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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Michael Arrington’s Rant - Good but What’s Missing? The User

See also:
Michael Arrington - Talking (Too) Tough At Times - By Alex Hammer

Comment #95 to: More Bloggers Raising Money. Here Come The Politics. And Here Comes My Rant.
Alex Hammer
March 19th, 2008 at 12:14 pm
Michael Arrington’s Rant - Good but What’s Missing? The User

Michael Arrington is - I believe - a brilliant individual. Success speaks for itself and TechCrunch is highly successful. I watched his recent interview on Charlie Rose, and it felt like seeing a master at work (each of the two individuals above, actually).

As with Michael’s postings generally, this one is thoughtful, nuanced and insightful (no doubt infused by personal experience). Michael generally can provide greater insight than most authors (bloggers or otherwise) first because he has more of substance to say, and second because he is better at saying it. But to my mind this Arrington post focuses too exclusively on competitors and political, venture and competitive dynamics to really explain fully enough the significant success of blogs, and blog companies. Blogs are popular, obviously, as are all successful businesses fundamentally, because they service a consumer need (in the case of blogs this is a quickly growing, perhaps previously un or underserved consumer need). Blogs are more immediate than is the mainstream media (MSM) clearly as a whole, more personal and subjective, and you could I think well argue also more authentic in their voice collectively as well. Users flock to blogs (at least a growing number of highly popular blogs) for these and similar reasons, which is what makes the valuations, the blogging competition, the blogging salaries and all the rest of it possible. Without the user none of these things - significantly highlighted in Michael’s post as key factors - would ever be possible. I think most all of us could agree most likely on that.

Realizing anything less than this - and stressing it in an examination of blog and blog companies success - is putting the proverbial chicken before the egg, in my view, and thus ultimately either incomplete (if a relative omission, post does not ignore consumers completely) or short-sighted. That having been said, blogs are increasingly a business, and a big business for some. In addition to serving users as a primary focus blog businesses must also, of course, be well attuned to these other important factors as well. Those blogs that integrate best these diverse focuses in efficient, effective and productive manners will be most successful in the long run.

TechCrunch is highly attentive to users, and I believe that this is a great part of its success. Just never forget to highlight that, if you wish, in any discussion detailing such blogging successes.
Finally, it goes probably without saying that the huge (or significant depending upon your financial perspective and circumstances) capital influxes into blogs could well prove a major competitive threat to TechCrunch, should they decide not to go down that same road. As a result, some might argue that this Arrington post might be self serving in that regard. It may also be (or a combination of factors) that Arrington wishes others - even competitors - to do what he truly feels is beneficial for their long term growth and well being. And of course not every blogging company is a direct competitor with every other, to be sure, there are niches etc. (so I am not saying all those that were named are directly competitors).

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