Schonfeld on Leaving Business 2.0 for TechCrunch Blog

With Time Inc. officially pulling the plug on Business 2.0 after the October issue, Erick Schonfeld, the magazine’s editor-at-large, had several options to consider. He could try another Time Inc. title, such as Fortune—they’ve been accepting Business 2.0 refugees. And, of course, says Mr. Schonfeld, there were meetings with the “usual suspects,” in the magazine industry.

Instead, he’s leaving the print world altogether: yesterday, the New York Times reported that Mr. Schonfeld will become co-editor of TechCrunch, a popular technology blog that covers Silicon Valley.

“I’m not on the ‘print is dead’ bandwagon,” Mr. Schonfeld told The Observer this morning, while packing up his Time Inc. office.

“There will always be print,” he continued. “But in all of my discussions with major print publications, both newspapers and magazines—even though my history is as a feature writer—their interest was what I could do for them digitally.”

 “These new blogs and media properties could arguably deliver similar content with much lower overhead,” he added. “From a business point of view, it’s a more appealing model. Now we have to prove that it works editorially.”

TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington first approached Mr. Schonfeld this past summer, but an actual deal wasn't hammered out until two days ago, over breakfast following the TechCrunch40 conference in San Francisco.

“Deep down, I think he’s a really good journalist,” Mr. Schonfeld said of his new boss, even if “he doesn’t like to think of himself as one.” Mr. Schonfeld said that TechCrunch quickly became a “must read” a couple years ago, and he got to know Mr. Arrington better after inviting him to participate in a round table discussion last October.

Mr. Schonfeld had been on the ground floor of the Internet boom. He was a founder of eCompanyNow, the magazine that in 2001 was combined by Time Inc. into Business 2.0. Not surprisingly, Mr. Schonfeld said he was “saddened” by the shuttering of Business 2.0, because “editorially, were really hitting our stride.”

“We finally didn’t have to explain what the 2.0 meant,” he said.

Still, Mr. Schonfeld said that he could see “the writing was on the wall,” that more money is going to the Web. “If I didn’t make this move now, I’d be doing it with hundreds of others in five years,” he said.