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Mike Arrington. Discuss.

http://www.techmeme.com/110901/p49#a110901p49

He's all over Techmeme right now.

I expect I won't get any exclusives on any startup he invests in. ;-)

Other than that, this is probably good for startups.

One thing, entrepreneurs will have a tough time with: He can be tough to work with if you aren't very adept at PR and don't know how to handle his personality. Getting questioned by him isn't something that will be fun, either in a board meeting, or in public on a blog.

What do you think?
This story, by Dan Primack / Fortune, appeared on Techmeme.
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79 comments
 
Don't know him. Nothing to recommend that I should know him. He moves money around?
 
Isn't that what he likes anyway? And, everyone knew he was not into AOL ownership.
 
Robert you need your own fund, lol
 
+Del Williams, I can't help but think this is exactly what Arrington wants. Doesn't his contract stipulate he gets less money if he quits TC? But if AOL fires him or puts him in a more limited role (which they have according to VentureBeat), he gets to keep his money and be done with it.

What's really troubling is that AOL is supposedly investing in startups. That is beyond inappropriate and calls into question everything that any AOL-owned property publishes.
 
He needs to let Techcrunch go. Spin it off.
 
Stepping away from leading Tech Crunch is a big move, but one that had to happen eventually. I completely understand wanting to start a fund, after covering amazing companies for years, it makes sense he wants to get involved and be a more significant part of their success.
 
Personally, I don't care. I feel this is truly a "putting his money where his mouth is" move. I feel that, as long as its disclosed, investing in the technology world proves you believe in what we're doing instead of simply writing about it for profit. I understand the issues that arise from covering investments but, we can't forget that TechCrunch isn't The Times or CNBC. It's still a blog, albeit a large one.
 
He should get out of the blog game. Period.
 
Well good luck Arrington. He enters into a field that is already over run with everyone else investing money. Hopefully something really good comes from his venture, because the rest have had a bunch of half baked ideas on most of their investments.
 
+Robert Scoble We need to get your wife to up your allowance, lol. I remember him going at the CEO of Yahoo about a companies "soul" and other aspects of a business that are hard to measure. Ambiguous stuff. In all my companies we've never had a "soul." Weird. Some of it was a little much.
 
+Robert Scoble, so, this Arrington started something that became the big gravity in a field of many players.

OK, the overall fragrance of the comments begins to make sense. I still don't know this Arrington and it's highly unlikely we'll ever have a beer; no loss for either. But I respect that it appears he created something that others now pick at because it's successful. Shows passion on all fronts.

There. I discussed.
 
It could be a good thing for startup founders that find his personality, interests & experiences a good match for them - and I'm sure they'll be hoping it equals more TC/AOL coverage too.

It could be a bad thing for startup founders that just go to him for TC/AOL coverage and don't know how to work with him. (Which is the case for any founder & investor relationship.)

And it could be a good thing for industry blogs because it makes for news that many people will read (whether the other commenters here would or not). Think of all the fun drama that will come out of this! Conflicts of interest! Boardroom arguments! Woo!
Kosso
 
How long until he gets to leave Aol?

-- or is Aol going to be part of the fund?
c. yang
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But how will he top the JooJoo Pad‽‽ Such exemplar product stewardship and public relations from him on that one, no? What a swell feller (maybe swollen failure?).I'd rather be nurtured by the likes of +Francine Hardaway than chance getting burned one way or another by steamy vapor. (edit: & i note Francine as an example of the desirable, opposite end of that spectrum of management ethic)
 
Kosso, he signed on for at least 3 years.
 
+Robert Scoble Your statement: ."...One thing, entrepreneurs will have a tough time with: He can be tough to work with if you aren't very adept at PR and don't know how to handle his personality. Getting questioned by him isn't something that will be fun, either in a board meeting, or in public on a blog...."

That is probably an understatement, based on my observations of Mr. Arrington's personality and behavior on various occasions online in articles, videos and other "virtual" appearances, let me just leave it at that...
 
It's a massive conflict of interest on the surface, but in the end it will all depend on how it's handled. He didn't do a great job of walking the line in the past when he was investing while running Tech Crunch, but hopefully some lessons have been learned.

Regardless of all that, it makes a lot of sense for a guy who loves tech to be investing in tech, and I wish him luck.
 
I think it is great news for startups, Arrington will help them a lot. I hope there are more investors for manufacturing industries though.
 
This should be a great synergetic situation. Someone who actually pays attention to the tech industry now with money to invest in it. How cool it should be for him.
 
Did you get exclusives on start-ups he wrote about? I thought Tech Crunch had a pretty well established policy of not writing about people unless you went to them first.
 
Let the guy do what he wants. If you don't like his methods, don't take his money. Is this a conflict of interest with TC? Yes. Does Mike have the right personality to nurture a start-up? Probably not, if it is engineers. Does he have the contacts, and would a valuable source of introductions? Hell yes. Final answer :it's complicated.
 
If I'm not mistaken this is what Arrington has always wanted to do and starting his blog was just a way for him to talked about and to new startups (which is why most VC's started).
TechCrunch has never had "journalistic integrity" and has never claimed to.

I don't see how this is much different than what Fred Wilson does. As longer is that is disclosure when he talks about companies he is invested in, I don't see any issue.

I'll keep reading as long as the content is still good. I still read MG even though he is highly biased towards Apple, because I don't expect him to be objective. It has everything do to with quality and expectation.
 
Just read business insider article. I think thats a better tact of AOL replacing him. I dont think he's been happy about having a corporate overlord from a expense complaint post I saw. Its hard to get the entrepreneur rogue out of your blood. I wouldnt like it. Probably a great move for both parties.
 
His own personal cult of personality is ridiculous. "I'm a blogger not a journalist. I'm transparent and able to police myself." No you are a journalist. Yes you too are not allowed to have your cake and eat it too. Yes rules apply to you. Tech journalism already suffers from weak credibility (rampant rumor mongering, link bait, lack of proper credit, overuse of anonymous sources, etc.). This is so far beyond acceptable-unless of course he quits TC-it is not even funny. But I am sure lots of people will defend it...
 
Regardless of what any of us think of Mike Arrington, he no doubt sold at the right time and this is a better-than-slick exit. Incredible. Really.
 
Anytime I think of Arrington, I can only think of how mad he got Leo Laporte. Leo generally seems to be a pretty nice guy, and Arrington got Leo dropping F-bombs. But as far as the JooJoo, I'm not too sure of just where that failed at this point. It seemed like the manufacturer kind of screwed him on it. FusionGarage I think was the name. They had a good chance of getting in early on the tablet market but they needed better ... everything I guess.
 
Specifically directed at Scoble's question and not the discussion that followed: I question his motives. He doesn't seem to have one other than to "be a prick". It's one thing to be a prick to get to the crux of the matter. I've dealt with bosses and board members who do. I can respect that. It's another to be a prick for prick's sake - or for journalism's sake (I suppose). Until I see Arrington provide value to a startup, I can't say I'd take his money or his opinion.
 
So...I worked at TechCrunch for a year helping start up their GreenTech beat and get stronger on their NYC startup coverage. I never really got to know Michael Arrington well. What was abundantly clear from working in his team and with him directly on a few things: the man has incredible trend radar, works tirelessly on behalf of the ideas and people he supports, and knows how to build community (Disrupt, TechCrunch's hackathons, CrunchUps, the site's social media community, etc.) Since he was already investing as an angel-- as you can tell from his many disclosures on the site and his Crunchbase profile-- I don't think this is a huge leap. I think it is outrageous when people suggest media entrepreneurs should not become investors. It's all about transparency and consistency. Is it a conflict for VCs to become columnists, pundits, reality show judges or bloggers? Just wondering for those of you who suggest a blogger should not become an investor, what's your take on that. Should investors become bloggers? Or is that a conflict, too? If not, why not?
 
I don't doubt his hard work etc. But he isn't some random blogger investor...it's Techcrunch. The most influential blog about startups. And it's founder is starting a fund to invest in startups. He just needs to leave completely. That's it. 
 
@MichaelOlsen- what about the issue of VCs blogging? Fred Wilson? Brad Feld? Mark Suster? *Adding detail here from original comment -- All of their work is both informative and enjoyable to me. But just asking you: Any conflict?
 
@Lora Kolodny yes. There is a distinct difference between a news organization like Techcrunch which presents it news and commentary in a blog format and a VC that has a personal blog. Techcrunch reports on startups. Fred Wilson blogs about his thoughts on startups and the world of VC.
 
I still have no idea how AOL is afloat. Maybe they're afloat on all of the CDs and floppies they produced.
 
VC's blogging is a great idea. +Mark Suster has a outstanding blog bothsidesofthetable.com, for example, but he doesn't try to do breaking news stories like TechCrunch. Paul Graham paulgraham.com is another VC that writes thoughtful essays. Mike writes great stories, and I wouldn't want him to stop. But he'd better be really upfront about any financial or advisory connections he has to the companies he writes about. Perhaps the difference is that we are resisting change. "Arrington can't be an investor, he's a blogger!" Well, once we think of Mike as an investor, we'll know how to read between the lines on the stories he writes.
 
Now Arrington is part of the machine - who's going to believe in his impartial reporting now?
 
I'm glad for him...now he can invest in my company...XD
 
I don't know how many pitches you have to give to get out of the minors and into the majors, regarding pitch quality, but I'd certainly hold off presenting to him. Not someone I'd practice on.
 
@Tau-Mu Yi - Some of the writers at TechCrunch are more reportorial than others. Everyone has a different role. Also, are you implying Mike is investing in collaborative consumption, in a competitor of Airbnb / Homeaway / Wimdu, etc.? Then, if you suggest that in a comment, did you fact check that tip before publishing your comment to this public forum? (<---Kidding.)
 
@Michael Olsen I agree there's a difference between a VC blogger and a reporter or editor, and about all the rampant problems in tech journalism. (Disclosure: I'm a long time business and tech reporter and editor. I am working now with FastCompany.com as a tech editor and writer.) I just wonder, though, when VCs or super angels are getting their blog posts published in news outlets including in TechCrunch and CNN, etc. where readers take them as fact, where do you guys draw a line and why? Just because their title says "investor" first? Then shouldn't it all be resolved now that Mike's becoming an accredited investor, i.e. investor "first"?
 
Interesting how some are reporting this as his being replaced, others as his "turning into" a full-time investor, still others as his becoming a PR advisor. I have never taken his or TechCrunch's reporting as gospel -- meaning particularly reliable or insightful. Just more or less in its own category, which I do not consider impartial and/or journalistic. The few times I have read the blog, I've kept an eye out for grinding axes.

I expect it will take the better part of this decade, if not longer, to get all observers to agree about whether or not blogging a la TechCrunch is journalism. This move by AOL, however, might be a bellwether: entities that define themselves as press may finally be stepping up and forming concrete strategies to preserve and extend their franchises in the digital realm.
 
Although I don't know much about him, I do remember hearing him saying (in an interview) - that entrepreneurs are his rockstars; that he has a lot of respect and admiration for what they do. That spirit and attitude can go a long way for a startup investor whose own success depends mainly upon helping entrepreneurs succeed.
 
+Robert Scoble - Let's hope Arrington doesn't turn to the dark side of the Force and end up becoming a patent troll.
 
oh, right! my only interaction with him was when we pitched to get into TC50 and didn't make the cut, but was not impressed by his understanding, although these hearings must have been hell after the first 500 :-)
 
1. Sell out to AOL
2. Get yourself fired
3. ?????
4. Profit!
 
+Robert Scoble i think he suits that job.Look @ his investments

Company Date Round Size Participants
Likealittle 1 6/11 Series A $5M 4
SnapGuide 2 6/11 Unattributed $2M 6
Supyo 3 4/11 Series A $5M 4
Milk 4 4/11 Angel $1.5M 24
Zaarly 5 3/11 Seed $1M 7
Seesmic 6 11/07 Series A $6M 13
DanceJam 7 5/07 Angel $1M 8
Omnidrive 8 12/06 Angel $800k 4
Dogster 9 9/06 Angel $1M 8

So no wonder he loves VC Suits

+MG Siegler Are you the next VC in offing?
 
Interesting world you inhabit there, Scoble. Where egos, cash, power, capitalism, genius, gossip, and single-minded drives to succeed and change the world clash into one incestous orgy. Sounds like a place that is impossible to sort out where the bullshit stops and reality begins. Any good books that would give me insight into this world? A Bonfire of the vanities set in Silicon Valley?
 
If he stayed at TC, this would be a conflict of interest. But he's not, and good on him for that.

I look forward to seeing what products he helps fund and support.
 
if Mike is passionate about doing this and helps someone (or more) realize their vision, where is the harm? Regardless of someone's personal bias for/against him if good things come from this it is all good. Only time will tell.
 
I am reading he is officially out at AOL having been fired by Arianna..Is this the case?
 
$20M does not a venture fund make.
$20M is shut up money.
 
Bring back the JooJoo
 
+robert scoble. What is the second most influential tech blog?
 
+Linh Pham I just read the Arrington article you posted. I could really care less about Arrington but this article is just another example of why people hate rich people and the "whiney" and sarcastic tone of the article mirrors the likes of Limbaugh and Beck when it comes to "protecting" the wealthy.

Mr. Arrington blasts Buffett for asking the US government to tax rich dudes like Buffett because it would only apply to income earned from now on and not from Buffett's past wealth and income. Hmmm... if I'm not mistaken, Mr. Arrington would benefit from such protections (hello $40 million from AOL?). Besides, even if we only tax Buffet's future income, that would earn the US government millions if not billions of revenue that mere mortals like us could not even dream of paying.

Even though I agree that the US Government spends money like a drunken sailor, I have to disagree on what the US Government should be spending on. Seriously, Mr. Arrington, no spending on infrastructure, education and food safety (among other things)? Well, if you don't mind Mr. Arrington, pay $1 per mile you drive on OUR roads, pay for your kids education from k-12 and play russian roulette with your food being safe or not.

This may have gone off topic but it still discusses Mike Arrington.
 
Wait, before we turn out the lights on all of the "traditional" news journal brands; let's all remember what the value of a media brand is, the perception of the reader concerning the veracity of the information published. The reputation of newspaper brands is on the line daily; when they were no longer able to get the story first, everyone turned on them. Perhaps we should value the fact that they can still get it right, mostly.
Michael Arrington is now no different than Fox News; here's some information that we have a vested interest in how you perceive it. The sadder truth is no one seems to care.
 
Sorry, I couldn't get past the 1st line in Forbes article - "America's most powerful tech blogger is taking a major step into the world of venture capital". huh? I didn't know that Michael Arrington was America's most powerful tech blogger. Must have missed that somewhere along the way.
 
I think its a good move. He's got a good feel for what is and isn't "real" in the startup world and stepping down as EiC at Techcrunch was beter than trying to convince the world he's unbiased. Further I think startups he invests in will benefit from his understanding of the who PR spin, not a strong suit of many techno-types.
 
I agree with +Arnold Valentino Mr. Arrington has singlehandedly turned this country into drunken sailers! Pass me a beer. lol.
 
Carr was a bit ticked off on techcrunch today.
 
Joke of the day: AOL CEO Tim Armstrong: "TechCrunch is a different property and they have different standards… we have a traditional understanding of journalism with the exception of TechCrunch." :D
 
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