TechCrunch Co-Founder Quits Amidst Death Threats

Dennis Faas's picture

If you were to list the world's most dangerous jobs, you probably wouldn't place tech site founder in the top, oh, hundred thousand. However, popular blog TechCrunch recently lost its co-founder Michael Arrington, amidst rumors that his life was being threatened.

Although TechCrunch has only been in operation since June, 2005 it has in that time made quite the impression. Worldwide it boasts nearly 2 million web feed subscribers. Last year, the site unveiled a whole new web design, giving it a fresh feel and boosting its fan base.

Unfortunately, fame (if you can call it that) doesn't go without its drawbacks. According to co-founder Michael Arrington, managing this growing site has become downright dangerous. At a conference in Munich, Germany last year he was assaulted by a man who calmly walked up to him and, according to Arrington, "quite deliberately spat in my face." (Source:

The reason is still fairly unknown. It could be that TechCrunch criticized the guy's company or its newest product, hurting sales or a reputation. (Source:

Regardless, the problems didn't end there for Arrington. The 38-year-old has been pushed, grabbed, and generally harassed by angry competitors and critics in the past. The climax came last summer, when an unnamed individual owning both a gun and a felony record -- a scary combination, no doubt -- made numerous phone calls to TechCrunch's main office threatening to kill Arrington. When the calls failed to get through, the man tried a barrage of emails and blog comments. Police weren't a heck of a lot of help either, telling Arrington that they could act only if the suspect actually went beyond threats.

That forced Arrington to hire a personal security force to protect him and his family, an expense that ran over $2,000 a day.

"Startups that don't get the coverage they want and competing journalists and bloggers tend to accuse us of the most ridiculous things," he explained.

"I can't say my job is much fun any more." It's not hard to argue with that.

Arrington's solution is to get the hell away. "I'll be taking most of February off from writing, and decide what the best future for me is while sitting on a beach somewhere far away from my iPhone and laptop," he said.

For those of us who've been reading TechCrunch for some time, it's tough news all around. Here's hoping a) Arrington better luck in future endeavors, and b) tech companies grow up a little.

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