Bad Taste


“The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.” — John Dewey (1859 – 1952)

I’m doing what Paul Carr probably should have done: venting my thoughts on the latest episode of the TechCrunch / AOL mess on my personal blog rather than (ab)using TechCrunch’s platform and audience to get as much attention as possible.

And attention he got plenty alright.

My colleague MG Siegler hits the nail on the head: Carr’s public resignation from TechCrunch, on TechCrunch, was an ill-timed, sleazy move. Please note that I say that with the utmost respect for Carr, who I think is a phenomenal writer/author and whom I personally have no problem with whatsoever. Keep this in mind.

You won’t often catch me saying this about anything that gets published on TechCrunch, but that post should have absolutely gone on his personal blog / website, or perhaps those words should have been written only in his mind. I’ve thought about it all day, and my opinion is that it was not the right thing for him to do.

Even without considering how it could damage Erick or TechCrunch as a whole, it somehow still leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

He’s been an amazing contributor to the site, but let me be clear on this: TechCrunch does not need Paul Carr to thrive (I wish him godspeed, though).

As Carr himself noted, his role at the blog wasn’t his “real job” or main source of income, so it’s undoubtedly an easier decision for him to make than the rest of the staff, myself included. I suspect Carr has wanted to leave TechCrunch for a while now, and I simply don’t understand why he needed to depart this particular, undignified way.

Clearly, Carr has an ax to grind with Erick, but whether he is right or wrong – for the record, I still don’t know shit, and it’s not for lack of trying to learn – that was definitely not a classy thing to do. I can only hope he realizes that some day.

I’m sure Carr also knew that nailing Erick to the cross in such a visible way would result in a lot of hand-wringing and schadenfreude over at our competitors’ offices, as well as with certain observers. He fed the trolls with his eyes wide open, in other words.

As I wrote earlier this week, I have a great professional relationship with Erick Schonfeld, and as far as I’m concerned, he has what it takes to be a worthy editor for TechCrunch. I’ll leave in the middle if Erick’s response to Carr’s post was inappropriate, as Siegler calls it, because I don’t know what I would have done if I were in his shoes last night.

Then again, I don’t know much about anything that has happened, at this point.

But more about that later.

Another thing I wanted to add:

Siegler writes that AOL hasn’t yet reached out to him about this whole mess. What a shocker. I have been working for AOL for nearly 12 months now and I’ve never – not once – heard from anyone at AOL apart from some HR staffers to get my contract switched over (which took them 9 months, yes months, but that’s a different story for another day).

AOL clearly doesn’t care about TechCrunch and the people that have built it as much as they probably should, but that’s just one of the struggling Internet giant’s many, many issues.

One of these days, I’ll write about TechCrunch’s comparatively few, yet still major issues.

(Photo credit goes to Richard Moross at Flickr)


11 thoughts on “Bad Taste

  1. Very classy and well written, Robin. I was wondering if you were going to comment on all of this drama, and I’m happy to see you’re taking the high road.

  2. To me the two posts just seem like some facebook chat messages they accidentally posted. The people you’re employing is supposed to be a matter for Techcrunch to deal with internally, it’s not supposed to be a public bashing match!

  3. "As I wrote earlier this week, I have a great professional relationship with Erick Schonfeld, " Shouldn’t that be the first sentence?

  4. Do readers actually pay attention to bylines? I see all these adjectives being thrown, like "phenomenal" and "amazing", like it was Ernest freaking Hemingway writing, but to me all articles look the same – a paragraph on some company, couple of paragraphs on what they do, obligatory screenshot, and a wrap-up clarifying who the investor is and where the founders came from.There’s a bunch of other TechCrunch authors who left (like dude who blackmailed companies for free laptops), why all this drama now?

  5. Thanks for this post. This has been a bizarre process to watch.Having gotten my start in hip hop blogging, as I note elsewhere, I find f*ck you and swagger way overrated.And it clearly doesn’t hold up very well when the bullsh*t hits the fan.Best of luck to you whether you stick around or head elsewhere. Hopefully you can just focus on your work before long!

  6. from over here, it is totally a huffpo woman created problem .. the "fake" creation myth of journalism, "objectivity", invoked as support for her own personal creation myth and her old-paradigm publicationwaiting for techcrunch story link headlines "is this marissa meyers topless? click here"

  7. God almighty will ye shut up? Who’s next? the canteen lady? "Paul Carr never liked my tea but that is a story for another day, when I can reveal all about the coffee maker and its role in the AOL takeover.".Enough already.

  8. Robin, Your instincts were right but, you still need to play the office politics game. Paull Carr is a columnist he didn’t resign from much. He took advantage of the situation in the same way the big guy did (MA)…and that the writers tried not to do but got dragged into it all anyway.

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