The departure of MG Siegler, one of TechCrunch’s best and most prolific full time writers, from the top tech blogging website, demonstrates a recent trend of tech bloggers leaving their traditional writing roles for more lucrative activities in the world of venture capitalism, startups, and television.
Siegler is ending his ongoing role as a full time, top writer at TechCrunch to team up again with Arrington as a general partner at CrunchFund, the venture capital company operated by TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington and funded by AOL.
The development with Siegler follows the departure several weeks ago of Paul Carr, another TechCrunch writer, who left just a few days after Michael Arrington was fired by AOL, which acquired it last year. Arrington was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time Magazine in 2008. And Arrington was fired just a few days after he reported that the New York Times primary tech writer Nick Bilton was offered a $1.5m book and T.V. contract by CBS. Bilton did not accept the offer.
Erick Schonfeld, editor for TechCrunch, said in his blog that Siegler is not leaving TechCrunch because of bad relations with AOL. Siegler will continue to write for TechCrunch, but with a very narrow focus, as its Apple columnist. Siegler, who has had many offers from TechCrunch competitors and VC firms over the past few months, indicated in his blog that the excitement surrounding tech startups is not likely to go away soon, and this explains why prominent tech writers like himself are in such high demand.
Siegler confirmed in a blog post yesterday, written at 2:00 a.m. local time in London, where he was to speak at the FOWA (future of web apps) conference, that he is leaving TechCrunch to become a venture capitalist:
“Yes, I’m becoming a VC. I couldn’t be happier to announce that I’m joining CrunchFund as a general partner. It’s my honor to join Mike and Pat in that role. And I thank them for the opportunity.” Michael Arrington and Patrick Gallagher, a TechCrunch co-founder, are now VCs in CrunchFund.
Siegler stressed in his post yesterday that he has been planning this move for a long time, and it is a coincidence that the timing of it comes soon after the fractious departure of Arrington: “While the timing of this announcement may seem a bit odd given the recent drama involving AOL and TechCrunch and well, CrunchFund, this move has been a long time in the making for me.”
Siegler also reasoned why he believes there is no need to be concerned about sky high valuations or a tech bubble and that the recent increase in tech startups is… just a start of many more to come:
“For all the talk of “bubbles” and crazy valuations, I think most overlook something very fundamental: technology continues to permeate all of our lives in ways we couldn’t imagine just yesterday. This will only continue to increase over time. Technology startups are at the forefront of this. What we’ve seen until now is just a taste of what is to come.”
Ryan Tate, who writes for Gawker.com, doesn’t agree. Tate, referencing Siegler’s new role in the clubby VC world and the lucrative offers Nick Bilton turned down, said: “the scope of their offers alone is a sign of a world gone mad.”