Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Art of the Start: Guy Kawasaki interviewing Mike Arrington

I'm here at the Art of the Start conference. My panel already happened this morning. I'll probably write about that later. Thought I might live-blog Guy interviewing Mike until my laptop battery loses juice. (Microsoft Conference Center: more power outlets please!)

This is a conference for would-be or already-are entrepreneurs, so the value proposition of having Mike speak to this crowd is that most of these folks would probably kill to get covered by TechCrunch, so theoretically they're going to learn some tactics to accomplish that.

Mike gets about 40 pitches per day, 30 cold, 10 from referrals. But he probably only covers 1-2 brand new companies per day or everyother day even.

Some pitches get tossed, even if the company is good, because the pitch is filled with ridiculous buzz words. ("Revolutionary" and "disruptive" as examples...and this came complete with diss of marketing and PR folks, of course.)

Get to the point, and compare it to existing stuff, so there's some frame of reference, and some semblance of reality.

Mike is starting to tune out to things that claim "Web 2.0-ness."

2005 was a really good year because TechCrunch wasn't known, so he did the start-up-hunting and spent a lot more time hunting and writing than sifting through all the noise.

They're bringing Rashmi Sinha on stage to talk about the impact being written about in Tech Crunch had. Thousands lined up to sign on. And it wasn't just Web 2.0 rowd/Silicon Valley crowd. And she said the Tech Crunch effect has lasted, but Mike said that's unusual and that usually it's a spike.

Interesting opinion: Mike thinks it's a waste of money to launch at Demo or LaunchPad (which he MC'ed yesterday at Web 2.0.) He did something similar at Syndicate as I recall. So, why is he doing these events if he thinks it's a waste?

...Sorry I got distracted. Came back to discover that gratuitous mutual ass-kissing is going on right now. :)

Back to business:

Across his blogs: 200K visitors per day (including RSS subscribers.)
Revenue: $120-$130K/month (advertising, job board, parties.)

Now he's talking about advertising. He advises against advertising on Tech Crunch, and he won't take ads from a company he doesn't like. His recent bete-noire, Pay-per-Post, wanted to advertise. He declined.

Mike, as I noticed during BloggerCon, seems to be a very sensitive guy. In many ways. Sensitive about what people say about him. Sensitive to the ideas of disclosure, having too much power bestowed upon him. Sensitive to missing a great company and "hurting" them with his lack of posting. etc. etc. I don't know how he gets through the day worrying so much about the impact of his every little move.

OK, I'm about out of juice here.

Bottom line: Mike has interesting stuff to say. But in a short year Mike has managed to saturate the market!! Like some other folks out there I think he's way too much the go-to guy for conference organizers of late. Eventually we've got to see new faces and hear new voices. This is Internet-time, after all...where a year is like a decade :)

Enjoyed this exchange, though, don't get me wrong. minimum of chest-beating, maximum of thoughtful, non-hyped commentary.

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