Citizens of the Internet Gather IRL for a Picnic in Prospect Park

Ms. He's sign

On a mild, sun-dappled Sunday, Betabeat applied our sunscreen and ventured to the Long Meadow in Prospect Park for an event aptly named “The Internet Picnic.” A few weeks ago, a friend of ours named Nicole He had won the Listserve lottery and was tasked with sending an email out to 20,000 random Internet strangers. Ms. He works in community at the crowdsourcing platform Kickstarter. “What should I write??” she frantically gChatted us, before eventually deciding to invite all 21,288 subscribers to a picnic yesterday in Brooklyn.

“I have a mole under my eye and I’ll be wearing red,” she wrote, and then posted the same invitation to her Tumblr, where it received almost 300 notes. Read More

Hack Daze

Etsy and Dwolla’s eCommerce Hack Day Was Practically an Olympic Event


And the gold medal goes to . . . MissNev!  No, we’re not talking another Olympic gold for Team USA, but rather prizes for this weekend’s first-ever New York City “Ecommerce Hack Day,” hosted by Dwolla and Etsy. The event was held at AlleyNYC–formerly known as The Hatchery–a coworking-space for early and growth-stage startups located in the Fashion District.  More than 225 people showed up over the course of the hackathon, which started at 10 a.m. on Saturday and didn’t shut down until 5 p.m. on Sunday–amidst a pile of pizza boxes, empty gallons of coffee, and discarded bottles of 5-Hour Energy, of course.

In the end, developers presented 37 hacks and won over $10,000 in prizes from high-profile startups like Foursquare, Constant Contact, WePay, and Zappos. Read More

Closing the Gender Gap: A Peek Inside Programs to Train Female Developers

The 20 Girls Who Code participants working out of AppNexus's Flatiron office (Photo:

“Maliyah, step away from the mouse!” called Ashley Gavin, a software engineer at the MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory and instructor at the Girls Who Code summer program. Maliyah Greene, the recipient of Ms. Gavin’s reprimand, reluctantly tore herself away from Photoshop to come and talk to Betabeat. We were sitting in AppNexus’s Flatiron office, watching her fellow Girls Who Code students work on virtually tagging brick walls with their names. “It’s not as hard as I thought it would be,” Ms. Greene smiled.

She is one of 20 high school girls who gave up summer vacation to learn about app development, robotics, web design and other topics at Girls Who Code, a summer computer-engineering program for girls.

Though this is its first summer in existence, Girls Who Code already boasts executives from Gilt Groupe, Twitter and General Electric on its board and has been working with AppNexus and other New York startups throughout the summer. Read More

Summer Fun

The Funniest Tech-Related For Dummies Books

(Photo: Twitter)

We haven’t thought about the prolific For Dummies series since a college programming class when our professor had us buy Flash for Dummies (thanks for the vote of confidence). So imagine our surprise when this tweet popped up in our Twitter feed and we learned that there is an entire canon of For Dummies texts that go as niche as niche can go. Here are some of our favs, since it’s the evening before 4th of July and no one is reading the Internet anyway. Read More


Want a Ticket to Etsy and Dwolla’s Hackathon? First You’ll Have to Solve a Puzzle

Screen shot 2012-06-29 at 10.39.17 AM

DIY marketplace Etsy and Dwolla*, a payments company, are co-organizing an Ecommerce Hack Day at The Hatchery in New York City in August featuring an impressive array of participants like Zappos, Constant Contact,, Sincerely, Twilio, Stripe, Gumroad, Kiip, and Busted Tees.

But to raise the bar for participants, the startups have thrown down a (mini) gauntlet. Read More


Etsy CEO: ‘Etsy’s Definitely the Kind of Company That Can Go Public’

Mr. Dickerson. (

Etsy founder Rob Kalin used to be fond of referencing Etsy’s future IPO. But lately, the crafty Dumbo-based marketplace, which says it has been in the black since 2009, has eased up on the rhetoric. After the latest raise, CEO Chad Dickerson intimated that funding from any new sources was not on the immediate horizon. “The funding also ensures that the company has the operating funds to last for many years so that the Etsy community is in a position to succeed for a very long time,” he wrote. Read More

Twee Fight

Controversial Etsy Seller Disappears From Etsy After High-Profile Protest

Ms. Schechter of EcologicaMalibu. (Photo: Regretsy)

The Etsy seller who inspired the virtual walkout dubbed Protesty has disappeared from the site, Daily Dot noticed today. The seller, Mariana Schechter of EcologicaMalibu, was importing wood from Balinese boats and designing furniture to be assembled by eight employees, which some users felt was a violation of Etsy’s rules, or at least its DIY ethos. EcologicaMalibu’s Featured Seller interview is still up on the Etsy blog.

Etsy has closed the latest forum discussion about EcologicaMalibu and told the Daily Dot that it was not involved in the removal of EcologicaMalibu. But before the company did, one forum user noted that EcologicaMalibu is has a new home: HomeSav, where Ms. Schechter also scored a featured seller spot.

Non-DIY sellers self-selecting out would be ideal for Etsy as the company struggles to keep its marketplace handmade.


The Maker Fakers: As Etsy Scales, the Definition of ‘Handmade’ Gets Slippery

Mr. Stinchcomb. (Photo: a.k.a. Jared)

Around this time last year, I developed a nervous twitch around my right eye that made me look like a Bond villain. Instead of getting more sleep or drinking less coffee, I decided to buy an eye patch—but, like, a cool eye patch. My eye patch should be unique and stylish in addition to being functional, I decided, and reflect that I am quirky and confident.

There are some things you can really only buy on Etsy. Read More