In the old days, say circa 2000, most Web bloggers were online diarists, usually political or, worse, technological cranks who engaged in obscure religious battles over trivia such as the creation and proper usage of obscure content-distribution protocols.
Now a blogger rules the Web start-up scene.
Michael Arrington, the uber-blogger who started writing TechCrunch a little more than two years ago, commanded a rapt audience of more than 600 attendees Monday, in a crammed ballroom at the San Francisco Palace Hotel. He has become the Russell Stover of tech journalists, specializing in small, sweet morsels of companies. He got his start by critiquing every new technology, from preteen social-networking sites to online storage services, one brief blurb at a time on his blog. Now, Arrington and entrepreneur Jason McCabe Calacanis have created an entrepreneur's version of American Idol.