Since its creation in 2005, TechCrunch has become one of the world's most influential blogs within Silicon Valley start-ups, the 2.0 web movement, and technology in general. With its online articles receiving an average of about 40 million hits per month, TechCrunch, owned by the AOL group since 2010, is at the centre of the latest web trends. In 2012, Romain Dillet, a student of the MSc in Management of EMLYON Business School, managed to get involved with TechCrunch, which has also created a number of specialist conferences, including TechCrunch Disrupt, an annual conference bringing together the most promising start-ups.
How did you manage to get involved with the TechCrunch editorial team?
It all started when I sent a spontaneous application including a sample article so that the TechCrunch team could judge my level. After chasing up my application and getting an interview, I was taken on for a trial period and then chosen to join the New York team. The editorial team is made up of 25 people, who write about 300 articles a week. Apart from the editing side of things, different teams specialise in different fields: some work on events, others on sponsorship and the CrunchBase database, etc...
Have you been involved in TechCrunch Disrupt, and will you be involved in the first European version of this annual conference scheduled to take place in Berlin from the 26th to the 29th of October?
I attended and covered Disrupt San Francisco in September 2012 and Disrupt New York in April 2013. These events are important for the start-up ecosystem because experts like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), David Karp (Tumblr) and Chris Dixon (Andreessen Horowitz) come to share their experiences. At the same time, about 30 start-ups are presented in front of thousands of people and a panel of judges. They try to win the Start-up Battlefield in order to benefit from the significant media coverage it brings. Since I still write for TechCrunch from Lyon, I am keen on helping the European version in October, which will get the media talking about European start-ups.
What did you gain from your experience with the TechCrunch team in terms of working methods and networking?
I was free to work on whatever interested me regardless of the fact that I was just starting out. I also had a lot of autonomy, which meant that I had to learn things for myself and build up my own network of contacts in New York. Our articles receive almost 40 million hits each month and we have a very high publication rate, with no safety net, creating real adrenaline highs.
What's the reason behind TechCrunch's success and the fact that it has become one of the most influential blogs in the world?
The editing team is a mix of strong and independent characters. The simplicity of the structure is certainly not a hindrance to producing quality, quite the contrary. The absence of a management structure, together with a strong presence in the Silicon Valley and the start-up ecosystem, has helped TechCrunch to grow year after year. With such an organic working structure it might seem difficult to stay influential and relevant but that is the reality of TechCrunch.