For those of you attending Mix 07 in Las Vegas: I’m thinking of having a mini-party in my suite at the Venetian on Tuesday evening. I don’t know of any other events that night. Am I missing something? Let me know in the comments if you are in town and interested in coming.
Something tells me the really good stuff in technology is yet to come. Once they have a fully emulated human brain we can debate endlessly on whether it is self aware or not.
I just finished reading a long story in MSM about a hot startup. I spent a lot of time on the phone with the reporter and the entire story is based on data in a post that I wrote. My name wasn’t mentioned. TechCrunch wasn’t mentioned.
I believe this marks the last time I serve as the research department for newbie tech reporters.
I’m getting a lot of feedback from people complaining that we aren’t writing about them because we don’t get an exclusive on the story. I just want to make my policy on embargoes and exclusives clear.
Embargoes: This is news that’s delivered to us early under a verbal agreement that we will not post early. We have never broken an embargo except for the Justin.tv launch, which was a mixup. Nick Gonzales wrote the story and sent it to me for review. I hit publish without realizing there was an embargo. The funny thing is I then got caught up watching the show, and heard the justin.tv guys screaming that the post went up too early and brought their site down. It all worked out and I apologized personally to them. But other than that one time, we’ve never broken an embargo.
Exclusives: We never require them and are often offered them. I know how the game works – the PR firm tells everyone an embargo, then tells us we can write early. Then they tell everyone else we broke the embargo. But we’re being accused of demanding an exclusive or we won’t write about the company. That’s ridiculous and it would only hurt ourselves. Now sometimes companies come to us for the first time after they’ve gotten a lot of press from others. We may choose not to write in that situation because the company is already known. They and their VCs often get pissed off. But they can’t tell the real story (that they forgot to ping us on a story) and so they say we demand exclusives instead. They are lying.
The truth is though that it doesn’t matter if they’re lying or not. When enough people say that TechCrunch demands exclusives it effectively becomes true. Then other journalists write about how we demand exclusives. Suddenly, we have a reputation and the reality of the situation no longer matters.
Our policy is clear: we want to write about stuff on the same deadlines as everyone else. If you give someone else an exclusive, don’t expect us to automatically write about you.
On a related note, I’m finding a number of PR firms that are really dishonest. They give us or others exclusives without telling other people. Then when the first publication writes, they say that they broke the embargo. They have no problem flat out lying and get extremely agitated when they are called on their bs. I follow up on these accusations and call the reporter in question. When I see a pattern emerge around a particular PR firm, we stop doing business with them and ask to be taken off their distribution list. We’ll still write about companies they represent, but I go through the CEO or founders directly and won’t work with their PR.
On the other end of the spectrum are firms that are always above reproach. Not only do we work with them, I recommend them to startups looking for a good firm.
Despite my frequent jabs at Wired, they were (and I mean “were”) considering doing an article on TechCrunch and the upcoming TechCrunch20 conference. Fred Vogelstein (a very well respected journalist – this is the guy Microsoft was keeping a file on) was pinging people to get their perspective. Dave Winer and Jason Calacanis refused to talk to him by phone (email only), and blew the issue up on their blogs. This is now the top story on TechMeme. Let’s just say that the smart money is saying the Wired article is now history. Not because they wouldn’t talk to Fred, but because the whole story about TechCrunch is little more than a backstory now on this much more interesting fight against mainstream media.
Jason and Dave are both friends and business colleagues (Jason is my partner on TechCrunch20, Dave is on the advisory panel for the conference and in the past I have represented him as an attorney).
I’m not sure why this riled Jason up enough to post on it. Generally when a reporter contacts me about a story I consider that sacred ground and don’t mess around. I certainly don’t write a blog post about the conversation until, at least, after the reporter has written her or his piece. If he doesn’t want to talk to him other than via email, cool. But why post on it and blow the (my) story?
And I think Dave read the Wired blog post on the matter incorrectly (or didn’t read it at all). It was clearly just poking fun at the whole situation – “we may not be as conversant with this newfangled “e-mail” and other cutting edge technologies as you, Mr. Calacanis, but that does not mean we are slow or dim-witted. In time, we even hope to make our RSS feeds available to the wider world by telegraph machine.” Dan Gillmor is similarly clueless.
Thanks guys, I’ll get you back next time around (and that is a joke, Dave).
People talk about blogs being shallow, but I’d be embarrassed to post something like this ridiculous article on why a certain VC won’t invest in new internet startups.
First of all, its a rip off of a widely discussed blog post by Jeremy Liew (see Tim O’Reilly as well). Neither of these posts are mentioned or linked to in the CNET article. My bet is the writer of the article doesn’t know about Liew’s post; if he had, he’d probably not have written the article. CNET says they have no editorial rules against linking to blogs, so it just works out that way coincidentally I guess. Nothing worth pointing to out there in the blogosphere.
Second, its premise is overly simplified. The VC is sitting on the sidelines justifying his position while more aggressive competitors are out making all the money. This type of VC did the same thing in the nineties until it was very late in the game, saying the Internet made no sense. In 1999 they jumped in with both feet, driving the early investors (who were now very, very rich) out of the market and pushing the bubble higher than ever. If you don’t want to invest in Internet startups, don’t. But stay the hell out of the market forever because you don’t know crap about the Internet and you’re money should be invested somewhere else.
To say that the value of a startup is based solely on page views is dangerously stupid. This article should be forwarded to Opus’ limited partners (the ones who’s money is being invested) so that they can re-think their relationship with this fund.
Third, back to CNET, the article has no context. Was this an interview? Stated at a conference or event? When and where was this said? How did this get past an editor? Are they even reading their own stuff over there?
Interesting email we received today (some text X’d out, typos left in). I’ve done a search and other blogs have written about this company today. I really hope they didn’t do what I think they might have done.
Hi, Heather Harde
I am peter XXXXX who is working for XXXX.com. My company recently lauched XXXX.com
I sent to our company pro file to http://www.techcrunch.com/submit-profile
Now if possible , we would like you to post our company’s simple article
at techcrunch.com like salesforce.com
If Nick Gonzalez or Michael Arrington introduce XXXX.com in positive way
, we can pay him for $ 1,500 USD via paypal.com or wire transfer
within one business day.
We plan to advertise monthly AD in six premium sponsorship ad ($ 10,000 per
month) after we check that Nick or Michael introduce XXXX.com in positive
XXXX.com is not defferent with other aggregating site because our user
can make great video series with others.
That is tatally different with digg.com and other video aggregating site.
Our XXXX toolbar is more powerful to search various videos in each sites.
As XXX.com saw our site and introduced XXXX.com today for free at
I don’t know it was positive article but if techcru nch.com can introduce
XXXX.com more positive way,
we can make good realationship with techcrunch.com
Please let me know if available.
Tim O’Reilly has posted a draft code of conduct that bloggers would voluntarily accept and promote. This all stems from the Kathy Sierra/Chris Locke issue from a couple of weeks ago. The New York Times is all over this as well.
I’ve mostly stayed out of this fight, but as it has gone on I’ve been more and more disappointed by what I’ve seen. I feel bad for Kathy Sierra and said as much. But she and others have milked this event for all its worth, and then some. And whenever someone, no matter how much I respect them, tries to tell me what I can and cannot do by defining “civility” around their own ideals, I tense up. It feels like a big angry mob is arming itself to the teeth and looking for targets, and I need to choose whether I’m with them or against them.
I’m not turning off anonymous comments, I’m not going to always try to talk privately with someone before i write, and I’m also not going to allow a mob to decide what types of words constitute “unacceptable content.” And I’m certainly not putting a badge on my site that says whether I comply or not.
The code of conduct and the mass of bloggers lining up behind it scares me a lot more than the hate comments and death threats I’ve received in the past. I won’t support it.
Maybe this means I won’t be invited back to Foo camp this year. Maybe it means the bloggers who think this is a good thing won’t link back to our blogs. Maybe I’ll just get a bunch of hate comments from the civility crowd. But I’m not going to do something just because I’m scared about what will happen if I don’t.
I will point out that Tony Hung’s idea of having a simple statement around a blog’s comments policy (allowing anonymous or not, deleting trolls, etc.) isn’t a bad idea. If a standard emerges around that, I’m willing to take a look. But it can’t be a black or white, you’re with us or against us, kind of thing.
I didn’t really decide to do it, but I ended up staying away from the computer for the entire weekend. Lots of my blogger friends have told me to take a day off here and there, but I never really did. For almost two years I’ve worked pretty much all the time on TechCrunch content. I don’t believe I’ve ever gone a day without writing unless I was traveling.
This weekend I discovered that I can step away from the Internet for 48 hours, and everything will be just fine when I come back.
There was actually plenty of stuff to cover this weekend, but I’m sure that the Internet will survive without my opinions on that stuff. I almost wrote about the Sam Zell debacle because picking on big media is usually something I can’t resist, but Jason Calacanis pretty much nailed the story. I have nothing else to add to what he’s said.
So what did I do all weekend? A lot of walking, both days. Maybe 10 miles total. I also spent half a day in Sonoma drinking wine with a friend and hearing about some very real and very scary real-world stuff going on in his life.
Laguna also had a good weekend. She had chopped steak 3 out of her 4 meals, and did all that walking with me.
New…umm…design at CrunchGear, our gadget focused site. Very retro.