What's Wrong With Sensationalist Media

Check out this email I got from a major media company this past week:

I was just talking to my boss about New York's tech scene and the types of stories I should go after. He wants me to get a little personal like digging into how founders and investors are actually using all this money flowing into the city. But beyond the typical, there must be some stories that have gone unreported or overlooked. Like maybe there's a new Brookly luxury bulding where 10 startup founders all bought homes, or there's a restaurant that all the tech geeks in the city go to to close their deals. Or there is a tailor from France who makes all the suits for the city's tech entrepreneurs. I am not saying any of these are THE story, but it's just the type of story I would love to tell.

Not interested in The Academy For Software Engineering, HackNY, TechStars NYC, or Angel List, which is where the money seems to be flowing (ie back into the startup ecosystem) but instead interested in suits for tech entrepreneurs.


#NYC#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. Julien

    Even worse: it looks like they’re looking for examples to prove a point they want to make, without caring much whether their point is valid or not!

    1. Emily Merkle

      can;t gauge validity without peer review

  2. PrasannaKrishnamoorthy

    Reality is so boring… What we really need is celebrity startup reporting!Wouldn’t YOU want to know where all the superstar startup folks do their thing? :o) So if you do the things they do, maybe you’ll be a superstar too!Looks like the reporter might make a good snack for @FakeGrimlock:twitter /me firmly grounded in ‘boring’ reality

    1. Avi Deitcher

      Oh, yeah, cannot *wait* to see what @fakegrimlock has to say here! 



  3. scott crawford

    I believe it was the wise man Jobs who said, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

    1. Dave Pinsen

      Jobs’s reputation took a beating at the hands of Maureen Tkacik a few days ago.

      1. scott crawford

        When I die I want Tkacik to write my bio. Just get the worst part over with and be done.

        1. Dave Pinsen

          I like it: get all the dirt in the obit, and let the revisionists praise you.

      2. kidmercury

        man that was a great article. thanks for sharing it. 

        1. Dave Pinsen

          NP. Tweeted it a couple of days ago, as well.

      3. Emily Merkle

        who cares truly ? performing at that caliber negates any silly things like ‘rep’better to know your weak sports and accommodate them

        1. Dave Pinsen

          Lots of people care. They care how they are treated, and how they see others being treated.Fred brought up sports as an analogy before, and your comment brings to mind the example of another football coach, Bill Parcels, who was recently passed over for the Hall of Fame. He performed at a high level, and was sort of a Steve Jobs of football for a while. Like Jobs, he was great at what he did, and like Jobs, he didn’t have the best reputation when it came to how he treated people. Some have speculated that’s why Parcells was passed over for the Hall, despite his accomplishments.

          1. Emily Merkle

            I can see your perspective there.

    2. Emily Merkle

      I think my partner can quite me – I do not know what I like but I will know when I see it.

  4. Dave Pinsen

    True enough, but, in fairness, new media has its weaknesses too. How many posts or articles about tech start-ups have we read online that were essentially just press releases?

    1. fredwilson

      i consider all of that nonsense traditional media. techcrunch, pando, etc are just doing the same thing on a different platform.real people talking about what they are actually doing themselves is the truly disruptive new media

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Real people talking about what they are doing have their own agendas. There is a role for objective third parties, but the challenge — whatever the platform — is balancing objectivity with the need for access. It’s easier to get subjects to chat with you when you don’t have a reputation for asking tough questions.

        1. fredwilson

          i agreebut as my partner brad’s nephew said to him when brad asked him why he read sports blogs instead of sports pages”at least i know what their agenda is”everyone here knows I am a VC, i have a portfolio, i am deeply vested in that portfolio, our investment thesis, and our way of looking at the world at least they should know that and a few visits here will educate them

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Interesting you mention sports as an example. In the run-up to the Super Bowl, a caller asked WFAN’s Mike Francesa why Tom Coughlin had gotten a hard time in the media. Francesa noted that dynamic would change with a second Super Bowl win, but he said the reason was Coughlin was a fair guy who never cultivated any sportswriters. Other coaches would give special access to one or two reporters, and in return, those guys would defend the coaches when things went bad. So Coughlin didn’t have that sort of air cover when the Giants were losing.

          2. fredwilson

            very interestingseems like the way coughlin would go about things

          3. Dave Pinsen


          4. JamesHRH

            Many, many. many people would consider this naive.I respect this approach, but there is an aspect of martyrdom to it…..

          5. matthughes

            Football coaches have a lower tolerance for media than just about any other group. Even VC’s. 😉

          6. matthughes

            There are shockingly few great sports blogs.I’m a huge sports fan and I really have trouble connecting with a single blog or writer. 

          7. Donna Brewington White

            It comes down to transparency.Once you’ve cultivated an appetite for this, all else becomes repugnant.

          8. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          9. Emily Merkle

            oh believe me i feel you!

          10. Emily Merkle

            and why not. keeps us motivated to do good by doing well and invented to invest in bleeding edge innovation – not eating their young. To all who wish tol move forward and improve existence – join us.

          11. Jon Dube (@cyberjournalist)

            This is a really good point. Jay Rosen has written a lot about the notion of “The View from Nowhere” and why he thinks it’s flawed. See: http://pressthink.org/2010/…”…it’s easier to trust in “here’s where I’m coming from” than the View from Nowhere. These are two different ways of bidding for the confidence of the users.In the old way, one says: “I don’t have a horse in this race. I don’t have a view of the world that I’m defending. I’m just telling you the way it is, and you should accept it because I’ve done the work and I don’t have a stake in the outcome…”In the newer way, the logic is different. “Look, I’m not going to pretend that I have no view. Instead, I am going to level with you about where I’m coming from on this. So factor that in when you evaluate my report. Because I’ve done the work and this is what I’ve concluded…”If the View from Nowhere continues on, unchallenged, trust in the news media will probably continue to decline.”

        2. Rocky Agrawal

          True that. Several companies won’t talk to me.

      2. hungrygardener

        >real people talking about what they are actually doing themselves is the truly disruptive new mediabingo! I am hoping we see some interesting projects, like Caterina Fake’s pinwheel that tie story telling to location. That in my opinion is genesis of “citizen journalism.”   Further, you will see some meaningful projects coming out of Africa around storytelling.

      3. William Mougayar

        I agree with your first point, but in the 2nd point the challenge is that these real people don’t always have a big audience to reach, so they need to “use” the media to amplify their story. 

        1. Rohan

          That’s an interesting point, William. I’m just wondering if new media will behave any different once they have the ‘power’.Techcrunch is an example..They were ideal poster child of new media once.

          1. William Mougayar

            That point applies to both types of media, Rohan. Media typically has the “audience reach”. But some power bloggers like Fred also have a big audience, and this segment is increasing their reach and influence.

          2. Carl Rahn Griffith

            The Long Tale vs The Long Tail…

          3. William Mougayar

            Yup… lots of Long Tails on the Internet, but doesn’t that add-up to something more significant?

          4. Carl Rahn Griffith

            Absolutely. Always subscribed to its significance since Chris Anderson first described it. Monetisation, as ever, is the challenge…

      4. Elie Seidman

        Well said – I never understood what was new about it. Writers – of varying, usually low, quality – get paid to report. 

      5. Stellis11

        Could you please write a post with your favorite writers and blogs? I’m suffering from TechCrunch Fatigue (reading a single story, i.e. Apple rumor, from another source reblogged and regurgitated over and over with minimal added value).

        1. fredwilson

          i like real people telling what they really thinkthose kinds of posts are best found on hacker newshttp://news.ycombinator.com/i don’t read blogs per sei read blog posts

          1. Austin Clements

            Agreed. Participating in an online community with similar interests is far more interesting that following most blogs. There are, quite obviously, exceptions where a blog can create a community itself.

          2. Ryan Frew

            wearenytech.com is another great example. They’ve slowed down their posts recently, but I came across the site because of AVC and it’s been a great resource regarding the NYC startup scene.

          3. fredwilson

            yes, that is a great resource

      6. Emily Merkle

        Even moreso is the discovery of disrupting forces by agents of change and content follows – and I suck at writing blogs personally; area for more dediaton

      7. ShanaC

        so what does new media look like, or are we expected to recycle the same old thing in new forms.

        1. matthughes

          What new media might lack in objectivity they need to make up for with transparency. 

          1. ShanaC

            which hasn’t happened yet

      8. Brad Lindenberg

        Agree. I’ve changed my media consumption habits and I’d say 75% of what I consume now are transparent thoughts directly from people I follow on Twitter.The more influential people who speak directly and openly on Twitter (like Rupert Murdoch), the more Twitter users will come to expect this level of transparency and thus refuse to follow “ghost tweeters” who are representing celebs but are not the actual celebs themselves because its easy to tell when someone real is on the other end.Reading what influencers are reading and learning to how they think is meaningful. Mainstream media is noisy.

      9. Emily Merkle

        yep and time after time these models resemble Pareto and – in our space – even greater – gasp! – opportunity/impact *inequality*would not have it any other way try to earn it best I can

    2. awaldstein

      I agree…So what’s the answer.Editorial intent is what makes it work and clear to me. 

      1. Dave Pinsen

        Ideally, there’s a wall between news and editorial. That’s generally not the case at the NY Times (it’s “news analysis” articles often include opinion), but it used to be the case at the Wall Street Journal (its news articles didn’t reflect the bias of its editorial page). I stopped reading the WSJ a few years ago, so I don’t know what the case is there now. In general, though, the stronger a media outlet’s reputation and the greater its reach, the more it ought to be able to report objectively without losing access to news makers.

        1. awaldstein

          I agree.So what we do is make that that decision on intent ourselves.I don’t read the WSJ any longer. Yes to the NYT and yes to the Economist. The rest blogs.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            Not quite my point.

        2. Josh Haas

          Well, the ideal of “facts on one side” and “opinion on the other side” was one of the ideals of old media and I think a large part of the dissatisfaction with old media is that it’s a flawed ideal.  There’s no such thing as unbiased facts: otherwise, the fact that I’m sipping a cup of coffee right now should be as relevant to the NYT as the presidential election.  You can write in a style that”sounds” objective, but by choosing what stories to write and what facts to include you’ve already made your choices.That’s why the idea of subjectivity-up-front is so exciting: lots of bloggers each taking their spin on things, with their biases known and trying to engage as human beings.

          1. Avi Deitcher

            @Josh , I don’t think that ideal was ever truly put into practice. “All the news that’s fit to print” is more of a marketing line than a belief system (except insofar as it reflects editorial belief). Same for all of the “famously impartial” newscasters. If you look back to the early days of the Republic – late 18th century and early 19th – and well into the early 20th, media (newspapers back then) were always considered partisan and editorial in nature. IIRC, Jefferson had his own newspaper (or at least a supporting one), Adams had his, cannot even recall where Hamilton played into it. Partisan journalism always was journalism, except for a short period in the second half of the 20th Century, and even then was always a way to sell itself as unbiased. http://en.wikipedia.org/wik… And, no, I am not really cynical, I am actually very optimistic about democracy, just not starry-eyed about journalism either.

          2. LE

            You can write in a style that”sounds” objective, but by choosing what stories to write and what facts to include you’ve already made your choices.Nothing escapes this. We read Fred. Fred decides what to write about that we read. Fred mentions http://news.ycombinator.com “HN”. so we read HN.  Anyone can submit a story to HN but the editors certainly have plenty of power to make or break that story. To wit:http://ycombinator.com/news…Who are the editors?About 30 YC alumni. They can kill stories and edit the titles, and in extreme cases (e.g. spamming or deliberate trolling) ban users.And yes, that’s right. They ban users. And from what I’ve read for things that a major newspaper (or Fred) would never consider doing.  Essentially writing some of the things that appear on this blog would get you banned on HN and almost certainly downvoted (which will make your comment unreadable).  Today there is yet another story on the front page of HN about “clojure”.  What’s so special about cojure? Well for one thing it’s “dialect of Lisp”. And of course Paul Graham wrote two books on Lisp. So of course that’s getting plenty of play. As do companies that are in a YC class. That said of course I still read HN. But I’m not sure everyone who reads HN is aware of the bias until they have been reading long enough to get the “lay of the land”.

          3. FAKE GRIMLOCK


        3. Emily Merkle

          a disciplined media enterprise with intent to respect and inform all audiences does no one any favors by needlessly muddying the waters between fact/fiction/opinion/slander. bias is no big deal if it is very well and consistently articulated for a reason. NYT. mistakes and oversteps happen.Expect this from the hands that feed & seek it out actively from as many providers as you can find. from all points of view – also throw in the offenders, you need to keep a finger on pulse.We – I think confidently all present – can discern fact from opinion. it is vital to our livelihoods indecently and together.

    3. Emily Merkle

      so patently obvious I feel personally embarrassed/. mesh people raise your game

    4. Emily Merkle

      not too many – the format is blatant

  5. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Good grief, how lame. And I guess the sender of said email is considered to be a ‘journalist’…? :-/

  6. Carl Rahn Griffith

    It’s better to make news rather than be news.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Ah-ha! It’s always good to have intent behind what you do. 🙂

      1. Carl Rahn Griffith


    2. Ela Madej

      Well, maybe I am not getting the intended meaning of that sentence (this is possible, semantically make/be news is the same in Polish) but I think it’s WAY WAY better to BE news. Why would it be better to watch other people do amazing things while you’re merely an observer?I’d be a terrible journalist cause I’d be JEALOUS as hell and anxious to jump in and start DOING.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        It’s suggested to still be in the news, but with you guiding where you show up in the news.”Make” insinuates you’re directing or have intent behind what’s happening. “Being news” in this context is that others are controlling what’s being said.In North America there’s a lot of garbage or undesirable / unhelpful “news” pumped out to a large % of the population.”Be the news you want to be.”

        1. Emily Merkle

          no desire for limelight here – quite the opposite. but that does not imply lack of interest. just identifying key players needed to take it and run!trad. media need not be eliminated – just adjust the dial on drama.

        2. Ela Madej

          Thanks for explaining Matthew, makes sense now. My previous comment is inadequate in such case ; )(yay, I learned sth new!)

  7. Joseph K Antony

    Don’t know whether its got to do something with ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair” kind of gap between technology and arts kind of thing.But I would not write off traditional media comnpletely. A lot of the well curated stuff just cannot be matched by what emerging media ( and what is that if I may ask?) has to offer. Take for example ‘The Economist” magazine and quite a few like that.

    1. fredwilson

      i am going to change my headlineyou all are rightit is unfair

      1. William Mougayar

        This example is not necessarily a sensationalist one. It is still an investigative type, although being on the wrong path.Sensationalism media is misleading & it’s shallow. They make up headlines that don’t matter or they blow-up small things and make them look big.This story is about Distorted media that’s over zealous, and uninformed about what they should be writing about.

        1. Bala

          Not to mention lead to the secret hacking into Mobile Phones in the UK

          1. Carl Rahn Griffith

            And the ‘News of The World’ is today re-launched as the ‘Sun on Sunday’…

    2. Carl Rahn Griffith

      The Economist is both unique and a treasure – as is The New Yorker. In new media terms I place The Atlantic amongst them.I interpreted Fred’s headline/sentiments more aimed towards the brain-dead media that serves as a placebo for the masses – ironic timing, given that today is the re-launch of the disgraced News of The World – as the Sun on Sunday. Just months after the (ongoing) exposure of the disgraceful widespread hacking of ‘phones by ‘journalists’ there. Mr Murdoch’s empire has handled this whole matter very poorly.Hubris. 

      1. Dave Pinsen

        The Atlantic has slipped in recent years, with its embrace of new media. Before it put its articles online, we used to be print subscribers, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a new issue. Now? Meh. There are still some good long form articles by crackerjack journos like Mark Bowden, but it’s watered down online with a lot of weak, bloggy stuff.

        1. Carl Rahn Griffith

          Interesting. I have only known it since its online presence so haven’t seen that dumbing-down transition. I’ve subscribed to both The New Yorker and The Economist for decades and they alone maintain consistent very high standards, it seems.

          1. Dave Pinsen

            I read a bunch of stuff online, but my only paid subscription now is to the Financial Times. They do a pretty good job of keeping their editorial bias separate from their news, and the overall quality of the writing is first rate. Their weekend arts & leisure section is a full of interesting stuff too that you don’t find elsewhere. I find myself emailing or tweeting a few articles from it every weekend.

          2. karen_e

            My husband and I buy the FT every weekend in hard copy. In pink copy, I should say. It’s so much fun! Our bodega (corner grocer) just gave up selling all newspapers a few weeks ago, though. So many people read on screens now, obviously, I guess he just can’t sell papers. Anyway, The FT Weekend is our only paper-paper, that and the New Yorker in print. It’s kind of a way to relax your eyes. Take a break from linking for a little while each weekend.

          3. testtest

            i’ve been doing some stuff in the financial district of london, and you still see people reading or carrying around the salmon pink paper 

          4. William Mougayar

            I agree it’s a good change of scenery from linking and online. Almost like stepping into another world. I typically do that in airport lounges. But I hate it when my fingers get dirty from flipping newspapers.

          5. Dave Pinsen

            I subscribe to the hard copy version too. I just use the online version when I want to share an article via email or Twitter. I like to finish every day by shutting off the TV, computer, and iPhone and reading an actual book or newspaper.

    3. Emily Merkle

      oh no doubt trad journalism is stellar more often than not.just trying to make case to parties not clearly aligned to either demonstrate why or communicate agreement or not, no evil agenda here.

  8. awaldstein

    Editorial intent is what puts the scale in perspective for me.Your example and some stuff in the tech rags are all on the same slider. I’m cool with everyone having an agenda. I certainly do and I trust that everyone knows I work as an advisor. If they like my thoughts we engage and sometimes work together. Seems right.My big issues is not the crap, its how still difficult it is to find great stuff, blogs, with discussions so I can get involved and sort things out. The truth is that there isn’t much that is black and white. Truth in most things that interest me is thought on top of facts.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Keeping consistent I find is also important. If you’re not consistent in your views, even if they are evolving – that’s okay, then you’ll feel less genuine and authentic, and as a reader I will quickly lose interest (whether that’s a function of decreased trust or appeal that initial messaging was geared towards, am not sure).I agree it’s still difficult to find great things that really draw you in to engage with, though I’m not sure I have much more time than I currently have to do the engaging. Perhaps with tools like Engagio I would be able to find / have the time, though my brain has only so much juice in a day. 🙂

    2. Emily Merkle

      hunt it down methodically with ruthless intent 😉

  9. Maneesh Arora

    John Stewart had a GREAT piece on this last weekhttp://www.thedailyshow.com…

    1. fredwilson

      that’s greati hadn’t seen itthanks for sharing it

    2. William Mougayar

      I get “Sorry this video is not available from your location.” Arrghhhhhhh!!!Another MEDIA blunder.

      1. testtest

        use this:http://media.mtvnservices.c…the object tag in the html requested the video asset from another server (their CDN). i used a server in US to request the video, via curl*, and got redirect to the above. you can see “geo=US” in there.totally pointless considering i don’t even want to watch the video. but a bit fun figuring it out via the command line. vs using a proxy site/browser plugin.*a linux tool for requesting data over various protocols

        1. William Mougayar

          Wow. That trick worked. Cool. So much for them being smart about the geo-location.

          1. Emily Merkle

            um who and why assume that?

        2. mikenolan99

          This is going to make traveling to Belize soooo much nicer… great trick.

          1. Emily Merkle


          2. mikenolan99

            In Belize, you can not get much foreign content… (Netflix, Hulu, Daily Show…) Hoping this will allow me to stream when I’m down there.I’m sending the link to my wife – she’s teaching in the schools there… I’ll let the group know if this works.

    3. Scott Barnett

      Here’s another one from The Daily Show from this past Thursday – sums up our political system to a t:http://www.thedailyshow.com… 

      1. Jen Berrent

        I have been scrolling down to see if anyone had already posted this!  I agree this is the same issue from a different angle. 

    4. FinLit

       Thanks for sharing–sad commentary on the mind-frame of the audience 🙁

    5. Robert Thuston

      Good clip. I hope to be on his show one day.

    6. Dave W Baldwin

      Loved it!

    7. ShanaC

      When in doubt, the daily show or stephen colbert will make fun of it

    8. Marian Mangoubi

      this was great. he’s points are so dead on. it’s one of the reasons I read/listen to the BBC and read everything a friend writes for Reuters about Qatar and the Middle East.  (She is a reporter who currently lives in Qatar).  I find getting news from somewhere outside the US helps me to have a better idea of what’s really happening here and around the world.  

  10. pointsnfigures

    I am consistently misquoted by the media. It’s why I blog and why I love live TV. I find that 99% of journalists aren’t that sharp.

    1. Emily Merkle

      wow – i figured that out way late. i am unfortunately an optimist to extremities not advised. o well.

  11. William Mougayar

    This sounds like it came from someone who doesn’t know (or care) much about Tech & Startups, so they would rather write about these other generic topics instead. Perhaps that’s what their readership is interested in, but even if they found these types of stories, they are inconsequential to the NYC tech scene and its success. That said, can you tell us what type of media type of outlet this was – ie fashion, general consumer or business? 

    1. Emily Merkle

      interest is far reaching. tech is major but not only player.

  12. Brandon Kessler

    Well there’s the secret poker game in the back room of the McDonald’s on Union Square West. Thursday nights, 2 am, give the cashier the password “I’m a chicken”

    1. fredwilson


    2. Leigh Drogen

      Best blog comment ever.

  13. Bala

    I feel your pain and I want to throw up everytime I read stories like this as well! This is the problem when you need to sensationalize anything to make a living. As they say be careful what you wish for. Traditional media just wants to report on what is “Hot” which equates to what people can vicariously feel that they would rather be doing than what is actually changing our world. We love scandal, sensational stories, people making a blunder, flaunting their money or whatever. Until, the majority of people stop saying NO to that kind of trash it is always going to be what Traditional Journalists want to report. You have no idea how it has been in Iceland, if you are successful and make money you have to be a crook. We also need to stop stereotyping people, but I know it is not going to happen so I understand and repeat your end… Uggghhhhhh. I like the young teams that I work with they have stopped reading traditional media or watch TV news.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      “vicariously feel”?No, no, no, no!  Let’s be correct!  It’s really vicarious, escapist, fantasy, emotional experience entertainment or VEFEEE!And, now for the main question:  May I have the envelope, please?  Yes, here it is:  For the people who write VEFEEE, where do they get that really strong funny stuff they’ve been smoking?NYC Upper West Side?  The desks of the NYT?  The news rooms of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, and PBS!  The DEA’s got to check out these places!Yes, maybe the news and editorial departments are supposed to be separate.  But what about news and soap operas departments being independent? 

  14. LIAD

    Fish where the fish are.I have no beef with major media companies looking to write about for the juiciest aspects of our industry. Mainstream readers don’t give a hoot about tech incubators and the like. For them tech/bankers/baseball players, it’s all the same story, just different industryIt’s the tech publications I have an issue with. Sum up the BI stories about ‘check out zuckerberg’s new pad’ or ‘ Read Sean Parker’s $20,000 bar bill’ etc  – they’re the ones who are really doing us a disservice.

    1. Carl Rahn Griffith

      Sadly the pseudo ‘indie rock star’ culture that has permeated many tech startups only feeds this further.



      2. Cam MacRae

        There was a time when I thought a little ‘indie rock star’ culture would do wonders for STEM, but alas the Brogrammer was a bridge too far.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      You are saying that there is only one story and only the names change. Right.But the content isn’t just from the limited interests of the readers. Instead, the content is mostly just from the limited list of stories of old media. Just as in Fred’s post, the editor has already decided on the story and only wants some names to fill in. That editor’s main tool is just a hammer so that he sees each story as a nail.Heavily the content is not due to the audience but to “The medium is the message”.E.g., like many people, I’m an engineer. In particular, in part I’m heavily a car guy. As a teenager, I was often on my back under a car (no, that was before I had a good girlfriend!). Once I was made a Full Member of the SAE. The US is awash in car guys.Well, now NHRA drag racing can go from 0-288 MPH in 1/8th mile. To keep final speeds below 330 MPH or so, they reduced the length from 1/4 mile to just 1000 feet. They have V-8 engines of about 500 cubic inches putting out about 8000 HP (about right — just do the kinetic energy arithmetic). And some of those 500 cubic inch, V-8 engines are turning 11,000 RPM with valve spring forces of 1000 pounds, enough to bend the cam shafts (information available on the Internet but not TV).Okay, as a car guy, I want to know, “How do they do that?”.But even in NHRA sports reporting, with an audience heavily car guys, there is only that one hammer — fill in the names in the standard story. The standard story is about characters from formula fiction and has nothing to do with the engineering. Moreover, at this point, the races are all much alike, about 4 seconds of roar and some parachutes. So, I rarely watch.The amazing stuff, with actually some variety, is the engineering, which also now has a large role for computing, and the reporting omits all that.Net, even where there is a lot of amazing, interesting, changing engineering and an audience of car guys, the media still insists on reporting using just formula fiction to get the audience to identify with characters. Only possible story. Period.Net, the limited content is heavily due to the media, not the audience.So, we have a really incongruous situation: A subject with some amazing engineering for an audience heavily car guys who like engineering with reporting from, apparently, college English majors who have no knowledge of, or interest in, engineering and who really understand just formula fiction.For more, sure, I can still be a little interested in woodworking. Both my father and my father in law were really good at woodworking. But to me, this far into the 21st century with my concentration on computing, woodworking is a bit old! However, the how-to programs on PBS still heavily emphasize woodworking with almost nothing on computing. Again, it’s not that the audience cares more about table saws than computers, about drill bits than Ethernet; instead, it’s that TV is at least 50 years out of date.For more, I do my own cooking. Now I’m heavily emphasizing potatoes, carrots, and cabbage with onions to make the first three taste good. In the last three months, lost 11 pounds.So, I got started on Moo Shu Pork with a lot of cabbage and carrots. I had to do a lot of guessing; there’s next to nothing in the books or on TV or even the Internet on how to do a good Moo Shu Pork with a lot of cabbage and carrots yet that is heavily the way the US Chinese carryouts do the dish; of course the carryouts want to keep the cost down, and I want to keep the calories per ounce of food down. But the books and TV shows on cooking are not instructional but are from formula fiction, that is, vicarious, escapist, fantasy emotional experience entertainment (VEFEEE) as if I were doing impossible cooking. Real cooking? I have to work that out for myself. Fantasy instead of reality again.Especially now with some hundreds of channels on cable TV, only a small fraction of which I have ever watched, the conclusion is that old media is highly inbred and absurdly narrow, left over from “the medium is the message” left over from the days of the narrow bandwidth of just two major newspapers in each major city and just three TV networks, and ready for disruption.The limited content ain’t due just to the audience.Then we also have to expect that old media is heavily controlled by a few fat cats who have much more money then they ever expected to, eat more than four nights a week in five star NYC restaurants, and in effect respond to criticism with “Let them eat cake”.

      1. Emily Merkle

        guys no claims that we possess the omniscience implied. you have to start somewhere and then pitch.some call it thesis.

      2. LE

        However, the how-to programs on PBS still heavily emphasize woodworking with almost nothing on computing. Again, it’s not that the audience cares more about table saws than computers, about drill bits than Ethernet; instead, it’s that TV is at least 50 years out of date.Woodworking is visual and TV is a visual medium. So it’s no surprise that you will see a PBS show on woodworking is it?Also there are plenty of niche shows on cable showing how things are made (bridges or heavy machinery or sardine canning). Same thing. Something visual that is interesting to a niche of people.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          “Visual” possibilities in computing?  Hmm!!It might be possible to make computing, say, setting up a home LAN, as visual as sardine canning and of interest to a wider audience.  Also for information technology startups.  Indeed,  there is a movie about the start of Facebook, right?My main concern is the lack of good information for voting citizens. With talking heads, charts, graphs, information on flows in the economy, such information can be plenty visual.I see the main issue of the media that of Fred’s post here: Visual or not, the media company wanted stories about founders to play the role of characters in formula fiction, characters viewers would identify with, instead of providing information, as Fred outlined, about companies being started. The main difference wasn’t visual or not but formula fiction versus information.Old media doesn’t want to pass out actual information and, in particular, doesn’t want to be instructional. Khan Academy is getting, what, some millions of visitors a day or some such trying to be instructional, but old media is convinced that being instructional is a bummer, even worse than that junk on the worst 100 channels on my cable TV.If a reporter for the company that wrote Fred tried to do a piece on NYC startups that was informational, then viewers would never get to like it because it would never get past the editor.Heck, old media would not find where AVC.com, Tumblr, Flickr, Facebook, or LinkedIn fit into formula fiction and, thus, would have rejected them.Net, old media wants to stay with their old business model, what they’ve been doing when the message was from the medium for the past 120 years or so.As we know, companies with old business models rarely change; instead they just fade away and get replaced by new companies that do make use of new business models.

        2. Emily Merkle

          so is that a proposal for tv programming you just elevator pitched?

      3. Emily Merkle

        uh – i see some more entanglements ..related sectors 

  15. Richard

    Wow that’s a bizarre email! I think you are being Spoofed. He/she has got wall st down the street, m&A nearby and he is asking you about Italian suits and tech startups. I call BS on this one.

  16. gregorylent

    the guy knows his audience #occupymedia

  17. Ivan Vecchiato

    I thought only media here in Italy were completely inadequate to face with the tech scene. Until they keep having a traditional editorial staff and a “web editorial staff” (not joking) which they refer to for particular out-of-the-world-we-know news, they won’t be able to get it. Sensationalism is even worse: evey day they are looking for “the new … (fill in with Jobs, Zuckerberg, ecc)” without caring for what young tech entrepreneurs are able to do.

  18. Richard

    It’s the sequel to “Almost Famous”.

  19. testtest

    i stay away from business-porn.my recent favourite, as of two days ago, is McKinsey Quarterly. used to read the economist, for a bit: too political. too much macro.used to read the FT. too much macro.the likes of Business Insider-slash-TechCruch falls into the taxonomy used in the first line.the disaggregation of media, to specialist content, wins me over. if you want any sort of depth, where information is actionable, it’s verticals FTW IMHO

    1. Emily Merkle

      Thx needed this 😉

      1. testtest

        YW, emily

        1. Emily Merkle

          elaboration requested.

          1. testtest

            google it please emily. it’s a good way to figure out acronyms imho.

          2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          3. Cynthia Schames

            LOLIt stand for “lady on lithium”.

    2. Jc_mellinger

      Like all industry-specific rags they rarely get the whole story right. Anecdotally, TC authors have recently misreported salient facts on two portfolio companies. The problem with journalists of any stripe is they know enough to think they know what they’re talking about. With few exceptions they don’t know enough about what they report (and disregard critical facts due to lack of knowledge). 

  20. Mark Essel

    “Miniature golf range constructed on former homeless shelter so that rich VC kids can play.””Serial entrepreneurs caught in chic oxygen bar burning investor dollars.” There’s a market for that type of “news”, and I’m not it.Here’s the headline I’m looking for:”Old media withers, proven unsustainable in the economy of attention”

    1. JimHirshfield

      Second career as a copywriter?

      1. testtest

        if the headline didn’t have to explain the gist of mark’s point, i like “Old Media Withers. Proven Unsustainable!”one way to write a good headline is not to reveal the whole story. it’s a promise of what’s to come.then you have the traditional “benefit” headline. as in, FAB. Feature, Advantage, Benefit.headlines should be short and pithy. the job of copy is to get the person to read the next line.then there’s the question headline. Asking a question that you know your target audience will mentally nod their head ‘yes’ to.and, the how-to headline. How To Cut 10 Strokes Off Your Game In 16 Minutes. When numbers are used they should be precise. So, ’16 mins’ is better than ’15 mins’. An exact number is more mentally tangible. There’s others, also…this was my favourite copy blog: http://www.makepeacetotalpa…it’s not updated any more, but the archives are gold! grok it, and you’ll be able to grab your soon-to-be customers by their eyeballs.

        1. Mark Essel

          Way to break it down Chris.

          1. testtest

            thanks, mark

    2. Carl J. Mistlebauer

      Mark,My favorite headline will be:”FAKE GRIMLOCK Has Love Child”Then have the story about FG getting funding for his start up…..Or maybe,”FAKE GRIMLOCK Unmasked!”Then have it be a story about maybe FG is really Mark Zuckerburg…

      1. Mark Essel

        FG is much cooler than Mark Z.My image of FG is as a modem day super villain mad scientist with a penchant for justice and philosophical clarity. Or for fellow AD&D nerds Chaotic Neutral with good tendencies.

        1. Emily Merkle

          wtf is FG

        2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


          1. Mark Essel

            somebody has to keep the print gnomes in line.

          2. Emily Merkle

            no incentive for trying to scoop this one kids – all the Kardashians you can conjure at 10K/Tweet Can Not Touch This.(not meant meanly but wouldn’t you rather be making money in more comfy clothes? Much better I assure you)

          3. Emily Merkle

            Lame. There are no losers here. I need you The Man Who Saved Me and inspired my passion for this gig.

          4. Sofia

            I hope that xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxl size can be available…otherwise you’ll have to make it by yourself or find another vendor.

      2. ShanaC

        Now that would be supe aesome

        1. Emily Merkle

          To my mentor – I would be humbled to be granted the responsibility of bearing the message.I know I can.I would love to.

          1. ShanaC

            I’m your mentor? O_o

      3. Donna Brewington White

        Mark Zuckerberg is smart for sure, but could he pull off being FAKE GRIMLOCK?Corrected: Can’t believe I misspelled Zuckerberg. I blame it on you Carl. 😉

        1. Emily Merkle

          dude of course. he is the Steve Whisperer.

        2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


      4. andyidsinga

        oops ..i tried to reply to this thread but it didnt happen ..see my other comment re FG 🙂

      5. Finance Addict

        Everyone knows that Fake Grimlock is Fred, n’est-ce pas?

        1. fredwilson

          i wish i had cooked that up

          1. Cynthia Schames

            For months, I would have sworn @FAKEGRIMLOCK:disqus  was @bfeld:disqus .

        2. FAKE GRIMLOCK


    3. William Mougayar

      Good to see Mark on top of the Likes Chart! 

      1. Mark Essel

        Some folks have 15 minutes of fame, I’m going for 15 years of obscure references. I think Daniel Ha coined it best, “obscurely famous”

        1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

          So you are shooting for your own cult?

          1. Mark Essel

            Cults have too heavy of a connotation, how about drum circle or deck hockey team.

        2. obscurelyfamous

          I sort of stole it from one of my favorite books from a few years back, Life of Pi. It was just an innocuous phrase in the middle of a paragraph and I liked how the words looked next to each other.

          1. Techman

            @danielha:disqus that sort of reminds me to ask you something. You know your site, obscurelyfamous.com? When you try to visit it, the Disqus embed tries to load, but doesn’t. I can detect the embed code by looking at URL requests, as well as the pages source code.Anyways, not that big of a deal, but wanted to let you know anyways.

          2. obscurelyfamous

            It’s hidden for now. I’m way behind on my project to restart my blog.

          3. Techman

            Oh. Try to blog again when you can.

    4. sigmaalgebra

      You left out “True VC financial confessions”!

      1. Emily Merkle

        Uh remind me

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Once I was waiting for something in a large drug store, saw the magazine rack, was surprised by the number of romance magazines, wrote down the titles of all the romance magazines, took a frequency distribution of the words in the  titles, discovered that the three most frequent words were ‘true’, ‘romantic’, and ‘confessions’, noticed that ‘True Romantic Confessions’ was actually not one of the titles, concluded that maybe it should be, and borrowed from that title for ‘True VC Financial Confessions’.Yes, suggesting sin is one of the key parts of the media and has been for 1000 years back to the English morality plays. For the second grade version, if go for the trilogy of transgression, retribution, and redemption, then can cover all three of Wagner’s ‘Ring’, ‘Star Wars’, and Tolkien’s ‘Ring’.Then in the NYT we have seen nearly daily flogging for some years of the transgression of sinful humans against the precious, delicate Mother Earth, the coming retribution of environmental disaster, and the needed redemption via sacrifice of cars, electric power, plastic bags, etc. No science; no rationality; just a morality play from people feeling guilty from paranoia.Such is old media.

  21. William Mougayar

    There is good and bad media, just like there is good and bad everything. This was an example of good investigative journalism, but targeted at the wrong angle. 

  22. Joaquín R. Kierce

    It’s the “only by Bravo! syndrome”

  23. Rohan

    Ha. This is why you should interview with me, Fred. I’d love to interview you and get your thoughts on all these things.Downside: Not nearly as much ‘reach'(But who knows – atleast the real stories might reach the kind of people you’d like to reach)Bonus: No such emails. Additional bonus: Just 20 mins of your time required. –Thank you dear big media company journalist for helping me make my case…

    1. Matt A. Myers

      I think you should just ambush interview him on the subway. Your charisma will get him going. 🙂 Edit: Assuming you have a way to be in NYC….

      1. Rohan

        Hahahahaha. That’s part of the plan now that you’ve given me the idea, Matt.I’ll be banned from avc after that.. haha

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Just tell Fred you’re Yoda… The force is too strong in Yoda for Fred to ban him..

          1. Rohan

            Lol. What happened to you?You were off on some self imposed exile for months.And now you’re back.. and back with a bang! Haha

          2. Matt A. Myers

            I had some ducks to get in a row. Preparation, organizing. Many dominoes are laid out now, and they are wobbling and about to fall into a glorious unstoppable chain-reaction. 🙂

  24. e.p.c.

    So, the same perceptive depth they went after in coverage of the financial industry.Secret suits from France? Really?  I know exactly two guys who wear suits these days (custom suits at that), and neither is in the tech industry.  One is a journalist, the other a lexicographer. Next week in The Distorter: a seven part series on “The Dark Secrets Of Etsy”.  First we’ll ask “Who walks all of those dogs and do they REALLY pick up everything?”  Then “How is it that their offices are SO QUIET when we know they’re right on the Manhattan Bridge?”

  25. johnmccarthy

    Hey, if this is a bubble then they all must have investment banker lifestyles, which must be why everyone is going into tech, right? That type of story sold a few magazines 12 years ago so let’s try it again……Unfortunately, all that is needed is one or two people looking for publicity to take a story idea from concept to Trend.

    1. Emily Merkle


  26. Guest

    What I’ve found is that when you read an article about a topic you know a lot about, it’s rare that you find that the author of the article is thoughtful or knowledgeable about the topic. But high quality does happen – in a small set of places. Places that lost their cool over the past 8 years – a lot of that loss happening at the hands of our industry that decided that those folks were “old media who don’t get it”. Places where talented people are well paid to really learn something. We need more of that. Less of what has become the norm of “new media” – huge quantity of short, low quality, content produced by people who are in no way experts on the subject. Tech new media is probably as good as an example as any of this. How much of what you read in places like TechCrunch or Mashable is even remotely thoughtful? How often does the reporter confuse facts with opinion and when they veer into opinion, tread into territory they know very little about? Going more meta – I strongly believe that we’re going to see an increasing return to what the world looked like historically – before all of the “new media” came along. A return to an appreciation for quality but coexisting with low quality stuff. There were tabloids and rags – lots of them. Many or most were very cheap and people explicitly read them for their sensationalistic value. Then there were the pieces done by really talented professionals and intended for a serious audience. Whether Charlie Rose, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The Economist, American Experience, Ken Burns, some sections of the New York Times, many articles done for Vanity Fair. Articles and video produced by serious people who have the time and resources to treat serious subjects well. Most of “new media” (which is not actually new, as you say below) will fall into the camp of sensationalistic low quality stuff. Written by people who don’t know the subject well and who don’t spend the time to actually learn it (what nearly all tech and consumer web journalism is like). Further, I think that for the good stuff, we, as consumers, are going to have to pay for it. You get what you pay for has been true for ages. It’s going to remain true – or rather, revert to being true. And then there will be people – like yourself – who are insiders and have the benefit of a deep opinion on a specific set of topics, albeit with an agenda. In our industry, as far a I can tell, that’s the only thoughtful stuff that exists. 

    1. Emily Merkle

      Thank u approval matrix!

      1. Emily Merkle

        …which is back covert on weekly nymag – not hollow popularity meter.

    2. Emily Merkle

      dare not sulky ye eyes with rubbish!

  27. Carl J. Mistlebauer

    As one very astute dog show judge said one time, “…it doesn’t matter what they say as long as they spell your name right!”So, CONGRATULATIONS!To everyone in the tech world, you have “made it!”  You now find your industry with its own gossip columnist!Jeremy Lin is already featured here:  http://www.thepostgame.com/…I think there are too many California homes featured in this one about Tech Titans:http://www.cnbc.com/id/4607… Pretty soon VC firms and start ups will have to sponsor cheerleading squads:http://www.thepostgame.com/… Congratulations!  What the NY tech scene needs is its own reality show….

    1. fredwilson

      time to dig a hole and crawl into it

      1. Carl J. Mistlebauer

        No Fred, digging a hole would be heading in the wrong direction! You need a penthouse!Nothing spells success like excess! We definitely need to work on your marketing! 🙂

  28. EmilSt

    As long as there are people who want to read that there will be people who write that. There will always be people who do things and people who talk about people who do things.I wonder if that’s something in culture or it’s genetic or something else…

  29. Drew Meyers

    “…but it’s just the type of story I would love to tell.”This makes me sick.

    1. Brandon Burns

      that quote was for sure the most… i don’t even think i have a word for it. but it’s gross.

  30. John Honovich

    Why do they choose these topics? I assume it’s because more people want to read such articles and/or it is cheaper to produce such articles.How do you change the economics or find a model that would incent them to tell more substantial stories?

  31. Ela Madej

    “a tailor from France who makes all the suits for the city’s tech entrepreneurs” WOW. I’m Polish (currently still live here) + young female + a tech entrepreneur. In the relatively small Polish (European?) startup scene with limited stories that’s enough to make for an “interesting story”. Lame but true. I totally think speaking with the press (esp. local =  Poland is hardly our market, excluding local hiring) is a huge distraction in return for maybe an ego boost. Havign said that, I do sometimes agree to do interviews for the mainstream press to promote the IDEA OF STARTUPS in a hope that this can help us build the ecosystem. To the point –  the questions that I’m being asked are RIDICULOUS. Not all of them but many. Think: “what expensive champagne did you buy yourself to celebrate the first round of investment? Which exotic place did you go on vacation to celebrate it?”, “At the age of 26, what cool car do you have?”.  Not to add the me-being-female-specific (“sex-specific” sounded weird LOL) questions about sth as absurd as “designer bags” (why, oh Lord?). And then THAT sigh of disappointment – I love my bike,  I love my work so hardly any vacation, still so much to achieve so why should we celebrate (well, there must have been some celebration but no parties with models!), the most “designer” bag that I have is my laptop bag. And then I try to make this point – THIS is EXACTLY why this industry rocks.No-one cares about those details exactly because they DON’T MATTER. What’s in your head matters, what you can create matters and people who you work with matter the most. Time, space and money / material things do not matter. It’s SO HARD for people to understand (not to mention it’s not a material for such a compelling story) that this industry is not fueled by the dream for financial gains  & social status.It’s fueled by dreams and the willingness to change the world or at least make the biggest possible impact. Yes, money is a big factor there (will stop here cause this community does not need explanation). To me the game we’re playing every day is balancing between being extremely idealistic and extremely pragmatic. We’re like professional athletes who want to keep winning to show they can be best but also to close better deals and win higher prices. But it’s passion NOT money WHY they started in the first place, and it was mostly passion + hard work that helped them get on top.On the other hand, maybe it’s not possible to emulate that mindset if you’re not an insider?  Is it?

    1. Richard

      ..i hear this a lot “it’s not about the money”, I say it myself, and I still don’t believe it 🙂

      1. Ela Madej

        Ok, wrote that without thinking too much. Yes, it’s a generalization and yes I am basing that on my idealistic world view. No worries, I’m very pragmatic too.  Let me rephrase that – it’s not JUST about the money but it’s ALSO about the money. You need money, money helps. When you make good money, that’s great. When you’re very rich, it’s even more awesome. Startups are businesses and their purpose is to eventually make a lot of money “in exchange” for the value they create. My point was  – $$ is NOT on the very top of our lists.Give it a thought – what are the odds that your startup will be hugely successful? Scarce, the odds are against us.  Smart people can be very rich without all that risk. One would be a fool not to go the safe way if she was maximizing the potential future gains. It takes a lot of courage to start a startup, it takes a little bit of craziness to believe it’s possible and it takes persistence not to give up along the way. It’s not for everyone, some people get lucky but in general there’s a very powerful mechanism of preselection.I’ve been talking with my friend from a Berlin startup the other day. We both attended the http://f.ounders.com/ conference in Dublin. We concluded that these were 4 days spent with the nicest and smartest people you can imagine.  All of them have their incentives and I am sure many want to get OR enjoy being terribly rich (so would I). But in 95% cases there seems to be MORE to it and that was my point. I saw this urge to create sth that’s meaningful, that changes lives, that makes a difference, sth that people won’t be able to ignore.. I want to think that “impact” is the first thing on the list our industry and I am absolutely fine with $$ being the runner-up. Or that’s the world through my idealistic lenses, based on a non-representative sample of startup founders that I had a chance to meet 😉

        1. Richard

          Ela – I agree with your sentiments.  Money certainly is not the issue for most of us “creative assertives”, when we are engaged in creative persuits whether it be through a  startups or a challenging  ourselves   with another graduate degree/conference etc.  But money becomes one of the key issues once we apply ourselves to a business, there are bills to pay, payrolls to meet, competition to deal with etc. and most importantly **you want to be compensated for the time you would have been otherwise creating**.

          1. Ela Madej

            sure, sure, I 100% agree here! I am running my own biz since I was 21 and you don’t have to convince me that money is super important 😉 Maximizing profits // getting filthy rich // buying shitloads of expensive stuff doesn’t seem like THE ultimate goal for many of us here (so it seems). It’s obviously more than a positive externality but not THE ultimate goal

    2. Emily Merkle

      Dude someone reveal secret tailor!!

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Well said, Ela.

      1. Ela Madej

        Thanks Donna.

    4. Brad Lindenberg

      Well said!!!

      1. Ela Madej

        Thanks Brad



      1. LE

        “LINK TO CLOJURE LIKE LINK TO HOT BABE FOR NERDS THAT NEVER TALKED TO WOMAN BEFORE.”In April 2012 they can buy their PLAYBOY at B&N:http://www.clojurebook.com/

  32. Brandon Burns

    my favorite part: “Ugghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”still LOLing!

  33. Luke Chamberlin

    I love how the writer uses the number “10”. They’re already thinking in slideshow mode.

  34. Brandon Burns

    steve jobs: lauded for his expert use of the media, yet rarely ever spoke to them. lessons to learn…

    1. Emily Merkle

      He s a masterful minder of the message for a damn good reason. He learned from experience borne of operating in a viral vacuum fir reasons explained later – to see the challenge as opportunity to raise game to offset limitations of work context. Care to hear philosophy?

  35. Ela Madej

    (I like how the URL says “traditional media”) 

    1. Emily Merkle

      Dude they hate that I suspect

  36. Ciaran

    Media write the stories people want to read. It’s easier to blame newspapers for society’s ills, but it’s also a little unfair

    1. jason wright

      Media write the stories and in the register that people have been conditioned to read, stories rewritten from press releases written inside government departments, marketing and advertising and lobbying and public relations firms, corporate press offices, and from other vested interests. 

  37. iamronen

    pure speculation: – What if instead of putting down “traditional media”  – What if traditional media still represents and caters to a “traditional” part of American society? – What if that “traditional” America is still largely a social mass … intellectually lagging behind? – what if that “traditional” America is still attached to some simplistic value such as … oh … “The American Dream” which was drilled into them all their lives … and manifests as “luxury buildings”? – What if that “traditional” America simply doesn’t get and can’t relate to that list of institutions you mentioned (and all their technology mumbo-jumbo)? – What if the technology business sector (aptly represented on this website) is out of touch with “traditional” America? – what if that “traditional” American is actually a majority (by head count, not IQ) in American society? – What if this is a deeper pattern where a minority population has advanced beyond the majority? – What if this is tearing up American society – to the point where the “advanced” minority is weighed down by the stagnant majority??

    1. Emily Merkle

      And hat is the thing. Major widespread disconnect – traditional media refers to the medium – not the message. Interactive/digital is not a left wing conspiracy; abundance of resources far more plentiful than just tv.So – we need to start being open to a workd where honesty is respected and required; nio grin fuccking allowed. Set aside ego; not attractive; actually communicates fear. Old media is just in need iof some serious content diversification and be open to thinking about ways to structure content format to mimic the agility the web offers.

  38. Jan Schultink

    The multi-writer blog format never worked for me. I follow individuals, including ones in traditional media.

  39. Luke Chamberlin

    “Or there is a tailor from France who makes all the suits for the city’s tech entrepreneurs.”Everyone knows tech entrepreneurs favor the conservative needlework of London’s Savile Row.

  40. Lee Distad

    Plus ça change. Before the start of the financial crisis the finance media was awash in puff piece stories about what kind of single malt scotch was preferred by investment bankers and slobbering hagiographies about how smart various hedge fund managers were.Any journalism that could have been considered even remotely hard-hitting or investigative about subjects like Lehman or AIG were entirely after the fact.The tech media by and large is just as dazzled by ephemera as the finance media.

    1. ShanaC

      there is something wrong with investigative journalism….

  41. kenberger

    There’s only 1 professionally accurate response to this person, and its initials are F.O.I hope that’s what you told them.If you wanted to provide further help, you might also point them to the sponsored hoodie company that actually mints the uniform much more sported than suits.

    1. fredwilson

      my response is a few comments up from this one, in a reply to william

  42. vruz

    Screw them,



  43. Robert Thuston

    Maybe we can help them to sensationalize “normal” – regular people, without suits, passionate about ideas, and for the benefit of others – that to me is sensational

    1. Emily Merkle

      guys – disruption not short sighted. mo desire to break or make news. just testing beta model with ecosystem parts with opportunities.this is a win win scenario ideally no publicity wanted at all.

      1. Emily Merkle

        And – Disqus is a fucking nightmare to navigate. I realize it is the best out there I have sen but it is hard to sort thred to follow and enafe with over time. An aside.

  44. vruz

    This sounds like something an hypotetical “Alleywag” would be after…

  45. truth_power

    thin thighs in 30 days: the startup diet

  46. Christine Mohan

    “Not interested in HackNY…but instead interested in suits for tech entrepreneurs”And their socks. http://www.nytimes.com/2012

    1. Emily Merkle

      Tailored anything. Mod. Hack. Optimize. Jail break.

  47. Helena Bouchez

    I understand and share your frustrations. It was explained to me this way — every story is now a consumer story. Tying tech to tailoring is a way to do that. If you strain what you’re seeing through that lens, it’s pretty illuminating.

  48. kevinmarks

    Would this be the same media outlet that ran a feature on the socks worn in Silicon Valley?

  49. Clyde F. Smith

    You guys want to be #1.  That’s part of the game.  Enjoy!

    1. Emily Merkle

      um not exactly but kinda – just want to put dings please

      1. Clyde F. Smith

        I’m really not sure what you mean.But, I will say there’s nothing sensationalist about doing “human interest” features on people that are currently hot topics in the news.It just comes with the territory.Given that we are speaking about a huge media center, which is one of New York’s last claims to being anything like the center it used to be in the second half of the 20th Century (not that long a period), anyone complaining about this kind of thing is speaking to a desire that is understandable but beside the point.In fact, this kind of coverage is a sign of success.  And really not that big a deal.

        1. Emily Merkle

          I was just being my oblique self per usual 😉 I agree there is nothing “sensationalist: about media coverage duly justified.

  50. Aaron Klein

    It might be breaking news if a tech entrepreneur wore a suit.

    1. Emily Merkle

      been done. no biggie. way back.

  51. sigmaalgebra

    “What’s Wrong With Sensationalist Media”?You mean some of media is better than just “sensationalist”?For what’s wrong, easy: As I argue here, it’s the most serious problem facing humans on this planet and, thus, a major reason humans may not make it to year 2100.Why not to year 2100? Because now the world is significantly more complicated and risky than 50, 100, 200, … years ago and citizens are too poorly informed to do well monitoring their governments and making decisions more generally. Thus, the chances of international economic, military, or epidemiological disaster and, then, global nuclear war are too high.Evidence of poorly informed citizens? For evidence I offer various recessions, wars, harmed lives, etc. we’ve seen in recent decades and caused, I claim, by brain-dead actions of government monitored by too many poorly informed citizens. E.g., I claim that there is no way the US would have had the housing bubble and its fall if citizens had had the information on what was going on. The housing bubble didn’t just happen; it wasn’t an act of nature; as far as I can tell the core cause was some deliberate policies and corresponding actions of Fannie and Freddie to back junk paper. We did it to ourselves. During those years, we got a lot about Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan but very little on Fannie, Freddie, the Countrywide business model, and the CDOs and the bond ratings agencies. For now, (1) the US is sitting on its hands on the energy problem with risks to national security, economic security, our influence in the world, and our standard of living; (2) the US destroyed its industries of autos, textiles, and consumer electronics for little or no good reason; (3) the US has been hamstringing its energy industry due to flim-flam, fraud, scam manipulations (much like the pool table in The Music Man) and the paranoia and nature worship of uninformed, misinformed, just plain wrong wackos; (4) the US should be doing much more on moving ahead with innovative, new businesses.Net, the US has serious problems with energy, unemployment, economic growth, deficits and debt, balance of trade, national security, vulnerability to international economic instabilities, and in all these cases the causes have been really brain-dead actions by our US government monitored by too many very poorly informed citizens.Reason for poorly informed citizens? The information for well informed citizens is not in the media.Reason the information is not in the media? The media has a business model; it’s old and goes back at least to the 1930s when an Andy Hardy movie from then laughed at the low quality of content from the media. That old model is not based on providing information citizens need; instead the content is based on the techniques of formula fiction. E.g., for this thread, the media editor wanted stories that would have readers identify with some characters, all of which are central in formula fiction.Why a business model based on formula fiction content? Because the media is a largely self-perpetuating culture of people, a culture that got started something over 100 years ago when an educated person had a lot of respect for fictional English literature and before the rise of the importance of physical science, applied mathematics, engineering, and medical science from steam, steel, chemical engineering, biochemistry, electricity, antibiotics, oil, autos, airplanes, electronics, nuclear energy, the transistor, microelectronics, etc. and, then, just stayed with fictional English literature and kept out everything else. In particular, the media saw its content as writing as in fictional English literature. So, the media was left without the new, severe standards of information safety and efficacy illustrated and enforced by technical fields of the last 120 years or so.So, now the media is able to follow the definition of art, communication, interpretation of human experience, emotion, with, say, passion, pathos, poignancy, and poetry, but utterly unable to say anything both effective and important about anything important. So the media is able to feel the pains but is unable to take any constructive action to alleviate them. With irony, the media is sound and fury signifying nothing. If medicine were like the media, then we would have snake oil and witch’s brews instead of anesthetics, antibiotics, and vaccines. The media is emotion over reason.Among our larger institutions, only the media is so devoted to emotion over reason. If engineering had this balance, then tall buildings would fall quickly, bridges would collapse even sooner, airplanes would make smoking holes or never get off the ground, houses would have no electric power due to the high chances of fire, software would rarely run, and no one would go to a hospital no matter how bad their pains.Net, in terms of C. P. Snow’s Two Cultures, media is solidly locked in the culture of fictional English literature (or the humanities) and hates the science culture and is without 20th century standards of information safety and efficacy. In simple terms, this far into the 21st century, the media is solidly locked into thinking and techniques of the 18th century or before.What to do about the media?First, to make fertile ground for progress, let people know just how bad the content from old media really is.Second, use the Internet to disrupt and dis-intermediate old media.Third, on the Internet, foster the rise of the long tail of more advanced and specialized content. Wikipedia and more show that there is a lot of good expertise out there.Fourth, on the Internet, have better tools to permit people to find and receive the content with meaning that corresponds to their more focused, personal, specialized, advanced interests.Fifth, hope that the Internet gets citizens informed fast enough to forestall the disaster from citizens uninformed and misinformed from the media emotion over reason.In simplest terms, the formula fiction nonsense of old media has the US and the world flying blind through dangerous skies. In this analogy, it is crucial we have instruments to see where we are, where we need to go, and how to get there.Old media, RIP, and good riddance. You will be missed, like a really bad case of the stomach flu.

    1. LE

      and citizens are too poorly informed to do well monitoring their governments and making decisions more generally. ….Reason for poorly informed citizens? The information for well informed citizens is not in the media….Reason the information is not in the media? The media has a business modelLet me reduce this down to a simple concept:Bell curve; Will power ; Motivation; RationalityIf what you said was possible people would not smoke. And, getting people to eat right and exercise would be as simple as telling them them why they should. And what happens if they don’t.Did you ever notice how cows just stand there in a field all day and do nothing but eat? They are perfectly content just chewing on grass and standing there. If you or I did that we would go crazy. The cow doesn’t. It’s brain doesn’t have that problem. It exists and at least from appearance seems perfectly ok. That’s how some people are. They’re not going to read and understand and care about anything. Until they are hit over the head or they run out of food or they loose a leg to diabetes or get some kind of cancer or your 2100 scenario happens.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        You mentioned the bell curve.  I mentioned the need for long tail content.  My long tail could mean just specialization but could also mean the content for the long tail of your bell curve. I don’t want to assume I’m on the right of your bell curve and cursing the big hump to my left, butas I flip through the cable TV channels, I can’t believe that  anyone would watch that stuff or even bother to create it. But clearly the stuff does get created and likely somewhat watched. So, I need to adjust my perception of reality.If for each interest of each person there were good content on the Internet, i.e., in the long tail of specialization and that of the bell curve, then there would still be some serious problems for each person finding the content they like. So, maybe the content is not out there, or maybe people just can’t readily find it. While all the content I would have in mind may not be out there yet, I have to believe that there is much more than people can readily find.Broadly I see the Internet is a key part of the solution. I have to suspect that then the medium will have changed enough to affect the message, for more of the bell curve than just the right, long tail.

        1. LE

          Isn’t this being done by think tanks like Brookings, Cato and Heritage, American Enterprise Institute etc? Also on TV you can get the bias (and info) you want if you choose Fox vs. CNBC. I simply don’t think you are ever going to be able to get a completely unbiased no agenda organization to inform citizens.Take the Koch brothers:http://motherjones.com/envi

          1. sigmaalgebra

            One of my examples is the current US and world economic mess from the US housing bubble.  The Great Recession is big news now, but the blowing of the bubble was covered much less well than Britney Spears.  To me, this a big, huge point.

          2. Emily Merkle

            I prefer Fox News consumed digitally – and read either feeds in aggregate apps of much more.

          3. Emily Merkle

            Goal is not bias free content – that is impossible. But a well pruned and comprehensive selection of sources covering relevant financiers, innovators, gorillas, market forces, players etc – at intersection of media – all channels; politics; economy – global as shaped by financial interests/markers/etc.?

          4. sigmaalgebra

            Another alternative is information that meets what I called the standards of information safety and efficacy illustrated by applied math, physical science, engineering, and medical science starting about 120 years ago and  that revolutionized civilization in the 20th century. With those techniques, a few scribbles on a piece of paper can change the world — there is a famous quote along these lines due to Stan Ulam (of the Teller-Ulam configuration), but I have to rush to a meeting and can’t look it up now.

        2. Emily Merkle

          long tail refers to compound keyword phrases in search box

          1. sigmaalgebra

            The long tail is a phrase, and a technical term, that has become popular in parts of Internet media, content, and Web 2.0.   Here’s what it means and a little of why it’s important:What the long tail means. Take, say, in principle, all the world’s Web sites. Watch the sites for, say, six months. For each site, get the count of the number of, say, Web pages sent, the number of unique users visiting, the number of internet protocol (IP) addresses connecting, or some such. Then sort these Web sites in descending order on the quantity measured, say, number of Web pages sent.Then draw a graph: Suppose the number of Web sites is positive integer n. This graph, then, will have one point for each integer i = 1, 2, …, n on the X axis. Above point i on the X-axis, plot the number of Web pages site i sent.Then clearly this graph will be very high for small i and will descend quickly (and monotonically, that is, without ever increasing) and then descend slowly and finally have a very long, low tail. So, each Web site in this long tail will have sent relatively few Web pages, but there will be many such sites. These sites are the ones in the long tail.Importance. These long tail sites are not very popular. But quite specialized sites with high quality are often also in the long tail. In total, the high quality sites in the long tail stand to be significant. In total, even the low quality sites may be significant.Broadly a big theme in the future of the Internet and Web is personalization, e.g., as from specialization of interests. A related big theme is connections to interests instead of just to people. Of course, data (directly) on connections to interests stands to be more effective for ad targeting than mere direct connections to people.So, with personalization and specialization, the long tail is especially relevant. E.g., for me, you will find in my collection of recorded music several recordings of the Bach Chaconne for violin and no music that ever made the Top 40. So, all my music is from the long tail.What I said about my interest in music is an example of something quite general: As in “the medium is the message”, in the past it was from difficult to impossible for people to get much from the long tail. The Internet, however, is a big step to letting each person have what they like best, and much of this will be in the long tail. So, the long tail is currently an undervalued good that stands to become much more popular, valuable, and important.You are now up to date on the long tail. Just how to mine the value from the long tail would be the second lecture!

        3. Emily Merkle

          And may I demonstrate the process of locating breadth and depth of relevant conten online?

      2. Emily Merkle

        hmm well can we articulate the factors in your warp that fit this –  cause i am not on same page peeps. got basics but would appreciate some content.

  52. msuster

    I share your aversion to reading stories like this.But …I studied journalism in college (as part of my minor). From looking at years of stories I came to realize that the press reflects what people really want to read. I know most people struggle with that, but the data supports it. Stories that aren’t consumed drop out of the press more quickly.And no matter how much people like us prefer to read stories with real content (which is mostly the only thing I write, as well), large numbers of people like lifestyle stories.So you can hardly blame journalists for wanting to write them.If fact, the writer Ben Elton even parodied this issue in his novel, “Popcorn” http://www.amazon.com/Popco… which was also made into a hilarious play.The premise is a TV show in which the protagonist is going to murder somebody live. If more people turn into the show he’ll commit the murder. If they turn off the TV he promises to let the prisoner go. I’ll let you imagine what happens 😉

    1. Dan Lewis

      Yep: People love a train wreck.  (Literally: http://dlewis.net/nik-archi… )

    2. fredwilson

      i guess soi just feel like it shows an utter lack of what is really going on

    3. Donna Brewington White

      In media we get what we ask for.As long as there is a huge “we” asking for junk, we will get junk.Thankfully there are specialty markets in media.

      1. Emily Merkle

        A fucking men I have agonized over this – make it worth my pain even now

  53. Max Chafkin

    Obviously the tone of this email is annoying but I think your frustration is misplaced. I don’t think that the way money from start-ups trickles into the real economy (tailors, real estate, restaurants, whatever) is a distraction. It’s a really important issue. I can’t guess at the motivations at the writer of this email–maybe he wanted to write a sensationalist story about fancy French tailors–but the question of what kind of economic impact the tech scene has on those outside of it seems to me really interesting. I think an article about how some really good non-tech businesses (even if they happen to be French tailors) are benefiting from the start-up boom in this city would be really cool.

  54. William Mougayar

    What did you reply to her/him? We’re dying to know how you handled that person.

    1. fredwilson

      your boss is a typical editor wanting some sensationalist shitstartup founders dont’ wear suits or live in luxury buildingssheese!this is the kind of nonsense that really really annoys meplease don’t ever send me another email like thisfred



      2. vruz

        You can’t always invest/waste time educating the sensationalist media.You’re extremely generous.

  55. MikeSchinkel

    Fred, I feel your pain.  We have the same problem in Atlanta.

  56. JamesHRH

    Personally, I think this kind of piece is totally fine.Lots of people work in all kinds of less than fulfilling, exciting or stimulating jobs. Many of them have lots of good reasons for doing what they do – I have always thought that a lot of them are also aware that they are sacrificing personal satisfaction for another objective.Tabloid journalism is a legit outlet for them – its mental floss. However, I think it also makes them feel a little better about their sacrifice, when they see the excesses of people who are TOO into themselves (and work is a major part of the persona of these types of people).What is laughable is that this person did so little research.

  57. Dan Lewis

    I don’t think this is so terrible, actually. A story like this could be really great, reaching an audience well outside the typical tech circles. The writer, her publisher, and her audience probably don’t care about how, e.g., PayPal’s success lead to the founding of dozens of other startups, some of which are now household names. Few of her readers would hear the words “Academy for Software Engineering” and not immediately turn their brains off.On the other hand, I’ve seen firsthand these types of things have positive effect for startups.  Two examples: Foursquare’s founders participating in USA Networks’ “Characters Welcome” ad campaign (I saw the ad on the 68th Street/Lex subway platform) and Tumblr’s founder in the Uniqulo ad campaign in the Grand Central subway station. In both cases, I heard other straphangers — who, I’d guess, were not close to the NY tech scene — have conversations about the products referenced. And in both cases, one of the people was extolling the virtues of the platform to the other, who had not (yet?) signed up.Reaching people, in the big picture sense, is a slow process requiring many interactions. Reaching them in their current mindset in most cases the only way to do it, at least at first. But if you learn that Dens and Naveen like White Collar just like you do, and David Karp has the same fashion sense as you do, maybe these techies have the same outlook on life as you do. And maybe you should become one of them.

    1. Andy Shannon

      Nice thought Dan (and love the daily email). Not only do I think this email “isn’t so terrible” – I actually like where it’s going.In my opinion bringing a more personal side to HackNY, Techstars, and Angel List is exactly how I’d like to see these initiatives covered. There would be a variety of ways Fred could respond by including a few juicy bits about the tech scene while highlighting key topics he wants discussed.Here in London I follow the tech scene closely, and I’m tired of seeing PR-type articles written about the newest startup initiative. I’d much rather read an article about the new tech hangout that briefly mentions an initiative or two. That way I can do my own research if I choose.

      1. Emily Merkle

        make a case for your info desires to motivate journos/etc

    2. Emily Merkle

      No shit. Fucking pains me to have crap like – we need to grow entrepreneurs; all of this untargeted and small time funding of projects with no real analysis provided of biz plan..

      1. Emily Merkle

        At the same time – we realize the innovation ecosystem in what *must* be the primary – and hypothetically single and complete drive of economic disruption so dynamic it cannot be achieved in bailouts, quant easing;, lawsuits. People are hurting around the world – abd they are broke and pissed. Hungry and restless. Time to do something. Burn the house down. Don’t panic – thus is not a plot but rather an educated proposal for the major players holding keys to influence How Things Work. Let’s engage /indulge in some blue-skying about dynamic interconnected markets. Sorry for pace – I am really motivated to articulate this as well as possible knowing that my audience is Big. Like all of us.

        1. Emily Merkle

          Scope: global. Universal?Markets/Sectors:Federal government As many foreign governments as workable and aligned in trade, commerce, communications The entire financial sector The entire (maybe) media mix – blah you know who you areThe energy powers that strangle us from Progress (progressive is niot the derogatory synonym of liberal – last I checked it is Ip and To The Right. Foreign policyReligious freedomCivil Rights- overreach lol kinda stoked

          1. Emily Merkle

            Are we on same page?

  58. Emily Merkle

    Amen. If I read about one more innovative-crowd-seded-pixie-dusted-social-fund I will – smile, wish them all I would like wished for me. But enough. Is this lazy sector journalism?

  59. ErikSchwartz

    To a certain extent this is part of the “sound bite-ization” of media. While twitter didn’t start that problem, it certainly has accelerated the trend.If the newspaper only has headlines and no stories the coverage is shallow.

  60. PhilipSugar

    I give the reporter credit that they told you they were going to do a hack job.  Although they probably were naive not upfront.Usually what happens is you make a throwaway comment and that turns into the whole story.  “Oh we like to go to Iron Hill Brewpub on Thursdays”Turns into: If you want to hang with Phil and his fellow technology entrepreneurs in Delaware you better be ready to pound back some strong Ironbound Ales eat Voodo Shrimp and Flat Iron Steak at the testosterone filled Pub on Main Street.Sheesh they serve vegetarian and gluten free whatever those are.

    1. Emily Merkle

      I have no fucking idea what is going on here but it is not okay on any level. 

  61. matthughes

    You get your shot in Fred’s (well-documented) overcrowded inbox and that’s the best you’ve got?Obviously he doesn’t read this blog. Or not very well anyway. 

    1. Emily Merkle


  62. ShanaC

    Unfortunately, Sensationalism drives pageviews.  Until advertisers better manage their audience and ad revenue structure, driving pageviews is all that matters.Gah, the dumbing down of society

  63. jason wright

    What else do you expect from an industry driven by paid content?

  64. Rayhan Rafiq Omar

    If they say it, it must be true…

  65. Rocky Agrawal

    There are two underlying problems here:- Many journalists don’t really understand what they cover. The human-interest/jealousy angle is easier to write without fucking up than a deep analysis of financials or technology. – Many news consumers don’t value high-quality content that takes a lot of time to produce. As a sometimes writer, I can spend days on a piece talking to a lot of sources, doing deep analysis and it will get as much interest as one of these types of pieces that can be put together with a half hour call. Greed and lust are powerful click-bait drivers.I’m not convinced that there is a market for high quality, thoughtful analysis. But I’d be happy to be convinced otherwise.

    1. Michael Rattner

      There’s a Kickstarter project that is asking exactly that question. Matter is two experienced science/tech journalists looking to continue doing long form journalism online:http://www.kickstarter.com/… 

    2. Ciaran

      “I’m not convinced that there is a market for high quality, thoughtful analysis. But I’d be happy to be convinced otherwise.”The Economist’s business figures would suggest otherwise. The question is how large that market is.

    3. Tyler Hayes

      Yup. I’d add more valuable thoughts but as usual @parislemon:disqus  has already summed it up better than I could: http://parislemon.com/post/

  66. Dan Mitchell

    The money goes “back into the startup ecosystem.” Really? All of it?Some of this sounds silly, but what rich people do with their money and how they conduct their lives, is, at least potentially, of interest. And especially given the current climate, and depending on how it’s handled, in the public interest.Is this “sensationalist?”http://j.mp/yseRHD

  67. adam j. sontag

    I’m only posting this because I actually received a suit from my girlfriend for Christmas from here, but https://www.cliftoncharles…. is actually a NYC-based startup that makes custom suits and shirts, so clearly the “major media company” isn’t even doing their research.

  68. Donna Brewington White

    And you are sure that this wasn’t a prank call?

  69. LE

    “Ugghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh”From Elton John’s “Candle in the Wind”, my emphasis:Hollywood created a superstar…And pain was the price you paidEven when you diedOh the press still hounded youAll the papers had to sayWas that Marilyn was found in the nudeThe press just satisifies the interest of their audience so they can sell papers and everyone can get paid. Personally I would use the opportunity to your advantage. Feed them the story their readers want (or the editors think the readers want) but make sure to insert the nutritional vegetables as well.

    1. Emily Merkle

      not a “your” advantage – an “our” advantage 

    2. Emily Merkle

      And can we dare elaborate on your emphasis s’il vows plait?

    3. laurie kalmanson

       everybody’s in showbiz, everybody’s a star– kinks, celluloid heroes

      1. fredwilson

        i love the kinks

        1. PhilipSugar

          I really do too.

          1. laurie kalmanson

             all day and all of the nighthttp://www.youtube.com/watc…

        2. laurie kalmanson

           you really got me nowhttp://www.youtube.com/watc…

    4. Emily Merkle

      dude, it is ready for distribution (in my mind)no hateno more hurt

  70. reece

    ugh… this is fucking grossso many more better stories about great startups hustling to get shit done, recruiting tech talent to NYC, building the FUCKING FUTURE…<gripe from=”” someone=”” singed=”” by=”” media=””>

  71. mikenolan99

    I remember once asking my dad how I should respond when listeners would call in and complain about the news we chose to air. We understood that as owners of a news media, we had a responsibility to tell the truth, broadcast what people wanted and needed to hear.  To keep separate the sales department and the news department.So being a newscaster meant understanding the line between sensationalism and boring.Tough to describe how to be in the middle, but pretty easy to know when you’re on the wrong side of the line. If you have to ask if you’ve crossed the line, chances are you already have.

    1. mikenolan99

      Inspired my own blog post about my dad… he was a great newsman, covered the ’68 Democratic Convention…http://www.askbetterquestio

      1. fredwilson

        aww. i’m a sucker for posts like that.

  72. howardlindzon

    As an investor in all this…thanks god.  otherwise valuations would be sillier than they have already gotten.  I preferred investing when these same yutzs were emailing you for your opinion on the death of IPO’s and venture capital…This is sadly a ‘tell’ that we are closer to 1999 than 2009.  bummer for me and all the hard work and risk I was willing to make and take in 2008

    1. fredwilson

      can you say Facebook IPO?

  73. jerrycolonna

    Reminds me of the old days…remember when W wanted to a piece on what we wore to work? Then they found out it was a ripped t-shirt and dirty jeans.

    1. fredwilson

      maybe that’s why i had such a visceral reaction to iti thought we had moved on from the old days

    2. panterosa,

      Would have been so boss to have W feature the ripped + dirty!!I grew up with a fashion editor who always preferred real. She would have loved it and not styled one inch of you or glossed you up. That form of editorial is quite beautiful – photos of amazing subject just breathing.

  74. jason wright

    Did anyone see friday’s TWIST chat about web tech journalism? Food for thought.

  75. jason wright

    Headline: “Entrepreneur Bites VC”.What’s wrong with sensationalist media? Nothing, if it makes money, apparently.

    1. Emily Merkle

      i was just introduced to the Post. Brilliant.

  76. Jason Yip

    Asking for a personal story is quite different than a sensationalist story. From what you’ve presented, they’re asking for the small story like what might show up on This American Life.

    1. Emily Merkle

      It is not clear what is being requested of and by whom(s).

  77. Brad Lindenberg

    What rock are they living under? It took Obama to get Zuck to put on a suit!!http://www.youtube.com/watc…T-shirts and hoodies baby!

    1. Donna Brewington White

      The reporter obviously didn’t do his homework.  You can tell by his questions and by whom he chose to ask them of.  I don’t know who to blame.  Him or his boss.I am using the masculine pronoun even though Fred didn’t disclose the gender of the reporter — and I use the word “reporter” very loosely here — but I am making an intuitive guess.

  78. andyidsinga

    Ive always assumed that if FG was to go for funding he/she would most certainly send a ‘representative’ in order to continue to protecT FGs identity.also, if unmasked agaist his/her will i’m sure we could rouse a sparticus like response – http://www.youtube.com/watc…:)

    1. Emily Merkle

      FG = ? pls. defineWael is a true rock star. Humble. In awe. 

      1. andyidsinga

        FG = Fake Grimlock ..a robot dinosaur that appears frequently in the comments sections here, on twitter, and well … in boring peoples worst nightmares 🙂 🙂

        1. Emily Merkle

          seen it. pithy – yay.

    2. Cynthia Schames

      @FAKEGRIMLOCK where you?  You have got to read this thread. 



        1. Cynthia Schames

          @FAKEGRIMLOCK to this puny human, love children and fundraising rounds are not that boring. But me not awesome startup robot dinosaur! Obvs!

  79. Clyde F. Smith

    The bigger news is that Fred Wilson’s icon is on a spam-filled project named after him!http://fredsquare.com/conte…Given that he’s a king in the game, that’s kind of hilarious.Of course, the fact that I haven’t seen anything in the tech press tells me that none of those guys are checking out FredSquare!Wasn’t that supposed to change the world or something?  lol

    1. testtest

      an ignore button would be a good feature. it’s a waste of intellectual capital processing vapid cognition. 

      1. Emily Merkle

        Guys. Try to put aside nastiness. 15 minutes to engage deeper? There is major endgame upside potential.

        1. Clyde F. Smith

          There’s no upside here.  I’ve wasted too much time already on the obvious.

          1. Emily Merkle

            and you are?

    2. fredwilson

      @kidmercury:disqus should check that out

      1. Clyde F. Smith

         I’m sorry to be harassing you about this but it really is a bad look, especially for someone so prominent who I respect.

        1. fredwilson

          i didn’t build it. the kid did. so its his thing, not mine.

          1. Clyde F. Smith

             fredsquare.com with your icon?Later, man.

          2. jason wright


          3. fredwilson

            same with avc.fm, soundcloud.com/mbamondays, http://mba-mondays.pandamia…, etc, etci creative commons license my content so that others can do with it what they wishit’s all part of my belief in permissionless innovationnot all of these efforts wil be good, will work, or will be something i will be proud ofbut that comes with the territory

    3. Emily Merkle

      Who made that claim? Nnit familiar with the site. Rather unambiguous. I enjoy tackling complex environments and picking then apart to understand. My wingman was my dude. Miss him. I was not aware of much context in recent events and so was acting in ways misunderstood. But I digress.

      1. Clyde F. Smith

        It’s more of an observation that I’ve made a couple of times now bugging Fred.I don’t know why the response I keep getting is to ask what I’m talking about.Just look at the home page and read the title of stuff that’s getting posted there on the bottom half of the page:http://fredsquare.com/conte…It’s the totally obvious nature that surprises me.  I’ve been in web publishing for over 10 years and that kind of stuff has always been one of the most basic issues with which people have to contend.  Nothing new or interesting just the kind of thing that immediately brands a project as amateur hour.

        1. testtest

          amazing. all i’m going to say is that you own this site: http://www.buriedquotes.com(via http://www.alteredbeta.com/)it has a single link per blog post with aggressively targeted anchor text, such as:”hcg ultra diet drops reviews””last longer in bed for men””anxiety treatment””fertility specialist””increase testosterone””designer handbagsdiscount purses online””best eyelash growth producteyelash growth producteyelash growth reviewsbest eyelash growth producteyelash growth product”now, i’m not making an ethical judgement. i’m not attacking you personally. just don’t start having a go at the kid’s site when he’s trying to do something positive for the world!he’s not doing the spamming! all he’s got is a site that’s vulnerable to automated spam. like a ton of other people who have used the same software.    

          1. Clyde F. Smith

             Thanks for letting me know I forgot to remove buriedquotes.com from my list of domains.I no longer own that.”all he’s got is a site that’s vulnerable to automated spam. like a ton of other people who have used the same software. “Then why are they using it?Cluelessness abounds.

          2. testtest

            “I’ve been in web publishing for over 10 years and that kind of stuff has always been one of the most basic issues with which people have to contend.  Nothing new or interesting just the kind of thing that immediately brands a project as amateur hour.””Thanks for letting me know I forgot to removeburiedquotes.com from my list of domains.”it would seem that a little oversight is all it takes for: “immediately brands a project as amateur hour” interesting! “Then why are they using it? Cluelessness abounds.”similar reasons why you’re using the CMS you use rather than writing your own. i would imagine.

          3. Clyde F. Smith

             By the way, you’re the third freak that’s researched me lately so they could attack my comments.  Everybody that does that looks kind of weak, as do you.

          4. Clyde F. Smith

             So I’ve updated that.  Man, you are a weirdo to go through that list of domains to get to that one.  You need to rethink your priorities!But I also updated my phone and mail address so you can send me hate mail or whatever weirdos do these days.

    4. Emily Merkle

      Twisted and unfortunate story behind that. Easily avoidable.

  80. Anne Libby

    Entering the stream late, but I don’t think anyone has gone here yet.   Your “ugghhh” prompted me to think, this is exactly how I feel about stories in major business news outlets about successful women.   It’s so rare that they can hold back on the lowdown on who she’s wearing/not wearing.  Her shoes.  Or how much makeup she’s wearing/not wearing.And then there are women-owned businesses, and the women who own them, profiled in Fashion/Style section…not Business.Ughhhhhhhhhh, yes. 

    1. laurie kalmanson

      Firstname Lastname, a famous man, was wearing a smartly tailored jacket over a soft cashmere sweater and carrying a XXX brandname shoulderbag

      1. Anne Libby

        His fresh-scrubbed skin, damp hair and green drink seemed to confirm his disclosure that he was arriving straight from yoga class at ZZZ

        1. Cynthia Schames

          Yeah.  God. UGGGGGHHHHHHHH. So frustrated, that’s all I’ve got.

          1. laurie kalmanson

             frustrated one day, he founded a new company, called frstrtd. it’s just that easy!

        2. laurie kalmanson

          balancing parenthood and work, he shrugs off stress and looks as fresh as a poster for a highend brand of makeup or an exclusive spa, but always has time for cocktails with his network of powerful peers, without ever sacrificing family time. how does he have it all? “i’m just lucky!”

          1. Anne Libby


  81. BillMcNeely

    It’s obvious this reporter is fishing (phishing?) for “What Will Facebook Millionaires Do With Their Cash? type stories out of Silicon Alley.Like Fred said it sounds like most folks are spending money or experiences, the startup ecosystem and meaningful charity.

    1. Emily Merkle

      good the cash upside is ok – inspiresdetail investments in self – family – other – CHINA – etc etc

  82. Reykjavik

    Journalism is ultimately most successful when it tells stories about people. The emphasis on money shallow and sensationalistic, but talking about institutions isn’t as real as talking about the people behind them. Listen to The American Life, roundly regarded as among the best journalistic outlets. Even when they focus on organizations, politics or economics, they always bring it back to people. Focusing on The Academy for Software Engineering et al may be interesting, but it will likely come to life when you dive beneath the techspeak and talk about the human element.

  83. panterosa,

    I completely agree with getting news from other people. It’s my method and works pretty well if you have a good cross section of friends, family and others with many interests. I have many news hounds around me and so I rarely pick any traditional media up to view anymore – no need.I married (and divorced) a reporter, whose father was a publisher, brother in cable, brother in radio abroad, and their maternal grandfather in journalism. Ink in the veins. The assembled group would have many publications at the breakfast table over holidays and vacations and they’d all just rip the stories and front pages. I loved the concept of a “slow news day”, as in how did that story make it to the front page or wherever when it’s such a non-event. But then I’m a big fan of Daniel Boorstin’s The Image. Sounds so fresh even today.

    1. laurie kalmanson

       turkey copy: the stuff that gets premade and canned for rollingout over the four-day thanksgiving weekend.

  84. Marian Mangoubi

    Talking about the human element helps those who are not in or somehow connected to the industry to connect with those who are.  Connecting with your story also helps them to buy into what you’re doing.  What is said about investors – “they buy into the team” – is true of readers.  Now, that’s not to say we should only focus on sensationalist stories.  I do feel that there has been too much emphasis on that element here in the US.  As a result, it has contributed in the dumbing down of Americans.  Rarely do we get a glimpse of what’s happening around the world or even on the International community views us.  This saddens me.  It is why I make a concerted effort though to listen to news programs like the BBC and others.  I feel they help give me a much better perspective on the global scene and how we are viewed.

  85. BillSeitz

    Between media and social-networking-services, perhaps we’re overdue for the rebirth of the EndOfFree meme.

  86. laszlokovari

    better question is “what’s wrong with MASS media” or facing the issue head on: what’s wrong with the mass

  87. Emily Merkle

    I need to be informed of – best channel for feedback (I want to set the stage first)Is this the best arena?I will lay out agendaAnd – no worries to literally every person in this world we all inhabit and grow together in – it as nt been a cakewalk but the fire test is not only adequate preparation for springing out of bushes into Shiny Hapoy Peole Land. Ere’s the things about Transparency/Privacy/IP & copyright protection – time to fuck the bullshit posturing; inane office politics and dress codes and title-inflation. Time to do the hard but rewarding work of measuring What We Do. Who We Do It With – Rolodex bulshit I literally snapped in interviews over . No apologies. Contact Inirmatiin is niot exert, proprietary or special – in fact I wager If It Isn’t In Salesfore It Did Nit Happen – would consider a special project to align all access points to decision makers (not the Important People Whi Di Nit Taje Calls Very Often But May Now)

  88. Emily Merkle

    dude. iPad Disqus issue. sorry for suspense I am so nervous to practice what I Ever So Annoyingly and Obnoxiously Preach. But as we say – It is all about Confidence. And I am not only Confident – Motherfuckers I am a Man On Fire, Invictus-Style. That means all the Gods count. Will Bishops Consider a Shift on the Respected Completely Issue of *access* to birth control? I have a vested interest. A whole world full.

  89. Emily Merkle

    Life is everything, All Inclusive.All deserving respect and dignity. Stop the Hate.We are eating our young.We are killing ourselves,This transcends the political pageantry – liberation!

  90. Emily Merkle

    Let Us GoForth and Do  More With Less Effort and Much More of All That Matters(I have no idea of the other outposts’ conditions – is this too belabored or worth it nail it one chance get it done?)

  91. Emily Merkle

    The Populations That Power the World – and Why. No not how – too much for now. But we Have Eternity To Work It Right And Hope To be Able To Hack it With Love.

  92. Emily Merkle

    Deliberate Rollout because – you never know who is paying attention. Or fucking you. Literally. lol fuuuuuuck

  93. Emily Merkle

    The Intertrnet PowersGoogleNews SitesBlogisphereAdvertising $etc.Powered By(dudes stop the lame faux restraint; nothing wrong with Lust GreedSloth blah blah — when curated in ecosystem that rewards cooperation, optimization, efficiency. These are not Sins they are products of Fucking Doing Shit Right. yay

  94. Emily Merkle

    the True Web Agents – kinda like the Seals only – not as buff or hot 🙂 but def. as Brave and Strong. And they Rock as Hard.They are my brethren. The progranners. The builders. The engineers. The Super Thinkers. The Ones Who Make It Pretty. Steve Loved Them and Knew their Value.They Do Not Need Mention.

  95. Emily Merkle

    They are Not A Fucking Cult – though hard to discern true – nevrermind.It is their SandBox.It Makes Them Happy.

  96. Emily Merkle

    okay can we open up or who has questions?

  97. Emily Merkle

    anyone gathering audience? ok. Keep in mind ALL this is not only just a Story. This is the Way To Make Things BetterBy the Politicians You Love To HateHave Faith – Smooth Operator in da house.

  98. Emily Merkle

    Imagine not hating the government.No more lies.No more pork and obnoxious deficit escalation.Free Healthcare for all – Death Panel Free.Cheaper College.More  Jobs – Better Jobs. (insert you know who here)Better Heathy Foodetc

  99. Emily Merkle

    Nothing wrong with the Media.Great Syria coverage. Brave,Imagine an endless font of Tips. Not Even Anonymous – no need for them xcet fro the good stuff.You see, no one wants to ruin the government. No one wants to hurt The People – All of YouHelp educate your fellow man about things free of agenda and bias. Restote the journalistic integrity we all Have and Some have shelved for money and power.no biggie just stop – I am sick of reading it.You have more game than that, Do the job you love to do an do it with pride – and for more money.i hope. 

  100. Emily Merkle

    This does not mean the Gossip is Dumb. Hell no!Keep it coming with more money for … sources 🙂 if anyone does that no worry just stop the slander. it gets in the way of making Happiness and Money

  101. Emily Merkle

    Bloggers – you have far more powder than you know. Dedicate to your art & make some money too! (special shout to my nearby friends of Minute)

  102. Emily Merkle

    and so on. No more Fear if Evlil Corporations. Wall Street is actually fucking genius but could care less what you cal them. they take pride in the  work they do and wield their responsibilities with Care – ahem. (thank you L.I. team you rock)

  103. Ciaran

    You could equally write an opposing piece on “What’s wrong with new/social/digital media” – it could focus on the conflicts of interest within the tech-blog scene, or the endless announcements of what people had for breakfast on (insert social network here).Everything looks bad when we paint everyone with the same brush.

    1. Emily Merkle

      i know i have imagined this time warp but am not conscious of your them right now so forgive delay 🙂 thx for input

  104. Emily Merkle

    Solutions to End Recession / Reduce Debt / etcLess War. Less Crime – we hope. All the basic needs – even some wants – of many many people In Harnony.Go on. Just Do It.Think Big – Think Different.Yes We Can.All of Us. Let us Go Forth and Make Some Computer Love :)Build Safety. Hope. Confidence. Opportunity. Love. Do not Forget To Love. Too Much Hurt.

  105. Emily Merkle

    please shepherd this with care media you know it makes sense but make sure we all get it

  106. Emily Merkle

    anyone I left outfuck i would have loved to look as good as he does so fucking smooth…

  107. Emily Merkle

    master? how did we do?

  108. Emily Merkle

    I am very loyal to my band of trusted outlets. Varying degrees of impact but needed nonetheless. Continue to kick ass.Lift uo others who rock.Police your damn communities – icky in thereStop eating your young- not for release this is private message- be respectful

  109. Emily Merkle

    go in peace especially the ninjabunnies.

  110. Emily Merkle

    Please guide me with your beauty, your spirit.Help me understand.

  111. Jim Bath

    It’s the way of the world. Wouldn’t expect anything less (or perhaps I should say, Wouldn’t expect anything better)

  112. Brandon Marker

    hahaha this post is hilarious.Yet, I feel my laughter is met with tears…

  113. Peter Mullen

    It’s the HuffPo Syndrome. Propagated by the likes of AOL and the NY media hype machine. Silicon Valley used to be a nice  quiet place for nerds and those who love them. No longer.  *Sigh*

  114. anonymous

    Hopefully, rather than simply shaming the reporter, you used his or her request as an opportunity to open the aperture. There’s a great Teddy Roosevelt quote about the Critic that comes to mind. Being a traditional journalist right now in this world must be as difficult a job as any… Let’s find a way to be part of the solution.

  115. dierken

    Things used to move slow enough that slow people could report on it. No more.

  116. jasoncalacanis

    Why report on the facts when you can report on the parties?!?! 

    1. fredwilson

      we don’t have parties like we used tonobody can hold a candle to josh harris

    2. jason wright

      Love the TWIST show, but you kept interrupting poor Peter Horan last friday night. He couldn’t get a word in. I felt so sorry for him. Give the guests a chance. Love the show though. I think I said that. Love it. Love. L. 

  117. jason wright

    Err, do points now mean prizes on avc? 

  118. ceonyc

    While these examples are bad, I think there’s a form of these things that actually do a good job putting a friendly face on the startup ecosystem…   like the startup softball team we have that includes players from Gilt City, Single Platform, Jibe, Aviary, Busted Tees, Sportsvite, etc…   That would, at first glance, not seem nearly as important as these directly relevant hacker schools, but when people move here, lifestyle is a consideration.   The fact that NYC is a *real* neighborhood, if you will, where the tech community is friendly, open, inviting, and not some kind of insider club is one of the most positive aspects of what we do.  So, I welcome stories about Reece’s entrepreneur book club, or the startup-types that gather to play a Sega Genesis console hockey game from 1994 as a Meetup.   It makes the person doing customer acquisition for Chase think twice about her career path and slaving away for a big, lifeless corporate and want to bring her much needed skills to the startup world.

    1. fredwilson

      and if the reporter would have asked about that, i would have done a bunch of work to surface those storiesi totally agree with you charlie

  119. Myhr