NEW YORK — TechCrunch Disrupt started off with a bang at New York City’s Pier 54, as venture capitalist Fred Wilson advised start-ups not to be “a Facebook bitch, a Google bitch, or a Twitter bitch,” but to “be your own bitch.” Sage advice! While Wilson, an avid music fan who blogs about songs and artists he likes as well as investing at avc.com, didn’t mention music specifically in his fireside chat, he did take an audience question about investing in the industry, saying that it was a very complicated ecosystem and he had only invested in one company that touched music, Soundcloud.
Foursquare founder and Gap model Dennis Crowley took the stage after Wilson, to much ribbing from TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington about the latter profession. Crowley declined to talk about his company’s fundraising and acquisition plans, but did break the news that Foursquare would be included on the so-called “Facebook phone,” which is currently available in the UK and will be out in the States this summer.
Finally, Arianna Huffington joined NYU professor Jay Rosen and Nora Ephron on stage to discuss her new role at AOL. The three discussed the notion of “path dependence” — essentially, the need to follow old rules even though times and cultures have changed — and how that impacts the state of journalism. Rosen’s example was the idea that journalists need to be unbiased — perhaps a nod to recent controversies about some writers covering companies and industries they also invest in. Huffing ton also laid out her plans for AOL’s content, albeit in a rather vague manner, stating that she wanted to marry the best reporting and journalism with the latest technology. Huffington was then joined by Arrington — who, as part of the AOL-HuffPo merger, now reports to her — and sparred with him about MapQuest, which Arrington disparaged as being far inferior to Google Maps, and called Huffington a liar when she claimed she was a MapQuest user.
Rosen also addressed Ephron’s concerns about web overload by quoting Clay Shirley, saying “there is no such thing as information overload, just filter failure.” Ephron also claimed that the 2012 election will be “the twitter election, the Facebook election.”