Monday, September 05, 2011

Mike Arrington: Movie Star

I have known Mike Arrington to be a heat seeking missile that constantly goes after controversies. Half the time when he hits the target he realizes he is the one who created the controversy in the first place.

His now having crossed the line to become a full fledged investor - CrunchFund - to me has felt like the most natural thing. Many VCs blog. When a blogger invests what seems to be the problem?

This guy wanted to be an entrepreneur. I'd say he did become one. TechCrunch I view as a startup. I never thought of it as a magazine. It is an online community he has created.

He is super well connected. He is insightful. It is to be seen if he can also do well to spot those hot new startups that make you a lot of money. I have a feeling he might be able to pull it off.

Arrington, Calm The F____ Down
Sonar: How Whales Roll: Mike Arrington My Sonar Friend
Mike Arrington Liked My Comment
Mike Arrington And I: Close

New York Times: A Tech Blogger Who Leaps Over the Line
.... news of Mr. Arrington’s audacious caper roiled the blogosphere all day ..... “Michael has stepped down,” to become a venture capitalist, she said, “and is no longer on the editorial payroll effective immediately.” She added that he could continue to write — Mr. Arrington is a prolific, forceful voice on technology matters — but as an unpaid blogger. Gee, I said to Ms. Huffington, I know we are in a bold new epoch of technology journalism, but the whole thing still seems, well, naughty. ...... Coverage in TechCrunch can make or break a start-up, and what about those companies that are not F.O.M.’s (Friends of Mike)? ..... earlier that day, Mr. Arrington told my colleague Claire Cain Miller, “I am TechCrunch and TechCrunch is me.” It’s now hard to know whether AOL is Mr. Arrington’s partner, client, employer or banker...... When he turned his withering guns on Engadget, a sibling site at AOL, executives looked the other way even as most of the people at Engadget left. When he bashed the reputation of Caterina Fake, the well-regarded co-founder of both Flickr and Hunch, for breaking the news of her own start-up (instead of letting him break it), they said nothing. Along the way, he ridiculed the enterprise he worked for with a seemingly endless stream of Twitter posts, all but begging to get fired. He got financed instead. ....... the froth and money sloshing around has reached a whole other level, and looks enticing no matter what side of the glass you are on. ..... When criticism followed, he said he would fully disclose any conflicts, and besides, he never saw himself as a journalist anyway, even though he often broke news. AOL swallowed hard and said Mr. Arrington was free to do what he wanted. Thus emboldened, he spent the following months both investing and directing coverage. ....... On April 1, he invested in Supyo, a video-chat start-up created by Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, the pair who changed the world with Napster. ..... Think Chatroulette done right.” ...... At best, competitors are up against a fund that has a cozy relationship with the leading technology news site and a list of investors — Sequoia Capital and Greylock Partners, among others — made up of Silicon Valley royalty. ...... “A giant, greedy, Silicon Valley pig pile.” ...... 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. ...... Arrington’s digital megalomania has been rewarded. He built a competitive site, flipped it to AOL for $30 million, used it as a platform to build a venture fund, slipped the bonds of his current job while persuading AOL to kick in half of his $20 million fund, and will now use the luster of a journalistic brand to enhance his new capital venture. ...... One of the sharpest critiques of this conflation came from Paul Carr, who happens to write for TechCrunch (and is no relation to me). He savaged Mr. Armstrong for fumbling the announcement and sacrificing TechCrunch’s editorial credibility, and said he was worried that “investors will gain influence over how CrunchFund-backed companies are covered on TechCrunch.” ...... there are other venture capitalists — Om Malik, Fred Wilson and Robert Scoble — who both publish and trade on information. ..... If insiders can trade on the news they publish, readers may become an adjunct to a business that is less about public information than private gain.
TechCrunch: The CrunchFund: Actually, Tim, We Don’t All Have “Different” Standards
TechCrunch writers have no involvement with the fund, and Mike has always been most critical of the companies he’s closest to. ..... there’s a perception that taking investment from the fund will result in positive coverage. ..... There are few people in the world who I respect more — both personally and professionally — than Mike Arrington. He is a close friend and a very, very good guy. His willingness to over-disclose any personal interests in the companies he covers is a shining example to the rest of the tech blogging community. ...... ethically-agnostic Silicon Valley investment community

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