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Steve's ITK: Another year in scoops

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Steve's ITK

December 30 · Issue #49 · View online
Steve's In The Know: Everything I published recently, commentary you won't find elsewhere, write-ups of events I attended or spoke at, and industry rumours.

Opening thought: Another year in scoops
As 2018 comes to a close, I decided once again to look back through my entire TechCrunch archives for the year. An educated guess would be that I totalled somewhere between 250 and 300 posts - I tend to file around 25 on a good month - and this year saw my trademark mixture of announcements/exclusives, original reporting/analysis, and the occasional longer form piece or in-depth interview (see ITK: #48). In between, I also hosted or appeared at a number of events (more on that below).
Overall, I’m chalking up 2018 as a good year from a career perspective, even if it felt quite like business as usual. That said, I was shortlisted for a journalism award, against hacks at The Times, Financial Times, and The Sunday Times.
I don’t really do awards but I was quietly pleased to have been nominated and shortlisted for this one, based entirely on the competition. Working at a major newspaper was always an ambition of mine as a kid (I did a work placement at The Guardian in my late teens and freelanced for the same newspaper sporadically at the start of my journalism career) and so it was nice to be recognised in the same group as mainstream media. It also showed just how far new media publications like TechCrunch have come and I was a little disappointed not to have brought it home for the team!
It was still fun on the awards night though as the London Stock Exchange kindly made me a guest on their table. (Well, I mean, I wasn’t ever going to buy my own £300 ticket, was I?) And in case you’re wondering, no I didn’t wear a dinner jacket and bow tie. Sticking it to the man!
The year 2018 also saw a break in the well-documented rivalry between myself and James Cook, who resigned as tech editor at Business Insider UK in April. After a much-deserved break, he joined The Telegraph, although we don’t tend to compete for the same stories nearly as much these days (aside from both obsessing over the recent e-scooter boom).
As the two of us discussed in my exclusive interview with Cook published in this very newsletter (see ITK: #42), I tend to perform much better when I have a direct competitor… journalists are weird like that.
Don’t fret, however, it was never going to be long before I set my sights on a journalist at another esteemed publication after they beat me to a story right in my sweet spot. They may or may not have noticed just yet 🙃
Meanwhile, if I had to pick one career highlight of 2018, it was almost certainly when Starling founder and CEO Anne Boden emailed the organisers of Startup Grind’s European conference to suggest that she turn the tables and interview me.
I’d never met Boden in person before, but the interview was relaxed from both our sides, she asked some really good questions, and there was a definite buzz from the packed crowd inside of Westminster Hall.
The conversation covered the role of tech journalism, how I use technology to get around certain aspects of my disability and to stay employed, the secret to establishing sources and breaking stories, my recent political activism and criticism of City A.M. editor Christian May (see ITK: #39), and what I think of Big Tech.
Turning The Tables - Steve O'Hear (TechCrunch) + Anne Boden (Starling Bank)
Top ten scoops of 2018
It has been another decent year of scoops. As is now tradition, here are my top ten scoops or other original reporting for 2018.
Agree/disagree with my choices? Hit reply to this email and let’s continue the conversation.
10) Starling’s Chief Platform Officer Megan Caywood has been recruited by Barclays
9) The CEO of London ‘proptech’ startup Goodlord is departing after nearly 40 employees are let go
8) BGF Ventures in flux as three partners are departing
7) The founder of business banking startup Tide plans to step down as CEO
6) American Express quietly acquired UK fintech startup Cake for $13.3M
5) ‘The end of my VC career’ — Stefan Glaenzer quits Passion Capital to clear way for third fund
4) Daniel Jones is said to have left Global Founders Capital to ‘raise his own fund’
3) Fintech friends: Monzo partners with TransferWise for international payments
2) Questions remain after the CEO of fintech VC Anthemis resigns
1) Facebook is buying UK’s Bloomsbury AI to ramp up natural language tech in London
Bonus: Which PR flack at a London fintech company is declining my requests for an in-depth interview with the CEO on the basis that he ‘respects’ my journalism too much? Answers on a post card, please.
If you read just one more thing...
If you are a founder or VC/board member, here’s some last minute holiday reading for you: Diversity & Inclusion in Tech: A Practical Toolkit for Entrepreneurs.
The guide is a new initiative from Diversity VC, a nonprofit partnership promoting diversity in Venture Capital, and London venture capital firm Atomico. They were kind enough to ask me to contribute, too.
Closing thought: Happy New Year!
Finally, just time to wish all of you lovely ITK readers a happy new year. Be merry but be safe and raise a glass for the next twelve months of turbulent tech journalism fun.
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Till next time,
Steve
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