TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington's rumored new blog is up, running, and now as of this writing five posts old. It's called "UnCrunched" and is a simple WordPress blog with little in the way of fancy design or a neat logo. What UnCrunched has is a lot of the famous tech startup observer's observations about startups, people, and his new venture capital effort CrunchFund that he started with Patrick Gallagher.
In my world I’ve had to learn about brutal honesty in a couple of different ways. The first is when you first hear a startup pitch and you know it’s not going to make it. I’ve tried the brutal honesty approach in the past, and some percentage of those entrepreneurs become enemies, sometimes lifelong enemies. I’ve tried a softer, more polite approach. In those cases the entrepreneur remains eagerly on the hook. If you don’t respond later, though, you get the same result.
After years of tinkering I’ve found two excellent ways of minimizing the damage from these people. If I’m at a tech event in public I put on my full (invisible) body armor. Smile, shake hands if I must and perform the right type of theatrical engagement. “Amazing. Love to hear more. Do you have a card? I’ll contact you.”
That contact never comes. And for some reason far fewer people ever become upset v. the other ways of handling things.
I really don’t like doing this, but it’s the one thing that keeps me sane and allows me to continue to engage with the community. And every once in a blue moon someone does manage to sneak in past the armor and make a lasting impression on me.
And there you have it.
Not only does it explain the Arrington style that some have come to know and loath, but it also explains why Michael needed the aide of security guards who happen to be friends to this blogger (the cool aspect of being one of the few blacks at Bay Area Tech events are those social connections that other attendees are shocked you have, Arrington included - like with the most necessary of all people, bloggers included, the security detail.)
And I see where Arrington managed to get TechCrunch writer MG Sigler to come with him as a VC - no surprise here. It' a logical step: one spends a lot of time looking at and writing about companies, so with $20 million, why not advance to determining which of those new firms get a slice of that pie?
The question is, what will this talent drain do to TechCrunch's traffic? Time will tell, and perhaps sooner rather than later.