First off, before the trolls decide to start dicking around and call this linkbait/sucking up, it’s not. TechCrunch or Mike Arrington have never covered any project I’ve been a full time employee of or had an equity stake in. Honestly, I don’t care if they do. It would be nice, but only if it merits the write up. I’ve only spoken personally with Mike once at the TC headquarters/ his house, back when Noah put on a very small event there for close friends. So no, I’m not a part of the inside circle or a close friend writing some bullshit puff piece. These are my honest to God thoughts, and if you know me, I don’t tend to bullshit.
I want to take you back to mid-2005. At that point, I downloaded a feed reader, started subscribing to some blogs,etc. The blog world was insanely nascent. VentureBeat didn’t exist, as Matt Marshall was authoring SiliconBeat, Techmeme was tech.memeorandum, and YCombinator had just funded its first cycle that summer (reddit, loopt,etc. were in that funding cycle). There was also this Scoble guy, who worked for Microsoft. Web 2.0 was still a vague term, not in the sense that it has been diluted and overused like today, but in the fact that so much opportunity existed. It was evolving right in front of us. If you were into the scene then, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I started reading TechCrunch back in late June/ early July. I remember one of the first posts I read, happened to be a commentary on the July 7 bombings in London. I was in New Jersey, taking a vacation, and figuring out what I wanted to do in the startup world (it would eventually turn into Publictivity a year later). I actually remember it as clear as day with CNN running clips in the background. I thought this was a pretty interesting blog, so I added it to my feed reader and continued to come back everyday. Most of the reviews were basically simple profiles of the company at that point, but they were good. The one thing that really piqued my interest was the focus on the entrepreneurs themselves, and the story behind the company. It wasn’t about being sensationalist, but it was about that classic entrepreneur story.
All of a sudden this thing known as Web 2.0 was gaining a lot of traction. Companies like MySpace were bought for 580 million. Notice the title by SiliconBeat- Web 2.0 Peak? MySpace Sells For 580 Million. THAT WAS BACK IN JULY History was happening before our eyes. More blogs like Mashable started to pop up, and what went from a manageable list of information, became a complete and utter shit show of information overload.
So why do I still read TechCrunch and enjoy it? Yes I may think it’s not what it once was, and sometimes has retarded articles. I think it comes down to two aspects:
- The Entrepreneurs- It still focuses on the entrepreneurs and that passion is still there. It’s able to help entrepreneurs get spotlight for their company, and really show what makes them tick. I think it’s been diluted to some degree due to the fact it is now a decent sized business, which a staff depends upon for a living.
- Breaking News- The team busts their ass with no sleep to break stories. Most other blogs follow on afterwards to break the news. Seriously, it’s a huge fucking echo chamber, with very little analysis. TC still gives me analysis and breaks news that I care about. That’s journalism to me. I don’t care what purists say.
I hope that this recession provides us one thing, and that’s going back to the basics. I hope the echo chamber decreases, and communities I care about like Hacker News continue to be a great community. I don’t know what the future holds for TechCrunch. This horseshit about people spitting on Michael Arrington is ridiculous and disgusting (I won’t comment on that further it’s not my place, as it’s his personal business). TechCrunch still breaks stories and it still does a great service for entrepreneurs, so i’ll stick around.
My only gripe, I think comes in the form of unnecessary articles. Most of which are about silly Twitter apps, their downtime, or something of the sorts. Some of the startups covered aren’t that good at all by just reskinning an open source piece of software. I’d rather see more investigative stories than stories about 13 year old entrepreneurs in ScotLand reskinng wordpressMU.
I think if I could wish one thing, it would be for Mike to spin off a new blog, that’s not affiliated with TechCrunch at all, or has the commercial pressures of a big time blog network. Purely about entrepreneurs, and lets him focus on what he’s passionate about- breaking stories about passionate entrepreneurs.