It’s all about TechCrunch in the tech media today, locally and globally. TechCrunch is finally coming to China with its famous Disrupt conference. It will definitely boost the local startup/entrepreneurs environment, although in the end we need wait to see how much impact it can cause as a foreign media. TechCrunch, welcome to China! (my interview with Heather Harde of TechCrunch).
In the meanwhile, it seems that TechCrunch is also having its backyard on fire. MG Siegler, TechCrunch’s editor published a post saying TechCrunch might come to the end. I don’t believe TechCrunch will get crashed suddenly like this, but the post still shocked me.
I started reading TechCrunch back in 2006 when I was doing my PhD in UK. With a very academic background, I would say it’s TechCrunch really opened my eyes to the Web 2.0 world. I am not a big fan of Mike Arrington because I think he was always biased against China, and I even wrote a post 4 years ago questioning if TechCrunch understands China. But, I do respect his great effort which makes a tech blog so so influential and profitable. TechCrunch is more than a media, it has become the Hub in web business. As a tech blogger, and there is no doubt, Mike is the hero.
I understand everyone respects Mike and considers he is the core of TechCrunch. But as for the CrunchFund, I think it’s unfair to throw all the complains to Tim Armstrong, the guy of AOL. I might be wrong, but in my opinion, Mike is a blogger, as well as a businessman. He has been an angel investor for a while as we know, and I don’t think he’s been forced to set up the CrunchFund.
So because of CrunchFund, people are questioning about TechCrunch’s double standards in future, e.g. blogging more about the companies which are raised fund from CrunchFund. But is it really a big issue? As long as everything goes transparent, I don’t think TechCrunch and its editors will compromise with anything. They have been professional enough and done great works all the way (especially when Mike himself is an angel investor).
I am not against that Mike should not take on an investor’s role. If you have lots of good startups around you seeking for help and you also love their business model along with a bunch of VCs who trust your vision, being an investor might be a natural career path (of course, it is NOT the only path), at least it is still a way of helping startups and not just for money. But I also think the fund itself should NOT be named CrunchFund which may confuse the readers and offend the loyal editors and followers. In any case, media itself must be independent, and the conflict of being a media and an investment firm should (and could) be minimized and even avoid.
If it’s really like what the post assumed that AOL wants to take Mike away from TechCrunch (and Mike knew nothing about it), I think AOL is making a stupid decision, or at least it’s a very bad communication between AOL, Mike and the team. I really admire TC’s editors who stand out to play against their boss and they are very good and professional journalists with passion deep in their hearts. By comparison, thinking about Chinese media, nowadays almost every popular tech media is setting up their own investment fund, and we never heard anyone questioning about it. What would you say?
As a Chinese reader who used be educated by TechCrunch in the web business, as a tech blogger who’s been believing in TechCrunch’s vision for years, and as an entrepreneur who is building our own version of TechCrunch for China startup space, I do hope it’s not an end.