:Ben Metcalfe Blog

MC Hammer appointed onto board of judges for TechCrunch20

I know the guy is launching some ‘stealth startup’ (according to TechCrunch20 blog), but why on earth has MC Hammer been invited to be a judge for TechCrunch20?

BTW I can tell you what Hammer’s ‘stealth startup’ – DanceJam – is all about. It’s apparently a YouTube meets American Idol where people film themselves and their friends street dancing and MC Hammer personally reviews and rates the performances. The best presumably go on to get professional dancing gigs or something. Excuse me, I just have to check it isn’t April 1st…

I’d love to hear Michael or Jason’s explanation for adding him to the panel and what credentials they feel he has to judge the potential of new startups.

Personally I really can’t see how being the master of baggy pants (yes I used to own a pair) and inventing a bland mass-market style of hip-hop really qualifies someone for being able to sniff out a good start-up. He also wasn’t very successful in the music business – he filed for bankruptcy in April 1996.

Jason + Michael – I hear Natalie Portman is also in the process of founding a startup. She has just about as much dotcom experience as Hammer. Any chance of swapping her out for Hammer instead?

Jokes aside…

But joking aside I really do feel that appointing MC Hammer has actually devalued the credibility of this event. The whole point, as I understood, was that TechCrunch20 would remove the bullshit DEMO garnered by asking people to pay to show off their stuff, and instead TC20 would be about genuine companies getting genuine, critical feedback and review.

I fail to see how a failed musician who went bankrupt and is still in the process of working on their first start-up can address a presenting startup with any meaningful credibility or authority.

I was considering laying down the $2000 to attend TechCrunch20 – out of my own money, no expense write off – because I thought the whole TC20 setup looked really interesting. I’m not a VC, I’m not another founder, I just wanted to support a ‘no bullshit event’.

But I think I’ll take Sofia to Hawaii instead with the cash, because suddenly the event looks like it’s turning into an showbiz spectacle and not the cutting analytical business event it could have been.

UPDATE: Re-reading my post, I regret calling it a ‘showbiz spectacle’ as that devalues the expertise of the other judges, the rest of whom I’m thrilled Michael and Jason have managed to get on board. I do hope Michael/Jason will explain further their reasons behind appointing MC Hammer.