Out and About

While a Chalk Coco Chanel Watches Over, Glamour and the CFDA Host a Hackathon

Hi Coco! (Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for Glamour)

An unusual sight greeted us when we walked into General Assembly on Saturday: a large chalk mural of Coco Chanel. “Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable,” read a quote from the designer who’d probably have more right to call herself a “disruptor” than most of the yahoos out in Silicon Valley.

“For me, the most exciting [development] is 3D printing, in terms of–if you can imagine getting custom measurements and printing your own garment, or your own shoe, or designer licensing a shape then you can download and print it,” speculated designer Rebecca Minkoff before she breezed out the door to keep her busy Fashion Week schedule. Read More

Planet Reddit

Source: Reddit’s Angel Round Comes with ‘Outrageous’ Terms

reddit-alien

Earlier today AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka offered up a new spin on rumors roiling that Reddit is trying to raise a round of outside funding.

This past Sunday, TechCrunch reported that Reddit is in the process of raising venture capital at a $400 million valuation. Thanks to a banner year that included an AMA from President Obama, 37 billion pageviews and 400 million unique visitors, TechCrunch said Reddit could now command double the valuation it had in early 2011 before its owners Conde Nast spun it out as a standalone operation. Reddit is still fully owned by Advance Publications, the parent company of Conde Nast.  Read More

Fresh Capital

MESA Raises $10 Million Seed and Series A Venture Fund Focused on New York City

Mark Patricof

MESA+, a four-year old venture arm of the investment bank and strategic advisory firm MESA Global, is launching a $10 million venture fund today for seed stage and Series A investments. The fund will be allocated towards companies in consumer Internet, digital content, advertising, marketing, and commerce and focus on investments in New York, from the Mesa+’s Union Square headquarters.

“Since its inception, MESA has worked hard to connect startups with our network in the media and entertainment world,” the company said in a press release, noting that, “we are a startup ourselves.” The firm has ballooned from four people to more than 25, including its three partners: Jacob Brody, Andrew Montgomery, and Mark Patricof. Read More

Can You Digg It?

The Digg Bang Theory: Can Betaworks Make a Run on Reddit?

Mr. Rose (Photo: flickr.com/joi)

In the winter of 2004, soon after the husks of once-great dot-com startups had dried and shriveled, a 27-year-old college dropout named Kevin Rose deployed a barebones new site, simply named “Digg.”

It was one of the first social networks in existence. Back then, the term “social networking” hadn’t shouldered its way into our lexicon yet. Facebook was a nascent, walled platform for college gossip; Google was still idly toying with its search algorithm; Twitter wouldn’t launch for another two years.

News itself was a hierarchical affair, largely produced and disseminated by trusted broadcasters and editors. Journalism’s democratizing forces hadn’t congealed, yet; bloggers weren’t sitting front row at fashion shows or making a living off of Google Ads. The idea that a community of Internet geeks could manipulate the news cycle would’ve elicited howls of mocking laughter from the Conde kingmakers. Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Trigger Media Expands InsideHook, a Thrillist for the ‘Established Man’ with Help from Actor Ed Burns

6460 inside hook martin sobey

In fiction, the experts tell you to write what you know. In founding a company, you’re told to fix the problems you find in your own life. So it makes sense, then that Andy Russell–a leading investor behind email newsletters like Daily Candy, Thrillist, Tasting Table, and PureWow–has decided the world needed InsideHook, another free lifestyle newsletter, but this one targeted to his own demographic: “The discerning, urban, established man who lives a fast-paced and rewarding life,” as the company describes it.

In a visit to Betabeat’s offices last month, Mr. Russell, who helped launch roughly one email property a year for the past eight years as a partner at the powerhouse investment firm Pilot Group, said he recognized the need to cater to the 35-to-55 set by looking at his own life. On date night, he and his wife would end up at the same sushi place around the corner. “My wife looks at me and goes ‘Again? Where’s the guy who climbed Kilimanjaro on our honeymoon?’ Or I used to own a restaurant in the West Village called Moomba. ‘Where’s the guy who started the hottest nightclub/restaurant in New York?’”  Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Yup, We’re Still Talking About the Facebook IPO Edition

(elitedaily.com)

NASDAQ cops to “arrogance” and “overconfidence” in the lead-up to the Facebook IPO. [Wall Street Journal]

When will people learn that you can’t sue Google for linking to something embarrassing? Otherwise the search engine would be worthless. [TechDirt]

Teens lie about what they do on the Internet. In other news, the sun rose in the east this morning. [TG Daily]

Conde Nast mags including Wired and The New Yorker are cooling on Flipboard, just as the Times ramps up its relationship. [AdAge]

A team of scientists managed to hack RSA’s supposedly ultra-safe SecurID 800 security device, which we assume means more than a few Wall Street IT pros are being pulled into emergency planning meetings right this minute. [Ars Technica]

Microsoft buys Yammer, to the surprise of absolutely no one. [Microsoft Blog]

Planet Reddit

Loving the Alien: How Erik Martin, King Bee of Reddit’s Hive Mind, Harnessed the Buzz

erickredd

The top-scoring link of all time on the social news website Reddit is a post that users were never meant to see at all. It is titled “test post please ignore,” but almost 27,000 Redditors found it so amusing that they voted it up.

That is testament to the website’s impassioned community—and their brand of dry, often geeky humor (the site’s logo is an alien, after all). But Reddit’s user base, which a recent PBS documentary pegged as 72 percent male, has wide-ranging interests. Other top posts include a link to a news item about the elderly volunteering to clean up nuclear waste in Japan following the 2011 tsunami, and a Q&A session with the famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Reddit is one of the country’s most highly trafficked websites, but its general manager, Erik Martin, keeps a remarkably low profile. Most Redditors know the 33-year-old Mr. Martin solely by his username: HueyPriest. Read More

In Tablet We Trust

Tablet for Two: The Brothers Mueller, Twin Maestros of the iPad, Will Make You See Double

10 Photos

Kirk (left) and Nate Mueller at the SPD Awards dinner.

Identical twins Kirk and Nate Mueller sat side-by-side in identical leather chairs wearing identical GANT gabardine suits fiddling with identical Le Pen pens. It was chilly December afternoon just before the New Year at the Fort Greene offices of Studio Mercury, a boutique design firm made up entirely of alumni from the Rhode Island School of Design’s hyper-exclusive Digital + Media graduate program.

The Muellers’ similarities are more than superficial. The twins, who are 27 and stand 5’5″, share the same bank account. They share the same calendar. They share the same curriculum vitae. The same sexual orientation (gay), brownstone (Prospect Heights) and taste in boyfriends (“over 30”). They share the same profession, and the same specialty (interactive design). They even, in a manner of speaking, share an identity. Email the Brothers Mueller at their shared account, and the only way to tell which Mueller is responding is by whose name shows up first in the signature: Nate & Kirk versus Kirk & Nate.

“We have this little notation,” said Kirk.

“Some people figured it out,” chimed in Nate, who, along with his brother, seems unburdened by matters of selfhood.

One stutters trying to figure out how to address them. “The Brothers, the Brothers Mueller, or ‘the twins,’ or ‘the boys,’” Kirk said.

In the year and a half since the Brothers got their master degrees from RISD—sharing the podium as commencement speakers in 2010—and moved to New York, they have created iPad apps for Martha Stewart and e-books for Vanity Fair and Bon Appetit. Coming soon are a political website for The New Yorker and an iPad app for Newsweek. Whereas most graphic and user-interface designers tend to hand off the technical work, the brothers do it all, relying on Nate’s speed in programming and Kirk’s facility with design. Read More

Old Dogs Learn New Tricks

Si Newhouse Saunters Into StartupLand In Search of Digital Dollars, and (Possibly) a Stake in Moda Operandi

sinewhouse

Startups must be in this season, because it looks like Uncle Si is starting to pivot. Advance Publications, the Conde Nast parent company owned by the billionaire Newhouse clan, is “quietly” making a departure from the glossies, newspapers, and cable companies on which it built its empire. Keith Kelly at the New York Post reports that Advance, “armed with a $500 million war chest,” is looking to invest in both the digital and startup world–both realms the company has struggled with in the past.

Earlier this month, Mr. Newhouse spun reddit out from under Conde Nast and into an independent company under Advance, perhaps hoping to better capitalize on high volume traffic, which in the case of some sub-reddits is basically as large as if they were “their own websites, ” reddit general manager Erik Martin has told Betabeat. Read More