Nitasha Tiku


Deposed Jetsetter CEO Drew Patterson Named the CEO of Room 77, a Hotel Search Startup


Skift broke the news today that former Jetsetter cofounder Drew Patterson was named the new CEO of Room 77, a hotel price comparison startup that raised almost $44 million in funding from investors like Expedia, Concur, Bob Pittman, and General Catalyst Partners.

Mr. Patterson was CEO of Jetsetter–a flash sales luxury travel site operated independently under the Gilt Groupe umbrella–for more than three years until Gilt Groupe chairman Kevin Ryan asked him to step down last May. The move by Jetsetter’s board followed an exodus of senior executives, low morale, and fears of a “mutiny” among staffers.  Read More


Zynga New York Is Back With a New Game at No. 1 in the Apple App Store [UPDATE]

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UPDATE: Yesterday evening after our post went up, Zynga’s What’s the Phrase moved from no. 3 to no. 1  for top free games in Apple’s App Store and is currently holding down the top spot.

Zynga New York hasn’t always had the chummiest relationship with Zynga’s corporate office back in San Francisco. The East Coast outpost was formed a year ago after Mark Pincus acquired OMGPOP and its mobile juggernaut Draw Something–installing OMGPOP CEO Dan Porter as general manager.

Things started to sour last fall when Zynga blamed a $95.5 million write down on its $183 million OMGPOP acquisition for a bad quarter. But after a round of office closures, Zynga New York remained open, which is in line with gaming giant catching the all-mobile-all-the-time bug from Mark Zuckerberg. COO David Ko (Mr. Pincus’ no. 2 man) also continues to speak highly of Draw Something and the upcoming, Ryan Seacrest-approved Draw Something 2.

Soon he may have even more to crow about to wary Zynga shareholdersRead More

Teach Me How to Startup

Hot New Startup Trend: Trying to Make Money

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Yesterday, Y Combinator (Silicon Valley’s ur-accelerator) hosted its biannual Demo Day at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

As cofounder Paul Graham announced last fall, YC downsized both the number of startups and the size of the investment in this current class. And fears that the accelerator bubble is about to pop were not lost on the 47 startups who presented, nor the 500 or so investors in attendance. Read More

Political Animals

Mark Zuckerberg’s Stealth Political PAC Is Reportedly Raising $50 Million

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The Wall Street Journal has unearthed more details about the Silicon Valley political advocacy group first reported by The San Francisco Chronicle.

Mark Zuckerberg–fresh off his fundraiser for Republican governor Chris Christie!–is working on launching the group, along with his close friend Joe Green, a former Harvard University roommate. Mr. Green was previously involved with NationBuilder.com and Causes.com and is now an entrepreneur-in-residence at Andreessen Horowitz. (As we noted last fall, founder Marc Andreessen himself contributed exclusively to a number of Republican campaigns, after previously supporting Clinton-Gore.)

But the tech and Republican connections don’t stop there. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Douglas Rushkoff On The Terror of Time [VIDEO]


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Over the course of 20 years, 15 books, and countless speeches and articles, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff has established quite a following among technophiles.

With titles like 2010’s Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age, it’s no wonder folks like Andy Weissman quoted Mr. Rushkoff to explain why Union Square Ventures led a $2.5 million investment in Codecademy, a startup that teaches anyone programming languages like Ruby and Javascript. (Not long after, Codecademy announced Mr. Rushkoff would be joining their team as a “code literacy” evangelist.) Read More

Off the Media

The Real Thing: Don’t Listen to Coke, Social Media Works . . . At Least As Well As Regular Media

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Last week, Coca-Cola put out a study declaring that online buzz has no impact on sales. And of course, that announcement drove everyone on the Internet to start buzzing about it.

AdAge, MediaBistro, Motley Fool, Business Insider and dozens of others all weighed in on Coke’s study, which “finds online buzz has no measurable impact on short-term sales”–driving thousands of tweets, likes and comments between them. (By “weighing in,” I mean they repeated the same few facts derived from the same presentation originally reported by AdAge in its “Buzzkill: Coca-Cola Finds No Sales Lift from Online Chatter” story.) Read More

Antisocial Media

@WorstFastAgency Gave Us Some Pretty Terrible Advice

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If you’ve ever sought professional advice from someone who puts “social media guru” or “marketing ninja” in their Twitter bio, you know just how little some experts add to the discussion. “Everyone is offering best-practice advice, optimization strategies, etc. It’s about time someone started offering up the very opposite,” Scooter Ramirez said, in an email to Betabeat.

Mr. Ramirez is not his real name, a fact which he felt compelled to remind us, but rather the pseudonymous handle of the cofounder of @WorstFastAgency, a jokey site that promises, “Bad advice for $1. Within 12 hours or less.” Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Elon Musk Can Have Mars, Jeff Bezos Will Take the Sea


Not that long ago at a piano bar in Davos, America’s preeminent billionaires got together to divvy up dominion over the land, sea, and stars. The minutes of the meeting have been kept secret–so as not to offend the world’s governments quaint perception of “sovereignty.”

Elon Musk being Elon couldn’t help revealing his ascendancy to Mars. Quietly, it emerged that Yuri Milner was given the Earth’s molten core, Sean Parker got Coachella and Warren Buffet rules the Middle West. Now, thanks to AllThingsD, we know about Jeff Bezos’ slice of the galatic pie. Read More

XXX in Tech

Brooklyn Couple Is Shocked Subletter Filmed a ‘Raunchy Internet Reality Show’ In Their ‘Vice Hamptons Crib’

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A Brooklyn couple just learned the hard way to always Google potential subletters after their East Hampton home was transformed into a studio for a “raunchy Internet reality show,” reports the New York Daily News.

According to a complaint filed in Long Island Federal Court, Scott and Susan Silverman were apparently shocked to find their home described online as the “Vice Hamptons Crib,” which sounds like a terrible SXSW party, if you ask us. The show being filmed there was called “pArty of 5,” and featured scantily-clad hot people doing hot things while drunk. So The Real World: East Hampton, basically? Read More

Go Gadget Go

People Will Think Less of You When You Show Them Your BlackBerry Z10

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In 2006, I came to college and I had a flip phone, which did not make me feel inadequate because in 2006, almost every other college student had a flip phone, except this one kid in my French class who was very tall and thin and an American Apparel model.

His father founded a major American novelty restaurant chain, and he brought his skateboard into class every day (he skateboarded to class), and he was the first person to make me feel inadequate for having a flip phone (actually not the first to make me feel inadequate about not being able to skateboard), even though he was really friendly to me.

He had a BlackBerry 8700c, and I thought, like, “Why would a freshman in college need a cell phone that costs like $86/month? He must be important,” because the only other person I knew who had a BlackBerry was my ex-girlfriend’s dad who worked for Citibank (also important). Read More