Since the first week of January 2011, I have been an occasional guest contributor to TechCrunch. I don’t think I realized at the time just how many people read TechCrunch, and over the past five months, I’ve been able to meet and connect with all sorts of new people, even though I’ve only written just over 10 or so posts. At the same time, because TechCrunch is so widely read in the tech community, people have made some assumptions about my relationship, so I thought it would be good to write them down, mainly for myself, and just in case you happened to be curious, too. Here are some common questions I’ve received, with my answers attached:
Q: “Semil, can you cover our startup?” A: No. I am not a reporter. I don’t know how to report. It’s hard to report and that’s why TechCrunch has really excellent writers and reporters who do this. If someone approaches me nicely about a pitch that is interesting, I will on occasion forward to the team, but have absolutely no idea if something will be covered or not.
Q: “How do you pick what to write about?” A: I keep a running log of themes I find personally interesting. Every week or so, I’ll mention 3-4 of them to the editor, and he’ll pick one (maybe), and I’ll noodle on it. The only people that see the post before it’s published (aside from the editors) are a few close friends of mine who enjoy reviewing my work.
Q: “How did you come to contribute to TechCrunch in the first place?” A: For a good part of 2010, I guess (I’m not sure) I began communicating with a few TC writers/editors via Twitter. In December 2010, one of the editors encouraged me to guest post some pieces I’d written about Quora, and I enjoyed it so much that I asked if I could contribute a bit more as the year went on.
Q: “Are your conversations with others ‘on the record’?” A: No. Never. I don’t cover or investigate. If I ever write about a company or person specifically or mention a series of startups, it’s more to illustrate a theme. I want others to know that any conversations I have are always kept private. If I do happen to want to write about something, I would contact that person first and clear it with him/her.
So….anyway, that’s it. On the eve of Disrupt NYC, which I’m excited to attend (and to see my family), I want to be clear about what I’m doing. I just “guest contribute” to TechCrunch and hope that it continues for a long time. It’s a lot of fun and I consider it a privilege. I’ve spent the past few months interviewing to find a really great group of people to join, and my hope is to settle on something in the next few months (or even weeks) and then focus more on that, full-steam ahead, 100%. Let’s see what happens, or unfolds. Thanks for reading — and if you have any questions beyond these, please feel free to comment/ask below. Oh…and where are the good parties at this week, NYC?