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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Misquoted – Again!

Comments (3)

At least this time it wasn’t me – it was my partner Seth Levine.  In Seth’s post titled Setting the record straight he discusses a USA Today article in which he is quoted about TechStars and Y Combinator.

When I read the article (I got several copies of it immediately after it came out via my search feeds on “Seth Levine” and “TechStars”) I burst out laughing.  My first thought was “boy – Seth is going to be embarrassed and annoyed when he reads this.”  I knew that the quote was wrong – in fact – it was about 180 degrees wrong.

I sent Seth a friendly note (as friendly as partners who love to tease each other can do) and suggested he write a post with his point of view since I expected if any of the TechStars guys read it they’d be confused, especially since Seth has been a big supporter of a few of the TechStars teams.

Seth intelligently ended with a lesson I learned a long time ago after being misquoted for the 4,327th time.

I will not do interviews over the phone. I will not do interviews over the phone.
I will not do interviews over the phone. I will not do interviews over the phone.
I will not do interviews over the phone. I will not do interviews over the phone.
I will not do interviews over the phone. I will not do interviews over the phone.
I will not do interviews over the phone. I will not do interviews over the phone.
I will not do interviews over the phone. I will not do interviews over the phone.

  • Doug

    I’ve had major mentions in media articles three times so far and have been misquoted all three times. Sometimes minor, sometimes major.

  • http://www.pehub.com Dan Primack

    As a reporter, I hope you and Seth reconsider not doing interviews over the phone.

    Information gathered during an actual conversation (as opposed to via email) is usually more candid, more natural and helps foster a better relationship between reporter and source.

    But being misquoted certainly sucks. It’s happened to me also. Best middle ground — from my perspective — is to get interviewed via phone, but ask to confirm quotes via email for accuracy. Few reporters offer such an option up-front — it takes extra time — but most will be willing to do so if asked…

  • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

    Dan – I’m glad you are willing to do this. I’ve asked this in the past and been told “sure” but then seen the article printed without any confirmation. I’ve also had a few folks tell me “that’s not how it works” or then printed something with attribution but no quote. It’s just incredibly difficult to manage without a trusted relationship with the interviewer.

    I’ll break my rule of no phone interviews occasionally with folks I know, like, and trust to be responsible about what they are reporting and how they are using the information they are getting (e.g. you). But – if I don’t know the person – it’s email only for me at this point.

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