A year and a half after bailing on the blog life during the Great TechCrunch Conflagration of ’11, MG Siegler is wading deeper into the world of venture capital. He announced today that he’s heading to Google Ventures as a general partner. He’ll join Kevin Rose and Wesley Chan, focused on seed and early-stage investments.
Mr. Siegler said he’d “continue to work closely with CrunchFund” on investments they’ve already made as well as writing the occasional column for TechCrunch, because apparently that place is actually the Hotel California. But perish the thought of his revealing confidential info from inside the notoriously secretive GOOG:
Cold as Schmidt Here’s a little digital memento from AllThingsDigital’s D: Dive Into Mobile conference: This is what it looks like when, rather than answering your question, Google chairman Eric Schmidt slices to the proverbial bone.
Speaking of Mr. Schmidt, goodies from his upcoming book, The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business are beginning to trickle out. Today WikiLeaks released the transcript of a five-hour conversation between Mr. Schmidt and Julian Assange, used for the book. It opens with some really riveting stuff. Mr. Schmidt: “Well do you want us to start eating?” Mr. Assange: “Well, we can do both.” Guess there’s not much time for leisurely meals in the life of a WikiLeaker.
The Chat-rooming Classes Today, seemingly every tech reporter in the business tuned into Jason Calacanis‘s “This Week in Startups,” presumably in the hopes that Mr. Calacanis would tell all re: the allegations of abuse against Michael Arrington. But as familiar names chattered away in the chat room, Mr. Calacanis had little to say beyond comparing himself to Obi Wan. That would make Mr. Arrington Anakin Skywalker, of course; Mr. Calacanis said he taught him how to be powerful in media, and “I regret that.”
As for the allegations themselves, Mr. Calacanis was quick to say he wouldn’t be commenting on whether they were true, citing his lack of direct knowledge. (He did, however, openly discuss the time that Mr. Arrington called a PR honcho “the c-word,”
thereby outing someone who’d never mentioned the incident publicly!) [Correction: Mr. Calacanis first mentioned the incident and the PR exec (Brooke Hammerling) by name in the comments of his Facebook post, prompting Ms. Hammerling to confirm the story, also in a Facebook comment.] All in all, it sounds like he (kinda sorta) regrets getting involved. He apparently thought writing a Facebook note wouldn’t go very far. “I thought that that would be a place where it just lived there,” he said. (Paging Randi Zuckerberg!) “I got a little P.T. Barnum in me and I feel like me commenting on all this stuff actually detracts from it,” he added.
#RealTalk Dave McClure, our favorite giver of zero fucks, went on a bit of a Twitter tear the other day. It started with the admission that he’d “just had really hard tough love talk w/ startup founder. fucking sucks, but better harsh truth than bullshit ‘you’ll make it work’ lies.” He didn’t stop there, adding that ”what really sucks is none of other investors (incl big lead VC) have the balls 2 tell them its not going 2 fucking work & shut it down.”
He concluded: “the Silicon Valley story is indeed the 1% story of Instagram $1B win, but also 99% broken dreams, shattered hopes & try, try again. sigh.”
It’s a gloomy, rainy Friday in New York, but we’re about to serve you a piping hot bowl of gossip. Bon appetit!
Map-maker, Map-maker, Build Me a Map! If Tim Cook‘s mea culpa wasn’t enough to demonstrate how hard Apple is scrambling to fix its iOS 6 mapocalypse, then how about its last ditch recruiting techniques to find Ruby developers? Mojo Talantikite, a cluster engineer at Engine Yard in New York City, said he (and a number of his technically talented friends) have been hit up by Apple recruiters recently.
“I don’t think it’s too out of the ordinary for a company to scramble to soak up talent once they figure out their product is deficient,” he told Betabeat by email. “But considering that the beta of Apple Maps was terrible three months ago, you’d think they would have started the aggressive recruitment phase then,” he said, adding, “It’s pretty easy to realize they are in put out the fire mode.”
That’s according to some number crunching from PeekYou, anyway. The company has debuted a new analytics service and, to promote the product, took the time to rank Twitter’s top 1,000 most influential tech investors. CEO Michael Hussey explained the methodology to VentureBeat:
Can You Digg It?
Last night, Digg founder Kevin Rose announced that he was doing an AMA on Reddit. Following the announcement, he immediately vacated the site and did not return to it for 24 hours. As many of the interested Redditors are refugees from Digg, they did not take kindly to this crucial misunderstanding of how exactly Reddit works. Generally, you don’t announce you’re doing an AMA unless you intend to answer questions at that very moment.
“Kevin just tweeted an Instagram picture at Alcatraz,” wrote one user. “Pretty sure he forgot about this.”
“Maybe it is symbolic of being trapped in an AMA he regrets,” retorted another.
Some time this afternoon, Mr. Rose returned to the thread in order to answer the (mostly indignant) questions that had collected while he was away. Perhaps to make up for his tardiness, he even took the time to record a few video replies to Redditors’ questions.
Can You Digg It?
In the winter of 2004, soon after the husks of once-great dot-com startups had dried and shriveled, a 27-year-old college dropout named Kevin Rose deployed a barebones new site, simply named “Digg.”
It was one of the first social networks in existence. Back then, the term “social networking” hadn’t shouldered its way into our lexicon yet. Facebook was a nascent, walled platform for college gossip; Google was still idly toying with its search algorithm; Twitter wouldn’t launch for another two years.
News itself was a hierarchical affair, largely produced and disseminated by trusted broadcasters and editors. Journalism’s democratizing forces hadn’t congealed, yet; bloggers weren’t sitting front row at fashion shows or making a living off of Google Ads. The idea that a community of Internet geeks could manipulate the news cycle would’ve elicited howls of mocking laughter from the Conde kingmakers.
Microsoft Outlook now operates in-browser and is apparently a legitimate Gmail competitor? No flipping desks for Steve Ballmer today. [Wired]
Things are not looking good in iPad mag land. The Daily has laid off a 1/3rd of its staff. [AllThingsD]
Kevin Rose did an AMA, just in time for the release of the new Digg. It got less than 1,000 upvotes and apparently he didn’t actually answer any questions. [Reddit]
Two online poker sites are paying millions in damages following fraud and money laundering charges. Guess the government called their bluff. [New York Times]
Times Square will broadcast the Mars landing on one of those gigantic screens. The space geek in us is currently fighting with the person in us who fucking hates Times Square. [NASA]
UBS lost $356 million in the Facebook IPO. Yikes. [The New York Times]
Deconstructing the myth of the “booth babe.” [Jezebel]
Speaking of myths, the Facebook phone is apparently a reality, which is a shame because nobody wants a stupid Facebook phone. [Bloomberg]
Roku continues getting cozy with pay TV, raises $45 million from News Corps. and BSkyB. [TechCrunch]
Kevin Rose on the new Betaworks incarnation of Digg: “It’s very simple, and there’s a lot of emphasis on real-time.” Version one of the new Digg is set to debut in one week. [GigaOm]
Google is livestreaming its announcement about rolling out a fiber network in Kansas City today. [Google]
Zynga shares tumbled 42 percent yesterday; not even gullible mothers taking care of virtual crops can fix that. [Bloomberg]