Science Rules

At the Rose Center for Earth and Space, First Comes the Dream; Then, the Soon-To-Be Reality

(Photo: Brooke Hammerling, Instagram)

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. Read More

Commenting Wars

Branching Out: How Josh Miller Went From Princeton Dropout to Alley Darling in Just Nine Months

Big day for Josh Miller. (joshm.co)

On a recent Wednesday afternoon, Josh Miller, the precocious 21-year-old Princeton dropout behind Branch, one of tech’s most buzzed-about new startups, took The Observer on a tour of the Obvious Corporation, a growing operation helmed by the cofounders of Twitter that advises and invests in an elite set of fledgling tech companies, Branch among them.

The San Francisco office radiated industrial California coziness, with tall windows and exposed pipes, dark grey walls and a fridge overflowing with Vitamin Water. Mr. Miller, who is tall and insouciant, with the laid-back linguistic tenor of one who spent his childhood in Santa Monica, bustled about the office, seemingly unthreatened by the fact that he is both much younger and less experienced than the majority of Obvious employees.

“Check this out!” he called from a breezy conference room with a panoramic view of downtown San Francisco. He pointed to a wet bar fully stocked with top-shelf bottles. “You know, I’m just out of college, so sometimes I’m, like, afraid to drink any of this because it’s so expensive! It’s like, where’s the Franzia?” he joked, referring to the cheap boxed wine favored by destitute college students. Read More

Alley vs. Valley

Branch Cofounder Josh Miller Returning to NYC Because ‘San Francisco is Just Too Nice’

Mr. Miller (joshm.co)

Attention, everyone. Josh Miller, Princeton dropout and cofounder of Branch–a curated discussion platform backed by some big name financiers–would like you to know that he has decided to return to New York (cue thunderous applause).

In an earnest missive penned for PandoDaily, Mr. Miller explains that he has decided to leave the Obvious Corporation’s San Francisco HQ to move back to New York, where Branch first started. Jason Goldman, COO of the Obvious Corporation and ex VP of product for Twitter, is heading to New York with him, where they can continue to work on Branch with the help of that sweet $2 million they just pocketed. Read More