Today Sarah Lacy, formerly of Techcrunch, announced she was starting a new media company and has gotten funded, to the tune of $2.5-million by a variety of big names in investing.
This is just what the tech industry needs. Why? Because big companies are too focused on profits to properly cover the startup world.
1. Most stories about startups don’t get many hits. At least not when compared to stuff about Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook. There’s a reason for that that’s built into the system. If you write about Microsoft, for instance, its 90,000 employees hear about it on internal email newsletters and blogs. You’ll get thousands of hits almost instantly just because of that. Then they’ll push blogs that are pro that company out to other places like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. I see this happening all the time. Those hits are easy money for blogs that rely on page-view advertising, like Techcrunch does. Startups don’t have that “multi-thousand-hit” ability, so get lesser attention from the big companies than they should.
2. Startups tend to be understood better by people who’ve been in startups. I’m getting a bit rusty at this myself. Working at a big company you start to forget what it’s like to have to do everything yourself. I remember walking into one startup and seeing the CEO on the floor building an airconditioner to keep his team cool. It’s why, even though Rackspace built me a studio at its new office in San Francisco, I still go and visit quite a few startups. It’s something very few journalists do, but I know Sarah Lacy does.
3. The industry needs a global perspective. I was talking with the CEO of Geekli.st, Reuben Katz, the other day. That interview is here so you can listen. As you listen you’ll hear something: innovation is happening outside of Silicon Valley. Sarah knows this deeply. She wrote a book on it and has done the hard work of visiting far off places. Many other journalists think that they have seen this trend by going to big conferences at LeWeb, but that’s just not true. It’s hard to know this without having done the hard work, er, flying the miles.
4. The way startups get better conversion is via video. This is something I understand deeply, but so does Sarah. She’s been on the inside of video divisions of Yahoo and AOL and I’m sure she’ll be doing a bunch of videos. More videos of startups is a good thing for the entire industry. Too many blogs don’t understand the power of video, or don’t have the funding to do the travel that this requires (I’m heading to Europe on Friday, for instance, and it isn’t cheap).
5. There is no way one person, or one media company, can cover all the startups anymore. Y Combinator alone is going to graduate another 60 startups. Think about it. I can only do about two videos a day. That means I’d have to focus on Y Combinator for more than an entire month to cover all of its startups. That means that many of its startups don’t get covered, or covered well.
Now, you might think this is bad for me. No, it’s not. As startup liasion officer at Rackspace I love that I’ll see even more coverage of startups in the future. This is good for everyone in the industry that serves startups. Some changes that we’ve already started making, though, because we knew there would be more competition in startup news space: we’ve decided to move away from building43.com and toward a new “Small Teams, Big Impact” set of videos. Yes, we have a website, that will grow to be more interactive in the future, but we’ll be putting more of our videos up on social networks. If you’ve noticed, I haven’t been as active here lately as I once was. Why? Because Google+ became a lot more interesting to me due to the engagement I was getting there, the audience growth (more than 210,000 followers there already). Even Facebook, in the past few months, has seen huge audience growth for me, from about 13,000 followers in August to more than 100,000 today. The action is clearly on social networks, and that’s where I’m putting my time and efforts.
That said, there’s something I’ve noticed that the startup blogs haven’t really caught onto yet. That is there’s technologies here now that are helping small teams having a HUGE impact on the world. For instance, at Universal Studios there are two engineers who are building all their web properties and are getting a HUGE amount of scale from technologies like JanRain and Echo. More on that soon, as we get more of our videos up on our Small Teams, Big Impact, site.
Also, at SXSW we’ll have a celebration of companies like this that help small teams have a big impact on the world. If you know of one, can you let me know by filling in this form? Thanks!
Anyway, that’s getting me off the point of this post, my first of 2012, which is to say “congrats Sarah.” Can’t wait to see what you do.
I’ve also added PandoDaily’s Twitter account to my tech news brand Twitter list, which includes all the tech news brands I know of (493 to date).
PHOTOCREDIT: I shot this image of Sarah while she worked on Techcrunch TV.