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August 16, 2007

I rarely get mad at blogs these days, mostly because I don't have time to read enough of them :-). One blog I learned to stay away from a long time ago though was TechCrunch. It's a total waste of time. I literally disagree with nearly everything Mike Arrington writes. So when I saw Alex King's post pointing to Mike's thoughts on Alex's former product Feedlounge I went ahead and read it against my better judgement.

Alas, the post has done nothing to improve my impression of Mike's web thinking. There are so many erroneous statements in the post it's hard to believe anyone bothers to follow TC. Forget any factual errors about the demise of Feedlounge, what's more shocking is how wrong he is in his thinking on various business topics.

First, people make BILLIONS of dollars selling and entering markets which are commoditized. So to say doing so is suicide is silly. He's so focused on every idea having to be new that he completely ignores the benefits of entering markets which are highly competitive or even commoditized. Namely that most of the work of generating a customer base has been done for you. No need to explain what your product is, the customer already knows. It's probably the biggest reason "new idea" startups fail.

Perhaps the most outrageous claim is that there's no money to be made in markets that are commoditized and have a price point at or near zero. There are many examples where this is not true. What about the bottled water business? Nothing is more commoditized and basically free than water in every US home and public space, yet it's a 16 billion dollar business that didn't exist 20 years ago. There's basically no good reason to buy bottled water, yet people do.

It's not even close to feed readers which can have different features, UI's, etc. Water is basically all the same, even most bottled water is simply tap water, the minority of the market is actually spring water. Bottled water is simply well marketed water. That's it.

Sure it may not be the easiest route, but then again bringing a new idea nobody has ever heard of to market isn't easy either. My guess is that he mostly writes this stuff to get links and I'm falling for the trap, but it's been a while since I've read something so out of touch with reality and it got my blood pumping a bit :-)

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