Michael Arrington Doesn’t Even Own Any Pajamas

Aussie technologist, Elias Bizannes, wrote a fascinating piece on what makes Michael Arrington and his TechCrunch brand so damn popular and successful.
Om_Mike_A.jpg
image courtesy of Laughing Squid
Others have told about Arrington’s workaholic tendencies and drive. Bizannes breaks it down in the following manner:

  • Arrington’s background as a corporate lawyer and entrepreneur helped provide unprecedented access to Venture Capitalists (VCs) and the entrepreneurs who are desperate to get in front of them
  • A focus on offline networking–from parties at Arrington’s house to TechCrunch events
  • The fact that Arrington saw the Web 2.0 wave coming and was perfectly positioned to ride it in to shore
  • Superior content sprinkled with images

Get these things right and you too might become one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential people in the world. That is, if you’re also able to do the things Arrington does when he approaches a blog post. According to Steve Gillmor, Arrington’s formula goes like this:

  • Think of it first
  • Know you’re right
  • Be funny
  • Know that what you’re interested in is reason enough
  • Know when to quit (writing a post)
  • Listen to commenters
  • Portray the world in black and white
  • Add a tinge of outrage about things that most people don’t get worked up about
  • Don’t take anyone’s shit
  • Love what you do

I’ve always been somewhat surprised by the numbers TechCrunch and other tech blogs pull in. I understand that it’s a giant industry, but so is media, marketing and advertising and those industries have nothing like TechCrunch. If you look at Gawker as a media site, then okay maybe there’s one. But think of the ad blogs you know. Adrants has had the lead from the beginning and still has it, but Adrants is no TechCrunch. There simply is no equivalent.
As someone who has dedicated four plus years to this enterprise, I have to wonder if that can be changed. AdPulp started in Chicago when I was a woefully underemployed copywriter. Soon thereafter, I took a full time position again and ever since, I’ve had to fit that pursuit and this one into the same day. That’s about to change. My full time job ends next Wednesday, and while I’m nervous about what that means, I’m also exhilarated, as I intend to put even more energy and effort into AdPulp. I don’t know what 2009 will bring, but I have high hopes for the growth of this media brand.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.

Comments

  1. Exactly – and the difference between TechCrunch and Adrants for example, is that the former has a better developed offline community. But it is startling the difference in size, despite the fact marketing and PR could scale up to be a lot bigger.
    Good luck with the change!

  2. David. Sorry to hear of the job loss. The industry is, indeed, in the shitter but it’s always amazing to see what happens during these downturns. So many new things are born. No doubt, you will birth one yourself.
    It’s interesting that AdPulp was launched during a period of woeful unemployment. So was Adrants. So were many ventures.
    I wish you the best with whatever you decide to do in the future.

  3. The number difference is an easy one Dave: people can invest in technology.
    As in buy stocks and make money.
    And while that’s a lot tougher to do right now, the incentive is still there. So tech blogs get lots of Wall Streeters reading them and other potential investors who are hoping to spot the trends before they break and get in on the next Google or Facebook.
    Our stuff doesn’t have such a direct connection to the pocketbook.
    Even Gawker.

  4. Alan,
    Thanks. I’ve never looked at it that way. And it makes perfect sense.