Israel 2008: One Conference, a Few Friends, Many Startups & Some Observations

12 thoughts on “Israel 2008: One Conference, a Few Friends, Many Startups & Some Observations”

  1. And in another example of ethics 2.0, a person who is currently working for a company in the mobile and comm business, will write about possible competitors (http://www.linkedin.com/in/xenmendelsohn)

    OM, this is sad. I thought you would not go down to “Arrogant”on’s level (who employs Ouriel Ohayon, a full time VC, as the TechCrunch France head, and Roy Carthy, a consultant for web companies and scout for an internet VC, as an Israeli blogger), but I guess I was wrong.

    You can’t fool all the people all the time. there is a reason journalists are prohibited from having shares or interests in companies, and I guess it is about time “bloggers” would realize they can’t continue stretching the definition of ethics.

  2. Hi Om,

    This was a fascinating article!

    I’m working for a startup now iBloks.com that greats 3D media for the web — right now we are developing it as an advertising platform for publishers and ad agencies, although there is a social networking component – the media can be embedded as “gadgets” on social networks like Facebook for viral marketing.

    On a personal level, I’m planning a trip (with my church group Cornerstone) to Israel, and was very inspired by the web 2.0 startups developing there.

    Shalom,

    Andy S.

  3. @ youre kidding, right?

    We are going to ensure that her coverage is not about “mobile competitors” but more on larger themes pertaining to the mobile industry. It is what we like to do here more often. The start-ups we cover come to me via my network of contacts, and it helps monitor and calibrate the content we feature on the site.

    In addition, everything is carefully approved here at the HQ so don’t worry about the quality and ethics. It is an unwavering quest. Not just for me, but for rest of our editorial team. We are pretty stringent about these things. Our Managing Editor, Carolyn Pritchard ensures that the lines are never crossed.

    We don’t own shares in any company – apart from GigaOM. So you can be assured that I will work hard on protecting the brand and our ethics. I think you should give Xen’s coverage a chance before you make up your mind otherwise.

  4. OM,

    It is bad enough that journalist often find themselves accused (and for good reason) of being unobjective (for example writing on one company and not the other, bashing a company just because their PR guy did not give them the exclusive, etc.) but bloggers who write in news sites are taking it to next level and actually claim they can write objectively while working for a company with a clear interest in a certain market, since they are “supervised” (as you said in your comment). They can’t. All the disclosure in the world can’t cover the fact that the reader can’t expect an objective coverage if it comes from a party with an interest. You may think that XEN can be limited to writing about things that will not put her in such position, but you are not looking at the other end: since she can’t cover it for those reasons, then several companies cannot be covered by GigaOM, so in a sense they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Imagine a company which will probably compete with Comverse – XEN can’t write on it since you won’t allow it, so that company can’t get objective coverage in GigaOM. I’d have no problem if she covers whatever she likes in her personal blog, but if professional blog ever want to be reckoned with the likes of WSJ and the NYT, they must adhere to their ethics, which clearly claim that a journalist can’t do anything else other than be a journalist. TechCrunch lost me a long time ago when it was clear M.A was publishing rumours and hiring writers with other interests (as I mentioned above) [and I’m not even talking about using his blog to fight other blogs), but I thought you, coming from established media outlets, had more ethics than that. Please don’t prove me wrong.

  5. @ youre kidding, right?

    All valid points, and well, let us prove you wrong and see if you can make up your mind after you have read a few posts. As I have said before, I take the whole issue of ethics very seriously and cannot tell you how stringent we are about this aspect.

    It is not about disclosure – we just don’t cover the companies were it is being perceived as conflict. If that makes limited coverage, so be it. I hope you give us some time to prove ourselves, and give Xen a chance. We will try to live up to your high expectations.

  6. “If that makes limited coverage, so be it” – OM, I think as a journalist you can understand how that sentence actually makes your website crippled (as in “I can’t report on some subjects since I employ someone who shouldn’t write on them). I have nothing personal against XEN and certainly not against you (in fact, I enjoyed your presentation at the TWS event two weeks ago), but you should know that people are talking. They may not be a lot, and they may not interest you, but over time more people will talk, and what was once an oracle of data for the people “in the biz” will become a place where you’d have to question each post on whose interest it serves (and, as I said earlier, each unwritten post will raise these questions also). I wouldn’t have invested so much time commenting on this if I wasn’t truly sad about this turn of events, but I think we are walking on parallel lines here.

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