shameless rumormongering

Rumor Roundup: Somebody Crashed a Drone Into a Williamsburg Rooftop and Techies Celebrate the Fourth

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Look out below Anyone lost a drone? It seems recently a GoPro Helicopter crashed onto photographer Joey L.’s roof in Brooklyn. In an attempt to get the device back to its rightful owner, he posted a video on Instagram, complete with crash footage and then himself, holding up the helicopter. So if you’ve managed to lose your drone somewhere over Brooklyn, well, you know who to call.

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Sad Things

Startup Workers In Soho Run Smack Into the Neighborhood’s Past

Soho. (flickr.com/westher)

It’s no Flatiron, but these days Soho is a popular place to locate your startup. One building alone, 568 Broadway, is home to Thrillist, Foursquare, ZocDoc, and 10Gen. But it wasn’t so long ago that the neighborhood was an entirely different beast, and today offered a pretty bleak reminder as FBI investigators closed a stretch of Prince Street. They were digging for the body of first grader Etan Patz, who vanished 33 years ago and inspired a nationwide kidnapping panic.  Read More

Electioneering at New York Tech Meetup

Mr. Diamond.

About 60 of 200 registered attendees gathered at New Work City last night to hear two-minute speeches by the candidates for an open New York Tech Meetup board seat. Meetup and NYTM founder Scott Heiferman stood in the audience in a red hoodie, board member Esther Dyson settled on the window ledge in a #newsfoo t-shirt, and scene staple Gary Sharma wandered about with his sponsored tie (Pivotal Labs and Inkba) as 15 candidates gave their vision of what should change about the largest meetup in New York, which last year incorporated as a nonprofit 501c(6), giving it the power to lobby government, among other things. Read More

Manners

Poaching Etiquette: As Talent Tightens, New York Startups Try to Stay Civil

(Illustration: Oliver Munday)

You can feel the love in Silicon Alley. The city’s tech scene is a brotherhood of mutual admiration and support. “Proudly Made in NYC” proclaims Meetup’s website; “Hatched in NYC” notes Aviary’s. Founders wear each other’s company T-shirts and tweet each others’ releases. They made “We Are NY Tech” buttons for South by Southwest and wore them proudly. Once in Austin, Betabeat asked the Bay Area superangel Dave McClure about the city’s tech prospects. “New York needs to stop smelling its own farts,” he said.

Yes, on the record.

Still, it turns out there is a limit to camaraderie. When it comes to hiring, especially in a competitive market, the shivs start flashing. Of the 184 startups that have “Made in NYC” emblazoned on their websites, no fewer than 130 are staffing up. That means if you want to build a startup, you’re going to have to poach some devs.

Slideshow: New York’s 20 Most Poachable Techies >>

Engineers don’t hop around in New York as much as they do in Silicon Valley, where noncompete contracts are unenforceable, but the city’s congenial entrepreneurs are raiding one another’s employees with increasing frequency. Before GroupMe was acquired by Skype for about $80 million, the well-endowed group-texting startup plucked developers from Gilt Groupe, Pivotal Labs and College Humor. The CTO of the fast-growing Betaworks startup Chartbeat, Kushal Dave, jumped to Foursquare in July 2010; the Union Square Ventures-funded Shapeways snagged Signpost’s former tech director a few months ago.

But startups don’t just compete over technical talent, which is in famously short supply. Thrillist nabbed Gawker’s Richard Blakeley to manage content strategy in March, and Crowdtap snatched marketing whiz kid Ben Kessler from SeatGeek in September. “We’ve hired about 500 people in the last 12 months,” said Kevin Ryan, the founder and CEO of Gilt Groupe, who still personally interviews every candidate. “They all have to come from somewhere.”

And while some take the Machiavellian view—“Is there any etiquette to that? I thought all’s fair in love and war,” said Lean Startup Machine founder Trevor Owens—most startups do observe certain gentlemanly guidelines. The unspoken rules of poaching are fairly clear cut. Don’t poach from early-stage companies you share an investor with. Get your investors involved if there is a possibility of taboo intraportfolio hiring. And by all means, keep your friends out of it whenever possible if you ever want to show your face at Tom & Jerry’s. “Never poach from close friends or people you know pretty well,”  said Jason Baptiste, the swaggering, crew-cut-sporting CEO of OnSwipe. “That’s a cardinal sin.” Read More

Startup Maniac

How to Get the Startup Internship of Your Dreams: SeatGeek Edition

Betabeat eats interns who breathe marketing for breakfast

Felix Delgado really wants to be an intern at SeatGeek, and why not? The General Assembly graduate is crushing it, having recently signed a big partnership with Yahoo Sports and outpacing their older, better funded rivals.

Assuming that it would be a crowded field, Mr. Delgado crafted a custom ticket stub. The front is a custom message to the founders with a QR code linking back to a FAQ page on Mr. Delgado’s website, wherein he asks (and answers!) questions about why he is perfect for the position at SeatGeek. The back is his resume.

“Over achiever of the year,” tweeted out SeatGeek’s Ben Kessler. Read More

Coworking

SeatGeek Needs More Chairs – Headed for New Office

ben kessler

Hats off to the first company to come out of General Assembly, SeatGeek, which helps users get the best deals on tickets being sold on the secondary markets.

They were part of the inaugural group of start-ups housed at the tech space cum web university in the Flatiron. Now they are moving to down to 11th an University to make room for six summer interns and a gaggle of new employees.

The company recently added Guy Oseary and Ashton Kutcher as investors, bringing some court side celebrity to the $2 million they had already raised from folks like Founders Collective and NYC Seed.

“We’ve currently got 60,000 events at any given time,” says SeatGeek’s Ben Kessler. “We just hired another full time developer and we felt like we’re reaching a size where it was important to get our own space to further establish SeatGeek’s company culture.”  Read More