Whither TechCrunch?

The media has had a lot of fun over the past week watching AOL, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and Mike Arrington figure out how to move on. I feel badly for the TechCrunch crew including MG, Erick, Sarah, and many others. They are awesome at what they do and I feel that they've been left dangling as this soap opera has played out.

I do not feel badly for Mike. He's a bigtime player in silicon valley and he will be fine. Contrary to what many in the media say, he does not need TechCrunch as a platform to be influential. He is influential becuase of who he is, not where he writes. His reputation is made and as long as he finds his next platform, be it a venture fund, a blog, or both (how can anyone have both a blog and a venture fund????), he will remain a hugely influential force in silicon valley and tech.

But TechCrunch is a big question mark. If AOL can keep the rest of the team together, then TechCrunch has a bright future. No company is so reliant on one person that they can't survive that person's departure. But if others move on, including the people I mentioned above, then TechCrunch could lose its swag, as my son would put it. Yes TechCrunch gets scoops. That happens because it has a huge audience of the right readers and people in tech choose to leak to TechCrunch to reach that audience. But TechCrunch also has a voice, a swagger, a "fuck you" attitude that comes from Mike. That can also live on without Mike if AOL allows it. They need to keep the remaining team, the voice, and that attitude if they want to remain at the top of the world of tech media.

There's also a super awesome asset inside TechCrunch that doesn't get much attention. It is Crunchbase. There have been many attempts to build premium databases for the venture capital and startup world. All of them suck. But Crunchbase, which is free, almost open, almost peer produced like Wikipedia, is fantastic. Whatever happens to TechCrunch AOL, please don't mess up Crunchbase. It is the premier data asset on the tech/startup world and an incredible example of how free beats paid in the online world we live in.

If AOL can't retain the TechCrunch team, can't maintain its voice and swagger, then TechCrunch will cease to be relevant and the audience will move on. Most likely to a new media property which most likely will be started by some number of ex TechCrunch employees. That's how it goes in media these days. Big companies don't control media assets as strongly as they used to. It doesn't cost much to publish news these days once you know what the news is. See Dan Frommer's Splatf for a great example of what can be done by one person working part time.

So I'm hoping that TechCrunch remains vital and the remaining team stays on. But I'm not terribly worried about it. The TechCrunch audience, including me, will find new sources of news, information, and entertainment elsewhere if that's what needs to happen.

#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    Hire them and turn this into AVCrunch.

    1. JamesHRH

      Funny, but yikes!TC is high school. Snarky, mean spirited, not that concerned about right or wrong, just popularity.AVC is college: fun, but serious topics debated intelligently.Fred can blog and run a fund because the blog never talks about companies performance, prospects or drama, (unless they are large companies).TC and AVC are both blogs like Frosted Flakes and Cheerios are both cereal.

      1. Harry DeMott

        Nah, AVC is more like cocktail time in the Oxford Don’s rooms. Intelligent civilized conversation over sherry  – with a little politics and vitriol occasionally thrown in.

        1. Cam MacRae

          For whatever reason I haven’t been able to “Like” on disqus for a week or two, so consider that comment liked.

        2. JamesHRH

          i will take your word on that!Rye press was the cocktail of choice @ the University of Saskatchewan.

        3. ShanaC

          Random question: How does one learn about cocktails….

          1. Cam MacRae

            One finds a lounge with comfy, well worn chairs, a commendable bookshelf, soft lit lamps, and a knowledgable barman, and proceeds to work their way through the menu.

          2. JamesHRH

            exactly, keys are bartender, atmosphere and clientele – just like AVC.

          3. ErikSchwartz


          4. ShanaC

            @cammacrae:disqus , @donnawhite:disqus , @jameshrh:disqus ,@FakeGrimlock:disqus I never order cocktails.  I don’t know what to order.  so how do you even find a bartender to tell you that?

          5. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          6. Donna Brewington White

            I would advise: One at a time.

        4. leigh

          except that chicks are welcome 🙂

          1. fredwilson

            we need a lot more!

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK

            WORKING ON IT.

          3. Guest

            Just today I was thinking that same thing by noticing that I only seem to have three I follow on my Disqus Dashboard Shana, Leigh & Tereza. If I have missed someone please let me know … that is an invite to anyone in the community not just a suggestion by Fred.{Update: oh my gosh … Donna is already on my list too. I am sorry Donna I didn’t include you in my original post but you already know you are on my list}

          4. fredwilson

            donna for sure

          5. Donna Brewington White

            @SIXSTRINGcpa:disqus Responding here because no room under your comment. (sorry Fred)NP about leaving me off the list — you’ve shown your encouragement over and over again.Can’t believe I even saw this comment while just doing a quick scan through — I hate it when Fred writes juicy  posts like this one and “What’s Going On” that I have definite opinions on when I am partially off the grid.  Will have lots of catching up to do when I get back!  Sometimes it’s good to be quiet and just listen anyway — which I still have yet to do more often!Take care.

          6. ShanaC

            Does it help that one of my best friends is getting a Phd in approximation algorithms?

  2. Horatiu Mocian

    Hi Fred,I think that the paragraph about Crunchbase from your article is very interesting and very true. It’s the best resource to get funding and team information about a start-up (especially smaller ones). And in fact I am working on a start-up (quite early stage) that leverages the Crunchbase data. Do you think it’s a better/more complete source than the Dow Jones VentureSource database (I don’t have access to that)?Thanks,HoratiuPS I have been reading your blog for a while but this is my first comment.

    1. fredwilson

      Welcome to the jungle!Crunchbase is the best in my opinion because there is an incentive to update it and make it betterUSV refuses to contribute to the paid databasesWhy would we?

      1. Scobleizer

        Fred, I totally agree. Crunchbase would be a bad thing to lose. But The Next Web is working on a better version, so even if that disappeared someone would step in with a good replacement.

        1. Michael Lewkowitz

          Wouldn’t be a stretch for AngelList to step up in there either. Whichever service comes in the key will be that there is the incentive for the community to update it. Without the community there is no life.

        2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. Horatiu Mocian

            I think Freebase is a great resource, but in terms of data about start-ups / VC funds, it’s quite poor. Crunchbase has much more data.

          2. Sebastian Wain

            This is up to the community to fill Freebase and Freebase responsability to gain traction. I mention Freebase because their semantic query possibilities goes beyond simple APIs

          3. Horatiu Mocian

            As I said, I am very bullish on Freebase, but I believe that vertical databases, like Crunchbase, will always have a better data coverage in their respective areas. Freebase is a general knowledgebase, it is huge, and very useful, but for some verticals there are better, specialized offerings.

          4. Tatum

            I agree with Fred on the value of Crunchbase (and the team at TC) having a ton of value. Like Horatiu, I think it is hard for general data platforms to get much attention and contribution. People contribute to the database at TC because they are part of the community, so they feel more tied to the data. Vertical databases powered by social context are super powerful.

          5. fredwilson

            That would be killer. A data coop

          6. Daniel Tunkelang

            As my friend Rob Gonzalez says, structured data repositories are a public good that no one is ever willing to pay for. Freebase has always sounded great in theory, but has never lived up to its promise because it can’t deliver on coverage.http://thenoisychannel.com/

          7. Vasudev Ram

            True.  @FakeGrimlock:disqus , your comments seem quite sharp. I’m wondering if you are a human with AI (good working AI, that is) added to you somehow 🙂

          8. FAKE GRIMLOCK


        3. fredwilson

          Has thenextweb’s crunchbase competitor launched? I’d love to see it

        4. Vasudev Ram

          Yes, Crunchbase is good. They have an API too. @Scobleizer:disqus : if you have a link to The Next Web’s better version, please share it; thanks in advance.

      2. Horatiu Mocian

        Thanks!Do you think is viable to build a start-up around Crunchbase data (with added value?). I certainly think so, but I heard a lot of contrary opinions.

        1. Stacy Cowley

          SecondMarket is doing some of that — Crunchbase powers their new-ish company profile/info feature. 

        2. Nik Cubrilovic

          It has been attempted by other well-funded startups – most failed. We spent a lot of time and money investing in both the technology and content in Crunchbase (the content was 4-5 people fulltime), and could afford to run it as a loss-leader since it was tied to the frontend business.

      3. ElliotGreen

        Fred, you talk about Crunchbase as a “super awesome asset”.  Super awesome for you, sure.  But with all due respect, what’s so super awesome about it for AOL if you and everybody else would never pay for it?

        1. matthughes

          Taking a stab…It seems like the value is in being a portal to most of the best tech companies (startups in particular).Maybe it’s not a service in-of-itself that people are willing to (or should) pay for but it opens the door to sponsorships, M & A, partnerships, etc.That’s a different kind of currency for AOL – one that has probably served TC really well over the years.

        2. fredwilson

          all the same things that make wikipedia super awesome

          1. ElliotGreen

            I hear you if it were truly the case that CrunchBase were a self-sustaining wiki with volunteer moderators, etc. like Wikipedia.  But simply refer to a comment made just below this one by a former TC employee (Nik Cubrilovic).  TC apparently had 4 to 5 full-time resources dedicated to providing content to Crunchbase.  The idea that it’s a self-sustained wiki is a farce. Wiki plays some role I’m sure, but dedicated resources were providing much of the content you enjoy for free.It made sense for TC as a loss leader to drive people to the main attraction: their blog.  I suppose someone else could successfully capture this same model in the future, but no sooner will it happen than the creation of the next super-engaging/influential tech blog that were to take the place of TC.  And let’s face it: TCs don’t come around too often.  Otherwise Crunchbase is going to be too expensive to run and maintain unless people are willing to pay for the data.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. Keith Teare

            If only Crunchbase really had 4-5 full time employees ….. it is run on a shoestring. There are literally thousands of daily edits to approve……A few interns, and 1 partly allocated engineer.How do I know? My wife is its product manager.Crunchbase was Mike’s original idea. He and Gené will love hearing how much it is valued.

    2. Mark Essel

      You’ve got access to the best data with CrunchBase. Hope to see more of your comments as your efforts progress :).

      1. Horatiu Mocian

        Thanks! I’ll keep you updated.

    3. ShanaC


  3. William Mougayar

    I agree with everything you said. I was surprised that Mike decided to cling on & fight back but that’s his nature it seems. At the heart of this saga is editorial control apparently, although it seems to me the senior writers at TC have a sense of self-editorial oversight.Maybe the moral of this is that big media is a thing of the past. TC is TC because it is nimble, small, fast, baggage free & dogmatic. Can AOL keep them that way is the big question.

    1. CJ

      I don’t about baggage free but I agree with the rest. 😀

  4. 2joshis

    Hi Fred,The point about crunchbase is a valid one, a lot of usefull intellectual property/tools created by startups disappear if they are shut one way or other.With more open source contribution happening during the life time of startups e.g. etsy’s opensourcing there deploy tool this is getting better.Would be good to see more companies free up there gems rather than mothball them

  5. andyswan

    My only interactions over the years with Arrington has been him ignoring my companies and him disagreeing with me in a snarky, arrogant public manner.I couldn’t respect him more. Swagger up!PoHuff is an infection that AOL invited into its bloodstream, and they’ll get what they deserve once they’ve ejected all of the quality small teams from their system. I’m quite sure that Mike and the rest of the Techcrunch team will be more than fine in the end.    

    1. Andrew Brackin

      Totally agree, great way to sum it up. How would Arriana Huffington know about real journalism. 

      1. JamesHRH

        Sorry Andrew, but what does Arrington know about real journalism?Its pretty obvious that TC is merely a means to Mike’s personal ends. If he cared about TC as a standalone entity, he would never have tried to leverage the Crunch brand.

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


  6. leigh

    I can’t think of many start ups off hand that have thrived well after they’ve been bought.  Sometimes makes me wonder why big corps even bother in the first place.  



      1. fredwilson

        And greedy

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. Guest

            I sense a Fake Grimlock t-shirt slogan using that reply.

          2. David Shellabarger

            I definitely want to a t-shirt with GRIMLOCK’s face that says, “GREEDY IS SUBSET OF STUPID.”That would be great.

          3. fredwilson


          4. JamesHRH

            Can’t Zazzle in Canada – must have T shirt. Ping me @ [email protected] . I will pay p&h!

          5. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      2. Carl Rahn Griffith

        And all too often ego-driven…(Caveat: alter-egos are OK, FAKEG)  😉

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK

          OF COURSE THEM IS.

      3. JamesHRH

        and self centered

      4. ShanaC

        and kind, and smart.  I’m glad i’m human and not a dinobot.  I like being made of flesh…

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. ShanaC

            and robots are so hard and pointy!

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      5. testtest


    2. Guest

      You Get an AMEN from me on that one for sure.

    3. JamesHRH

      Leigh – you are very right here, acquirers are rarely good at acquiring.Amazon doing it best now, just providing infrastructure and $$$ post purchase. John Chambers used to say that M&A was based mostly on cultural fit. Its like a combination of market coverage, structure and culture.MS and Google just don’t make big buys. Apple doesn’t make any….

      1. Guest

        And this is not just a tech industry phenomenon either from my experiences. I have seen ‘poor’ acquisition integrations in a variety of industries. It is just flat out tough!

        1. leigh

          Yep – in advertising, digital etc. most fail if they try to integrate into current offering instead of letting x co continue on their own (with specifici integration points ala HR, recruitment, systems etc.)



      3. Vasudev Ram

        Apple does acquire, IIRC. They bought that semiconductor / processor maker (name eludes me right now, you can Google for it) just a few yeas ago, the maker has some advanced chip tech, and I think I read somewhere that they are using that company’s processors (now theirs, of course) nowadays in their products.

    4. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      One of the strategies is to buy and kill if the big guy thinks the small guy can become a competitor at some point … it happens all the time in healthcare industries.Here I think it is no common business vision leading to ” I donno what and why the hell i am do so”.

    5. andyswan

      I think you might be missing a big point…..a lot of acquisitions are made not for the business itself (it is expected to fade off), but for the underlying technology and team.  In other words, just because you don’t see the original business/brand continuing to kick ass, doesn’t mean that the parts they bought aren’t helping the larger company in an even bigger way.

      1. leigh

        I think that is a good point – (Facebook acquisition of Blake Ross and Parakey great example) -but I think it’s as often as you see the inevitable blog post of the start up that say – after X yrs as part of Google/Yahoo/MSFT we are shutting down/leaving/etc.  (I liked to call Yahoo acquisitions Yahoothinization for that very reason – mybloglog anyone?)

      2. MarkUry

        Agree with you generally, but in this case AOL wasn’t buying technology, and the team was built around Mike’s DNA. Without him, they paid $50m for 3 or 4 modestly talented writers. Doesn’t seem like competent M&A to me.

      3. JamesHRH

        I don’t see Fred laying out $300M for a great team….

    6. ErikSchwartz

      Acquiring a news publication is particularly difficult because their past work has very little value so you’re buying a brand and the future work of the team. If there’s no underlying techniques or IP, then you piss off the people who create the new work there’s not much left.There’s no way it’s anything more then an acq-hire (ick, I hate that “word”) no matter how mature the publication.

  7. Sebastian Wain

    TechCrunch made many tactical mistakes and that is reflected on Google Trends for TechCrunchThey added facebook as the comment platform and that reduced engagement (against trolls and anonymous/aliases comments), they sold to AOL.On CrunchBase I see http://venturebeatprofiles…. as a good database too.

    1. fredwilson

      I agree about comments. I used to comment at TC a few posts a week. I’ve never left a comment there after the got rid of disqus

      1. andyswan

        That’s the one area where I think the TC egos might have tripped them up.They didn’t like the nasty comments about the authors, so they sought to eliminate them by tying them to the social network your mother is on.Instead, they should have taken that swagger and backed it up with in-comment debate.  Embrace the hate….it’s good for ratings and the soul.

        1. ShanaC

          It is very very time consuming to do so, which is why many large newspapers don’t enter the comment sections.I honestly think newswriting should go the way of the Economist for this reason – no bylines, and a news team that responds in the comments and community managers for the writers….

          1. LE

            The negative about having bylines is that those bylines can develop a brand in themselves and then leave.The positive is that they can develop a brand in themselves and attract people to come back and read them regularly.If you like Paul Carr’s writing and you see he wrote a piece you are motivated to take the time to read it.Once you “get” someone’s  “shtick-lach” (that’s a rough approximation of yiddish which mean “quirks” but in a negative way) many want to come backto enjoy those quirks.Like “there’s that MG being an apple fanboy again”. But noticethat the people complaining keep reading his columns.This is one of the reasons people tend to like characters whether real or on reality tv once they know the “schtick”but not before. In people this tends to cause annoyance thoughsince you feel you can’t turn it off or stop readingit. You lack control and that feels suffocating.

          2. ShanaC

            A) Vos Mach Du Yid (I grew up speaking very heavy yinglish, almost to the point of yeshivish…joys)B)I honestly ignore the byline for most straight news story.  I don’t think TC did a good job of featuring the bylines of opinion pieces (honestly, the nytimes and huffpost do a much better job of that)Does it matter for straight news who the byline is by?

          3. fredwilson

            it’s time well spent if you ask meit’s not just about moderatingyou meet a lot of great people, you learn stuff, and you open your mind to different ideas

          4. JamesHRH

            Not the TC m.o…….

          5. ShanaC

            I don’t disagree with you.  I do think the ‘writers’ or ‘representatives of the writers’ stepping into the fray changes the nature of news, and it may not be worth the economic payoff if you do general news to enter that fray.  It might be more worthwhile to generate more content and ignore the comments.Weirdly, I just applied for a job at the Nytimes about this.  I wish I could tell them, pick me, because I am actually really curious about news interactions.

        2. Dan Lewis

          I think they probably just wanted more pageviews, in hopes that people’s comments would hit their facebook profiles.

          1. leigh


        3. fredwilson

          i didn’t like the nasty comments eitheri decide to police my own comments with the help of my first bouncer, my brother tedwhen he bailed on social media, kid mercury stepped into the rolenow the kid’s gone awol, but it seems the entire community is the bouncer nowthere’s a lot to learn from this story

          1. JamesHRH

            Bar theme has real legs…….Maybe Top 10 could just be renamed after Cheers characters: Coach (250), Woody(100), Cliff(50) & Norm(10)………Or there could be nickname for regulars, w entrance granted by the bartender or an odd voting mechanism…….Shana can bounce…

          2. fredwilson

            shana as bouncer? i’m guessing kid’s not coming back. makes me sad.

          3. ShanaC

            err, umm, ok?I miss the Kid Mercury too…a lot…and Yule…and other people who have come and gone, @fredwilson:disqus .  Everyone goes through changes…

      2. Lucian Armasu

        Yeah, it’s one of the reasons TC quickly became from one of my most visited every day tech sites, to one I had to remember to visit every few days.

      3. Austin Clements

        You wouldn’t happen to be biased? Where’s your journalistic integrity? Ha!The one thing that I always appreciated about TC is each writer was very open about where they stand or a particular topic, product, service, or issue. It was as much about the personalities that were covering as the news they. They never pretended not to be biased, so all this noise surrounding Arrington’s conflict of interest is a blown out of proportion. They will continue to cover things they want to cover and if people dont like it they will go elsewhere..I agree completely agree about the FB commenting system being less appropriate for TC than disqus. These days the dialogue on TC is just not as pure as what it once was. The discussion used to complement the article, with everybody candidly countering and supporting with the same attitude as the writers. Now it’s just watered down.

      4. JohnAtkinson

        I’ve stopped commenting on TC posts since they stopped using Disqus too – When I comment on a post, I don’t necessarily want it blasted to Facebook.

    2. Luca Falda

      According to my experience, FB comments are a lot cleaner than with other platforms and bring in more social traffic. Still not ideal – but better than Disqus. IMHO.

      1. Sebastian Wain

        Beyond the Disqus vs FB discussion, I don’t think traffic gathered by social networks is a metric for TechCrunch, the people who read TechCrunch was very loyal and its posts were infinitely propagated and aggregated. They choose FB platform because of the “troll factor”.In my personal use case, I can’t glue my FB social network with my TechCrunch opinions. This is part of the discussion about a single social network model versus many social networks where you can show different faces/facets on different web sites.

      2. fredwilson

        i can’t read a FB comment thread. it’s all saccharine and nicety. clean is the right word. yuckkkkkkkkkk

      3. Cam MacRae

        Their comments are clean, but they’re also utterly devoid of meaningful content. Facebook comments removed both the guttersnipes *and* the cream. 

        1. fredwilson


  8. Zoe Adamovicz

    that’s one point of view. from an entrepreneur’s perspective weaker TC is not a bad thing. these days there are many great blogs and sites covering tech that could fill-in the space if TC looses significance. VB, GigaOm, Mashable, NYT Bits, AllThingsD, to just mention a few. entrepreneurs can reach the audience of right readers through those sites. no TC means no gatekeeper, no arbitrary decisions, more channels, and more possibilities for entrepreneurs to leak info to various journalists without retribution. also great point on crunchbase. and on blog+fund 😉

  9. JamesHRH

    Never met Mike but I have watched him interview people. He came across like a small time bully (interviewing Bill Gurley!). I think he has little perspective on himself and TC. As you put it, TC has an audience, but the internet age is defined by content oversupply – the golden question of the era is ‘ if X went away, would you miss it?’Like many of us, his greatest strength (apparently his FU attitude and total commitment to his agenda) becomes a weakness when her relies on it without deviation.One thing you did not cover is the outright amateur hour that is the launch of the new fund. All this drama to raise $20 M?And what about the PoV of the aspiring entrepreneur? From Mike’s public persona, every indication is that he would be a major headache on a BoD. He clearly does not play well with others!

    1. fredwilson

      Mike is a bit of a bully. But he pulls it off well. For a list of more thugs visithttp://vcasndmcs.com

        1. fredwilson

          yup. sorry about the typo

      1. LIAD

        they say to gauge a man’s real character, see how he acts around people who can’t offer them anything, waiters, clerks etc.In my (limited) personal dealings with Mike, where I’m essentially the waiter, he has been super helpful and generous. I know the plural of anecdote is not data.  – Just sayin

        1. RichardF

          so true Liad and that is a good thing to hear you say that about Mike Arrington.

        2. JamesHRH

          Don;t know who they are but they are not my kind of folk.I am a Friday Night Lights character definition type (paraphrasing Coach Taylor speaking to East Dillon QB Vince Howard: ” trying to be a better man, while all around you others pull you down for it, that’s what character is”)Anybody can be nice to somebody who can’t touch them. How hard is that? And I am a firm believer that if you do not take care of yourself, you cannot take care of anyone else. But wanton disregard of all others in order to promote or preserve your own interests is short term thinking at its lower level.Random anecdotes about being helpful or doing a deal don’t mean much. Those are table stakes in the game of ” don’t be an a$$hole “

        3. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Interesting and heartening. But, is public domain questionable behaviour warranted for ‘the show’?

      2. Vinod

        This single incident would be enough to give anybody sufficient data to portray Mike I guess….http://500hats.typepad.com/

        1. Vanessa

          if you do recall, this was the exact same timing as TC Disrupt last year, and they actually did a panel about it in the morning – and it was a “show”.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if this was some circus pulled to get people to TC Disrupt so Mike can just show up no stage to a standing ovation, and Arianna and him hug it out? People do interesting things to push ticket sales. 

      3. JamesHRH

        What’s with the rapper VC thing? Do you listen to it? I just don’t think its musical. Creative sure.Between you and Ben, its a VC meme!

        1. fredwilson

          i love hip hop and always havegoing back to the days of NWA and Biggie

          1. JamesHRH

            I checked out after Grandmaster Flash….Very little of it works for me. Bad DJing is so much attitude trumping ability.Good DJing is a rare as good anything else.Appropriate for today’s post tho

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      4. leigh

        links not working…

      5. Carl Rahn Griffith

        I guess this is where one needs to be careful, in retrospect – I for one have experience of/carry the scars from crude bullying. I never saw myself as a victim either, at the time… Time gives one perspective. I saw his behaviour in a more comical sense, being detached from it and it being part of the media/startup circus. However, when looks back, there are many examples of what is indeed nothing more than bullying – dressed up as being cynical and anarchic – the fact it is all drawn out in public makes it seem part of a game (which it is) but none the less is highly corrosive and borderline crass in the supposedly urbane environments we inhabit. Hubris mixed with Karma sorts most things out in life, I find.Sums up aspects of what is wrong with our industry/profession when there is so much good and potential. Arrington is a clearly smart chap, he should reassess how he wishes to be perceived/progress in life for, as I was told many moons ago, “be nice to people on the way up, for you will need them on the way down”. I hope he raises his game, accordingly. We’re all a long time dead.As another old saying goes, “sarcasm is the lowest form of wit”…Anyway, am (morbidly) keen to follow link, Fred – but URL seems broken?

      6. Jason Tan

        hey Lupe, can you see past your shades? 🙂 i think you meant to link to http://vcsandmcs.com/ . saw it yesterday, cracked me up.

        1. fredwilson

          yup. bad typing on my mobile. thanks, i fixed it

    2. LE

      “He came across like a small time bully”I dealt with Mike  a bit pre-techcrunch when he was the head of pool.comHe was a great guy and kept his word at Pool. (And the deal he negotiated withus at Pool still stands today with 3 changes of management.)Lastly, after not dealing with Mike many years, and after he was Time 100, I contacted Mike and he gave us a good contact at Microsoft for a deal we were working on at the time.

  10. Emil

    I’ve followed Splatf since I started hearing about a couple of weeks ago. There are no particularly great insights, the writing is just OK, I see no scoops or vastly alternative viewpoints, and the design is boring. But I keep hearing tech vcs mentioning this guy, does this guy just have a bunch of friends that want to see him compete against his boss at businessinsider?? what gives? 

    1. falicon

      No idea…but I can say I’m very surprised that Splatf isn’t done on tumblr…could plug in a much nicer design out of the box AND get some baked in viral features (reblogging, sharing, etc.)…if I were to start anything blog based these days, it seems like a no-brainer to use Tumblr for it…

      1. Dan Frommer

        I considered Tumblr but chose WordPress for several reasons. Mostly: More control and familiarity. I also wasn’t happy with Tumblr’s frequent downtime when I made the platform decision.SplatF does have a tumblr @ http://splatf.tumblr.com but I primarily see it as a social distribution tool for a subset of my articles than as a primary blogging platform right now. (That said, it’s still low-priority for me. Twitter is more aligned with my needs right now.)As for the design, I’m not sure what’s “nicer” about Tumblr, but I will gradually enhance the site over time. I’m most interested in distributing text and keeping pageloads quick, but I will do more graphics and photography over time. (Feel free to send specific suggestions, if you have any.)

        1. falicon

          Awesome – I can’t argue with any of that…and really it’s your content that matters most ( more than anything else quality is the real secret sauce behind something going viral ).Keep up the great work!

        2. Porter Haney

          Dan, I like seeing people go out on their own like you’ve done.  That’s why I read.  A lot of times people on their own are willing to say and write things others wouldn’t.And I think your hellmann’s ad is a little funny too.

    2. fredwilson

      I think dan is smart

      1. Dan Lewis

        I agree — which is why AOL should have bought/invested in him, not TC. AOL has a ton of audience — buying more seems backward.  For $250k — 1% of the TC purchase price — AOL could have invested in SplatF.  They could have turned their firehose of attention onto it, represented the ad space, etc., and turned the very talented Mr. Frommer into a viable TC competitor.And then they could have repeated that 99 times.

    3. Dan Frommer

      Hey Emil! Thanks for reading. I am just getting started, and know I’ll never please everyone. But if you have any specific suggestions, I’m happy to chat.

      1. RichardF

        Hi Dan, I see you don’t have Disqus or any other commenting system on your blog. Are you planning to enable comments or have you chosen to go down the route of not having comments?



    1. Adrian Sanders

      man builds blog.man enlists people. people love man. man sells blog. people trust man. man battles buyer. people defend man. man starts fund with buyer. people support man. man justifies action to viewers. people fend for themselves. buyer gets blamed for buying and making decisions…

  12. falicon

    To be honest, I’ve mostly moved on from reading Techcrunch anyway…I no longer subscribe to their feed or check the site for updates and just rely on my social feeds (and knowabout.it) to point out the one or two ‘interesting’ Techcrunch articles relevant to me these days.So beyond the reality-tv-like drama of this mess…it doesn’t really matter to me what happens to Techcrunch or AOL.

    1. RichardF


    2. Lucian Armasu

      Same here. It started with the Facebook commenting system, and later with the acquisition by AOL, which led to many random writers on the site. Also, MG was becoming too predictable.

      1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

        I think it was AOL acq first and then facebook commenting system. Now you know what is the root cause. 

      2. CJ

        Becoming? He’s always been predictable.  But he does occasionally produce a great non-Apple related post.  If he wrote about Apple less I’d actually be a bigger fan.

    3. Drew Meyers

      Me either. I stopped reading techcrunch regularly about 3 years ago.

      1. Jason Tan

        hello drew! been a while, amigo.

  13. CJ

    I would miss Mike at TC, I love the fact that he isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty even if other people called it bullying.  Sometimes you have to stick to your guns and weather the storm, he’s good at that.  Fred you’re right that they can survive losing him if the rest of the team, and their editorial independence, stays intact. However, I doubt that AOL can resist getting involved and fucking it up, to paraphrase MG.  Losing Mike will be the death of TC because AOL will make it happen.

    1. leigh

      Saying it like it is and being tough isn’t the same as bullying.  People call is bullying, well, because it is.  

      1. CJ

        I think it’s using reach and influence to broadcast an opinion that some would rather not be heard, for whatever reason.  That’s not the same as bullying, it’s a refusal to be bullied.

        1. leigh

          see @charliecrystal:disqus ‘s comment about Caterina Fake.  If he was still in elementary school, he would have been suspended. 

          1. CJ

            But it’s not elementary school where we have to protect kids, it’s the real world where courtesy is rarely given and when it is, it’s often used to slap you across the face.  The irony of this entire situation is that had he just posted the story, which would have been BEFORE Fake decided to, it would have just been another TC Scoop.  But because he extended courtesy it blew up in his face.  How screwed up is that?

          2. mike_breslin

            Wrong. If he were still in elementary school nothing would have happened to him because bullying in school doesn’t happen in front of faculty. I don’t think he was being a bully, I think he was simply using the influence he earned. What I think so many fail to realize about the Caterina nonsense is that he purposefully made his comments publicly. Doing this gives everyone the opportunity to decide for themselves if he was being a bully or whatever. instead of the sneaky threats that everyone knows are made in private all the time. 

        2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. fredwilson

            he is a bully at timesbut a super nice guy at other timeshe’s more complex than simple characterizations allow

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. leigh

            You sound like half my female friends in bad relationships.  🙂

          4. fredwilson


          5. JamesHRH

            Complex is overrated. Smokescreen for immaturity, uncontrolled ego & situational ethics.

  14. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    That is a polite way to put “Tech Crunch is totally f…d up if they don’t listen to MA and his boys/girls” . Well done.

  15. LIAD

    I recognise swagger & ‘fuck you’ attitude as being equally a blessing and a curse. Much success can be attributed to it but so too can failings.It’s hard to strike a happy medium. But at the end of the day, as the eminent 20th century philospher Paul Newman once said:”A man with no enemies is a man with no character.”

    1. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

      That is surprising. I thought i should live without enemies … thinking “after all he/she is a fellow human being – forgive and forget”. May be Newman is right. My thinking has no character.

      1. LIAD

        no one is saying you should go out to actively make enemies. more often than not though, if you are dedicated to achieving something and aren’t scared of upsetting the status quo, you will make enemies on your journey. just a fact of life.

        1. tyronerubin

          I would not mind competitors but not enemies so much. Here’s to peace AND competition.

        2. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

          Yes and agreed to 110%. My thinking has no character 🙂 … I do have enemies even though i don’t intend to.

  16. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Did/does AOL understand our somewhat transient, intense and often eccentric industry? It always seemed an incredibly bizarre marriage. Good luck to Arrington – he is often pretty acerbic but clearly he has a fine mind and I rather like his lack of rock-star adulation that is all too frequent in the reporting of the start-up world.Will be very interesting to see where he pools his VC fund moneys from, if that’s the direction he follows…I stopped regularly reading TechCrunch some while ago, parallel to the AOL acquisition but not for that reason – I think the timing of its disposal to AOL was nigh on perfect. Its style had become a parody of itself. CrunchBase’s future is an altogether different issue, for sure. It certainly needs to be marketed – and perceived – a lot better.

  17. tacanderson

    Mike’s Mike and will always be Mike. But like you pointed out TC’s two biggest assets are the core team (and the love it or hate it attitude they have) and the much undervalued CrunchBase. Personally it’s my go to starting point for all startup research. I hope TC lives on because it provides a good balance to the other tech blogs out there. 

  18. tyronerubin

    I am sure it will be all answered at Disrupt. All this fuss ties so neatly in with Disrupt. The schedule also looks killer http://techcrunch.com/2011/…

  19. EtriganDemon

    I beg to differ. I used to be a regular TechCrunch reader- for over 5 years, I visited it everyday. Then it started its long decline into farce.I wanted tech news- instead I got Arrington’s self-important rants, MG Siegler’s blatant bias, Alexia’s intellectual limitations, and Paul carr’s off-topic egotism. What was worse, they started expressing open contempt for their own readers, calling them trolls. It was a fascinating study of groupthink. They started to think they were special, alwyays right and infallible.One day, I asked myself why I was reading a blog that annoyed me so much, and simply quit. I now get my tech news from Engadget and TechMeme. The silly, childish tantrums they’ve been pulling since Arrington was fired is further evidence of toxic groupthink. They actually think the blog is successful because of (rather than in spite of) their childish unprofessionalism.Arrington’s departure might be the best thing that ever happened to TechCrunch. He personalised the bullying, drama-queen ethos of the place (his final attempt to blackmail AoL was classic Arrington- the man is a toxic bully who can’t avoid getting into messy fights). If they hire a more professional leader who makes them stick to tech blogging like Engadget and leave their drama and biases at the door, the blog might actually become worth reading again.

    1. ShanaC

      Techmeme often just ends up becoming techcrunch, because they break stories…

      1. Andrew

        Engadget and TechCrunch are very different in content. I couldn’t have engadget replace TechCrunch.

    2. tatsuke

      I’ll echo what you say; my experience is similar.I was a long time reader, and avid participant in the comments.  Then, what seemed like overnight, the TC crew decided that reader participation (isn’t that Web 2.0?) was not necessary, that the writing and commentary could stand on its own.Well, it couldn’t.  And the slowish decline began.  I stopped reading it regularly and apparently many others did as well.  A year later, TC is in disarray.  Surprised?That’s how it SHOULD work when you deliberately ignore your customers.  TC wanted to cater to those who said only good things about its people and work, to the point of actively censoring comments.  Turns out there aren’t enough of those people…I feel sorry for no one.

    3. CJ

      Techmeme has fallen lately, there is hardly a day when 60% of the site isn’t devoted to covering Apple rumors.  And I disagree with you about Paul Carr, he’s a brilliant writer.  The blog is successful because people can’t turn away from a train-wreck.  Arrington creates controversy and people tune in, MG swoons over the latest Apple product and people flock to read it so they can hate it.  Paul Carr writes about either nothing or something really deep and people bash him for being off-topic, yet they tune in next week to read it again.  TC is train-wreck journalist at its finest, the difference is that they also present the news and actually break the news before most other people.  Ignoring their editorial is easy for most who crave the news as fast as possible, news that is hard to find most other places before TC gets it. Personally, I just wish they’d go back to Disqus, that’s my biggest beef with them.  Oh and the site loads incredibly slow. 

      1. EtriganDemon

        The only problem with your response is that it has no basis in fact. ‘People flock to read it’? I think you mean people are flocking away.I just checked Techcrunch’s daily visitors on BOTH Google trends and Compete.com. Both show significant declines:http://bit.ly/oURkzChttp://bit.ly/mczpaYou are making the same wrong assumption that the TC writers make: that their drama and acting out draws page views. These statistics show they are merely turning people (like me and many commenters on this thread) away. I don’t need to read about self-important drama queens when I’m looking for my tech news.As for Paul Carr, I don’t know what you are ‘disagreeing’ with. I called him an off-topic egotist, and that is what he is for a fact. Yes, no doubt he is good with words. However, he knows nothing about technology, and doesn’t even bother pretending that he does. So it is rather bizarre that he writes for a tech blog. All his posts are opinionated, deliberately contrarian, non-tech rants (about Juian Assange or his bete noir du jour) that demonstrate the emotional maturity of a schoolboy seeking notice by being different from anyone else. The fact that he is good with words doesn’t turn such tiresome egotism into an asset.I’m one of those former readers causing their graph to decline so precipitously.

        1. LE

          “I just checked Techcrunch’s daily visitors on BOTH Google trends and Compete.com”That could be a false positive for your argument. I check compete for different sites regularly.  But just to get an idea of the general sizeof the visitors not for trends.You might note also that compete shows both avc.com and ycombinator.com as declining as well. But I somehow don’t think that’s the case.

          1. fredwilson

            you don’t have to guess about AVC traffic. i link to my stats at the bottom of the blog. here’s a chart. the traffic to this blog is on fire. 200k only eight days into the month. a year ago, that would be a month’s worth

        2. David Semeria

          I’m so glad you checked BOTH of them.GOOD WORK !! – as our dinosaur might say.

      2. Brent

        Paul Carr is probably a “brilliant writer” in other media. He doesn’t know how to blog.

        1. CJ

          *shrug* We disagree.

    4. jonathanjaeger

      Is there something wrong with having a little “pure entertainment” mixed in with your tech news? Maybe, but it’s hard not to tune in regardless.

    5. csun

      I completely agree with your views.It’s sad that most readers like the arrogance, the bullying, the drama.People are used to it and many enjoy it.It works.  It gets pageviews.  But it’s sad.

    6. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

      Right on! And the declining techcrunch:disqus traffic shows this in spades.

  20. Rohan

    Thanks Fred. I agree about the ‘Swag’ 

  21. Lucian Armasu

    “how can anyone have both a blog and a venture fund????”Gee, Fred, I wonder that, too 🙂

  22. Dhruval Patel

    “(how can anyone have both a blog and a venture fund????)”lol. How indeed…

  23. RichardF

    Funny how a TechCrunch storm in a teacup seems to start brewing the week before Disrupt.  Angelgate anyone?

  24. Larry!

    They’ve hurt themselves more with the senseless bickering of the past few days than any editorial departure could have ever hurt them.

  25. Desire

    Interesting graph re:Techcrunch vs the rest.http://trends.google.com/we… I’m wondering whether TC staff will do an Engadget, leave the website in droves and launch a new website like the Verge.

  26. Douglas Crets

    Agreed about Crunchbase.

  27. ShanaC

    Both acquisitions seem to be about making AOL into a competent digital newsroom. I’m not sure either site is purely news (HuffPost less so than TC, but still, there are tons and tons of Opinion Pieces on HuffPost, and the Ledes are a bit inflammatory in the way they are written)If we’re going into a second era of yellow journalism, I’m really not sure it matters about conflict of interest issues (it didn’t matter for Hearst and Pulitzer…). And I would definitely place Tc in its style of writing in the realm of yellow Journalism – they tend to have a certain moral play style with certain heros in the way they write.Do we care if our journalism goes back go to Yellow because it is the only way for news sites to make money is a much better question to ask.  If we do, we should continue arguing about Mike.  If not, can we move on, please.

    1. Guest

      Whatever the digital equivalent of a High Five is I am sending it to you via this message Shana.

      1. Mark Essel

        There is an equivalent, and it’s clicking the Like button on her comment 😀

        1. Guest

          🙂 but then I couldn’t have typed a little something 🙂

        2. Guest

          hmmm, I am sure I replied to this comment. Cannot seem to see it. Anyway, will try again. Yes I know but had to write a little something too to make it somewhat personal.

      2. ShanaC

        *high five*



      1. William Mougayar

        Great analogy, Grimlock.

        1. fredwilson

          and some people focus on making news

      2. ShanaC

        Ok, why?  Normal paper news that you pay for still requires ads.  NYTimes paid still gives you ads.If you read both the New York Times and TMZ with an emphasis on fashion, the algorithms about ad buying and ad selling will show you premium ads for expensive things.  The ad buyers are becoming less concerned (not totally less concerned, but much less concerned) about placement.So what is, as they say where I from, the chap about ads? Do you also think there is a model out there for content that is paid online?  How much would it cost?

        1. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. ShanaC

            I have copies of trade paperbacks from the 60s with cigarette ads in them.  Plays comes with Playbills – which have ads in them. (and the theater and in some cases the show has a corporate sponsor).  The most common way to listen to music is on the radio (digital or otherwise) which has ads too.  PBS and NPR have sponsors, many of which are corporate.There is measurable ROI with ads – unfortunately, many agencies and advertisers don’t use measurements, and go for Clios and Webbies instead.And I would like to change that.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


    3. Dave W Baldwin

      Bless you Shana… brings me an idea I’ll send your way via DM.

      1. ShanaC

        also, shana dot carp at gmail.  Ummm, I never got your dm…

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          Sorry, having to draw up concept and plan on something else as I’m on the way out door.  Going to our farm in NE Missouri to take of some junk and will be outta internet/ATT zone. Will send beginning of next week!

    4. JamesHRH

      Well played.

      1. ShanaC

        I’m so lost as to why…it is just what I think.I’m actually kind of curious why no one is having a discussion around yellow journalism

    5. Donna Brewington White

      You go!

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Like @SIXSTRINGcpa:disqus – a “like” wasn’t sufficient this time.

      2. ShanaC

        Err, thanks!What do you think about online journalism going yellow?

        1. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

          Going? Or “has gone”? 😉

          1. ShanaC

            Actually, I am not sure.  I mean, you could go to reuters.com and get the news that way.  

          2. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

            Pretty much the only non-Twitter news source I follow is the BBC, simply because the bookmark is in my browser. But I’d make the case for “has gone” even there. 😉

  28. Crash

    My guess is the senior writers will quit TC and start their own blog.I used to be an avid reader of Transworld Skateboarding mag until they got bought by AOL/Time Warner. AOL started pulling some marketing BS (like packaging their discs with the magazine) which pissed off all the photographers and writers. So the majority of them quit and started The Skateboard Mag and have been incredibly successful ever since.I smell the makings of another mutiny. . . 

    1. Drew Meyers

      I agree…unless AOL is paying them REALLY REALLY well, there is no reason not to go start their own blog.

    2. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

      If I were  @alexia_tsotsis:disqus  ,  @saracuda:disqus , @paulcarr:disqus , @parislemon:disqus , et. al., I would do ju st that – start a new publication with as much distance from @arrington:disqus as possible as soon as possible.

  29. jengroff

    I think this is exactly right, especially the notion that ” Big companies don’t control media assets as strongly as they used to. It doesn’t cost much to publish news these days once you know what the news is.” I’ve been a longtime reader of TC and, although I disagree with some of Mike’s more extreme posts (handshaking should be banned?), there is no question they’ve been in a class by themselves when it comes to turning out high-velocity, high-quality pieces on the state of startups and tech. The brand is only as good as its writers, and if they go, if TC gets Aol-ized, it’s over. 

  30. Kyle

    That “fuck you” attitude is why I’m hoping Techcrunch goes down like a homesick mole. There is a difference between irreverence and disrespect that seems to be beyond the sensibility of Arrington and his coterie.

  31. markslater

    Fred – not sure bout you but this rag jumped the shark some moons ago. I never read it.And as for facebook commenting – graffing up my social wall with my professional life is no bueno. this was their biggest fail move.there are plenty more communities like this one where commenting contributes, and news breaks. 

  32. Druce

    You can be a VC who blogs, but you can’t be a journalist and a VC. You can’t be a ball-player and a ref at the same time.You can’t be a VC, on the board of companies and privy to their inside dope, and at the same time a journalist whose job is ferreting out the inside dope from everybody else (including competition), sharing it with the world, and curating and making judgments on them. You can be a VC, with fiduciary duties impacting your own and your investors’ wealth, or a journalist, whose duty is to inform readers as much as possible, but not both.

    1. markslater

      its JLMs quote:you can start fires – entrepreneursyou can tend to the fire – venture capitalistsor you can spend your life pissing on it – journo’s i loved this so much i had it made and stuck on the company wall!attribution to JLM and fred of course

      1. fredwilson

        the ever quotable JLM

  33. Peter Sullivan

    Fred I agree 100% with your comments about Crunchbase. As I opened this blog post I literally had 3 separate tabs open with Crunchbase content. I used it nearly everyday. An amazing amazing product. BTW anyone reading this, our team has relocated to SoHo for the month of September all the from Sweden. Would love to meet as many people in the NYC ecosystem as possible. Drop us a line at [email protected]

  34. James Joaquin

    +1 on Charlie’s point that Arrington’s attempt to bully Caterina was uncool and undeserved.

    1. fredwilson

      yupi didn’t like what he did to me either

      1. David Shellabarger

        I don’t remember a scuttle between you and Mike.Do you mean this? http://techcrunch.com/2008/…

        1. fredwilson

          that one and the time he came after me about zyngahe also went after me on stage at an event in seattlebut we also laughed and had fun on stage in NYC doing Disrupti like Mike and have learned that tussling with him is all part of the game

  35. Brent

    As long as MG, Erick, and Sarah keep writing “love you” pieces for the companies you back, Fred, they’ll be fine.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s because the companies we back are so lovable

      1. Rdx2

        Fred, are you just trying to maintain “relationships” or you actually like reading MG Siegler’s long, painful and biased articles…

        1. fredwilson

          i like MG’s stuff a lot. he has an opinion.

  36. Josh

    TheNextWeb for the win!

  37. Vinay Pai

    The great thing about Crunchbase is that it’s under a free license: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).  That means that even if AOL decides to kill off or neglect Crunchbase, it can live on so long as there’s enough community interest to keep the project alive.

  38. Dave McClure

    completely agree with Fred:1) mike will be fine, he’s a big boy and he’s a public figure wherever he goes2) AOL is gonna get fucked if the rest of that team walks3) CrunchBase is a HUGELY undervalued asset (by AOL too, I bet)

    1. fredwilson

      let’s buy it dave and turn it over to the community like wikipedia!



      2. ElliotGreen

        I still don’t get it.  It’s undervalued how?  Nobody is willing to pay for access to Crunchbase, so what is it worth?  Pageviews for AOL?  Come on.And according to one of the commenters below who worked for TC, it took 4 to 5 full time people just to maintain Crunchbase’s content.  The wiki aspect was a front for a bunch of people who were paid to run around like hamsters and maintain the free database you all enjoy.  Remove those paid people and within 2 months it becomes a garbage-filled link farm.

        1. fredwilson

          i think you can do it wikipedia style if the community is motivated to keep it clean

  39. Roy Nallapeta

    @fredwilson:disqus that was a great observation on crunchbase. In fact in a meeting where we met Techcrunch CEO she did emphasize on how important curnchbase is and not many people pay attention to it.

  40. Mike Su

    to build something exceptional, an organization usually needs to make exceptions. to build something scalable, you can’t make exceptions. to be scalable, an organization often has to account for the least common denominator which will always drive the exceptional people crazy. it’s a hard transition, fraught with casualties, and TC is going through that right now. i wrote a whole post on this the other day: http://aproductguy.wordpres

  41. Matt Smith

    I believe Mike’s getting fired was all part of his plan – I never really believed he could play second fiddle to a parent company, much less the HuffPost.  Ironic that when AOL acquired TechCrunch, he said:”So we begin another journey. I fully intend to stay with AOL for a very, very long time. And the entire team has big incentives to stay on board for at least three years.”I wonder what happens to those incentives if he is fired, rather than quits?  Interesting article on this when MA was fighting with Engadget at the beginning of the year: http://www.businessinsider….

  42. Scott Yates

    Paul Carr posted about all this, but then the post got deleted. I couldn’t find it anywhere else, so I grabbed it off my RSS feed and reposted it here:http://www.sco.tt/scott_yat…If someone has a better place for me to link to with that post, I’ll gladly do that.

  43. matthughes

    Just checked out SplatF – rad.

  44. Jon Dube (@cyberjournalist)

    You are right about CrunchBase. It is a great asset and something I had hoped we (AOL) could leverage in many new ways. Unfortunately time ran out. There are still at least a few folks left there who realize it’s value, but I suspect it is not a high priority. On the flip side it may be low enough on the radar that it won’t get messed with.

  45. paramendra

    If TechCrunch were to implode, which brand will take its place? Mashable? ReadWriteWeb? And if TechCrunch implodes, I don’t see how that will not hurt the CrunchFund brand name. Maybe Arrington has more drama on his hands than he asked for. 

    1. fredwilson

      neithera new brand

  46. Jim Haughwout

    I agree. CrunchBase is fantastic. It would take much to replace it.

  47. RokNoo

    Now thats what I am talking about dude. Wow.online-privacy.eu.tc

  48. bretwaters

    Agreed. Any fountain of great journalism is defined by the managing editor. When Harold Ross left The New Yorker, people said it would never be the same. And yet Wallace Shawn came in and gave it a new, equally-relevant voice for the next 35 years. I read TechCrunch every day because it’s relevant, and because I like the “voice, swagger, and fuck you attitude” (nicely put, by the way). The relevance of TechCrunch might continue with the choice of a great successor to Mike, or it might be killed by the idiots at AOL. Whatever. I’ll read TechCrunch as long as it continues to be relevant. When it ceases to be, I’ll read something else. The universe will be fine, either way.

  49. Brooklyn Simon

    Agreed with the article. But I can’t even believe that AOL is trying to buy all these sites in order to try to regain their “fame”. At one point AOL was the biggest and best but now it’s a tired and old client, and service, like the horse with a broken leg that is limping to the barn. I wish them success but I don’t think buying these sites is going to get them back on top. That’d be like myspace coming back from the dead.

  50. Brooklyn Simon

    By the way I’ve never really enjoyed techcrunch though. Lately techcrunch and lifehacker have been very.. I’m not sure what the word is when you can tell a site is pushing products that are sponsoring them. But many people have just given up on lifehacker for it and techcrunch is supposedly close to being just cut and a new team assembled.

  51. William Mougayar

    Honestly I never understood that the TC acquisition by AOL made sense in the first place. All what’s happening now is coming back to bite a bad acquisition. Why didn’t TC raise money themselves back then and evolved that way? It might be too late now to save TC given its wounds have been exposed.

  52. Donna Brewington White

    Fred — could you please time posts like this and “What’s Going On” for when I am not traveling and partially off the grid?  Shall I send you my travel schedule?Can’t wait to read through these past few days on AVC. I think you should turn AVC into a reality show.  (I’ve given up the book idea.)

  53. Don Jones

    Well said, Fred.CrunchBase is a ‘database’ not worthy of the name, however. It has 30% – 40% error/omission rates for basic data such as senior management and company address. it also has a bunch of junk companies – http://www.crunchbase.com/c… The functionality is terribly inefficient – you can’t even scroll from record to record – probably since that would cut page views in half.  Additionally, it doesn’t cover all industries and only has good coverage for Internet/mobile/digital media companies. Also, you can’t download data in bulk. But, apparently it is useful to you. For others, if you value your time at ‘free’, a free ‘database’ with poor quality data and ancient functionality like CrunchBase is the way to go…

    1. fredwilson

      Too many people make prefect the enemy of good

      1. Don Jones

        Fred,I didn’t say anything about being “perfect”. Anyone who has run a database for more than five minutes knows that every database has errors and omissions. But, data quality matters to some people.Arrington’s experiment with CrunchBase was to create a database, seed it with some initial information and then hope that enough people would add companies and keep their information current. Crowdsourced data. The problem with it is that from a quality standpoint it has been a failure. 30%-40% error/omission rates on basic information. Every so often I visit CrunchBase to compare it to the information in VentureDeal and so frequently the company in question has input their information into CrunchBase a year ago and has not touched it since. Yet as you know with startups, the only constant is change!Sure, some people spend their time to go update their information there, and the large Internet/digital media companies have their information updated there, but the vast majority of people put their information in once and never touch it again. Why is that? Because they don’t have any incentive to go manually update their information in Mike’s database so Mike can make money off of it. It was the same thing with the beginning of Wikipedia – early on when some users suspected that Wikipedia would go for a “for-profit” model, they threatened to split off. Manually entered, crowd sourced data doesn’t work unless there is a real incentive to manually provide your data – JigSaw is one example that comes to mind. So while Mike has crowed about having the “biggest startup database in the world” or something like that, it just means that there are a lot more companies with bad information in it.So, we don’t have companies like “Hugs.com” and other meaningless junk for users to have to waste their time wading through. We have a quality approach – not perfect – but for people who want high quality data for certain purposes and use cases, “free” doesn’t pay – it’s frustrating and a waste of time.For others like yourself, CrunchBase fits the bill. I have no problem with that. But there is a difference.For others like yourself, CrunchBase fits the bill. I have no problem with that. But there is a difference.

  54. Omar Abbas

    Sad how some commenters have turned TC into some big, evil mafia-like blog run by childish egotists. That’s totally untrue. TC is the only tech blog that non-geeks (like me) can put up with, with its colorful writers (especially MG) and sharp commentary, which turn tech news into real fun.The only reason that they’re in “disarray” as some commenters put it is that Arrington made the huge mistake of selling to Aol. He of all people should know that they can kill the best of things, especially with that nut Huffington as chief of reporting.And Engadget is a bore btw. It’s all in the writers.

  55. thomasknoll

    Anybody want to use the TC Disrupt hackathon to build an opensource crunchbase? 1. setup mediawiki installation on aws 2. clean up a lot of the bloat features 3. add a few specific templates 4. Define some guildelines on appropriate behavior for “migrating” content 5. Setup script to crawl crunchbase & create mechanical turk HITs for each page. 6. Create a wordpress plugin that wil “convert” links on existing posts 7. Give it to the “biggies” to migrate all their links to the new startupDB 8. ??? 9. Profit 10. Put up a creepy picture of Jimmy WalesWho’s in?

    1. fredwilson

      What an awesome idea

    2. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

      Hmmm … interesting thought. Maybe Ward Cunningham’s latest gizmo, “Smallest Federated Wiki”, could do this.http://meb.tw/rpZyjp

    3. thomasknoll

      This will be my next @Startupweekend:twitter project if someone hasn’t done it by then. It’ll give me a chance to play with some heroku/php goodness as well =)

  56. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

    The problem I have with all of this is that in the past year, @huffingtonpost:disqus traffic has increased while @techcrunch:disqus  traffic has decreased. I ran the numbers at Compete.com and they’re here.http://meb.tw/pu87q5In other words, what Arianna Huffington is doing is working and what Arrington and his colleagues are doing is not. Strictly from a web business perspective, Aol should either make the TechCrunch division competitive in its market segment or get rid of it.Fred, you know Michael and I don’t, but it seems to me that Arrington’s influence is anything but assured given his public behavior. He’s threatened angel investors, the New York Times, aroused the ire of Kara Swisher at the Wall Street Journal, and worst of all, bickered publicly with his employer. It’s a war he can’t win and shouldn’t be fighting. If I were a founder, I wouldn’t have anything to do with CrunchFund as long as Michael Arrington was involved in any capacity. People do business with people they know, like and trust, and I neither like him nor trust him.

  57. Dorian Benkoil

    Even @Rafat thinks you nailed it on this one. That’s why I’m reading it, and I find myself nodding, too.

  58. yannick

    Fred, can you specify what it is about crunchbase that you use and appreciate so much? Do you use it to track people? funding rounds? finding suggested competitors? Something else?

    1. fredwilson

      everythingwe just turn to it whenever we want to know something about a startup

  59. Partner Source

    Mike will have a great life and probably be apart of many more big things. No matter the business there will be ups and downs and sometimes the end comes as well. That’s life.Glenn WrightVP of MarketingPartner Source (Ranked #2 for Service/Cost: B2B & B2C Lead Generation &  Survey Company)Minneapolis, Minnesota, United Stateswww.thepartnersource.com

  60. CJ

    I saw that situation differently.  He had the story and could have run it before she announced it, he reached out to her before posting as a courtesy and SHE scooped HIM to get in front of it.  Sure, she has that right but he also could have run the story before contacting her and didn’t.  He didn’t bully her, he simply stated that in the future she would no longer get a courtesy call before he ran a story.  

  61. leigh

    yes yes yes yes 

  62. Arvid

    This whole dialogue assumes that TechCrunch, which operates alongside TMZ and under Huffington, is something more than a gossip site, and that Arrington, a former attorney and self-purported sensationalist, is expected to embrace the subtleties of journalism. Granted, the Caterina Fake ordeal was a ham-fisted transgression, but it can be argued that Fake is an entreprenuerial celebrity and that she didn’t manage the story to her advantage. She provoked the very folks upon who she relied to publicly support her story. And they, in turn, called her out. 

  63. fredwilson

    i think caterina actually got the best of mike. which is why he was so pissed.

  64. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

    Exactly – I don’t see how anyone ran defend @Arrington given his public behavior.

  65. EtriganDemon

    I find your defense of Arrington as bizarre as his own behavior in that case.Where does this asumption (held by both of you) come from that Caterina- or anyone else- owed him the right to break the story? What exactly gives him the power to decide for a CEO when they can and cannot talk about their own business?It was a shocking, arrant case of bullying and rampant egotism. He was behaving like a Mafia don who won’t let your business operate if it doesn’t pay protection money. And then he threw in character assassination, hinting at sordid happenings in her past.That was simply the loathsome conduct of an ego out of control. And this guy wants to be a VC? God help the companies he invests in- just ask Fusion Garage. The man is a lawsuit magnet, due to his desire to bully people, escalate situations, and finally sue anyone he can’t dominate with his bullying.

  66. CJ

    Bullying would have been writing about the ‘real’ reason she left Hunch after she ‘scooped’ him, but he didn’t yet gets no credit for that because of the phrasing he used.  I can see that, it’s an implied threat to make him seem honorable while also attempting to get the results he wanted.  However, it must be said that he sat and continues to sit on that information (if he has it).  That’s not my definition of a bully.  A bully would have sought out revenge and got it by posting the rumor (true or not).  Even still, he could have phrased it differently to make his point without sounding slimy but he’s a lawyer so…And though she’s not a reporter, she’s a influential individual in the tech world, posting the information that he, as a courtesy, told her he had before he got the chance is still scooping him on the story.  I honestly find it more dishonorable because he didn’t have to reach out, he did in good faith and she cut his hand off for the trouble.  It works both ways and I’m sure she didn’t simply forget to respond to him before posting about it first.  It was intentional.I think I’m in the minority on this situation but if I were a journalist/blogger it would certainly make me think twice about holding a post to get a comment/give a heads up about this individual in the future.  Courtesy goes both ways.

  67. Rohit Mishra

    Wouldn’t punishment mean that TC/Mike deliberately gave negative reports of Caterina’s startup ? Mike publicly called out Caterina for her behavior – the readers can decide for themselves who is right or wrong. 

  68. CJ

    Courtesy.  She ‘owed’ him the right when he gave her the courtesy of consulting her with the story BEFORE he posted it.  And when I say ‘owe’, I mean she owed him the courtesy of not scooping his story once he gave her the courtesy of NOT blindsiding her.  She didn’t hear about his story through the grapevine, he reached out.  He didn’t just run it, which he could have and she wouldn’t have had the chance to break anything.  That’s the part that most people seem to gloss over.  Do you think the NY Times would be happy if they reached out to you before running a piece out of courtesy and then you scooped them on it by announcing it first instead?  Do you think they’ll ever do it again?  Would you?

  69. Brent

    Malcolm is still in the “I like Arrington” phase. This passes.

  70. JamesHRH

    Malcolm – you need to brush up on bullying & your Sun Tzu. He is using the information as a weapon. Publishing the information takes all of its power away. He has no other weapon to brandish.He has already damaged her reputation and started rumours.As for courtesy, if he takes her off his ‘courtesy call’ list, that is totally his right. Making that public and threatening is amateur hour or as Leigh say, a suspendable offence in elementary school.So, the real question is, who wants to do business with an 8 year old?

  71. Vinay Pai

    She posted the story *on her own blog*.  Are you suggesting that someone is not entitled to post something on their own blog if Michael Arrington get wind of it and decided the story belongs to him?

  72. CJ

    I’m a fan but not a big fan honestly, and I don’t think he’s a bully.  He’s just an arrogant asshole, kinda like Barry Bonds, who is good at what he does but gets shit on because people don’t like him or the way that he does it.  I try to look past perception, otherwise you’ll find yourself chained by it.

  73. CJ

    He HAD the story already, he gave her the courtesy to comment on it.  Would that make his post better? Sure.  But it wasn’t necessary.  Let’s not even bring up Jason, that entire situation seemed pretty sketchy from the Jason side of the aisle.

  74. Kasi Viswanathan Agilandam

    wauters is a nice guy.

  75. Rohit Mishra

    I don’t consider TC a tech news portal like ReadWriteWeb or GigaOm. They have stories with varying levels of seriousness – some are regular news, some are opinion pieces, and other are personal rants. Hence the Caternia story felt under the personal rant category. I and you would personally like TC to not have these rants, but its their prerogative. The good thing is that there is no lack of able competitors, and someone will take TC’s place as the go-to place for startup news.  

  76. CJ

    So let me get this straight…she’s not wrong for taking his courtesy call and scooping his story but he is wrong for publicizing it?  And you can look at his words two different ways, as a threat or as a statement of ethics.  I don’t post EVERYTHING that I have access to, so before calling me a bully realize that if I really were a bully or lacking ethics, I could say far worse.In any case, his phrasing was off on his ‘threat’, he could have made that sound a lot more PC but then it wouldn’t be Arrington.  

  77. CJ

    No, this is what I’m saying:”He HAD the story already, he gave her the courtesy to comment on it [before he posted it].”

  78. Vinay Pai

    That’s not really relevant.  He got wind of the story somehow (or at least wind of some rumors) and decided he was going to write about it, so somehow she isn’t entitled to set the record straight or tell her side of the story on her own blog?It really makes me wonder if he’s also going to run his venture fund like that.  If he likes a company and decides he wants to invest, is he going to publicly trash them and spread rumors about them if they decide to go with a competing offer?

  79. Clovis

    Simple point- if you are newsworthy and are asking the press to cooperate with you on a transition storyline, the best hope you have in shaping the story is to make yourself an available, responsive source. 

  80. M. Edward (Ed) Borasky

    No *human being*, founder or not, should be OK with this!