My "alignment" with TC50

Alec Saunders, in a comment over on his blog where he said I came off very poorly in my rant about the startups at Demo’s websites questions my “alignment” with TC50. I think that’s worth pointing out here.

I have not shared a meal in the past few months with Mike Arrington. Last time I remember seeing him was at his TC party a couple months ago.

I am NOT paid in any way by TC50. I have absolutely no business dealings with TC50. I have signed no contracts.

“But you’re a judge.” That is true. But so are many other people, including executives and VCs from around the valley. I am NOT being compensated for my time judging the finalists in the rich media category.

I am quite willing to spray my invective toward Arrington and Calacanis. They haven’t been friends to my business interests over the years.

I will be looking for things to both criticize and praise about both conferences this year. Actually I’ll probably be nicer to Demo this week because I’m not there and it’s not really fair to criticize something that you don’t have a personal involvement with. The companies’ websites? Fair game.

Anyway, I’ll be judged at the end of the week whether I was biased one way or another. If I do have a bias, it’ll be easy to see.

I have been more “aligned” with TC50 up to this point for a variety of reasons. Mostly because I think Arrington and Calacanis are outhustling Shipley. But, now, that isn’t really for me to judge. Now it’s YOUR turn to judge which conference did a better job of finding the best startups. I’ll link to the best analysis no matter what side of the fence it’s on.

UPDATE: also, this is true for FastCompany. Unlike other media companies like Mashable or Venturebeat that have sponsored Demo, FastCompany has no business ties to TechCrunch or Demo.

Comments

  1. “They haven’t been friends to my business interests over the years.”

    What business interests? The closest you’ve ever been to actually owning a business of your own was PodTech where you had stock options and we all know how that turned out.

    You’re a joke.

  2. “They haven’t been friends to my business interests over the years.”

    What business interests? The closest you’ve ever been to actually owning a business of your own was PodTech where you had stock options and we all know how that turned out.

    You’re a joke.

  3. “I am NOT paid in any way by TC50. I have absolutely no business dealings with TC50. I have signed no contracts.”

    Two clarifiying questions to save time later:
    1) Are you aligned with any of the 50 startups as an advisor or evangelist?

    2) While we are at it, same question for Friendfeed…

  4. “I am NOT paid in any way by TC50. I have absolutely no business dealings with TC50. I have signed no contracts.”

    Two clarifiying questions to save time later:
    1) Are you aligned with any of the 50 startups as an advisor or evangelist?

    2) While we are at it, same question for Friendfeed…

  5. David: I have no investments in any startups. The one company I do have an advising role in is B5 Media. I am not affiliated with, nor am I compensated by any other startup.

  6. David: I have no investments in any startups. The one company I do have an advising role in is B5 Media. I am not affiliated with, nor am I compensated by any other startup.

  7. Robert:

    I would assume you are not price sensitive enough for a small compensation to make a difference to you.

    Therefore, I assume you agreed to be a judge at demo for the coverage and networking possibilities offered by the event.

    Surely, we can agree that you have an interest in the event going well?

    Could we then agree that considering that Demo will potentially take -some- attention and opportunities away from TC50, you have an interest in promoting the one event you’ll be attending?

  8. Robert:

    I would assume you are not price sensitive enough for a small compensation to make a difference to you.

    Therefore, I assume you agreed to be a judge at demo for the coverage and networking possibilities offered by the event.

    Surely, we can agree that you have an interest in the event going well?

    Could we then agree that considering that Demo will potentially take -some- attention and opportunities away from TC50, you have an interest in promoting the one event you’ll be attending?

  9. Robert, you have every right to criticize those websites. It can probably help those companies do better. But to me it would have been more appropriate if you had added to each of those posts that you are a judge at TC50. The need for a disclaimer doesn’t rest on whether you are paid or not by TC50. And your parsing of the word “aligned” to mean whether you’ve had dinner with M.A. or not was rather disappointing. Your reply seemed to have been written quickly and passionately. (We used to call that sloppy writing!)

    One other note re:you say you are not criticizing demo, you are criticizing the companies that attend demo. when I read your blog it came across to me like this: “hey, why should anyone go to Demo. Clearly none of the companies there have a clue”. That may not have been your intent. But w/the already stirred up passions, and your lobbing something like this the weekend before both shows, and not acknowledging your own role as a judge for the competition, it just seemed all a little inappropriate. Had you posted at the outset: “Disclaimer: I am a judge at TC50, a direct competitor to Demo. Now, having that gotten that out of the way, all Demo’s presenting companies websites suck”, that would have been better, plus hilarious at the same time!

  10. Robert, you have every right to criticize those websites. It can probably help those companies do better. But to me it would have been more appropriate if you had added to each of those posts that you are a judge at TC50. The need for a disclaimer doesn’t rest on whether you are paid or not by TC50. And your parsing of the word “aligned” to mean whether you’ve had dinner with M.A. or not was rather disappointing. Your reply seemed to have been written quickly and passionately. (We used to call that sloppy writing!)

    One other note re:you say you are not criticizing demo, you are criticizing the companies that attend demo. when I read your blog it came across to me like this: “hey, why should anyone go to Demo. Clearly none of the companies there have a clue”. That may not have been your intent. But w/the already stirred up passions, and your lobbing something like this the weekend before both shows, and not acknowledging your own role as a judge for the competition, it just seemed all a little inappropriate. Had you posted at the outset: “Disclaimer: I am a judge at TC50, a direct competitor to Demo. Now, having that gotten that out of the way, all Demo’s presenting companies websites suck”, that would have been better, plus hilarious at the same time!

  11. I have not looked through all the startups because frankly I don’t care right now, I have my own startups to focus on and whatever these other startups are it just helps me. One thing I seem to notice though is a very strong bias:

    1) You have to “be” something to understand it well? I don’t mean completely, but well. That just falls apart since there have been how many presidents, and how many political commentators? In the abundance of counsel there is wisdom. From what I have always thought, to be told you suck is counsel. Unpaid, free, advice. Yes, direct knowledge is great, but so is outsider knowledge. Both are necessary, both are equal, both are different. If anything, outside insight is highly valuable unless you plan to sing to a choir, or circle jerk.

    2) You personally are being judged on a entrepreneurial scale in a reporter role. You do not need to disclose stock ownership to me. If you are reporting on what you are a vested owner in, that will show in ass kissing, no matter how covered. From what I observe of you, you are a power user, which means you are like a canary in a mine shaft. If you die in the shaft, I will sooner wonder what happened to you, than start critiquing the shaft. Dead canary: unsafe for me. In this situation the mine shafts themselves are arguing you shouldn’t die, it’s not polite to die in the shaft canary. Uh,

    3) The entrepreneurial environment and VC world is incestuous and afraid to stink up the restroom; so afraid it no longer keeps its sense of smell at all. Same with families – business and families do the same thing. The parents and children disown each other and throw up their hands to the government and religion. But ultimately that comes from the government and religion doing the same thing. It was corporate media! It was single parents! My point is, anyone who says otherwise and says: “This sucks” is immediately thrown out purely for having an opinion at all. THEN, if you’re lucky, they even open the message itself, but that is rare. What little I did to figure out how people got so pissed off with you Robert basically said “shame on him, 70 entrepreneur can’t all suck!” Uh, why not? If you have a bad premise, like a bad tree, all its fruit will suck. And yes, web presences ought to reflect the quality of the product.

    So I don’t see any sides here, I just see a microcosm of the overall problem with humanity in general. We cannot isolate something into Web 2.0 and think that doesn’t take with it all the issues in Humanity 1.0 which underlies Web 2.0, etc.

    And on judging for exposure; egos are assumed. If they are not presented and people realize that the judge really acts in the interest of the focuses presented, that is how the judge is judged, which means the proof is absolutely in the pudding and the postulate that a judge who wants attention will get it is wrong. If it is obvious anyone wants attention, they either get: Attention whore customers which is its own curse, or they get boycotted which is a deeper penalty than not getting recognition by being on a panel of judges. Sigh //de

  12. I have not looked through all the startups because frankly I don’t care right now, I have my own startups to focus on and whatever these other startups are it just helps me. One thing I seem to notice though is a very strong bias:

    1) You have to “be” something to understand it well? I don’t mean completely, but well. That just falls apart since there have been how many presidents, and how many political commentators? In the abundance of counsel there is wisdom. From what I have always thought, to be told you suck is counsel. Unpaid, free, advice. Yes, direct knowledge is great, but so is outsider knowledge. Both are necessary, both are equal, both are different. If anything, outside insight is highly valuable unless you plan to sing to a choir, or circle jerk.

    2) You personally are being judged on a entrepreneurial scale in a reporter role. You do not need to disclose stock ownership to me. If you are reporting on what you are a vested owner in, that will show in ass kissing, no matter how covered. From what I observe of you, you are a power user, which means you are like a canary in a mine shaft. If you die in the shaft, I will sooner wonder what happened to you, than start critiquing the shaft. Dead canary: unsafe for me. In this situation the mine shafts themselves are arguing you shouldn’t die, it’s not polite to die in the shaft canary. Uh,

    3) The entrepreneurial environment and VC world is incestuous and afraid to stink up the restroom; so afraid it no longer keeps its sense of smell at all. Same with families – business and families do the same thing. The parents and children disown each other and throw up their hands to the government and religion. But ultimately that comes from the government and religion doing the same thing. It was corporate media! It was single parents! My point is, anyone who says otherwise and says: “This sucks” is immediately thrown out purely for having an opinion at all. THEN, if you’re lucky, they even open the message itself, but that is rare. What little I did to figure out how people got so pissed off with you Robert basically said “shame on him, 70 entrepreneur can’t all suck!” Uh, why not? If you have a bad premise, like a bad tree, all its fruit will suck. And yes, web presences ought to reflect the quality of the product.

    So I don’t see any sides here, I just see a microcosm of the overall problem with humanity in general. We cannot isolate something into Web 2.0 and think that doesn’t take with it all the issues in Humanity 1.0 which underlies Web 2.0, etc.

    And on judging for exposure; egos are assumed. If they are not presented and people realize that the judge really acts in the interest of the focuses presented, that is how the judge is judged, which means the proof is absolutely in the pudding and the postulate that a judge who wants attention will get it is wrong. If it is obvious anyone wants attention, they either get: Attention whore customers which is its own curse, or they get boycotted which is a deeper penalty than not getting recognition by being on a panel of judges. Sigh //de

  13. Hey Robert,

    I want to point out that it wasn’t I that asked the question about your alignment or not with TC. We discussed this over on the comments on my blog. The question is being asked by others as a result of a perception being created by your postings that you are biased toward TC50. I am simply the messenger who brought it to your attention.

    I know that’s a subtle distinction, but I don’t want to be known as a guy who sets out to destroy people’s reputations. I probably wouldn’t have said anything except that you dropped by and commented on the posting.

    I’m personally glad to see you disclose in this way. Now let’s get back to focusing on the presenters ;)

    A

  14. Hey Robert,

    I want to point out that it wasn’t I that asked the question about your alignment or not with TC. We discussed this over on the comments on my blog. The question is being asked by others as a result of a perception being created by your postings that you are biased toward TC50. I am simply the messenger who brought it to your attention.

    I know that’s a subtle distinction, but I don’t want to be known as a guy who sets out to destroy people’s reputations. I probably wouldn’t have said anything except that you dropped by and commented on the posting.

    I’m personally glad to see you disclose in this way. Now let’s get back to focusing on the presenters ;)

    A

  15. I wonder why you have to defend your positions whatever they are.
    If you just remain fair and if you are a judge or are writing about something you see, one hopes all you are doing is being fair in expressing your views/opinions.
    I am sure it won’t matter at all how much you defend your positions some folks will just not accept what you state and therefore my suggestion is as long as you are HONEST TO YOURSELF and remain fair then leave the rest to the lamerz..

  16. I wonder why you have to defend your positions whatever they are.
    If you just remain fair and if you are a judge or are writing about something you see, one hopes all you are doing is being fair in expressing your views/opinions.
    I am sure it won’t matter at all how much you defend your positions some folks will just not accept what you state and therefore my suggestion is as long as you are HONEST TO YOURSELF and remain fair then leave the rest to the lamerz..

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