If three is a trend, there's a recent hustle to try to hire tech writers out of their humble journalism digs and into the much more lucrative worlds of startups, venture capital and television. Monday night, news broke that MG Siegler--often called TechCrunch's best writer--is leaving his full-time commitment at TechCrunch to link back up with Arrington as a general partner at CrunchFund, the venture capital firm that was originally intended to operate under the TechCrunch umbrella. Siegler's exit comes three weeks after that of fellow former TechCrunch staffer Paul Carr, who quit just a few days after AOL showed Arrington the door, and just a couple of days after Arrington reported that CBS tried to lure Nick Bilton away from his post as The New York Times's lead tech writer with a $1.5-million book and TV contract. Bilton is the only one who didn't take the money.
As far as Siegler's exit is concerned, there's no bad blood between him and AOL. TechCrunch editor Erick Schonfeld explains in a blog post, Siegler will stick around as a columnist with a very narrow, non-startup focus; he'll be writing about Apple. And as Siegler suggests in a blog post explaining his not-so-quick career change (he's been planning it for months) the buzz around the startup bubble isn't going away any time soon. Maybe that's why everyone's so eager to hire the tech writers who know the most about it:
For all the talk of "bubbles" and crazy valuations, I think most overlook something very fundamental: technology continues to permeate all of our lives in ways we couldn't imagine just yesterday. This will only continue to increase over time. Technology startups are at the forefront of this. What we've seen up until now is just a taste of what is to come.
Gawker's Ryan Tate has a different take. Pointing to Siegler and Bilton, Tate says the scope of their offers alone is the sign of a world gone mad" and the fact that they were "able to surf said bubble to such potentially lucrative heights is a pretty good sign that the bubble end is nigh." Of course, if the bubble does burst, Siegler can still write about it on TechCrunch. However, as Siegler explains in an interview with Fortune's Dan Primack, if anybody knows what's going to happen next in tech, it's the bloggers.
I'm fairly tapped into a younger generation of entrepreneurs that are still up-and-coming in many ways. I don't mean that to sound predatory in any way, just that I'll be able to see a lot of interesting deal flow — the truth is that I already do. … I've gotten very good at filtering.
Either way, other tech bloggers were a little stunned by Siegler's about face. "Wow," wrote Primack upon hearing the news. "Wait what," wrote GigaOm's Mathew Ingram. "What he said," wrote The New York Times's Jenna Wortham. "Wow."