This won’t come as a surprise to a lot of people, but I am leaving TechCrunch.
My departure is something people have speculated about since Michael Arrington’s ouster two months ago, but it wasn’t an easy decision for me. This isn’t a knee-jerk reaction out of loyalty for my friend, nor is it about making a big “F-you, AOL!” statement. I’ve spent the bulk of my maternity leave agonizing about whether to stay or go– the first half of it trying to find a way to stay and feel good about it, and the second half standing firm in my decision to leave, despite a lot of persuasive arguments to stay.
Even with the high-profile departures of Mike, Paul Carr, MG Siegler– and potentially Heather Harde if you believe the unconfirmed reports– there’s still a team here that I love working with. It’s a team that can band together with scant resources and pull off phenomenal things. That was made obvious to the world with our amazing first international Disrupt conference held earlier this month in Beijing. If you were up at 3 am watching the live stream and saw the talk I gave before handing out the Disrupt Cup, you know every reason I joined TechCrunch and every reason leaving has been hard.
This was a blog that wasn’t just a snarky observer of the tech scene– it was an inexorable part of it. Has that made it a messy, convoluted and conflicted ride? Yes. But that’s also what has made TechCrunch something a world of startups and entrepreneurs can’t live without.
I’ve bounced between a lot of jobs in the last few years– writing for BusinessWeek, hosting a show for Yahoo Finance, writing two books, and traveling the world to find great entrepreneurs– but TechCrunch was the first place in my career where I felt like I totally fit. It was a place I felt I could stay for a long time.
And then Mike sold the company. Things went better than I expected for the first year. And then this fall, all hell broke loose. You could produce a Lifetime movie of the week about the behind the scenes drama of the last few months. Publicly, I’ve stayed silent during much of it, but it has been every bit as gut wrenching for me as it’s been for my colleagues.
The CrunchFund was announced on the due date for my first baby. That weekend as my contractions started, the TechCrunch drama unfolded too. Mike would text me things like, “Are you in sitting on the couch drinking tea kind of labor or screaming, blood all over the walls kind of labor? Because I need to talk to you.”
The following week, as I waddled around San Francisco trying to induce more active labor, I was also awaiting word on whether we’d be able to buy TechCrunch back. I’d committed to come back as the editor if we were able to pull it off– a commitment Mike and Heather were always respectful enough not to ask me to make until after I’d given birth. As has already been widely reported, we weren’t able to pull it off, and when I came out of the labor and delivery room the next day, I discovered a job Mike and I had talked for years about me doing had been given to someone else.
Even still, I wanted to stay, and I had many conversations with Arianna Huffington, Heather and others trying to figure out something that made sense. They made many generous offers, and I don’t leave feeling unappreciated. But I can’t help feeling angry and sad over a lot of internal morale devastation and external brand destruction that simply didn’t have to happen.
I don’t think this is the time or the place to talk about what I’m doing next, but the plan isn’t to be a stay-at-home-mom. Ultimately this decision wasn’t about what went down with AOL and with Mike, it’s about me moving onto something I’m really excited to do next. And something that I hope will carry on the spirit of what Mike and Heather built at TechCrunch.
I wish the TechCrunch team the best of luck in the future. I hope the editorial expansion into China that I championed over the last year continues in my absence. The staff, the readers and the entrepreneurs we were lucky enough to champion every day will always have a special place in my heart. Goodbye everyone.