Steppin’ out Wednesday, New York got its newest incubator/hangout hub when Mayor Bloomberg (joined by Questlove) opened the Made in NY Media Center in Dumbo. It was promptly christened later that evening, when Founders Forum, the invite-only conference (of which the New York Observer/Betabeat was a media partner), held a reception in the space.
Ghetto Gastro provided the grub; the Blabdroids, the documentarian cardboard robots, had their own room; a startup called Symplr projected the fruits of its video mixing app on the walls. Questlove stopped by again, but apparently we missed Prince Albert, Duke of York.
To get a taste of what the fuss was about, Betabeat popped by the proceedings, high in the Hearst Tower, on Thursday. Speakers were bantering about happiness and how best to achieve it; Betaworks’ John Borthwick was stalking the halls (possibly the first time we’ve seen the man without his corduroy blazer) and we spotted MakerBot’s Bre Pettis and LittleBits’ Ayah Bdeir chatting briefly. Dave McClure tweeted his “breathtaking view” of Central Park, while Behance CEO Scott Belsky noted, “Seeing more and more that being in “stealth” is the new PR campaign for startups #foundersforum.”
A word of warning to anyone checking out the Made in NY Media Center, though: Try not to get lost in your surroundings. On our way out, Betabeat cheesily got distracted by the sight of the Brooklyn Bridge, missed the last step, and damn near broke our neck.
We went to the Vine Journalism Awards! The first-ever Vine Journalism Awards successfully occurred Wednesday evening at Twitter’s midtown office, despite committing two cardinal award show sins by having neither Neil Patrick Harris nor Giuliana Rancic on hand.
Upon arrival, we spotted a table of snacks, drinks and a plastic canteen of green licorice (get it? it looks like vines?) embossed with the Vine logo. The event kicked off a G-rated #VineTips speech from Meagan Cignoli, a professional Vine adviser for brands, which is a thing. We mostly tuned out during her talk about garnering 300,000+ followers, since it couldn’t compete with the fried chicken drumlets.
Then the hashtag flipped to #VineAwards and it was time for the main show. First we got a speech from Muckrack honcho and first-name-Twitter-handle-club-member Greg “@Gregory” Galant. Then the awards, none of which went unvined. Daniel Wein visited from D.C. to pick up his Behind the Scenes award for his now infamous Vine of interns scattering after the DOMA ruling. Mashable’s Zoe Fox won in the inspirational category and Comcast Sports Network reporter Christian Linderwon in sports.
Last came Breaking News, with three nominees: KXAS-TV in Dallas, Eurovision and Lerer Ventures-backed Now This News. Turns out judges Jean Brooks, director of the Online News Association director, and Rachel Sklar, TheLi.st proprietor and and woman about town, couldn’t decide, so all three won the coveted crystal trophy.
Not that any of them actually took home a trophy that night. The organizers only had one on hand, with the promise winners would receive theirs in the mail. That made for awkward few moments when presenters mistakenly took it back to their seats, only to be reminded that nope, it wasn’t theirs yet.
But of course, no awards show is complete without a gaffe, duly provided by Ms. Sklar. She encouraged a winner to Instagram a selfie, only to be reminded of the soured relationship between Twitter and Instagram. “I forgot my training,” she joked.
Love me Tinder There’s a new sheriff in Tinder town, and his name is gossip blogger and pretend-nice-person Perez Hilton. Mr. Hilton “just found out about Tinder and am instantly in love and obsessed!!!!!” he verbally pants-shat via Twitter. The folks at Tinder were almost as pumped:
Lorem oopsum Municipal websites are pretty routinely the worst websites ever–overwhelmingly wordy, head-scratchingly specific, not even remotely informative, and Jesus God the fonts. So when our fair city hired Huge to redesign NYC.gov, it was a big step forward for the People Who Spend Significant Time on Government Websites of the world (read: journalists).
But Huge effed up, posting a string of gibberish Latin placeholders under the headline “City Scoop: Oct. 26.” The situation’s been rectified, though, so now the only gibberish Latin to be found in NYC is scrawled on the bathroom stalls of the Harvard Club. (h/t @mik3cap)
Goober We are in the midst of a government shutdown at the moment, but thankfully, tech people exist to show us how to tech our way out of it. Take the latest, greatest idea from VC Shervin Pishevar, who’s on the board at Uber. He tweeted, “Let’s just Taskrabbit and Uberize the Government.”
We aren’t too sure what that “means,” per se, but perhaps if we cross the aisle and really work together in a bipartisan way we can figure it out.
Speaking of Uber: We feel it is our duty to note that, at some point, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick replaced his controversial Ayn Rand-referencing Twitter avatar, previously an illustration from the cover of The Fountainhead. It is now an engraving of, we’re pretty sure, founding father and Federalist leader Alexander Hamilton. We’ll leave it to the essayists to sort that one out.
Ridin’ dirty The Roomba at Timehop clearly had a few too many this morning, as it got stuck under a table while cleaning. Timehop CEO Jonathan Wegener opted to tweet a photo of the cleaning robot the moment it hit rock bottom.
Friends don’t let friends clean drunk.