In my eyes, TechCrunch is a story of how to do a start-up right. So I thought I would provide my readers with a quick list on why I believe that TechCrunch ended up being a success. These are my raw thoughts, so apologies if I missed some critical reasons...
Top 10 reasons TechCrunch became successful:
- Strong leadership: there was never a question of who was running the show at TechCrunch. Mike Arrington *is* TechCrunch just like Steve Jobs is Apple. I believe that kind of leadership is one of the keys to running a great start-up.
- Great team: Mike showed his ability to recruit great talent to TechCrunch. The addition of Heather and M.G. (CEO, and Sr. Editor) were key hires. It's always telling when a company is able to hire and retain key talent.
- Hard work: The team at TechCrunch worked tirelessly for several years to establish themselves as the go-to blog for tech news. I'm sure this didn't come easy. It takes dedication and sacrifice to become an "overnight success."
- Audience Focus: From the beginning, TechCrunch focused on content that was useful to a tech-minded audience. They never really strayed from that original mission or their key target customer.
- Product line extension: TechCrunch did a great job of extending their products over the years. Rather than focus on just one product, they launched CrunchGear, international versions, and many other specific vertical blogs. It's great proof that you can have a flagship product and that product extension can solidify your positioning.
- Be opinionated: Like him or hate him, Mike Arrington is an opinionated guy. I think great leaders are opinionated, and Mike's a great example of that.
- Embrace change: Since Mike started TechCrunch, the world of blogging has changed. RSS readers have come and gone, and Twitter and Facebook rule the content web. TechCrunch always embraced change and adapted their products along the way.
- Find distribution partners: TechCrunch partnered with the Washington Post to distribute their content. I'm not sure how much traffic that contributed overall, but I'm sure it helped in many different ways.
- Be a thought-leader: Mike and other TechCrunch writers often pushed buttons with some of their viewpoints (my favorites was the death of the embargo). No one could argue that Mike wasn't a thought leader in the tech press.
- Be bought, not sold: Great companies are bought -- they aren't sold to the highest bidder. AOL, with its independent brands TMZ and Engaget, are a great fit for TechCrunch.
Mike and TechCrunch are great examples of entrepreneurs who worked hard to achieve success. Congratulations to the whole TechCrunch team!