Stand down, Instapaper fanatics: Betaworks has no plans to shut the service down. That was the first question out of Alexia Tsotsis’s mouth this morning at Disrupt, when she took the stage to interview CEO John Borthwick.
Wearing his ubiquitous brown corduroy jacket, Mr. Borthwick told her no, followed by an awful lot of throat-clearing.
Real Genius Andreessen Horowitz invested $15 million in Rap Genius to help its Ivy League cofounders to annotate the Internet. But how much will they have to pay to rein in the braggadocious Mahbod Moghadam?
In a recent issue of Wakefield, a newsletter covering “tech and startup insight not captured elsewhere,” Maboo was up to his old shenanigans, volunteering information about a “feud” with Mark Zuckerberg, who also happens to be backed by Andreessen Horowitz.
Apparently, Mr. Moghadam was at Ben Horowitz’s home, “chilling” with Zuck and Nas as is the new mode of Silicon Valley socializing. (Mr. Horowitz happens to be close friends with Steve Stoute, Nas’ former manager.) Despite Zuck’s heightened privacy concerns (it’s complicated?) Rap Genius cofounder couldn’t resist Instagramming his good fortune.
Airbnb Is a Belieber Early this week, CEO Brian Chesky tweeted out a photo of Justin Bieber, whose startup cred apparently extends to Airbnb renter. The Instagram shot was taken by Mazy Kazerooni, cofounder of #DominateFund, Ben Parr’s still hush-hush, celebrity-focused micro-VC. Gee, wonder who their LPs are?
Friday flashback This week the revamped Digg got an unexpected celebrity thumbs-up: Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit fame (infamy?) tweeted at developer Robert Tolar Haining, “I love Digg. Great job and beautiful interface.” “Why thank you sir!” Mr. Haining replied, because what else are you going to say when Fred Durst compliments your UI?
XX in Tech
There are precious few tech events for which Betabeat would agree to wear high heels. But if there was ever a worthy cause, it’s Girls Who Code. Thus between subway transfers, we swapped out our beat-up boots for patent leather and teetered our way around the cobblestone patches outside the New York Stock Exchange for the organization’s startup-studded gala.
The cause for celebration was two-fold. The first was showing off demos from its inaugural class of 20 girls, who represented all five boroughs and some disarmingly ambitious ideas. (We’re still scratching our head at Cora Frederick‘s plan to use data mining and machine learning to classify tumors.) The second was to announce an audacious new goal: to train one million girls in computer science by 2020, starting with a national expansion outside New York City next year.
The nonprofit organization, founded by former deputy public advocate Reshma Saujani and run by former Jumo managing director Kristen Titus, offers teenage girls an eight-week, full-time education in robotics, web design, and mobile development, with mentorship from engineers and executives at Twitter, Google, ZocDoc, Gilt Groupe, and more. In fact, Ms. Saujani noted last night, CEO Dick Costolo volunteered Twitter’s first philanthropic donation to Girls Who Code, although she politely declined to specify the dollar amount.
The elevators to the BuzzFeed office are magnificently slow. Each fits about six people comfortably, and they trundle and groan up to the 11th floor, where the company’s ops, tech and marketing people sit. “Considering how fast the company moves, it’s amazing how slow its elevators are,” quipped one dapperly dressed man as we all awkwardly waited for the doors to open.
Betabeat was visiting the BuzzFeed office for the first time to attend a real-life roundtable. Hosted by Branch cofounder Josh Miller, the event included beers and mingling among some of New York’s prolific tech reporters and entrepreneurs, as well as a discussion with Twitter cofounder Ev Williams and BuzzFeed’s own cofounder Jonah Peretti.
How does one properly convey just how miffed you are by a newspaper’s attempt to make money? By starting a blog post thusly, “Fuckers I am so sick of reporting on incremental tech news for fucking two years now.”
So began TechCrunch blogger Alexia Tsotsis’ invective-laced late-night rant about the New York Times decision to bring its paywall over to Flipboard, written, if Ms. Tsotsis is to be believed, “in between the downing of tonight’s two bottles of wine.”