Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Dan Lyons
Editor in Chief at ReadWrite
Editor in Chief at ReadWrite


Post has attachment
Forty years ago, in 1971 and 1972, we had 4 successful moon landings. Today we get the retina display. WTF happened to us?

Post has attachment
Incoming! HTC flagship Android phones held up at Customs due to Apple legal victory. HTC severely bummed. Apple won't comment but must be loving this.

Dear Robert Scoble:

If I've made a mistake about your interest in getting involved in angel investing, I apologize.

As I told you, a VC told me he'd been approached by another VC and offered an opportunity to invest in a fund that you would be involved with.

I asked you about it, and I understood your response to be confirmation that you had talked to people about this but there was, as you put it, "nothing official yet."

You mention talking to Rich Stromback at Davos. I talked to Rich this afternoon and he confirmed that you expressed interest in joining an angel group that he is trying to organize, though it's still far from finalized.

However, I also went back to my original VC source, and he said the pitch he received had nothing to do with Rich Stromback. He says he was contacted six months ago, long before Davos, by another venture capitalist.

My source says: "I didn't talk to Scoble directly but rather someone who said they talked to Scoble and they were seriously considering investing, and wanted to know if we were too. We weren't."

Is it possible that a venture capitalist was going around approaching other VC firms looking to raise money on your behalf but without your knowledge or consent?

My source is a top guy at a serious venture firm. I don't think he would make this up. But if that's the case, then this is all very strange, and I'm sorry to have played a part in it.

Earlier today I reported that Robert Scoble has been trying to raise an angel fund. Robert says he told me that this wasn't the case. It appears we got our wires crossed. In the interest of transparency, here is the entire email exchange I had with Robert today about this.

Me: Hey Robert, I was talking to a VC last week who said he was recently offered the chance to invest in an angel fund that you would manage. Were you trying to raise a fund? Are you still?

Robert: Hah. There is some bar talk about this but nothing official yet. I am interested but not anywhere close and certainly I wouldn't be managing it. Who was it?

Me: Can't say, it was off the record. If you wouldn't manage it, what would be your role? Have you got commitments from some VCs yet? Is this similar to what Mike Arrington is doing with CrunchFund? What would you call it? ScobleFund?

Robert: I have no idea. It never got to that point. I doubt I would be more than a pretty face on any such fund.

That's our exchange. I took this as an acknowledgement from Robert that the VC with whom I spoke was telling the truth. I still don't see Robert's response as a denial.

I've been responding to comments on a post about my article on the Daily Beast today about Robert Scoble looking to get involved with an angel fund. This has set off a bit of a debate about online journalism and whether we're all a bunch of click whores.

First off: The news today is simply that Scoble has been trying to raise an angel fund. I heard about it from a VC, checked with Scoble, who says he's interested but hasn't got too far along yet -- and then reported that.

Someone points out that the Daily Beast, where I work, also tries to drive clicks. That's true. The Daily Beast does lots of things to boost traffic, including linking to stories here on G+ hoping to attract readers. Most online news organizations do things to drive traffic. We all try to craft our stories in a way that makes people want to read them and find them interesting.

But -- and this is a significant difference -- reporters at places like the Beast or NY Times or other outlets are not allowed to take money from VCs and start an angel fund and invest in companies that we write about. Try to imagine Pogue or Mossberg or Nick Bilton or Harry McCracken starting an angel fund and keeping their day job.

This is not to say one group is better than the other. Bloggers can do this, but mainstream reporters play by a different set of rules than bloggers. Having been both a blogger and a mainstream media guy, I see value on both sides. I definitely know which side was more fun. If bloggers can find ways to get rich off their blogs, more power to them.

Another way to look at this is that really it's not journalism but rather is a new form of public relations (and a threat to the established PR industry). As I say in my Beast article:

"In a way, what these bloggers are really doing is creating a new kind of PR firm, one where the promoters get paid not in billable hours but in early-stage equity. If you’re a startup, this makes a lot of sense. Why pay a PR agency millions of dollars and hope they can get you some favorable coverage when you can just bring on an investor who will write the articles for you—and reach a bigger, more targeted audience than mainstream media outlets like the New York Times could ever do?"
The traditional way that companies go about getting press coverage is expensive and inefficient. They hire a PR agency, and/or a bunch of in-house PR people, and pay lots of money to those people hoping they can go out and schmooze the press and get some good stories placed. Why go through all that when now, in the Internet age, you can build (or buy) your own media coverage? Tumblr is doing this and just hired away one of my colleagues at Newsweek to lead a new site devoted to covering Tumblr and its world of bloggers.

What I really wonder is why more companies are not yet doing this. I suspect we'll see more doing it in the future.

Post has attachment

Post has attachment

Post has attachment
Michael Arrington and MG Siegler are scolding those sleazy, unethical journalists at places like the New York Times who make a living chasing page views & posting lazy, stupid, false information and who are so corrupt that they don't even take money from the companies they write about! Possible responses to this sanctimonious bullshit: throw up in your mouth; burst out laughing; sob about what's happened to Silicon Valley.

Post has attachment

Post has attachment
Google drops the "Don't be evil" pretense and puts on its war face. Whether it will work remains to be seen.
Wait while more posts are being loaded