Seems to me that, from [a Hagelian] perspective, what the media 2.0 people have done is succesfully unbundled their infrastructure management by delegating it to blogging software, but they still have to decide if they're primarily in product innovation or customer relationships.
If they're in product innovation, they have to find someone else to bring customers to them.
Or, are they really in the customer management business ie. owners of a fanatical audience, looking for any way to serve that audience? In this case, they probably don't need to be bought; finding, servicing and growing their own audience is core to them.
So I'd interpret Calacanis as basically a product innovation guy, going to AOL is his way to get his hands on a bigger audience and getting paid for his innovation. Once in AOL he keeps trying to develop new products, trusting he can sell them to AOL's existing users.
Arrington is a customer relations guy, adding things like a job-board allows him to serve his existing audience in more ways. In essense he's a taste-maker, and could be reselling products from anywhere. What matters is his understanding of what his readers want.
Getting bought by a large media 1.0 company wouldn't make much sense for TechCrunch. Its future is probably closer to Chris Pirillo's LockerGnome or even O'Reilly (the OG of media 2.0 customer relations plays)
AOL themselves, of course, are trying to do it all. If they eventually decide they're customer relations people I guess Calacanis will get bored and leave.
August 16, 2006
Over at Stowe Boyd's, I left a comment on interpreting Publishing 2.0 (and Jason Calacanis / Mike Arrington) in light of John Hagel.