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.
Bitcoin Nation

World’s First ‘Bitcoin Marriage’ To Be Held At Disney World This Weekend

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Bitcoin has had a history of milestones: the first pizza paid for with Bitcoin, the first house bought in Bitcoin, the first sports team sponsored in cryptocurrency — but for the first time in history, Bitcoin is about to bring two people together in crypto-anarchic matrimony.

This weekend at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Bitnation’s David Mondrus and Joyce Bayo will have a wedding ceremony that concludes with the newlyweds recording their wedding agreement on the Blockchain via Bitcoin ATM. It’s the world’s first ever “Bitmarriage” as the Bitnation blog puts it in a post that’s the world’s first love-story/blockchain-explainer hybrid. Read More

What's In A Name?

Name Your Startup With An Algorithmic Name Generator That Actually Works

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Startup names are often cringeworthy, unpronounceable, or horrifically lazy. You take some word, strip it of its vowels, throw a “.ly” on the end, and you’ve got your very own “Airbnb of X.”

A startup name generator called NameBird can save you the trouble and frustration of trying to mangle words and then find some nonsense spelling that would look good in a logo. The tool, which named itself, is hosted on Shobia, an awkward little site with a few career advice articles and a dead link or two. Read More

Delivery From Inconvenience

WunWun Finally Expands to San Francisco to Become a Proper Valley Startup

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You don’t have to be in Silicon Valley itself to run a successful tech startup, but anyone with the ambition to become one of tech’s dominant players better build a Bay Area presence — even if it’s just for the clout.

WunWun will make that jump this week when they expand their services to San Francisco. For those of you outside of New York, WunWun is a delivery service that allows you to buy anything from any store or restaurant and have it brought right to you. As long as it’s a purchased item that they don’t have to wait in line for hours for, the delivery is totally free. Read More

Better Advertising Bureau

Breast Covered Campaign Reimagines Facebook, Twitter and Instagram Logos With Boobs

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month is coming in October and, as always, there will be a slew of boob-related ad campaigns to delight and offend us all. Already, we’re getting a sneak peek at one of these publicity stunts, and we’re calling this one on the tasteful side of the line.

The Breast Cancer Foundation has started a petition asking Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to change their icons to breast-inspired alternatives to raise awareness for the need for regular breast examinations for a whole month, with a goal of 10,000 signatures. The Freudian icons were designed by marketing firm DDB Singapore, and come with a series of poster-sized ads. Read More


This Startup Gets College Kids Jobs as Dildo Merchants, Liquor Evangelists, Nail Polish Bloggers

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No job description is more soul-suckingly droll than a campus work study gig — anyone who’s ever been forced to give a campus tour for minimum wage can attest to that. Unfortunately, those are often the only jobs available to students with full-time course loads and no cars.

Enter Campus Job, an online market that connects college kids to unlikely employers for part time jobs during the school year. The service officially launched earlier this month and is seeing over 1,000 new signups each week. Read More

High Tech

3-D Printed Marijuana Inhaler Lets You Up Your Dose Using Your Phone

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As the U.S. starts legalizing marijuana for recreational use, many states are dipping their toes in the water by legalizing medical marijuana. The medical clubs, in turn, have been engineering the most potent strains of cannabis in the history of dilated pupils. Well, now it looks like they get all of the best gadgets, too.

A totally chill Israeli company called Syqe has created a handheld inhaler that gives a metered dose of medical marijuana with the mission of making medical marijuana more respectable. The Syqe Inhaler will be available in Israeli hospitals by the end of the year and home use some time in 2015, but don’t get too excited: home use is still clinical, prescribed use only. Read More

Anti-Social Media

Why Brands Making Ello Profiles Doesn’t Ruin Everything, Destroy Ello

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Social network newcomer Ello has been going nuclear among people looking for a social network that helps them escape advertising and its evils. And because brands will do everything in their power to sell shit, Ello already has profiles for Netflix, Sonos and news orgs like the Wall Street Journal, the Independent, Engadget, and the Guardian.

This bring a certain confusion for people who aren’t thinking very deeply. That train of thought goes like this: Ello doesn’t sell out to brands, but brands are allowed to be on Ello? Doesn’t that go against their manifesto? Wait, Ello founder Paul Budnitz has one to promote his bicycle company? Hypocrite!

Yes, having marketers ruin everything. Hell, the reason people have flocked to Ello in the first place is escape the social network titans who are alienating every user they can for the sake of advertisers. But there’s a clear divide between Ello simply letting brands make a profile, and re-engineering their site and business model to cater to advertisers, a la Facebook. Read More

Anti-Social Media

Ello Cofounder: ‘We Have NO Exit Strategy’

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It’s been about 48 hours since interest in Ello flew off the damn charts, and the number of think pieces about its inevitable downfall is … well, expectedly enormous. Outside of the Medium.com designer circle-jerk about how unintuitive the interface is or complaints that a product in beta testings feels incomplete, most of the focus has been on Ello’s promise that they’ll never sell user data or put ads on the site. Mainly the claim is they’re either lying or just wrong, with headlines like “Ello Says You’re Not a Product, But You Are.”

The first piece of the why-Ello-is-doomed puzzle is their proposed freemium model, which many think just plainly won’t work. Instead of selling ads, data or putting up a paywall, Ello will eventually offer on-site purchases like multi-user logins, layout adjustments, or new ways of organizing your follows beyond Ello’s current Friends/Noise system. Read More

Anti-Social Media

Ello Founder Says VC Funding Is No Big Secret: ‘That’s Silly’

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Update #1: For anyone wondering when Ello will sell out, Todd Berger has gone on record with Betabeat saying that they “have NO exit strategy.”

Update #2: Brands are showing up like crazy to make profiles on Ello. Will it ruin everything Ello stands for? Nah.

The explosive new social network Ello bills itself as a safe haven for the cast aways, the artists, the anonymous — a new kind of community built around freedom of expression and lack of advertising. A social network with a manifesto that not even Valleywag can manage to be cynical about. But among many concerns about whether or not Ello can fulfills its promise is a sudden uproar about their funding.

On Ello itself, tech blogger Andy Baio wrote a post bringing to light the $435,000 seed investment from FreshTracks Capital, a Vermont-based VC firm. The post exploded in popularity, collecting over 13,000 views in its first hour as it was furiously tweeted with cries of betrayal. Read More