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Silicon Beat

Once upon a time, way, way back when "Web 2.0" was a conference and not a cliche, before TechCrunch was even a blog (much less a conference), and Facebook was still a university publication used by freshman to find the hot women in their class, it was a simpler time.

Yes, I'm going all the way back to 2004 here. Google-airres had yet to be born (Google was still private), Yahoo was still relevant, Ask still had a butler doing its dirty work and Fox was known more for it's TV networks than its social networks. It was indeed a kinder, gentler time.

Anyway, there's a lot of differences between now and then, but one of the things I miss most about those simpler times is Silicon Beat. For those who don't remember, Silicon Beat was was the brainchild of Michael Bazeley and Matt Marshall, two technology/ business reporters for the San Jose Mercury News. As the Internet economy started re-heating up in 2004, these two reporters had a problem in that they were finding more interesting stories than would otherwise "fit" in the print edition of their paper. Rather than letting these stories die, they took advantage of the utterly revolutionary new technology of the time - blogging! - and created a home for them.

Silicon Beat was born and it took little time for it to become: (i) great; and (ii) influential; and (iii) a must-read for anyone in the industry. As Bazeley and Marshall were/ are professional reporters, they not only had the chops to sniff out the relevant stories, but also the objectivity and writing skills to make them interesting to the readers. When Topix annunced one its first major deals (with the NY Times), it wasn't the AP story that caught most in our industries attention (despite the fact that even Drudge linked ot that AP story), it was this entry that got our phone ringing.

Anyway, sadly, Silicon Beat shuttered itself in August 2006. Matt went on to create Venture Beat and Michael went to a new role within the Merc. I just can't help but thinking as a reader, how I miss the days when I could read about my industry from seasoned reporters like these guys.

I also can't help but wonder how the Merc let this happen. If I'm them, and I see my paper getting its butt kicked online, and two of my reporters have a pet project that seems to be on its way to becoming a runaway success, how/ why would I ever let them walk away from it? Why wouldn't I put more resources behind it and grow it out as big as possible. I still don't understand that. Oh well. I guess its like the old saying, the early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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Comments (1)

Michael Bazeley:

Good times, indeed. Thanks for the post, Mike. The nearly two years I worked on SiliconBeat were definitely a highlight. Why SiliconBeat was allowed to die is a complicated story best told over a couple of beers.

Cheers.

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