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

Slow News Day

Kanye West-Themed Stuff on Etsy, on the Occasion of Gawker Rewriting an Old Post [SLIDESHOW]

14 Photos

Embroidered Kanye West Tweet

It’s Memorial Day, the sun is out, and no one is clicking things on the Internet. The New York Observer newsroom is quiet; half the Betabeat team is on vacation and one quarter is “working from home.” Even the bluegrass band in Times Square is absent.

So when Gawker writer Louis Peitzman, casting around for a subject on a slow news day, inadvertently rewrote an old Jezebel post about an Etsy seamstress who embroiders Kanye West’s tweets, we sympathized. We also wondered where else the Kanye West phenomenon and the world of Etsy might overlap. Many places, it turns out: a search for “Kanye” in Etsy’s section for handmade goods yields 242 results. Here’s the best and worst of the West. All for you, dear readers. All 10 of you. Read More

They See Me Trollin'

No Sooner Does Etsy Raise $40M Than It’s Hit With a Dumb Patent Suit

(Illustration by David Saracino / New York Observer.)

Man, is there anything worse than getting mugged on payday? Just last week, Etsy announced a $40 million Series F with investors including Union Square Ventures and Accel Partners, a round that’ll help the company go global. But Unified Messaging Solutions–a subsidiary of the patent pitbulls over at Acacia Research Corporation–has other plans. GigaOm reports that firm has just filed a lawsuit accusing Etsy of infringing its patents on “methods for storing, delivering and managing messages.”

Sure it has, Unified Messaging Solutions. Sure it has. Read More

Funding Fun

With New B Corp. Certification, Etsy Raises $40M for International Growth

Mr. Dickerson (

DIY-ers, you may now begin crocheting celebratory pillows and other yarn finery: E-commerce site Etsy, also known as Amazon for Twee People, announced today that it has raised a $40 million Series F round from investors, including Union Square Ventures and Accel Partners.

In a lengthy blog post, Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson strayed from the typical tech funding announcement, instead choosing to first focus on Etsy’s growth and continued commitment to making the world a better place through business. The DUMBO-based startup has scored a B Corporation certification, which “gives [them] a framework to measure Etsy’s success against rigorous values and responsible practices as [they] scale as a company.” Read More