J. Michael Arrington (born March 13, 1970 in Huntington Beach, California) is a serial entrepreneur and the founder of TechCrunch, a blog covering startups and technology news.
Arrington attended Claremont McKenna College (BA Economics, 1992) and Stanford Law School (JD, 1995) and practiced as a corporate and securities lawyer at two law firms: O’Melveny & Myers and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. His clients included idealab, Netscape, Pixar, Apple and a number of startups, venture funds and investment banks. He also co-authored a book on initial public offerings.
In 1999, he left WSGR to join RealNames as VP of Business Development and General Counsel. In 2000, he cofounded Achex, an online payments company, that was later acquired by First Data Corp for $32 million. Achex is now the back end infrastructure to Western Union online.
Arrington worked in an operational role at a Carlyle backed startup in London, founded and ran two companies in Canada (Zip.ca and Pool.com), was COO to a Kleiner-backed company called Razorgator, and consulted to other companies, including Verisign.
Conflicts Of Interest
I am a partner at CrunchFund, a venture capital firm with investments in many startups around the world. I am also a limited partner in many other venture funds which have their own startup investments.
Because of these investments, if there’s a startup there’s a good chance I’m a direct or indirect investor in it. Many times I won’t even know that I’m an investor, because venture funds that I invest in don’t normally share non public information with limited partners.
Also, CrunchFund’s investors include AOL and many of the top tier venture funds.
That means I invest in a lot of startups. And I invest in a lot of venture funds. And a lot of venture funds have invested in me.
I also occasionally own public company stocks. I currently own shares of Facebook. Until recently I owned shares of AOL. I also own other public company stocks through the management of a third party, although I typically don’t know about those investments and they are primarily not in the tech industry.
Sometimes I have so many financial conflicts of interest that I can’t even keep them straight.
So when you read what I write on Uncrunched, TechCrunch or wherever, understand that I’m conflicted. A lot.
How do I deal with this and still write?
I addressed it in one of my first posts on Uncrunched in 2011:
“Here are the things you can expect from me:
TRANSPARENCY: I will disclose, as I’ve always done, all financial conflicts of interest (I have lots and lots of those). I’ll also disclose other conflicts of interest, like friendships, when I can. I know a lot of you don’t understand why I can’t disclose all conflicts of interest. The answer is that if I did, not that many people would want to talk to me in the direct, honest way that I prefer. As a reader you must remain aware of the inherent bias in everything you read, and form your own opinions accordingly. Read this post on TechCrunch and the links for more about how I see the world.
TRUTH: I always try to find the truth in a situation. That unvarnished, pure nugget of truth at the core of every issue that I write about. Sometimes this takes more than one post, and sometimes I have to go back and correct things I’ve gotten wrong. I’ll continue to do that. For more on this, read my post about process journalism.
BIAS: I have lots of it, and I never try to ignore it or hide from it. The main thing to know about me is that I’m a champion of entrepreneurs and the startups they build. They are my rock stars. If in doubt I side with them, and that’s clear from my writing. For more on this, read my ll always disclose the conflict of interest directly in that post.
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… → Read More