There’s confusion – way too much confusion – about my status at TechCrunch and TechCrunch’s status at Aol after last week’s announcement that I was launching a venture fund, partially backed by Aol.
The multiple conflicting statements made by Aol on Thursday and Friday of last week are evidence of that confusion, but that isn’t the core issue. My employment relationship with TechCrunch and Aol is not the core issue. The only issue being discussed at this point, the only issue that matters, is TechCrunch editorial independence and self determination. Regardless of my role, if any, going forward.
I believe that Aol should be held to their promise when they acquired us to give TechCrunch complete editorial independence.
As of late last week TechCrunch no longer has editorial independence. Some argue that the circumstances demanded it. I disagree. Editorial independence was never supposed to be an easy thing for Aol to give us. But it was never meaningful if it shatters the first time it is put to the test.
We’ve proposed two options to Aol.
1. Reaffirmation of the editorial independence promised at the time of acquisition. Given the current circumstances, that means autonomy from Huffington Post, unfettered editorial independence and a blanket right to editorial self determination. To put it simply, TechCrunch would stay with Aol but would be independent of the Huffington Post.
2. Sell TechCrunch back to the original shareholders.
If Aol cannot accept either of these options, and no other creative solution can be found, I cannot be a part of TechCrunch going forward.
Apologies on the corny image. It just reflects exactly how we feel right now. And if this ends up being my last post on TechCrunch, that image is a cool way to exit.