Josh Constine

Josh Constine

Meme Whisperer & Editor-At-Large at TechCrunch

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON June 03, 2016

Discussion

Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
Ohai, I'm Josh Constine, the Editor-At-Large at TechCrunch. Ask me ANYTHING, from what's its like professionally blogging about startups and social apps for 5 years, the Cybersociology Masters program I designed at Stanford, my predictions on tech trends, or why my hair is called the #Omnibang. Supremely curious to see where this goes! Update: This has been incredibly fun and thanks for all the questions. I'll try to answer a few more in the next hour, but I sincerely appreciate this community!
Varun Shenoy
Varun Shenoy@varunshenoy · High School Developer and Researcher
Hey Josh! What is the best way a young entrepreneur can get featured on TechCrunch and get press for their startup?
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@varunshenoy Here's the best way to pitch journalists. In either spoken or email form, first explain the problem in the world you're going to solve, then the way your product solves it, and then some evidence that you'll succeed (traction, the right team, great investors). For example "Getting taxis is tough, they don't show up fast enough, there's no paper trail about the driver for safety, and paying cash is annoying. Uber lets you press a button, get a car with a record of your driver, and pay instantly when you finish. It's led by an entrepreneur with a previous exit, initial traction was great, and top investors are lining up." Get a personal recommendation from someone successful if possible. But most importantly, build something important!
Dan Flanegan
Dan Flanegan@dflanegan · Co-Founder, Butter
@joshconstine @varunshenoy I'm going to print this on a card and hand it to every startup that asks me for advice on this topic
Andrew Galaska
Andrew Galaska@andrew_galaska · Co-Founder of Anchor
Hey Josh! There are tons of great social apps that fall by the wayside because they can't get a critical mass of users hooked on their product. What are a few key features you've seen that really separate the wheat from the chaff and give an app that x-factor?
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@andrew_galaska Social apps can't do something a little better than what already exists. They must provide some fundamentally new value that dictates a whole new behavior pattern. Facebook brought authenticated identity, Twitter condensed big thoughts to digestible nuggets, Instagram made every cameraphone user feel like they could share something beautiful, and Snapchat used ephemerality to mimic the transient nature of our lives + let you pull your favorite stories from friends rather than them pushing into your feed so they never worried about posting too much.
Andrew Galaska
Andrew Galaska@andrew_galaska · Co-Founder of Anchor
@joshconstine That makes sense about offering something new. Browsing the App Store, there seems to be a new Snapchat-esque sticker app born every minute. How would a new app succeed in breaking through the resistance to changing a behavior? I just started (reluctantly at first) using Snapchat this year and can't quite put my finger on why it hooked me, seeing as I wasn't really concerned about the lifetime of the message.
CarHughes
CarHughes@carhughes · Brand-builder | Raconteur
@joshconstine I find your feedback really insightful when you say that a new social app must provide some 'fundamentally new value' that dictates a whole new behavior pattern." What do you consider as fundamental? I think entrepreneurs’ view of what is ‘fundamental’ will range wildly here, so your two cents will be much appreciated here. :-) Your expectation that the new app must 'dictate a whole new behavior pattern" is also invaluable. What evidence do you want to see to decide whether the startup is onto something, is promising, etc?
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
What are 3 pre-revenue startups that you'd personally invest in?
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@tomstocklein Pocket and Down To Lunch are two I believe in. Pocket's read it later service lets you browse the Internet and discover content even if you can't consume it now, and will become a powerful recommendation engine. It's only just starting to show ads and they're working very well. Down To Lunch solve a fundamental problem in that we spend so much time online together but never know which friends are free to congregate in person. It will deliver more happiness to people, and the intent expressed by people about what they want to do once they meet up could power extremely high-converting ads for local businesses.
Capri Galaska
Capri Galaska@caprihiggins · Co-Founder @anchorxyz
Hey there! There are a bajillion apps, which lucky 24 apps get the prime real estate of your home screen (assuming you have an iPhone) or what are your top favs? (also, I'm taking the bait... what is an omnibang?)
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@caprihiggins I roll with my favorite apps splayed out from the bottom left corner, with Facebook Messenger, Fb, Twitter, Snapchat, Google Calendar, Vine, Imgur, a bookmark for Techmeme.com, Sporify, Imgur, Slack, Convo, Pocket, Asana, Uber/Lyft folder, and a few others
Capri Galaska
Capri Galaska@caprihiggins · Co-Founder @anchorxyz
@joshconstine I had never heard of Asana, looks awesome! Definitely beats sending texts back and forth to my co-founder and guesstimating three weeks later everything we accomplished. Thanks for sharing!
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Hey, Josh! HBD! 🎉 I know you love music and see a tooon of concerts. Who's been your favorite?
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@rrhoover Robert DeLong is my favorite performing musician. He's like Skrillex meets The Postal Service in a one-man-band where he plays video game controllers, live drums, synths, and sings. Here's my playlist of my favorite tracks of his https://open.spotify.com/user/jo... and here's one of his most entertaining videos
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
@joshconstine I missed him at the TechCrunch SXSW party. Looks epic.
Sayla Dobro
Sayla Dobro@sayladobro
@joshconstine tried to book him for a SXSW party for Live365/Avenue Live in 2012! Saw him 2012? at Empire Garage, love the joystick Dub drops.
Ben Tossell
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
If you could swap lives with a Tech CEO for a week, who would it be and why? p.s. happy birfday
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@bentossell I'd swap lives with Mark Zuckerberg, because he is in a place to do an extraordinary amount of good in the world using the platform and fortune he's earned. I'd use the time to try to inspire world leaders and 1.65 billion users about the power of love, compassion, and education. Luckily, he seems to already be doing this himself, judging by the inspiring opening to his F8 keynote
Gabe
Gabe@gabrielpetrolio
Hi, Josh! 👋 I've got two if you would: What motivates you to write about a new startup or product/service? And what's your advice for teams looking for press coverage when launching a product? Thanks!
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
I like to think of myself as Tron - "I FIGHT FOR THE USER". What motivates me is a desire to help the world embrace the potential of technology without unwarranted fear of things that won't hurt them, while protecting users from companies trying to exploit them. @gabrielpetrolio Check @varun's question for how to pitch.
Gabe
Gabe@gabrielpetrolio
@joshconstine @varun Nice! Thanks Josh! 🙏 I'll pitch you my next product to see if you think it has potential 😜
Thomas Stöcklein
Thomas Stöcklein@tomstocklein · FoundersFundersFuture.com
Is there a product/service that you're really excited about that most folks may not be aware of yet?
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@tomstocklein I think sponsored creation tools are the next big thing, like Snapchat sponsored lenses. People have become so numb to traditional advertising, but by layering a brand into user generated content -- literally attaching the ad to your friends' faces -- people will not only put up with brands, but be thankful for their help making something cool to share.
neeharika sinha
neeharika sinha@neeeharika · Google, Threadchannel
Hello Josh! great to meet you here. I have 2 questions for you. 1) How does a pre revenue startup connect with someone at techcrunch? 2) TechCrunch has become an integral part of Sillicon Valley show was there any resistance to do so or was TechCrunch always on board?
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@andrewett · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
How do you feel about the future of Twitter?
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@andrewett Twitter is an amazing product for some people, but years of poor onboarding combined with no inherent audience of friends made it confusing and feel like yelling into a black hole. I think that will make it extremely hard for it to grow, no matter what it changes. It will remain popular with some and grow a little, and get better at monetizing existing users, and it will have an important impact on how information moves around the world in real-time, but I don't think it's destined to be a billion user juggernaut. I lay this all out in my video rant about Twitter's future here http://techcrunch.com/2016/02/10...
Emily Hodgins
Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Josh. Happy Birthday!! What story that you've covered about startups, SF, social etc. has most shocked you? Bonus Q - best present?? 🎁
Sarim Haq
Sarim Haq@sarim_haq · AI Whisperer
Hey Josh, if you were to receive a mail from a startup with a bunch of goodies. 1: Would you even open it? 2. Would that, in any way, increase the probability of you writing about them? 3. If the startup is operating in a cool space (A.I. or VR), would that increase their chances of getting press coverage?
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@sarim_haq We open things sent to TechCrunch, but it would have no sway on whether we'd write about something. If you're a hardware company, we'll need to be able to demo your product just like we would a free app, but we send back demo units when we're done. Rather than trying to win journalists with swag bags, concentrate on building a product that solves a problem no one else does that you are truly passionate about.
Sarim Haq
Sarim Haq@sarim_haq · AI Whisperer
@joshconstine Thanks for the reply btw Happy Birthday!!
Vanessa Castañeda
Vanessa Castañeda@ohmyafly · metaverse settler
Hey Josh. Did you ever get into Second Life? And if so, what's your take on it now that Linden Labs supports experiencing the destinations through an Oculus Rift? Do you think it's still a relevant player in the space?
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@ohmyafly I studied Second Life but never got into it. They had a fundamental problem in that if you build a janky, slapdash platform then let users build content atop it, you can never update the platform without breaking everyone's creations. That's why Second Life aged so poorly. I think something like Second Life will be a hit in VR. Perhaps Facebook will let you construct a virtual monument to your life as a VR profile that friends can literally visit.
Vanessa Castañeda
Vanessa Castañeda@ohmyafly · metaverse settler
@joshconstine I hear that. It feels like the 90s in there. A FB VR profile would be fascinating to play with if you could put it on like a skin.
Collin Ferry
Collin Ferry@collinferry · Founder @Tub
Hey Josh, yesterday you wrote a piece on Facebook's new DeepText. I'm building a Facebook chatbot that delivers curated, time-capped content to Uber riders (www.fillthetub.com). We're not conversational yet (and I'm not sure we need to be), but I'm curious at how new tech on the backend could make our bot smarter. What's your opinion on the implications of DeepText as it applies to Messenger bots?
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@collinferry Eventually, DeepText could help bots understand the meaning of responses rather than just picking up on keywords. I think bots have the potential to get much more usable, but for now the tech isn't quite there for indie dev-built bots to live next to your most human conversations with friends in the same app. I wrote about the dangers of bots to Messenger here http://techcrunch.com/2016/05/06...
Collin Ferry
Collin Ferry@collinferry · Founder @Tub
@joshconstine Thanks for the response, I gave the article a read. We hope our bot will avoid contributing to the spam problem by a) only engaging users when talked to or b) explicitly reacting to real world actions. I saw in another answer that you're a Pocket user. When you order an Uber, Tub sends you content from your Pocket with a read/watch/listen-time that matches the length of your ride. Any interest in giving it a try and dropping some feedback?
CarHughes
CarHughes@carhughes · Brand-builder | Raconteur
Hey Josh, HBD first of all! In the saturated space of mobile video apps, separate from the 1,800 pound gorillas, dominating or battling the space (Snapchat, FB, etc.) what 3 things must a new mobile app startup bring to the table to impress you?
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@carhughes Solving a problem or adding value in a significantly new way rather than being a little better than something that already exists, having strong initial retention -- not just adoption, and having visionary founders who can adapt the app to the rapidly changing landscape.
CarHughes
CarHughes@carhughes · Brand-builder | Raconteur
@joshconstine Thank you. I really value and appreciate your 2 cents on this. 🙇
Andrew Galaska
Andrew Galaska@andrew_galaska · Co-Founder of Anchor
@joshconstine What's the weirdest/craziest/creepiest thing someone's ever done to try and get coverage? And did it work? If someone hired a skywriter would that do the trick? Purely hypothetical obviously.
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@andrew_galaska Someone sent me a miniature toaster and a stencil with my face that printed my head on toast. It was hilarious but I absolutely didn't write about them. I'm rarely impressed with gimmicks. Just build a product people love. If it does something important, you don't need connections or money or even traction yet. I'll pick it out of my inbox.
Andrew Galaska
Andrew Galaska@andrew_galaska · Co-Founder of Anchor
@joshconstine So would you say that emails to personal work accounts are acceptable generally? I've seen sources (can't recall where) that said to only use the general tip line and it will be discovered, but when thousands of pitches are coming in daily, that seems unlikely, even with a stellar product.
Capri Galaska
Capri Galaska@caprihiggins · Co-Founder @anchorxyz
@joshconstine from what you've seen blogging startups and social apps is there really magic by living in Silicon Valley or NYC as a startup? It seems very romanticized, any substance to physically being in the area?
Leon Hitchens
Leon Hitchens@leonhitchens · Blogger at DigitalBounds.com
What does a topical day write for tc look like?
Josh Constine
Josh Constine@joshconstine · Writer, TechCrunch
@leonhitchens Wake up either at 5:30am if I have to finish a story for an early deadline, or 9am if I don't. Check Techmeme.com to see if any major news has broken that I can give a fresh perspective to, and scan TechCrunch's internal collaboration tool Convo for news others have spotted or need help on. Then start writing the most urgent or important story, and if there isn't something quickly skim my email for critical news. I try to publish more in the morning when people are reading. Once the morning news blitz is over, I'll take a few interviews with startups and talk to sources, and then finish the day by clearing email. I rarely go to the office because I work much more efficiently from home, and I love that TechCrunch gives me the freedom to do that.
Rabi Gupta
Rabi Gupta@rgupta29 · Cofounder Eva bot @Vizzi
Hi Josh, good to see you here. Any idea on what happened to Peach? Is it still growing?
Capri Galaska
Capri Galaska@caprihiggins · Co-Founder @anchorxyz
@rgupta29 not sure if this is what you were looking for, but thought of your question when this popped up in my notifications https://www.producthunt.com/tech...