With January now upon us, it’s time for the obligatory start of the year post reflecting on the past year and making predictions for the year to come. I’ll be doing this over a series of blog posts (which you can find on this blog)
TECH STARTUP PRESS
It’s always been my belief that the tech startup press plays an important role in any tech startup ecosystem.
They build awareness on a macro level, which helps to bring tech startups into the mainstream psyche and the associated benefits e.g. increased entrepreneurial activity, more investor/acquirer interest, and more political weight for the sector.
They also help to build a culture of competition and cooperation on a much more micro-level, that is a key part (if you’re a fan of Porter’s strategic models) in helping to build global competitive advantage out of any given nation.
This thinking was key to why I started TechNation Australia back in 2008 then went on to accept the Australian Editor role at The Next Web. I’m by no means a journalist but in absence of anything better I felt that it was my duty to contribute.
Over the years there have been some good local bloggers/journos who have covered our space but I suppose the limited market has made it difficult for them to stick around. That, or the growing startup activity…if Zach Kitschke’s move to Posse from FromLittleThings is any indication.
With all that in mind, 2013 was a particularly bad year for our local tech startup press. Bad in the sense that some experienced people moved on and bad enough that it made it into my list of key things I was interested in for 2013 vs 2014.
2013 – The Year in Tech Startup Press…
Last year was a tough one for the local tech startup press.
Most journos who covered the Aussie tech startup beat well at large media orgs moved on. Jessica Gardner, who I rated as one of the finest tech writers we’ve produced, moved to Melbourne and shifted focus and Asher Moses left Fairfax.
Outside of that, one of my favourite Aussie tech journos, Mahesh Sharma, who at least had the balls to ask the tough questions even if he did err on the side of sensationalism from time to time (which I always found entertaining) left for India. He did a stint at TechCrunch that included covering Australian startups, but he’s still based out of India, so we’ve lost him from the day to day of the local ecosystem.
There was also change at the newer publications. Oliver Millman who was the editor at StartupSmart, one of the few publications that tried to focus primarily on tech, left for a gig at The Guardian and, as mentioned above, Zach Kitschke left FromLittleThings.
2014: The year ahead for the local tech startup press
One of the good things to come out of 2013, that I think will further blossom in 2014, has been the rise of Matt Ho as a press voice for the local startup industry.
He’s covering the Aussie space for Tech In Asia as well as his own blog but, most importantly, while he’s not actually a journo he is at least from the community and has depth of knowledge to at speak with some authority (and accuracy…) about local startups.
He is by no means a substitute for an awesome Sarah Lacy like journo of our own, but in the meantime he’s doing a great job to at least keep the coverage ticking over. I know from experience it’s a thankless task, but it’s super important that someone like Matt exists.
If you know anyone else who’s doing an awesome job of covering Aussie startups (EDIT: other than Mat Beeche who’s doing an awesome job at Shoestring Startups, who i didn’t mention earlier) please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to make 2014 the year that a new crop of local tech startup journos came to prominence.