Our boss Jay Kirsch often refers to TechCrunch as “Forbes during the forties,” a description that royally annoys me because I think TechCrunch is just TechCrunch during the 2010s.
He also thinks that we actually have a job to do in convincing mainstream audiences to care about technology, or more specifically Consumer Internet technology, which also annoys me, because as far as I’m concerned Consumer tech culture is the new mainstream culture — i.e. more people are talking about the iPhone 5 than the latest Rihanna album or whatever.
(We can talk Enterprise tech or whatever Founders Fund is doing in another post.)
I mean, almost every day I’m party to the dumbest conversations about Instagram in the subway in NYC — Jay, the thing has around 30 million monthly active users, with 100 million registered users. That’s roughly a third of the population of the United States FFS. Twitter’s got 140 million daily active users sending 400 million tweets per day. And one of them is Ryan Seacrest!
So, when I wake up to see, for all intents and purposes, a “minor” Twitter product update featured on the Today Show, I feel a little bit vindicated. First of all, we don’t need to “dumb down” our coverage to mainstream audiences: They care about product updates! If we build it they will come!
Second of all, while tech blogs are at least in philosophy a niche industry — the story of tech is a story of scale; startups that achieve mass scale “win,” to simplify things. Following this principle we, as in TechCrunch, would love to be featured on the Today Show — which gets roughly 5x our visits on a good day. In fact, it should be our Q4 goal (Hi Jay!).
But, to transfer this scale principle to another industry that plays by similar rules, The Today Show is presently getting its ass kicked by Good Morning America, with 5.199 million to NBC’s 4.404 million viewers. GMA is also winning in the crucial “young viewer” demographic, which might be why the Today Show is targeting tech companies for their product launches; Twitter’s move isn’t unprecedented. Facebook unveiled its global launch of Facebook Timeline on the very same morning show.
While some called Twitter’s PR move “bizarre”, they somehow failed to see the scale logic behind it and why it’s an ultimate win for Silicon Valley. A win for tech literacy is a win for our entire community. Also, fellow tech blogs, if your middle class problem is that Twitter didn’t give YOU the exclusive (which would have been nice right?) then hustle harder and break the news before it’s spoonfed to you.
That’s what I wish we had done.