In a stunning gesture of support for EXCLUSIVE airplane journalism, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is leading a $5 million round in Business Insider, the web property helmed by Henry Blodget. The news comes following a detailed New Yorker profile of Mr. Blodget, who launched Business Insider after being banned from the securities industry for civil securities fraud.
File this one under ‘second acts in American lives’: This week, Business Insider honcho Henry Blodget gets the New Yorker treatment (subscription only, you cheap bastards), with a profile by none other than the bold-faced Ken Auletta. Sure, he’s still banned for life from the securities business (for now!), but being written up by Mr. Auletta ain’t too bad as a life consolation prize.
A little more than a year ago, Betabeat reported that despite his lofty role as chairman and chief executive officer of 10gen, the company behind the MongoDB database language, Dwight Merriman was still mixing it up with his developers, drinking beer and writing code with the company’s engineers.
What’s a young CEO to do amid rumors that he may soon be relieved of his duties? Hunker down and lobby privately for an extended tenure? Or sit for a public interview on the subject of his imminent demise?
That was the question from Groupon CEO Andrew Mason faced this week, as gossip swirled Read More
Late last night, Twitter tongues wagged as to whether Groupon’s goofy CEO Andrew Mason would actually show up for his scheduled appearance at Business Insider’s Ignition conference in New York, especially after his name disappeared from the agenda.
“He has been off most relevant agendas for quite some time. The exception, of course, is the SEC watch list,” Interview Circuit founder Jon Sterling quipped, referencing the beleaguered company’s repeated run-ins with the commission (most recently over revenue details from its new business lines and questions about the daily deal site’s financial revision this spring.)
It’s a gloomy, rainy Friday in New York, but we’re about to serve you a piping hot bowl of gossip. Bon appetit!
Map-maker, Map-maker, Build Me a Map! If Tim Cook‘s mea culpa wasn’t enough to demonstrate how hard Apple is scrambling to fix its iOS 6 mapocalypse, then how about its last ditch recruiting techniques to find Ruby developers? Mojo Talantikite, a cluster engineer at Engine Yard in New York City, said he (and a number of his technically talented friends) have been hit up by Apple recruiters recently.
“I don’t think it’s too out of the ordinary for a company to scramble to soak up talent once they figure out their product is deficient,” he told Betabeat by email. “But considering that the beta of Apple Maps was terrible three months ago, you’d think they would have started the aggressive recruitment phase then,” he said, adding, “It’s pretty easy to realize they are in put out the fire mode.”
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.
Marissa Mayer is reportedly getting straight to work Googlifying Yahoo. She officially made the food in the Valley HQ free again, much to the delight of the company’s starving engineers. [AllThingsD]
Speaking of Ms. Mayer, Dave McClure thinks she should focus on transforming Yahoo into a female-oriented company. Unfortunately, he called his blog post on the idea, “Pink is the new Purple.” [500 Hats]
Craigslist is stifling innovation by suing PadMapper. [New York Times]
Companies actually listen to your online reviews. Rejoice, asshole Yelpers! [Wall Street Journal]
Presented without comment: “Mr. Blodget now presides over Business Insider from a makeshift standing desk in the middle of a 50-person newsroom in New York, where he barks questions (“Is it cool?” “Can we clip that video?”) at his reporters.” [WSJ]
This week’s cover story for New York magazine is a rather defensive profile of Mark “Watch Out My IPO Pop” Zuckerberg that seems designed to convince readers that Zuck having 57 percent of Facebook voting shares is a great idea. The piece is penned by none other than dotcom champion and Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget. In honor of Mr. Blodget’s reappearance in the mag, we considered opting for a BI classic like “The 25 Hottest Facts from Henry Blodget You Won’t Believe!!!” or even “CONFIRMED: Mark Zuckerberg Is a ‘Brilliant CEO’” as the story sets out to prove.
Unfortunately, the story is a write-around, which means Mr. Blodget didn’t get access to Mr. Zuckerberg–natural during the quiet period. And if you’ve read David Kirkpatrick’s The Facebook Effect, seen Zuck sweat on stage with Kara Swisher, perused Ken Auletta’s excellent profile of Sheryl Sandberg, or can name the founders of Andreessen Horowitz, there isn’t much news to report.
We did, however, enjoy Mr. Blodget’s opaque nod to that time he got banned for life from the securities industry for pumping up stocks in public, while he was bad-mouthing them in private:
IP Uh Oh
Groupon, Groupon, Groupon: Everyone’s talking about the original daily deals company in the leadup to their public debut on the markets. Everyone has a theory about what their company is and isn’t; what their future can be and can’t. And Business Insider—ever so often derided for their cut-and-paste journalism—did something late last night with Groupon that they sometimes tend to do: published a sprawling, sensational, and sourced piece of reporting that covers entire swaths of narratives both primary and otherwise on a hot subject. Meet “INSIDE GROUPON: The Truth About The World’s Most Controversial Company.“
It doesn’t contain any groundbreaking revelations on the company. It’s not going to open them up to further points of scrutiny or single-handedly change the fate of Groupon’s IPO.
But it does offer some great insight from the inside and it is, admittedly, an excellent read. Here are our favorite parts: