ParisLemon.comMG Siegler.MG Siegler, the TechCrunch columnist and venture capitalist known best for his unabashed pro-Apple bias, spurred a lot of discussion (and mockery) today when he announced he was departing Michael Arrington’s VC firm CrunchFund for Google Ventures.
The irony wasn’t lost on us: the idea of a part-time Apple blogger with a full-time job in Google’s venture arm borders on the insane. But it’s happening.
We had a quick email chat with Siegler this afternoon following the news to get a better idea of what’s ahead, especially when it comes to his continued work writing for TechCrunch and his views on Apple.
Here’s a (lightly edited) Q&A:
Business Insider: First, the obvious question: Why go to Google, especially when you’ve been so critical of the company in the past?
MG Siegler: First of all, obviously, Google Ventures is not Google. Yes, they’re directly connected, but the opportunity to work with Google Ventures specifically, given all their resources, talent, and vision for the industry was something I could not pass up. While I’ve been critical of Google, I’ve always appreciated their willingness to reach out to me and in some cases work with me despite the criticism. It has always seemed to me that they’ve wanted my honest opinions on some things and were actually listening in many cases. It’s hard not to respect that. And there are a number of things Google has done recently that I really love, like self-driving cars, Google fibre, and Google Now. If you had known me 10 years ago, you would have called me a Google fanboy. This tech space in general is very fluid. The worst thing you could do is not have an open mind.
BI: Why are you leaving CrunchFund?
MG: Because I felt like the opportunity at Google Ventures was too good to pass up. It seems impossible that an opportunity like this would ever come around again.
BI: Was it a significant pay bump?
MG: No comment. — Sent from my ruby-encrusted Galaxy 17.
BI: What’s your relationship with Michael Arrington like now?
MG: It’s great. It has always been great. I anticipate it will always be great. We’ve worked together for a long time. We’re very different people, but I think that’s part of the reason why we’ve gotten along so well. A professional change won’t change that. And I’m sure we’re going to continue to work together collaborating on deals going forward.
BI: Where do you see CrunchFund in five years?
MG: Starting to show handsome returns to the CrunchFund LPs.
BI: As you continue to write for TechCrunch, how can you keep your knowledge of Google’s investments and future plans separate from your reporting?
MG: I have had plenty of training with that over the past year and a half that I’ve been investing. Obviously, I learn a lot about a wide-range of startups. If I shared any of that confidential information, I would be the worst investor ever. Google is bigger, but it’s no different. I’m not a reporter anymore. I haven’t been for a while. I’m an investor first and a writer second. The lines are clear.
BI: You’re TechCrunch’s Apple guy. You do all the gadget reviews, etc. Is this going to change your close relationship with Apple?
MG: I review Apple products first and foremost because I love Apple products. I’d do it even if it wasn’t in a professional capacity. As you might imagine, this is probably a discussion to have, but I don’t anticipate much change, if any. It’s important to note that TechCrunch has many other writers who are great at covering Apple too. I haven’t been on the day-to-day Apple beat in a year and a half.
BI: Has Google given you any directive on what you can and can’t write for TechCrunch or your personal blog now that you’re an employee?
MG: There’s no specific guidance. But as I said, there will be things that I’m privy to at Google that I will not talk about in the same way there’s stuff I see everyday in my investor capacity that I I do not mention. It’s really just common sense.
BI: Many of Google’s investments will be in mobile and most of those companies will compete with Apple. Doesn’t investing in Apple’s competitors contradict with your assertion that Apple is the best in the space?
MG: If you assume a zero sum game, I suppose. But if you assume a zero sum game in anything, you should not be an investor. Along those lines, just because I have my own preferences, I’m one person. Millions will disagree with me on any number of things. If you can’t understand that very obvious reality, you should not be an investor.