Forrst, a developer network that came out of the 500startups accelerator, announced today that it has been acquired by ZURB, a 15-year-old community for product designers to help companies do design work. This is the second acquisition for Forrst in less than a year; back in March, it was acquired by design community Colourlovers. The acquisition price has not been disclosed.
On a handout provided at the “How to Hire Developers in a Competitive Market” workshop a few weeks ago, a long list of descriptors attempted to serve up some insight into the psyche of developers. Among the more typical dev stereotypes like “tenacious” and “innovative” were more specific terms, like “sensitive BS detector” and “anti-establishment.” Oddly missing from the list were “Kegerator obsession” and “distaste for donning footwear.”
But we’ll get to that.
Much like unicorns or rent-controlled apartments, software engineers are a rare, fascinating breed. Many are sensitive to sunlight, only wear hoodies and boast a blood composition of 90 percent Mountain Dew. Unencumbered by emotional irrationality, they operate primarily on logic, using highly complicated algorithmic equations to make even the simplest of decisions, like which sushi place to order from. They are obsessive, strange and brilliant, and they make some of the most beloved products in our modern world.
Forrst, the professional community for designers and coders launched by Kyle Bragger, announced today that it has officially been acquired by Colourlovers, an Oregon-based design community. Not bad for a company created on a whim.
SKILLSHARE EVERYWHERE. Skillshare had two big announcements yesterday: 1) the democratized education platform is available in “every major city” in the U.S. now, and 2) CEO Mike Karnjanaprakhorn has been named one of 12 TED fellows in 2012.
FORRST RANGERS. The developer community Forrst has started posting jobs. Bring it on, Stack Overflow.
SAVE AMIT. The campaign for Amit Gupta continues! Upcoming: bone marrow drive in Delhi and swabbing party in Somerville and much, much more.
DREAM TEAM. New Work City is joining forces with the hackers of NYC Resistor to cross-promote events. Synergy!
XX INNOVATION LUNCH. “I’m super psyched for my lunch this Friday,” Charlie O’Donnell wrote in his newsletter this week. ”Marissa Campise from Venrock and Sarah Tavel from Bessemer are co-hosting a lunch with me for up and coming women entrepreneurs to get a chance to meet venture investors.”
Betabeat Approves A Thing
The bloodthirsty hunt for hackers is getting extreme. Developers get come-ons by email, through Facebook, cold calls; their listservs are invaded, their hackathons are stalked. But here comes Tinyproj, a simple solution to at least part of the problem. Kyle Bragger, creator of developer hub Forrst.com, has set up a mechanism for getting technical talent for short-term projects. It’s called Tinyproj. Think the “gigs” section on Craigslist. “People want short-term work,” he told Betabeat. “I had a hunch this could be interesting and valuable to people.”
High Forms of Flattery
A FEW MONTHS AGO, AN ENTREPRENEUR in the tri-state area was soliciting web development help via Craigslist. “I’m looking for a Meetup.com clone script,” the listing said. “It must have all the social community features that Meetup.com has, including the capability to add new groups, users events, polls, connect to other social communities, shopping cart, sponsors and sub sites.” Meetup, which was founded in 2002 and has about 80 employees, is reportedly valued at more than $50 million. The asking price for a replica was $300 to $600.
Last week, two ads appeared from the other side of the fence: a programmer-for-hire looking for something to build who claimed to have built a Facebook clone in four days, a Flickr clone in three days and a Google clone in two weeks. He noted that he’d also created a Craigslist clone, adding, “but no one visits it so we are posting this ad to Craigslist.”*
When it comes to internet startups, much is made of the entrepreneurs who first bring an idea to market—innovators or “first movers,” in the parlance of market researchers. But vastly more common are “fast followers,” the ones who jump on a hot idea and dash off a carbon copy. After all, the first mover doesn’t always win the race: just look at the Mac, launched in 1984, versus the Windows PC, launched in 1985, or at Facebook, which came after Friendster, Myspace and the Winklevoss social network HarvardConnection.
New York’s increasingly-popular start-up Forrst, a Tumblr-esque forum for designers and developers, appears to be the victim of a rather blatant ripoff from the Emerald Isle. A freelance Irish designer, Eamonn Murphy, has a splash page up for Furrst.com, “an exciting new web app for designers who care about content.”
Uh, wait a second. Didn’t someone else do that furrst?
Anatomy of a Start-Up
Forrst, the Tumblr-esque blogging platform for developers, started out as a side project for Kyle Bragger that took off on its own, and through a referral system and occasional whip-cracking it’s evolved into a robust community. Founder Kyle Bragger popped into another tight-knit web community–Reddit’s Ask Me Anything forum–to say hi to his fans this afternoon after users expressed interest in picking his brain.
Forrst was “originally a Pinboard/Delicious style utility for code and design. It was stupid simple but had a following model that inadvertently sparked the community growth,” Mr. Bragger writes.
Have you heard the excellent, occasionally dirty Forrst podcast about the developer community, design and technology, broadcast four times a week? You should. The start-up has cranked out more than 100 of them, and Forrst’s Detroit-based moderator Mike Evans is the production guru behind it all. “Go my route and you start thinking you’re CNN junior,” he wrote in an email.
“There’s been some discomfort recently with some of the perceived quality of posts,” Forrst founder Kyle Bragger wrote this morning in a blog post introducing new community guidelines for the site, a community-dependent Tumblr-esque forum where programmers showcase code and talk shop. “We’re also going to start enforcing a minimum threshold for what we deem a quality post. This does not mean quality in the sense of skill; rather, we are looking for a minimum amount of effort; we’d rather not see posts that clearly had very little effort put into them. That’s not to say that you can or should only post polished design and code, but it does mean that you should be thoughtful about what you’re sharing with the community. Posts that were obviously made in 30 seconds (and indeed, many even have descriptions along the lines of “made in 30 seconds was bored LOL”) won’t likely meet this threshold.”