Erick Schonfeld from TechCrunch asked me a few months ago if I’d be on a TechCrunch video show where we interviewed startup founders. I love startups. While other people watch sports on Sunday, I prefer to sit around with friends and chat about what new startups have launched, how they are doing, what product and marketing strategies are working, etc.
Erick originally called the show “Startup Sherpa.” The word “sherpa” implied that I was giving people advice. The people we invited to the show were either my peers or people who knew far more than me, so I felt very uncomfortable with that title. I really like to hear “war stories” (a term used in venture capital) but calling it that would have been disrespectful to military people who fight actual wars versus the inconsequential battles we have amongst startups and investors. So we chose “Founder Stories” instead.
I don’t get paid by TechCrunch and they don’t have a fancy editing budget so what you see is effectively live. I probably make an ass out of myself a lot. I actually haven’t brought myself to watch most of the episodes because I can’t stand all my verbal tics like saying “etc” and “you know.” The saving grace of the show is the incredible people we get to come on to share their stories. I think they participate mostly because it’s TechCrunch – the premier tech blog – and also because they know I love startups. I want to try to learn from the founders’ early experiences rather than ask questions about “hot topics” or “gotchas.” I like to think of “Founder Stories” as a show that I would have wanted to watch when I was a first-time entrepreneur. That’s how I explain the show to potential guests and also how I think about it when Erick and I come up with questions.
I’ve never talked to Mike Arrington about this but I’d like to thank him for making long form and respectful content available to entrepreneurs and investors. Erick has also been great, along with Josh Zelman who is the AOL/TechCrunch video producer.
I’d love to hear feedback and suggestions for how to improve the show.