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Issue 33

Interview with Jonathan Shieber, senior editor at TechCrunch and CrunchBase

Ovidiu Mățan
Founder @ Today Software Magazine
OTHERS

We had the opportunity to talk to Jonathan Shieber within a workshop organized in Cluj at the beginning of March. Those of the startup area, interested in exercising their pitch, had the opportunity to do this and receive advice directly from him. As we have expected, there is no recipe for success, but it is important to focus on the essential and the differentiating factors of the product, no matter if we talk about a presentation or the publication of an article in TechCrunch. Here is a short interview with Jon, on the current tendencies.

Apple Watch will be available soon, what's your perspective on its evolution if we are thinking about the current limitations like 1 day battery, dependency of an iPhone, new versions that will make it obsolete vs. classic watches?  

[Jon] I'm really not the best person to opine on Apple's iWatch. It's not my forte. But the criticism against the iWatch for its disposability seems right to me. I don't see a killer app that would persuade me to pick one up, but that was the initial criticism against the tablet. Every time Apple launches a new device into the ecosystem, people question its utility, and every time it eventually becomes the default gold standard in its category. This is one of those cases where it's best to wait and see. 

As a senior editor at TechCrunch, there is a lot of interest in sending news to you. What advice will you give to a startup person who wants an article to get published in TechCrunch? Any important event he/she should attend? 

[Jon] I touched on this at the panel. Be concise, describe the pain point that the company's technology solves, mention the news in one sentence, talk about the potential size of the market opportunity and research who's the right reporter to be contacting. Once an entrepreneur identifies the right reporters for the news they're announcing, then they should be persistent in contacting those people. Start the process early. If there are reporters that you respect, drop them a line and let them know. If people notice us doing our job, then we're more likely to notice whatever it is that they're doing. 

Is TechCrunch actively involved in a startup accelerator through CrunchBase?

[Jon] TechCrunch is not affiliated with any accelerator or incubator. There is a fund that was started by TechCrunch founder, Michael Arrington, called CrunchFund, but I'm not sure what the relationship is between that investment vehicle and TechCrunch (from an institutional perspective). 

What is your fair opinion about startups from Romania?

[Jon] Talent is abundant in Romania. I met with several passionate entrepreneurs who are pursuing interesting ideas, but the ecosystem is quite young in Romania and fairly immature. There's a definite need for more capital and more operational talent with experience in business development. 

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