Last Updated: June 3, 2018. This is now historical since I no longer work at TechCrunch.
Integrity is absolutely critical as a writer. My readers expect that the essays and articles I write are formed by my own independent opinions, and haven’t been purchased by any company or individual I cover.
To that end, I have never accepted payment for any article I have written, nor have I ever written sponsored content or any sort of ad copy. All writing that has been published under my name is my own work, and was paid for by the publication that published the work.
I am an independent analyst, but I have also worked in the industries that I have covered. This presents special opportunities that my readers enjoy, since my insider knowledge can provide a unique perspective. However, it also presents special complications, as I detail extensively below.
Before rejoining TechCrunch in December 2017, I worked as a paid consultant for less than one month in September 2017 to assist the ConsenSys Ventures team publicly launch their debut fund. My consulting included messaging strategy, public relations with the press, and organizing three launch parties in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. I hold no confidential information about any portfolio company (since there was no portfolio) from my short stint here, nor do I harness any confidential information about the fund itself. I do not have any continuing agreement or contract with the fund.
I will write about ConsenSys, but will include a disclosure until one year has expired.
Charles River Ventures (CRV)
I was employed at early-stage venture capital firm CRV for just shy of two years, ending June 2017. There, I had full access to the fund’s financial information and portfolio company performance, and was a member of the firm’s sixteenth venture fund. I specifically sourced, led, or worked heavily with five investments: Agolo, Agora.co, Roam Coliving, Slab, and Stella.ai. As part of my exit, I agreed to a standard confidentiality clause, and kept a passive carry stake in the fund that I participated in. Since leaving, I have no access to portfolio or firm information.
I do not write about CRV or its portfolio companies at this time.
General Catalyst Partners (GC)
I was employed by early-stage venture capital firm General Catalyst for a year and a half, ending December 2013. Similarly to CRV, I had full access to portfolio company performance and fund information at the time. Since leaving, I have had no access to that proprietary information. All confidentiality clauses have expired, and I have no financial stake in GC funds active or passive. Given the time elapsed, I no longer believe that I have any conflict with the firm or its portfolio companies.
I will write about GC and its portfolio companies. I do not believe an in-text disclosure is relevant anymore, but of course, it is included here in my full ethics statement.
I was a product management intern at Google in the summer of 2011 on the Google+ launch team. I do not hold confidential information about the company anymore nor hold any direct financial interest, so I do not believe I have any further conflict.
I write about Google, and do not believe an in-text disclosure is relevant anymore.
I was an intern for the federal government in a sensitive role in the summer of 2009. As part of that work, I signed national security contracts forbidding disclosure of state secrets, contracts that are in effect for life. I do not report on any topic remotely related to my work from this period, so do not believe this presents any conflict with my work today.
Occasionally, I will accept travel and lodging arrangements from trade show hosts or trade promotion authorities, often in exchange for working as a moderator or panelist. I have several rules on accepting such trips, in line with TechCrunch and industry norms:
- I do not accept any conditions on my writing, including any sort of quota of articles or a demand for positive coverage of any sort. I only write stories when I think my audience will enjoy them, and any restraint on that independence would violate that fundamental trust.
- I do not accept any sort of direct remuneration for these events (salary, honorarium, etc.)
- I do not accept any travel arrangements for company-focused shows. So, for instance, I would not accept funding from Google to attend GoogleIO. I exclusively travel to industry-wide trade shows where no company or individual is underwriting or sponsoring the trip.
I have a 401(k) account which is invested broadly in index funds and manually rebalanced a few times a year. As of today, none of those funds (ironically) cover the tech industry specifically. I hold no stocks in any of the companies I cover.
Blockchain / Cryptocurrency
I do not hold any cryptocurrencies as investments. I use Bitcoin as a very rare payment medium, and will occasionally hold small balances that are not intended as investments.