The Media Elite
Annie Leibovitz’s Silicon Alley photo shoot has finally made its way into print, as part of Vanity Fair’s annual “New Establishment” list. As we’d hoped, the magazine opted to pose Arianna Huffington in the sidecar of David Karp’s vintage motorcycle. (Guest appearance by Mr. Karp’s “French-English bulldog,” Clark.) Only in the version that made the October issue, Dennis Crowley is depicted emerging from a manhole, avec le swag. As before, the annual list is chockablock with tech types, but just like last year, Silicon Valley dominates.
Peter Thiel comes in at no. 37, repping for libertarian utopias between Tyler Perry and Ryan Seacrest. Elon Musk is no. 9 on the list, two rungs higher than Adele, but one spot below a new entrant: Pinterest’s Ben Silberman, no. 8. Despite Square’s caffeine-fueled growth, Jack Dorsey stayed at the no. 5 spot, but finally got the fashion props he’s been waiting for. “It’s a Prada suit; for everyday wear, it’s denim from Scott Morrison’s Earnest Sewn line, which was the first brand to use Twitter.”
Scattered among the elite are a handful of New York techies, present and accounted for. By and large, it’s the same group of people as last October, although it’s interesting to note how Vanity Fair assesses their power ranking, year-over-year.
It’s hard to be heads down when it’s hot out. Exhortations to “just keep shipping” trigger fantasies of sailboats; Friday afternoon happy hours just aren’t as appealing as sangria on a terrace in Spain. Besides–is there any surer sign of a healthy startup sector than tech stars taking lavish vacations?
Movers and Shakers
On his blog this afternoon, Andrew McLaughlin, vice president of Tumblr, revealed that he would be leaving the micro-blogging platform after just nine months to join Betaworks, an early Tumblr investor, as an entrepreneur-in-residence. Investment firms often tap employees at portfolio companies for that role. Recently, for example, Andreessen Horowitz poached Foursquare vice president Tristan Walker for an EIR position out in Silicon Valley, although Mr. Walker had clocked almost three years at Foursquare at that point.
In an interview with Betabeat, Mr. McLaughlin assured us that the move was “on friendly terms.”
Work It Girl
Judging by the pages of certain glossy magazines, one could be forgiven for assuming that founder/CEO/model is what passes for a triple-threat in Silicon Alley. (TV spokesperson is another option, if you play your cards right.) Today, WWD reported that Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp will be starring in J.Crew’s fall campaign. That’s the second print campaign for the notoriously advertising-averse Mr. Karp, who also appeared in a Uniqlo ad last summer.
I Tumbl For You
Twitter only recently started to mission creep over to the media side, but microblogging platform Tumblr has always chosen to define itself as a media company. In fact, in an interview with IT Pro published today, CEO David Karp said explained how that self-perception informs their long-awaited attempts to monetize.
It appears New York’s tech scene will finally have its own calling card–a glossy, cinematic affair shot by Annie Leibovitz. The celebrated photographer cordoned off the cobblestone streets of Soho yesterday to direct a photo shoot for an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair.
Let Silicon Valley have its tacky tiger-monkeyblowouts, we’ll take the Conde Nast’s version of Social Register, thank you very much.
Tumblr's Very Own
Once upon a time (by which we mean a few months ago), Tumblr CEO David Karp outright rejected the idea of ads. The scorn has lessened since the advent of sponsorship packages to the Tumblr Radar, but that doesn’t mean Mr. Karp has entirely come around to the inherent worthiness of advertising as a discipline.
This morning’s Internet Week keynote offered a little more insight into what he likes and what he doesn’t. To wit: None of your tacky traditional advertising, thanks. Tumblr wants “creative experiences.”
In a conversation with Internet Week founder David-Michel Davies, Mr. Karp elaborated on the kind of promotional content that doesn’t turn his stomach. As an ideal, he offered up the example of the Hunger Games promotion Capital Couture. Rather than registering hungergames.tumblr.com and slapping up the trailer, the film’s marketing team created a Panem fashion blog and invited fan submissions.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Tumblr president John Maloney took his leave of the company. Now we hear that head of brand strategy and marketing (and former Betabeat Poachable) Matt Hackett has departed, too. Formerly Tumblr’s VP of engineering, Mr. Hackett moved to his current role in September of last year.
He’s the second major departure (after Mr. Maloney) since the advent of a kind of advertising on the platform.
Mr. Hackett announced his departure via email, as first reported by Reuters social media editor Matthew Keys (AKA @producermatthew). He didn’t elaborate on his reasons, but apparently before making his decision, he talked it over with a host of people up to and including David Karp. Appropriately enough, Mr. Hackett has since uploaded a memorial gif to his personal Tumblr, along with the note, “I will definitely miss you guys.”
Taking a Tumble
Perfect 10, the company behind a nudie magazine and website celebrating the standout examples of the unenhanced female form, has filed a lawsuit against Tumblr for copyright violations. In a complaint filed in the Southern District of New York on Friday, Perfect 10 alleges that Tumblr failed to respond to repeated requests for takedowns and–perhaps, more damningly–that “Tumblr employees have posted infringing content to Tumblr’s servers to help start the business.”
The case could have wide-ranging implications as Pinterest, Tumblr’s consumer-oriented micro-blogging cousin, braces for similar complaints as photo-sharing apps and websites proliferate.
Armed with infographics and and boundless enthusiasm, tech prodigy David Karp wowed the audience at the fashion-tech conference Decoded Fashion on Monday with Tumblr’s astonishing growth and success.
Betabeat was sipping coffee in the lobby of Alice Tully Hall when we saw a young-ish man walk in. He looked like a well-dressed college coed, in a dark suit, black tie and gray sneakers. It wasn’t until we got a good look at his face (and shaggy bowlcut) that we realized we were looking at Mr. Karp, the founder and CEO of Tumblr, and one of the closest things the tech world has to a rock star. A very nice, sort of nerdy rock star.
Mr. Karp settled into his seat onstage with an enthusiastic wave, plying the audience with slides detailing Tumblr’s insane growth. For example, Tumblr has 16 billion pageviews a month, soon to reach 17 billion, with 600 posts per second.