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Jack Smith IV

Jack is a reporter covering tech business in NYC, Silicon Alley founders and funding, trends in tech innovation and venture capital investment.
Leave it to the internet

There Is an Academic Journal for Adventure Time Research

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Adventure Time, a show about the adventures of a “butt-kicking” human kid Finn and his dog Jake in the algebraic land of Ooo, is beloved by children, stoners, and Netflix bingers alike. Another audience for the show is the Internet’s cultural critics, who have sifted through its themes and characters in a smattering of essays.

Now, those essays have a singular home on the web: the Adventure Time Forum, which bills itself as “the Leading Journal of Adventure Time Research, Commentary, and Analysis.” Read More

uber it

Times Op-Ed Calls For Firings At Uber ‘While There’s Still Time’

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Last week, it was revealed that Uber leadership, from the CEO down to its regional managers, is guilty of serious abuse of power, executive overreach and, at very least, what should be career-ending gaffs.

But Uber Senior Vice President Emil Michael hasn’t, in fact, been fired and CEO Travis Kalanick is barely sorry, which has the tech world asking the Great Uber Question: How do you hold a venture-backed startup responsible for erratic and thuggish behavior? Read More

For the Love of God Think of the Interns

Here’s What Tech Companies Pay Their Interns; Prepare to Cry

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When most kids decide on their summer internship, they have to ask themselves tough questions: Can I afford to take an unpaid internship? And which potential offer is most likely going to lead to a job down the road?

Young coders, however, are more likely to wonder if $20,000 for the summer is really that much better than $19,000.

When Jessica Shu, a 19-year-old wunderkind at Cornell, was weighing her options for the summer, she wanted to be damn sure of her options. After digging around Reddit, asking colleagues and messaging around, she compiled a list of what Silicon Valley’s hottest companies are offering their interns — or at least were last summer — and posted it to Hackathon Hackers, a student coder community. Read More

suggested reading

Oyster Launches a Lit Mag For Their Erudite E-Readers

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There’s something about ebook reading that’s still icky for some finicky readers who fancy themselves intellectuals. Maybe it’s that the ~handfeel~ of an iPad doesn’t stand up to the deckled edges of a Penguin Classics Deluxe edition, or that there’s no street cred from reading Capital in the Twenty-First Century if no one in Caffe Reggio can see the book jacket. But that doesn’t mean these readers can’t be won.

Oyster, an app that’s most often described as being “Netflix for Books,” is launching a literary magazine called The Oyster Review.

The new digital mag is the first brainchild of writer, editorial remixer and famed Internet Person Kevin Nguyen in his new role as Editorial Director for Oyster. Mr. Nguyen joined the startup a few months ago after he was poached from Amazon, where he put together the Best of the Month picks as a books editor. Read More

Office Space

‘Q’ Replaces Your Office Manager With an iPad

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In the past 10 years, digital tools, economic devastation and common sense have pressured companies of all sizes to cut down on the number of employees who are assigned to take care of the office. Unfortunately, jobs like cleaning the kitchen and buying more grinds for the shitty coffee maker are being offloaded onto people that have nothing to do with stocking the supply closet — like social media managers or operations staff.

Managed by Q (or “Q” from here on out, for the sake of decency), is a NYC-based service that turns all of those concerns into, of course, an app. Read More

Rise of the Drones

Buying Drones For Holiday Gifts? The Government Has a Warning or Two

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It doesn’t matter if you’re still floundering on Thanksgiving plans: the holiday season is definitely upon us (yes, already) and you’re going to be out shopping soon enough. If Weird Al’s bizarre Radio Shack commercial is any indication, small quadcopters drones are going to be a hot item for dads who’ve already upgraded their spoiled kids to the iPhone 6 Plus already.

In advance of the holiday drone-buying onslaught, the United States and the U.K. are attempting to educate people about the laws surrounding their drone usage. After all, small drones inhabit a funny legal grey area between model planes and small aircraft — a distinction that gets more fuzzy if you plan on using them to pick up some freelance aerial photography gigs. Read More

Sorry/Not Sorry

Uber CEO Tweetstorms Empty Apology For His Executive Threatening Journalists

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For a company that is struggling with its “asshole” public image, Uber has had a baaaad 24 hours.

A recap: At a private event, Uber Senior Vice President Emil Michael told Buzzfeed Editor in Chief Ben Smith that in order to deal with bad press, Uber could run opposition research secretly on contentious journalists, dox them, target their friends and family, and quietly expose the private details of their lives. Then, Mr. Michael said that Pando founder Sarah Lacy should be held responsible for sexual assault committed against women by cab drivers, all because she encouraged people to use Lyft for reasons of Uber’s (suddenly obvious) misogynistic corporate culture.

Just in the past hour or so, Mr. Kalanick took to Twitter to issue an apology, though it doesn’t look like Uber is going to be changing the way it does business. It’s nice to see that he’s taking personal accountability enough to issue the apology on his personal social accounts, but it doesn’t nearly approach the ideal move: giving those same journalists that his executive threatened more access to his typically opaque and shady company. Read More

uber it

Uber Executive Says Sarah Lacy Is Personally Responsible For Sexual Assault Against Women in Cabs

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It seems like just yesterday we were all talking about Uber trying to absolve themselves of their asshole image in the public opinion. Because that was just yesterday. It was also fun while it lasted, but it didn’t even last the whole day.

Last night, Buzzfeed Editor in Chief Ben Smith published a series of remarks made by Uber Senior Vice President Emil Michael over dinner. Mr. Michael suggested that the proper response to hostile journalists would be to spend a million dollars on an opposition research team which would dig up details on the private lives of those journalists in order to harass and target their families. Read More

uber? But I just met her

Uber CEO Is Suddenly Concerned About Looking Like an ‘Asshole’

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Uber has a #brand problem: everyone loves to use them, but they wreak havoc on local governments and piss off local taxi drivers everywhere they go. Now, you can hire a veritable tech PR army to deal with local squabbles and wars with other companies, but there’s one problem no flack is cut out to solve: a CEO who is an unsalvageable jerk.

In an expansive profile, San Francisco Magazine waxes skeptical over Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s new attempts to shed his “asshole” image. The profile says that Mr. Kalanick is suddenly being more careful about his rhetoric, musing that during the interview, he was on his best behavior and was “dressed not like the slick cutthroat capitalist that many claim him to be, but like a dad.” Read More