I would argue that for the Entrepreneurial Community in Dallas the Dallas Business Journal is irrelevant. We don’t read it. We don’t advertise in it. Of course it doesn’t have to be this way.
Gary Hooker, who is one of the owners of Imaginuity, copied me on an email he sent the editor of the Dallas Business Journal. According to Gary, the Dallas Business Journal decided to stop publishing the “web development” category in the Dallas Business Journal book of lists. He explained that he had been told that the staff of the DBJ felt as though Gary’s business was no longer relevant to the Dallas community. In response Gary canceled his subscription to the DBJ and sent an email to Juan Elizondo the editor.
Gary copied me because he wanted me to write about the issue as he described me as “a leader in the Dallas Digital community”. I am not sure I am much of a leader, but I am very much interested in the success of the ‘Dallas Digital Community’ as well as the ‘Entrepreneurial Community in Dallas’. I am not sure my opinion on this topic matters much, but I am happy for the excuse to write a post.
First, the Dallas Business Journal has never really been about ‘business’ in Dallas. Generally the DBJ’s primary focus has been commercial real estate. The last time I counted more than 80% of the articles and 50% of the advertising were real estate related. The remaining articles and advertising were from financial services companies and law firms. I think it might make a lot more sense to call it the Dallas Real Estate Journal.
The DBJ has never really had much interest in covering technology. Sure there are tech stories in the Journal from time to time, but more often than not they have something to do with the fact that the tech company in question had rented office space. In the late 90’s I was in my 20’s and I had just raised $11MM in venture capital to fund my first startup. I offered the story as an exclusive to Jeff Bounds, but he told me that I should come back to him when I raised more money. Ultimately we raised $30MM or so for the business and I joked that Jeff would only write a story about our company if we went bankrupt. Of course when we filed for Chapter 11 in 2001 he did. When we emerged from Chapter 11 later that year he didn’t bother to write another story. My latest startup, ShopSavvy, has been profiled in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post and Dallas Morning News – but never in the Dallas Business Journal. Last month my father’s 3D seismic company was sold to an NYSE listed company, but the Dallas Business Journal didn’t cover the story. Over and over again the DBJ ignores startups and emerging businesses in Dallas.
We host LOTS of startup events and every time we invite the DBJ to cover the events. Our Startup Happy Hour has been visited by every news outlet in North Texas EXCEPT the DBJ. Our Startup Weekend Event was covered by the Dallas Morning News and even in the national press, but again the DBJ chose to ignore the event. Over and over again the DBJ ignores the digital community. I am don’t know enough about the Book of Lists issue Gary is complaining about, but I think there is a chance to ‘fix it’.
The DBJ has NEVER contacted our company to run advertising. I have talked to several other successful startups and they say the same thing. I suspect a lot of us would be willing to support the DBJ through advertising if they would begin to cover the entrepreneurial and digital ecosystem here in Dallas. How about it Juan? How about coming to one of our events or happy hours? Lets come up with a solution…