His money's as green as the next guy's though.
Really? All 90% of people who quit their job to found a startup want to do is impress Arrington? They want the same thing that any founder wants-- a combination of happy users, business success, and an exit (though there's more emphasis on the exit for a lot of Valley folks).
Save your venom for people who don't have the guts to start a company. Or better yet, save your venom entirely. The internet doesn't need any more.
That's one of the best things I've read in a long time.
I'm sure the founders think that's what they want, but their actions say otherwise. Anyway I didn't mean it to be venomous, I was just trying to defend Dave.
I think this came in vogue among the tech affluent during the era of Crackberry supremacy -- easier to just thumb in all lowercase, and a significant portion of communication done from that device made staccato lowercase brevity socially acceptable.
I was referring to the style of all lowercase, and to when I started noticing business people stop using initial caps. I used to catch myself doing it too after using a Sidekick and Moto Q for email on the go; still happens sometimes.
the quick brown fox...
would turn into
The quick brown fox...
which would not translate to the PC. It would just stay lowercase.
It's not a matter of bad habit, it's a conscious choice. When I'm IM'ing with friends, I typically type all lowercase (but with good spelling and punctuation) because it's what they do and it seems less formal. When I'm typing an email or an HN comment, the capitalization just happens.
... I miss my blackberry.
Doh, in school you get brownie points for spelling right.
In business as an investor, you don't.
I admit I don't know anything about him and very little about the issue at hand; I'm just talking about style. I find it fascinating that he would model his blog persona after (in approximately equal parts) Gordon Gekko, Colonel Jessup, and Jay of Jay and Silent Bob. I mean, really, why would you adopt a personal style that is universally understood as shorthand for "arrogant and morally compromised asshole?" And if you did, why would you deny wrongdoing in a tone that signals to readers that you're incapable of caring or acknowledging if what you're doing is wrong? I'm not presuming guilt; you don't have to be evil to find classic movie villains like Gordon Gekko charismatic or even inspiring. It's just odd that he is apparently cultivating Arrington's story instead of defusing it. Could he be doing it on purpose? Does he relish the assumption that he's an evil mastermind? Or could there be a more boring financial motivation for it?
Because if he were to go ahead and write a mild-mannered piece about the collusion at that meeting or the lack thereof, those who know Dave and his variegated rants on his blog would see that as something out of the ordinary. He has pretty strong opinions, and they're converted from intensity to hex values.
That's kind of his style. He knows that people will go to his blog and think "wow, this guy's unprofessional," but that, too, is part of it.
I'm not any more convinced it was innocent just because you say motherfucker as much as I do.
Sometimes people go into rants like this as a defense mechanism, so they are free to make correct choice, and not choice based on keeping everyone happy.
I think it's one of the biggest hindrances to being successful is trying to make everyone happy. I don't agree with the methodology, but I encourage people to dig deeper.
How is this relevant to whether the investor was colluding?
That's the reason why I WOULD DO BUSINESS with Dave.
Anyone who as followed Dave even remotely over the past half decade will understand and appreciate his style.
He says it as it is and that rare candour is something special in the venture capital business.
He was director of marketing for PayPal, and he know exactly what he's doing in writing like that. Frankly, I think his writing is hilarious.
Please, this is Hacker News, disagree with the substance of his thoughts, not his style of communication.
I still think it doesn't make sense for Mike to lie about what he heard, especially when it relates to such big players. Mr McClure's defensive, arrogant, immature rant indicates that a sore spot has been touched. I don't think we should take any of the angels' words at face value.
No it doesn't. That's how McClure always comes off in writing. Arrogant and immature, but never defensive. Probably not just in writing ..
Don't take my word for it, just navigate to another page on his blog and you will see the same thing.
IMO, McClure is to Arrington what Ali G is to Darth Vader. One of them is nasty but fun, the other ..
A bunch of 'angels' (for want of a better term, none of them were sprouting wings) get together in a bar but omit one of the regulars.
They discuss in great detail the way in which they are going to 'corner the market' and convince each other that nobody will invest in any start-up over a certain price point.
How long do you think that would fly in the real world. Before they'd been out of the door someone would have already decided to break the arrangement, it's the nature of the beast you're dealing with here, and besides, most if not all of the dealings between angels and their investment targets are confidential so you'd never know anyway.
I wasn't agreeing with Arringtons view on this when I read it, I just interpreted it as 'wow, you take being marginalized quite badly', and this post pretty much confirms that that may be all there is to it.
Hell hath no fury like a 'blogger' scorned it seems.
It's not as though people need Arringtons permission to meet, and it's not as though every meeting that he isn't in on is automatically grounds for suspecting a cartel being formed.
"Worked out among friends at a "summit" earlier this summer, the James free-agency move – aired live as ESPN's "The Decision" segment Thursday night – in one stroke shifted the NBA's power structure and could undermine attempts to achieve parity in a league dominated by a few select teams."
(I bet Mike Arrington wasn't invited to that meeting either.)
A bunch of guys having dinner and talking over business is not collusion, they call it 'synergy'.
Collusion is: "Start-ups X, Y and Z suddenly found that none of the angels present at such and such a dinner would accept deals over <some value> or under <some conditions>."
And even then you'd have a very hard time proving that it was because they colluded.
Also, how long would it take one of these guys to figure out that if he 'broke' the rule just once that nobody could ever accuse him/her of it and he'd have a surefire winner because that start-up would have found doors closed everywhere else.
It simply isn't going to happen, the VC world (especially angel investments) is too competitive (not in the last place due to YC) and too closely watched to get away with any of this.
Wouldn't that be the best type of thing to collude on?
MA isn't an angel investor and isn't one of the regulars. My guess is that when they saw him they knew that he would report anything he sees/hears - hence their silence.
And if they weren't colluding, would they say "mike's right, we are colluding"? It's a non-observation to say "they would say that, wouldn't they?"
Also, the "sore spot" might be that they have all been accused of massive dishonesty (or actual illegal conduct) and they are, in fact, not guilty. It's still not an illuminating observation.
Mike made some serious insinuation of improper behaviour that was targeted at the super angels i.e Dave, Ron et al
Dave has every right to discredit it. Especially when Arrington wasn't a participant and Dave was.
The story is too much like you hear in the movies and too little like stuff happens in reality.
I doubt we'll see anything exciting develop, like some people may be expecting.
"Yes, the meeting described indeed happened. Yes, we talked about what Arrington claimed we talked about. No, Arrington was not welcome. No, it was not the big deal Arrington claimed it was."
If it was not the deal that Arrington claimed it was, then why were they so uncomfortable when Arrington sat down? Why did Sundeep delete his tweet? And why did people tell Arrington that they were uncomfortable with the direction the conversation took?
This leaves me more, not less, likely to believe what Arrington reported. The side evidence leaves me leaning towards the belief that Dave McClure's judgment is more likely lacking than that there is no fire behind the smoke. However I have no really concrete evidence behind that position.
It will be interesting to see this play out.
I haven't seen that one in a while :-)
Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you'll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press'll think you're colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob.
- Crash (Bull Durham)
Why are so many people raining on Dave? The points he makes seem to make a lot of sense.
I'm pretty sure that an agenda that will attract the smartest angel investors for a meeting will stretch far beyond "collusion to bring valuations down".
The fact of the matter is that owning 1% of a company that exits for $100mm is far better than owning 10% of a bankrupt startup. These investors know this better than anyone and I'm pretty sure that increasing the size of the pie, attracting more startups, increasing the number of exit channels etc were the chief points of discussion and not "how do we make sure we own 10% instead of 5%".
Having said that, it's pretty much Dave's word against Mike's and I'll pitch my tent in the proven serial investor's camp any day.
Dave is a great guy in person. Yes, he's aggressive, super-cynical, outspoken,has a sense of humor and a good track record. These are all good reasons why he's one of the few investors (along with Mark Suster) that I would actually want to do business with.
I read Arrington's article with a grain of salt, but after that line McClure convinced me he's up to no good. That is exactly what a colluding price-fixer would say to defend his actions. The fact that he denies it is irrelevant.
Usual McClure style can often bore me compared to the style of writing compared to Fred Wilson, Steve Blank, etc etc. Isn't it ironic that his ironic writing to be interesting and break the mold is the very thing that turns me off? Kudos to his thoughts, though. It's just that his style leaves much to be desired.
Is that a bit better?
And you read McClure's post that admits to discussing pricing amongst these industry competitors: "at the dinner, there was a fair amount of kvetching about convertible notes, capped or not, hi/lo valuation, optimal structure of term sheets, where the industry was headed, who was innovating and who wasn't, and 10 million other things of which 3 were kind of interesting and 9,999,997 weren't unless you like arguing about 409a stock option pricing. However, in addition to pricing & valuation..."
then how can you not conclude that collusion (which is illegal) did not take place?
Where is this argument off-base?
Disregarding all the abusive and offensive language, his points are unnecessary. He could just as well have written "We are not colluding. Mike got it wrong. This is what we talked about: ..."
He's leading Arrington's claims ad absurdum and concludes that everything is horse shit and hater shit and a steaming pile of crap, yo, bitches.
Why is Dave McClure important again?
I personally identify with his writing, in a sort of "game recognizes game" way.
Edit: I'll add that I think Fred Wilson's reasoning is convincing, and written for the people of planet Earth to boot. Even the original article states that some of the people were just there to see what's up. If they're already spilling beans to Techcrunch, the likelihood of managing to get everyone on board with anything really damaging for any significant duration is small.
You might not like it, but I think the juxtaposition of hard-nodes business insight and MySpace typography is jarring, in a positive sense. He routinely craps all over the industry.
But what do I know. I am a 30 year old with a mohawk.
Certainly. Is he aiming for "great literary figure" status, though? My guess is that in 50 years, people will still read the work of "great authors". A rant about a silicon valley "conspiracy"? My guess is no.
How many other investors can you recognize by their prose and style? how many do you talk about afterward?
I think the point has been made.
Paul Graham comes to mind:-)
Breaking rules _for the sake of breaking them_ is extremely childish.
"Rebellion is almost as stupid as obedience. In either case you let yourself be defined by what they tell you to do. The best plan, I think, is to step onto an orthogonal vector. Don't just do what they tell you, and don't just refuse to."
Did a google for that quote to find out that it's pg in this article http://www.paulgraham.com/hs.html
You get a much greater effect if you rarely use that sort of language: when you do, it's quite powerful.
But in contexts where profanity is encouraged, and even a sign of belonging to a social group, there's no point in being elitist about it. I'm not sure I like social stratification, but I've found it's difficult if not impossible to have meaningful social interaction without adopting the social conventions of those around you.
That is of course distinct from a style guide for an investor writing about business, who should probably maintain a clear and inoffensive tone to his writing.
If I'm a high visibility blogger and I'm going to write a piece wherein I intend on relaying a point to the people whose opinions I care about, there's going to be a lot of noise in the responses, no matter what. More often than not (and this happens on HN too) you get people giving long-winded, zero-value-added answers in hopes of being a part of the discussion.(edit: yes, this post kind of falls in that category, but I'm writing it anyways)
Writing something you want to talk about underneath a bunch of stoff that's easy to jump on is a good way to flag the worthless posts.
For instance, I might start off a blog post about how the White Stripes are shit. They are not good and they are certainly not ushering in a new era of anything. What I really want to talk about is how they got famous because, somewhere along the line, Rolling Stone started bottling their own farts. So then, if I get 100 responses, I can skim past the ones that amount to "OMG The White Stripes are like the best band EVAR! [personal attack] [grammer correction]" and get to the meat of the discussion about what happened to the zine touched by the minds of Hunter Thompson, Lester Bangs, and Patti Smith.
Also, I think he likes to give the impression that he's too busy and important for things like style. And, as far as I know, that's true, so I'd just let him get away with it and look what he was actually saying.
His blog post looked to me like he spent an awful lot of time messing around with fonts and embedding videos.
Not spending time on style, grammar or spelling looks sloppy, but intentionally making your writing look like horseshit comes across a lot worse.
Really? Yes, 10 people that are purely angel investors and no one else get together to discuss "stock options" and pretty much give Mike a big F-U when he shows up and jokingly says stuff about sitting down for a drink. This guy doesn't even deny that Mike showed up and they all were silent: that alone is worrisome to me. Furthermore, Mike lead us to believe he got this information from a few of those attending: not anonymous sources as some try to portray.
But at least McClure is coming out and identifying himself as one of the people attended the meeting.
I wonder where and how this battle is going to end, both sides are equally powerful players.
Arrington definitely burned lots of bridges here to post this story out. While I'm not sure how credible his sources are, I envy his courage.
That said, is this a surprise to anyone? VCs are already groupthink-y enough. It is the natural behavior of oligopolies (de facto or otherwise) to seek to erect barriers to entry, and fix prices. We here operate in a sector that is still so wildly dynamic that we have better tools for breaking through that than begging the governmental leviathan to do it for us. We're faster, and can hit harder.
I think everyone in that meeting should have just kept their mouths shut. Admittedly, there are a bunch of reasons not to. A brief, to the point statement would have sufficed (Like, say a Tweet, or 2). Regardless of personality or writing style, the post seems a bit over the top.
But then again, I don't know/follow the guy, so it's probably standard fare.
Regardless, his excessive, contrived hip hop/"ghetto" attitude is quite annoying and setting your Twitter display to a bin38 logo says enough to me.
Edited cause I missed a word.
And yeah, his style is bizarre, but that's just the way he likes it.
Anyway, if he says this is all much ado about nothing, he's almost certainly telling the truth.
There is a hint of the old English society in there, where who would get invited to which parties mattered almost as much as what was actually discussed. (not to mention the seating arrangements).
Mike being sore for not being invited to this particular get-together is something straight from the 1890's, he's interpreting it as one of two things, either TC (and his person) is irrelevant, or there is something shady going on.
It can't be the former, so it has to be the latter.
A bit paranoid maybe.
I mean tongue firmly implanted in cheek or whatever, but if this is what lies outside of YCombinator and TechStars, then everyone not in those programs should just bootstrap, because I would get a headache having to hear all that talk from an investor.
My humble advice? Have jeans and a suit; know when to wear what.
It's possible that this is a case of multiple perspectives, multiple interpretations. Some insiders think they're sitting down for a bit of kvetching, others think it's heading for a cartel (and blow the whistle). It'd be interesting to hear the perspective of a few of the other people around the table, especially the ones who tipped off Arrington.
Is there any other informed reaction to this stuff out there? Anyone else 'at the table' who's commented yet?
Don't you think you'd mention there was no wiki if there was no wiki? There must be a wiki with something on it.
I doubt Mike just made this all up. Especially how everyone in that room has feed him stories for the past 5 years. Do you think Mike (a lawyer) would seek legal advice unless this was real.
Funny enough, both sides of this story are trying to win over startups! Either way, we win.
Arrington: Did you order the (code red) meeting?
McClure: I did the job I ...
Arrington: Did you order the (code red) meeting ? [shouting]
McClure: You're God damn right I did. [shouting]
A Few Good Men.
McClure was in the TC office right before this dinner took place.
McClure and Paul Graham, for instance, are people who I disagree with on at least one subject, but they have integrity. I cannot say the same for Arrington. He seems to be pathological to me.
I personally haven't dug deep enough into any of the flame-baity stories of tech-crunch, but considering more than half of them have typos, grammatical errors that make it difficult to read sometimes, little or no substantiated FACTS, make it all seem like gossip. A Tech-TMZ if you will.
It seems like they crank those stories out so fast they don't even bother to proof read them. Some are starting to believe they don't bother to stop and evaluate the merit of the story to begin with.
Techcrunch is only relevant because enough people go there to GAWK at MA's posts. Any of the legit stories are on other news sites within a day, usually better written and with more information. Its obvious that TC can be an armpit sometimes because it has the most stories written about itself.
I would be willing to entertain the idea that even if Mike was on to something, his reputation and execution on this story is like the boy crying wolf for real but no one takes him seriously anymore.
God forbid someone on HN evaluates TechCrunch.