TechFlash Duo, Todd Bishop and John Cook, Quit PSBJ to Start New Site, GeekWire

3/7/11Follow @xconomy

Todd Bishop and John Cook, two of the Northwest’s well-known technology journalists, have decided to leave TechFlash, the Puget Sound Business Journal website they started two and a half years ago, to start their own online media company called GeekWire.

The two Seattle-based journalists, who worked together for years at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer before joining forces at the Puget Sound Business Journal, described their move in a post today on the new site:

“For years we’ve covered the adventures of entrepreneurs large and small, successful and not-so-much – living vicariously through their attempts to build meaningful technology products and businesses. We’ve learned a lot along the way. And now we’re getting ready to experience the entrepreneurial life ourselves, launching an honest-to-goodness startup of our own.”

“Yep, we’re just that crazy,” Cook and Bishop wrote.

Cook, who has written for a decade on tech startups and venture capital, joined with Bishop, a longtime Microsoft reporter, to start TechFlash in September 2008.

Nothing was written on TechFlash early this morning about Cook and Bishop’s departure, although there were a few new posts from Greg Lamm, a staff writer at the Puget Sound Business Journal. Emory Thomas Jr., the publisher of the Puget Sound Business Journal, weighed in with his own post on TechFlash just before the lunch hour:

“It’s with more than a tinge of regret that I inform you that Todd Bishop and John Cook, TechFlash’s first employees and full-time bloggers, have decided to leave to start their own enterprise,” Thomas wrote. “The change is immediate and we wish them well. But let me be very clear that we remain deeply committed to TechFlash – and not just its continuation, but also its development and growth.”

The Puget Sound Business Journal will have no involvement in GeekWire, either as an investor, or as a sponsor, Thomas said in a subsequent phone interview. The Business Journal, instead, plans to continue to invest in TechFlash, he said. Lamm will take the lead as TechFlash’s writer on a full-time interim basis, while Thomas looks to find permanent replacements for Cook and Bishop.

“I’ll staff it aggressively and well,” Thomas says. “I’m looking for real stars to run it. We’ve got a real brand in the market, and to be true to the readership we’ve built up, we have to serve them well.”

The new site, GeekWire, will still revolve around Cook’s coverage of venture capital and tech startups, as well as Bishop’s reporting on Microsoft and major tech companies like Apple and Google, Cook said in a phone interview. It will be free to readers, and supported through a combination of online advertising and events, Cook says. The new company has raised some investment capital, although Cook said he isn’t yet ready to announce how much GeekWire has raised, or who has invested.

GeekWire lists four partners who have helped get the company going: Foundry Interactive, a search engine optimization firm in Pioneer Square; the graphic design firm Inkd; Web host Blue Box Group; and the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. GeekWire has also contracted with a person to handle advertising sales, although Cook didn’t identify the person.

While the new site will still be about local technology, Cook says GeekWire will seek to bring together business and technology with broader cultural subjects like sports, politics, and entertainment.

“From the readers’ perspective we are very much committed to cover the tech news from Seattle. It’s in our blood. It’s what we’re about. But we will expand coverage to incorporate more of an entertainment style, more of a fun style,” Cook says. He added: “It’s a good time for us to reinvent our careers and to be nimble, and move fast.”

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