEO Nirav Tolia took the stage with angel investor Jason Calacanis at startup event LAUNCH Scale for a morning “fireside chat” about Nextdoor and its success. It didn’t quite go how Tolia probably expected.
“Anybody here follow @bestofnextdoor?” Calacanis asks the crowd in the clip, which LAUNCH just posted on Twitter this afternoon. “You’re all going to love this.” Onscreen was projected a picture of a screenshot from the “parody” Twitter account, featuring a print of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” with the sublime caption: “Not sure of authenticity.”
Tolia did not, in fact, “love this.” “When I showed up today and your team sprung that, sprung that, that tweet on me,” he says, clearly unamused at the notion of a Twitter parody account of his very, very successful startup, “I felt like it was important to point out for the audience that, believe it or not, in a Houston neighborhood — you can look this up, this was reported by Texas Monthly — there was an honest-to-goodness Picasso sold on Nextdoor.”
Calacanis emits a nervous laugh. “And so [this post] was the parody of [that],” Tolia continues. “Our comms people hate @bestofnextdoor.”
Tolia then very casually and not at all bitterly notes that the @bestofnextdoor Twitter account has more followers than the company’s real account — 146K to @Nextdoor’s 31.4K, as of publication — and adds that despite this, “I do find [the account] humorous.” While making this face:
“I was surprised [that] this was the first time Nirav has publicly acknowledged @bestofnextdoor!” Jenn Takahashi, the parody account’s creator, tells The Verge. “I heard through the grapevine that he wasn’t a fan of the account, and I’m still not sure why.
“I did meet up with the [Nextdoor] head of community recently and really tried to emphasize that I’m not trying to take them down or anything,” she adds. “I only post things to make people laugh, and I do my best to retract private info and protect their users’ privacy. I get a ton of really depressing submissions (I’m sure you can imagine), but I don’t post those, because I’m just trying to bring a little bit of levity back to the internet.”
The day the LAUNCH interview took place, it was also announced that Square CFO Sarah Friar would succeed Tolia as Nextdoor CEO. It remains to be seen whether Friar shares her predecessor’s disdain for the account.