Last night, Cody Brown wrote:
I can say that personally, I learn about NYC tech news almost purely from a collection of blogs I find through Twitter. There is Silicon Alley and Tech Crunch articles about NYC startups but most of the time, I’m leaning about NYC Tech from prominent investors like Fred Wilson and Chris Dixon. Despite how much I devour their work, it comes from a particular POV. If I’m anything like others in NYC who are looking for local tech news, I’m starting to think that too much of this POV is holding us back. The issues with personal blogs break down like this:
It’s clear why Fred Wilson blogs, he does it because it’s good for him and it’s good for Union Square Ventures. Fred has reason to care about the larger NYC tech scene, but the interests of USV will always come first.
A personal blogger gets to decide, with every post, how transparent they want to be. Any VC blogger worth anything will disclose companies they have investments in when they blog but transparency is much deeper than financial disclosure. Political and personal calculus all come in to play. This is evident anytime a founder/investor talks about existing technologies or companies. When Jason calacanis dropped his rant against ComScore, it could be because he’s genuinely intellectually curious or because he is going to announce his own metrics system in 4 months.
A personal blogger isn’t responsible for talking about what conversations they are avoiding. This is where it gets really hairy and I think most detrimental to the community. Imagine a situation like this, a prominent NYC founder/investor invites his friend, another prominent NYC founder/investor to an event he is hosting that will be attended by many in the field. The friend arrives and quickly notices the event is an utter disaster. The projector broke, the moderator is horrendous, and everyone is 15 minutes late because the directions to the location were wrong. If the friend were to honestly describe the event it would not be favorable. What’s your bet? Is this friend going to blog about this event the next day? Probably not. Even when you
I love the work of many personal bloggers and value what they add to the NYC startup community, but a seemingly essential part of the ecosystem is missing.
NYC Needs a Startup Blog. It needs brutal, unnerving, critique from an entity without a mesh of financial interest conflicts.
After my last couple posts regarding Pay-to-Play at NY Angels and NYC vs Silicon Valley, I got shit on by Charlie O'Donnell of First Round Capital and, to a much lesser and dramatically more civil extent, Nate Westheimer of NY Tech Meetup. Actually, nix that. Nate critiqued and did so fairly and honorably, he did not shit. Charlie shat.
Regardless, most founders and proto-founders aren't going to open their mouths and speak freely about their experiences if this is what happens to them when they dare utter a frustrated or honest word. I'm in a pretty good position visibility wise with regards to SpeakerText and am more of a street fighter than most, so I am willing to take stick my neck out. But I wouldn't expect others to.
Social media is cool, but it suffers the same limits as regular social interaction: people are afraid to piss each other off. The emperor is never told about his clothes, or lack thereof. Dollars are at stake, after all.
Hence the need for an independent press who has a financial incentive to say it like it is. Amen, Cody.