There is certainly a bit of “disruption” going on over at Techcrunch but it’s not about next week’s conference. The dispute is about the new venture fund that was announced last week called, CrunchFund, and has created problems for TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, causing him to be fired from his own company.
Will this bring Techcrunch to a screeching halt?
Will TechCrunch writers go on strike or walk out?
And to stoke the fires a bit more on the subject, a cartoon has surfaced on YouTube from Next Media Animation,
Summary from the LA Times Blog:
A recap: Arrington is the colorful personality behind TechCrunch, the mini media empire that he sold to AOL last year. He told us Thursday that he was starting a $20-million venture fund. He said his new title at TechCrunch would be founding editor and writer. In that role, he said he would not exert editorial control and would fully disclose his investments in blog posts on TechCrunch.
Arrington also told us he would continue to break news. He even inserted a clause in the venture fund’s limited partnership agreement that gives him carte blanche to report on anything he learns except as an investor.
But on Friday AOL began putting out the word that Arrington no longer works for TechCrunch. Instead, AOL says, he works for AOL Ventures as a professional investor. In that role, he could contribute unpaid blog posts to TechCrunch.
Now that is pretty much what AOL has said all along. But its CEO Tim Armstrong told the New York Times on Thursday “TechCrunch is a different property and they have different standards.”
I’m personally not a big fan of Arianna Huffington to begin with. Constantly micro analyzing the world of politics and publishing a new post every time someone farts (or holds it in) is not my kind of news.
MG Siegler, one of the main editors and writers at Techcrunch (also the owner of the following title, ” Kick Ass Pool party coordinator” explained in a piece on his personal blog why the New York Times had it all wrong on the internal workings of TechCrunch:
So gather ‘round everyone, to learn how TechCrunch actually works.
First and foremost, the concept of an “editor” at TechCrunch is essentially just a title and nothing more. Generally speaking, neither Mike nor Erick (TC’s two “co-editors”) are overlords that dictate what everyone else covers. With a few exceptions (mainly for newer writers), no one person even readsposts by any other author before they are posted.
Traditional journalists may be appalled to learn this. But this is a big key of why TechCrunch kicks their ass in tech coverage. We’re fast and furious in ways they can’t be, because they’re adhering to the old rules. Are there benefits to those old rules? Sure. But in my opinion, the benefits of the way we work far outweighs the benefits of the way they work.
If you want a more objective take, simply look at the number of tech stories we’ve broken over the years versus the number any old school publication has. Our system works.
Next week’s TechCrunch Disrupt conference ought to be quite interesting given the recent upset within the company. See you there!