If your week was as
hellish hectic as ours, you must be in need of a stiff drink. Pour yourself a cocktail and get comfy: here comes this week’s rumor roundup.
Step Away from the Crackberry! In case you missed all the Instagrams, Mayor Bloomberg performed some titillating acts of Startup Theatre on the stage at Gracie Mansion Tuesday night. The crème of tech society, including MakerBot’s Bre Pettis, General Assembly’s Adam Brimer, Yipit founder Vinny Vacanti, Google trends & insights editor Caroline McCarthy, Sailthru’s Aubrey Sabala, chief digital officer Rachel Sterne Haot and her husband, LiveStream founder Max Haot, gathered on the lawn for canapés and cocktails to celebrate NYC Connects 2012.
To enhance his usual Silicon Alley cheerleading, Mr. Bloomberg opted for props on the podium, like an array of Warby Parker sunglasses and a Seamless delivery guy, who shlepped takeout up on stage. The spotlight was enough to lure Seamless CEO Jonathan Zabusky out of Twitter hiding. Besides one of the guests complaining about a scripted “Hello world” joke that fell short, everyone seemed to eat up the promotional opportunities.
The journey from blog to book is well-trod ground for New York City’s literary aspirants. (Half of Urban Outfitters’ book selection, it seems, got its start as an acerbic single-serving Tumblr.) But, it’s not a career path you see startup founders attempt to cross. “Truthfully, I don’t think most people in tech even know I have this book coming out,” Texts from Last Night cofounder Lauren Leto confessed over the phone last week.
Surprise or not, Judging a Book By Its Lover: A Field Guide to the Hearts and Minds of Readers Everywhere, her collection of essays on the culture of fiction reading, goes on sale today from Harper Perennial, the paperback unit of HarperCollins with a reputation for publishing work by promising young authors.
The idea started with a blog post Ms. Leto published in 2010 called ”Reader by Author,” which was picked up by Observer alum Foster Kamer, then Gawker’s weekend editor. In it, Ms. Leto offered funny snap judgements about personality quirks based on reader’s favored author (for example, “Maureen Dowd: Women who remember fondly the first time they got their period.”)
Sorry, musicians: Unless you’re already Lady Gaga, streaming services probably aren’t going to net you much money. [The Next Web]
This weekend, copyright robots shut down Ustream’s livestream of the Hugo Awards, just as author Neil Gaiman won for his (pretty great) Doctor Who episode. Scifi fans are not happy. [io9]
There’s an app for that, and by “that” we mean war. [The Wall Street Journal]
Cambodia plans to hand the founder of The Pirate Bay over to Sweden. Unless, of course, Ecuador wants to make a habit of hiding Internet-beloved Swedes in its embassies. [Reuters]
“Meanwhile, AntiSec says it will not provide further statements or interviews until a mysterious request is fulfilled – to have a photo of a Gawker staff writer dressed in a tutu featured on the company’s homepage.” [The Next Web]
Last night, gangs of glammed-out New York techies and science enthusiasts trekked uptown to the Rose Center for Earth and Space to take in a stunningly optimistic program presented by Gizmodo and the American Museum of Natural History. The event was planned and hosted by Gawker Media founder Nick Denton (with the help of Brew PR), who appeared so eager about the “celebration of technology and discovery” that he tweeted about it numerous times prior to the event, published a grandiose blog post on Gizmodo reveling in the glorious achievements of science, and sent out an email to attendees: “This evening should be inspiring and fun,” he wrote.
“I’ve never seen Nick so excited for a social event,” one colleague remarked.
And who could begrudge Mr. Denton his excitement? The event was everything he claimed it would be–and perhaps more, depending on how many free cocktails you indulged in. Hosted by Ellen V. Futter, the president of the American Museum of Natural History, Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley and Mr. Denton himself, the gathering was as swank and inspiring as expected.
After a week of closed commenting sections, Gawker released its new commenting system today, and it’s a doozy. Nieman Lab has a great rundown of the changes, including a computer algorithm that sifts through the comments and looks for ones to feature, as well as “a new inbox [that] focuses attention on all replies to a user’s comments… the original commenter must explicitly approve a reply to allow it into the conversation.”
Nieman Lab reports that the proprietary system is officially called Powwow, but interestingly enough, the actual discussion threads themselves are called “branches.”
The Third Degree
After years of reading Ryan Tate’s piercing coverage on the free time and foibles of Silicon Valley’s demigods at Gawker, Betabeat finally had the pleasure of making his acquaintance the other night. Spoiler alert: He might be the nicest dude in tech blogging, despite what the press releases regurgitation factories would have you think. Mr. Tate’s former pen pal Steve Jobs probably put it best: “He’s no dummy.”
We also had a chance to peruse his new book “The 20% Doctrine: How Tinkering, Goofing Off, and Breaking the Rules at Work Drive Success in Business,” which takes its title and subject matter from Google’s much-admired practice of letting employees spent a fifth of their work week building whatever they want to. Like, say, multi-billion dollar revenue streams like AdSense or lifelines like Gmail.
The Real Housewives of Facebook
Well, well. It appears that Silicon Valley hater Sarah Lacy may have other reasons to despise the new Bravo show, aside from it is going to destroy the very fabric upon which this holy tech society was built. The reason? According to Gawker, Ms. Lacy was shopping around for a reality show of her own.
the startup rundown
HILL COUNTRY. Made in NY: Austin will celebrate New York based tech startups at South by Southwest on March 11 from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. at the Fast Company Grill at Cedar Door in the Texas Capital. The event will be hosted by Gust, and the New York Tech Meetup and will be attended Read More
TURNTABLE.FM PARTY CRASHED! On Thursday, New Work City had the rockin’est Turntable.fm DJ-off and techie dance party north of the Mississippi, we’re told, despite a miscommunication in the Pepsi delivery. Turntable’s cutesy avatars were cut out and pasted on the wall behind the DJs, which included Shai Goldman, bringer of dance beats as well as Silicon Valley Bank sponsorship. “Had almost 200 people, got crashed by drunk, obstinate Obliterati around midnight,” says one attendee. “A woman who claimed be society columnist for WSJ showed up with 10 people and pretty much demanded entry. Mind you, it’s $30 at the door to get in for open bar. Women from Zaarly also showed up part of this cadre of drunken ‘VIPs’,” he scoffed. Video here, photos here.
Osama bin Laden was the talk of Twitter today, wasn’t he, and we regret to say none of these rumors are bin Laden-based. However, they are mostly about tech! Read on for office angling, kittens, and the petty trials of internet mad men.
OFFICE SHUFFLE. Many tenant shakeups at the NYU-Poly incubator today, we hear from a source, “mainly because the biggest tenant, Ecological, moved in to their own office.” Finally–Ecological announced its intention to move months ago; companies had been itching to move into their old space. The freshly be-officed start-ups include Weeels (carpooling, “social transit”), BestVendor.com (social recommendations), and ”Two Lines and a Dot,” a consulting company that uses NYU-Poly students as labor. “Not really a tech company, as I understand,” source tells us.