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Who said the New York Times is always accurate hasn't read this!

David Carr calls me a Venture Capitalist in this article in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/business/media/michael-arringtons-audacious-venture.html?pagewanted=all

Hahahahah! Now THAT is a hoot! I haven't invested a single dollar in any tech startup.

I do invest my time and, more importantly, YOUR time in these things, but that's not being a venture capitalist.

As for Michael Arrington and his new venture fund my goal is to be a helpful and unbiased friend of all startups and that will continue as I try to stay clear of conflict of interest (if you perceive any conflict, let me know and we'll straighten that out). Heck, most of the companies I interview aren't even customers of Rackspace, so you can see how I treat companies vs. how other media companies treat them.

I will just say, though, that Mike hasn't returned my phone calls this weekend and he hasn't invited me to Techcrunch Disrupt, so I guess I'm on the outside of his whole empire, which is just fine with me.

The list of conferences I'm attending are at http://plancast.com/scobleizer so you can know where you can meet me.
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84 comments
 
That NYT post sounded very bitter to me.
How can a person who clearly dislikes Arrington that much talk about being biased in writing about companies?
Eh
 
I've read it today and was like..wait, what?
But then, there's already one correction at the end of article. For sure more will follow
 
it was never about old media and media. it is always about accurate media. And that's why old media must change.
 
The dude's always seemed like a self-centered bully to me, and therefore, he is of no consequence.
 
There are many corrections on this story already. One clarifying that you're NOT a VC guy could be added.
 
I hope you're all set with GoogleVoice. You're going to need phone call screening services. People still believe what they read. LOL!
 
+Rima Regas my phone number is +1-425-205-1921 and my email is scobleizer@gmail.com(which is my favorite way to get pitched) and both have been on my blog for years. I'm ready! :-)
 
The bigger LOL here is, the NYT implying that anything in the AOL stable resembles real journalism. They must have missed the AOL way memo :-)
 
Hi Robert, When are you going to announce your fund?
 
If you call it Fundelizer, I'll be a $50 LP.
 
+Robert Scoble Don't lie, we know you're secretly a 'Captain of Industry' who is plotting to amass power and money and take over the world!
 
+Mas Sohl oh, now THAT is true! Actually, I just want to see the cool next thing. That's driven me for more than 30 years now.
 
+Robert Scoble Not only a venture capitalist but one that both publishes and trades on information according to the article. All this with the implied associated risk of the potential conflict of interest. I see the article includes a few corrections at the bottom but unfortubately doesn't correct this one. 
 
+Euro Maestro I do trade on information. I put it all in Google+ so you can view it and trade that for +1s. :-)
 
I wonder how having Mike from TechCrunch doing investments is perceived. Seems questionable to play both sides of the fence. "Here is a hot company... that I invested."
 
+Richard Burton truth is this has been going on for a long time and it's not just Mike doing it (no one calls on investors like Kevin Rose to not talk about companies they are invested in, yet Kevin has helped many a company get to the big time and he's just one of the most visible examples). Many of the companies who get "hot" in Silicon Valley do so because early investors push these companies to others in the SF/Silicon Valley network.

What you really are seeing is that network is just becoming transparent and open about how it works.
 
+Robert Scoble Would you mind if I put you on my suggested users list for my students who are going to be coming on in a couple of days? You're as good a window into the Valley as any I can think of.
Kim
 
He called you a capitalist. There's a difference. Well, there used to be... [Edit] He did call you a VC. Oh,well. At least you're not a pig pile. The end is neigh, obviously!
 
+Robert Scoble You're right about that. That's why I believe if you're connected to the right people, it helps a great deal to launch your startup. Hence why folks move to SFO to do their startup. Strange enough, I registered CrunchFund.com a while back thinking it's a great name. "People crunching together their money to buy things."
 
Think you should start a video program like "Shark Tank" and put it on Youtube. Would be fun to watch Michael Arrington snarling at founders...
 
+Robert Scoble It's never to late to get started! Give me a couple days and I'll come up with some ideas for you to invest in ;)
 
+Robert Scoble It's a semester long course. You're sort of a phenomenon that is largely valley centric though also transcendant. The fact that you're in different places from time to time is just fine.
 
I thought you made a job change so I didn't notice. I guess everyone is a VC nowadays
 
If the New York Times was always accurate, that would be something of a miracle in the news business :)

Regarding you being so forward with your phone number +Robert Scoble - how often do people actually call you up to talk (or rant) about something you have posted?
 
I can see how people might understand this kind of behavior to be wrong, but come on. What the guy is doing is saying "Here's a company I think will work. I put money in it and I believe in its potential. Here are some good things about it that I think you should know."
I mean...really?
It's not like the dude is running for president or something...
 
+Søren Dalsgaard Brath I only get a couple of calls a day. Most people only call when they have something real to talk about. The others are easily ignored or hung up on. Plus, phones are a powerful identity of their own. So, they tend not to be used. Email, on the other hand, is used for all sorts of crap (and some good things).
 
I tend to only speak to people on the phone when it's of value. Otherwise, I prefer asynchronized forms of communication. e.g., e-mail. I find it of real value in speaking with people like +Robert Scoble and the likes in person. There's so much you can obtain from them in a brief conversation.
 
No everybody is not a VC. THAT would be detrimental and lower the quality of the game. But many are getting up in Angel investing, which is good for us all in the ecosystem. Everyone deserves a chance and +Robert Scoble brings the spotlight ;-)
 
+Robert Scoble I'll probably be getting in contact with you in the next couple days to get some ideas about what it's going to cost to host a gigantic startup I'm working on with a friend. I need to spend a day or two figuring out everything he's going to need but it's a very interesting concept.
 
I truly hoped to see you on Disrupt.
 
That shouldn't take away from the rest of the article though, Robert, which rightly points out the blatant hypocrisy and conflict of interest inherent in the relationship between AOL, TechCrunch, Crunch Fund and Michael Arrington.
Tom Lee
 
I don't read and don't trust the NYT. The internet is all I need.
 
things that are considered perfect are simply targets for those that dont believe it...........NYT has been a target for years..........
Kim
 
Interesting implications, yeah? It boils down to the notion that Robert and Mike are unique individuals that don't fit the old-fashion j-school model. Basically, you either trust these people or you don't. The notion of "journalist as omniscient being" was a redonkulous myth. The men and women in the trenches are redefining these roles on the fly. If nothing else, you have to applaud their courage. It takes guts to disrupt outmoded conventions. Heh, no pun.
 
Kim, it's not about the old fashioned J School model, it's about following simple business rules around conflict of interest, especially in a publicly traded company like AOL. It's also about fairness. There shouldn't be one set of rules that applies for all AOL employees except Michael Arrington. I give Arrington credit for building an internet-based publication and making a lot of money from it. Good for him, but I take great exception to him funding businesses that he writes about, and from which is able to access information nobody else is as a result of his position as a fund provider. He can also use his money as power to attain information. The fact that he's transparent about it doesn't make it right. This whole situation isn't cool in any model -- old school, new school or otherwise.
 
Wait a second: +Robert Scoble - most of the companies you cover? So you cover companies that have a financial relationship with your employer? I didn't realize that. How do you deal with that in your coverage? Do you mention it?

And +Kim Sherrell - I don't consider +Robert Scoble a journalist He doesn't work for a media outlet (i.e. a company that 'sells' content). (+Robert Scoble - I don't think you do either, right?) I assume he still abides by the same standards on conflicts of interest that all bloggers have to abide by (see my question above). As for +michael arrington, he was a journalist, which is why the AOL special treatment was so problematic.
 
Looks like I was posting the same thing at about the same time as +Ron Miller, had I been five minutes slower I would have just said: "Ditto." :)
 
+James Wester I never ask companies where they are hosting before they are on my show and I never make that a precondition of getting on my show. If, during the interview, I learn of that we disclose it then on the video itself.
 
+James Wester if you look up the definition of journalist you will see that I definitely do fit. There is nothing in the definition of journalist that says one must be free of conflicts of interest. That was something added by journalistic brands to gain trust with their readers. If you don't care about reader trust you can do all sorts of nasty things while still being a journalist.
 
If that's the first time you have realized thr NYT's is wrong you might need to examine a wider range of credible sources! #left-wing-rag
 
+Robert Scoble Robert's "business" is conducted transparently, and you don't have to go digging very deep, if you want to know. Like it or not, few are as open about how they do business as he is.
 
Thanks +Rima Regas and you can always see if someone is hosted with Rackspace or not by using http://www.whoishostingthis.com/ We have more than 100,000 customers, though, and are the world's #1 web hosting company, so chances are they might be. I actually like interviewing cool companies who are hosted on a competitor. Why? My job is to be Chief Learning Officer and figure out why they took their business somewhere else. It's how we find the innovations that let us continue to grow.
 
Clearly they didn't do their homework on this post. BTW, just got through the chapter in "Say Everything" that references +Robert Scoble . It was interesting hearing more about your backstory and short time at Microsoft during the Vista days.
 
Interesting +Robert Scoble , from the outside it seems that you and Michael Arrington are best buddies and share the same ideologies

That always surprised me, because, I always saw you much more content centric and saw Michael Arrington much more business/PR centric. ... obviously, I have been missing something.

Anyway, we all have some conflict of interest in some degree. The thing that really annoyed me about Arrington is that he is the first to finger point the "traditional PR" for there conflict of interest but he is far from being an example himself. He just has different type of conflicts, but they can be viewed as a little bit excessive as well.

For example, in the Seesmic Video days, many startups would have killed to get the exposure Seesmic was getting on the Techcrunch site. For months, if not even a year, Seesmic had a "post video comment" on each post despite the fact that nobody ever used it. Not sure they would have gotten this treatment if Arrington would not have invested in them.
 
who says all your posts need to be in ***Bold*** typeface ? that's a bit annoying :)
 
+Jeremy Chone yup, Arrington helped Seesmic out (and caused them pain too, when their service didn't work. It's not a place for an entrepreneur who doesn't have some confidence in where he/she are going.

+Jordi Cardús Headlines are typically bold in my world. If they aren't in your world, no need to copy my typographical treatment.
 
+Robert Scoble indeed, but that said, I would argue that when most (not all) posts are not bold, one could feel a bit confused as to whether its just an homage to tradition or just a way to get attention. That said, that is what a Headline is, so no quarrel here :)
 
What's Annoying?
Personally I enjoy the bold typeface for titles of posts unlike +Jordi Cardús. The bold type separates the content from the statement in the post. Not much different than website articles we all read daily, including the NY Times article linked to in this post which contains the "title" in bold. But I guess your right Jordi, NY Times article should not have A Tech Blogger Who Leaps Over the Line bolded either, it would fit nicely to the next line of content. A tech blogger who leaps over the line when Michael Arrington, the editor of the popular web site TechCrunch,
 
FWIW I don't think anyone ever accused the Times of being accurate
 
About every time I have personal knowledge of a reported story I spot errors. Usually the errors are the "close, but not exactly" type.

The most reliable reporter has been the "Trib Local" reporter who just got a job at the Chicago Tribune downtown. They should beta it out of her.
 
+Robert Scoble About Seesmic and the scaling pain, I have never seen a video comment posted on Techcrunch. So, assuming the "post video" button was a static image, I am now very curious to know why it resulted in scaling pain... this one might be in the archive though.

But in general, I agree, exposure does not come free even if it offered as free.
 
+Mike Andrews There's a term for that, which basically involves reading a story you have personal knowledge of, spotting a bunch of mistakes, then assuming that the rest of the articles that you don't know anything about are credible sources. ;-)
 
+Travis Young Yeah! That too! We only believe what we read just because even as grownups we want to believe that the world is "fair" (as in kids saying, "No fair!")
 
+Robert Scoble Of course, their update is at the end and not the beginning of the article. Surprised it's not in tee tiny lettering or some obscure back page next to the obits, as well. :/ "The article also described Robert Scoble as a venture capitalist. Mr. Scoble is a blogger and technologist. He is not a venture capitalist."
 
Thanks Linda, nice to see it's been corrected. Wouldn't want anyone to think I have cash to hand out. :-)
 
+Robert Scoble - I actually thought your first answer to my question made sense, i.e. there is no 'quid pro quo' or even a discussion of hosting. But the posts after that is where I think we disagree.

First, I didn't say freedom of conflicts of interest are what makes a journalist a journalist. Nor do I believe that. I said a journalist works for a media outlet (i.e. creates content for an enterprise where that content is the product). You're the Chief Learning Officer for Rackspace and the content you create is, as you say, occasionally in the service of helping Rackspace to be a better hosting company. That is not to imply it isn't a perfectly legitimate way to disseminate information on the tech space. I'm not judging it at all. You get access to great companies in that role and bring them to the attention of your followers/readers. But according to my definition, that's not what a journalist does any more than a person who writes a company newsletter is a journalist. (And I honestly didn't think you considered yourself a journalist. It was not meant as a dig.) Reasonable people can have differing opinions on that definition, I guess.

Second, the implication that you're being transparent because anyone can check your work on WhoIs is also where we may disagree. I didn't think it was up to the reader to fact-check the writer. If there is a conflict of interest or a financial relationship, it seems to me it's up to the writer to disclose that relationship. Are they obligated? Not sure in every case. Would it be a good idea? Yes? Maybe? Probably? I don't know? I can find out that the WSJ is owned by Fox on my own, but I believe the WSJ still tells me that fact in each and every story they run about Fox (and vice versa) and I respect them more for doing so.

And just to be clear, none of these disagreements mean that the coverage of the tech space by you or anyone like you (is there anyone like you?!) is any less legit or thorough or interesting. Back to +Kim Sherrell 's point, that's what makes this discussion so important is that we are throwing out so many old models. I, for one, would just like us to bring in new models that are as open.
 
+James Wester I already said that if there's a conflict of interest that I discover I disclose it in my video itself, which is where it should be done (videos often get separated from disclosure statements and other text and metadata).
 
+Robert Scoble I'm beginning to suspect that "FACT checking" first is now considered "old school" and without it, it distorts post titles (link bait) and post content. I guess it separates the journalists from the "boys". Mistakes can be made however. Why not correct them in a proper manner?

My issue with "updated" no matter where they put it, is that I know for a fact that an article can actually be corrected AS well, so that the next visitor or person that reads or shares an article does it with the facts "in place" to begin with. You can still keep the Update notice in place though. An apology doesn't hurt either, though you rarely see THAT. By the time you engross yourself in an article, you've long forgotten the update mentioned at the top, and pay little attention to them at the end.

When I share a link that I notice an update, I try to always include it in my post textarea so that I can warn readers of something that I post that the article may not indeed be factual. How little it helps, I can only imagine.
 
It's nice to see they corrected this part (that Robert is not a venture capitalist). On the other side of the article, I think AOL should pull their money out, citing a conflict of interest. It won't happen, but it's a nice dream.
 
+Robert Scoble - Indeed. I was just referring to your post to Rima Regas about WhoIs. I thought the implication was that anyone could check for conflict of interest issues using that as a tool. Apologies if I misunderstood.
 
+James Wester I just wanted to give you all the tools possible to make sure I am disclosing all my conflicts.
 
I think when business and media overlap you are going to have conflicts of interest, whether intentional or not. And I think that overlap is part of a problem with the current news media today.
 
Just heard a rumor that Half Moon Bay is the new Wall Street. Truth or dare?
 
+Jay Cross heh. That isn't true. All we have here are fields of pumpkins, GoPro camera company, my house, and the Ritz. OK, OK, a few others are here too like Steve Jurvetson.
 
OK so that was a mistake calling you a VC (a bizarre one at that). I hope they correct it. But it doesn't affect the point of the article in the least. Are there other material errors?

AOL and Arrington have tarnished my profession. And it's going to take a lot of work to convince people that we're not all self-serving and corrupt.
 
You can't invest, You are Insider! ;)
 
One thing they are spot on about "A chief executive of a small start-up told me that at an event on May 26 hosted by Ron Conway, a powerful venture capitalist, that Mr. Arrington announced that those who provided TechCrunch with scoops, the coin of the realm, could expect good treatment on lesser stories. Those who did not, he said, would be ignored."

When I pitched Lovefre.sh (briefly) to Tech Crunch Europe I was told the same. A blunt 'negotiate your exclusives better - now we're not interested (Lovefre.sh had already been covered by The Next Web - who approached me - and the BBC, who did the same). What's a guy new to running his own business to do? I've bootstrapped all the way, badly needed funding (still do), and would have been a fool to turn down coverage on a site I love (hat tip to +Zee M Kane +Martin Bryant - who was my original contact).

I understood the 'currency' of which +Mike Butcher spoke - but it was frustrating since on my uber tight budget, and passionate desire to connect farm to table (which is not motivated by a desire to get rich - but a desire to empower communities to effect the food change that They want to see - without preaching any 'macro' solution.

I guess it's the way of the world - but it took me a while to come to terms with; I've started the company following 2 mental breakdowns due to a stressful city career of 15 years and suffer from agoraphobia, so I really find it hard to focus on 'the games people play'. Hope this is relevant - feels like I just wrote an essay.

I've no expectations of people - especially the press - but it was a hard lesson to take. My conclusion? I haven't thrown myself into doing something I feel so passionately about only to start worrying about joining in with these 'games'. My bad probably .
 
What I find so annoying about this whole thing is that this is essentially what Arrington was accusing +Leo Laporte of that precipitated the infamous "Screw You, Mike Arrington!" episode. Talk about hypocrisy.
 
Tom Davidson - but Leo wasnt plugging shares in companies he started (or ramping as the regulators) - must listen to TWIT to see if they mention it
 
+Maurice Walshe You'll note that I said "essentially." I understand they aren't exactly the same, just essentially the same: I'm talking about integrity. Of course, if this turns out to be true, then it just confirms for me that Leo has integrity while Arrington doesn't.
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