Minority Report is a guest column by Sarah Kunst, who does business development and product at fashion app Kaleidoscope. She’s a black, non-engineer female in tech, but plans to IPO anyway.
Fortune magazine’s annual Brainstorm Tech summit is the Lincoln of conferences (the motor company is also a sponsor so kudos to them for nailing their demographic). Not the too-rich-for-its-own-good Bentley like Davos or the flashy Porsche that is TED. Rather, Brainstorm Tech brought together a lot of guys from Ivy League schools who work for companies with giant market caps and little buzz. They’re there to listen, network, and cut deals in one of the many hospitality tents at the Aspen Institute.
The listening part was easy as the speakers were relevant and quippy. Peter Thiel and Eric Schmidt went all Hunger Games for the crowd, trading blows on stage during dinner in what felt more like a sporting match than a debate about the future of technology. (You’ll have to excuse me if you already heard about their exploits, it takes a girl awhile to adjust back down to sea level.)
the startup rundown
SHUTTER. Luminance is not your average photography conference. Instead of focusing on the latest gear, this two-day program will bring together experts at the forefront of the technology we use to create, manipulate and share our images. Among the speakers are Behance founder Scott Belsky, Hipstamatic cofounder Lucas Allen Buick, Google’s Chris Chabot, Pulitzer prize winning photographer Barbara Davidson, Tumblr
CEO president John Maloney, Facebook Photos engineer Srinivas Narayanan and the School of Visual Art’s David Ross. All speakers will present a 20-minute TED-style lecture.
TOE, HEEL, TOE, HEEL. What Not to Wear‘s Stacy London is the cofounder of a just-launched site that aims to connect personal stylists with the stylistically clueless. Style For Hire stylists will perform a “closet audit,” provide personal shopping services or create new outfits out of clothes a customer already has—that’s called closet shopping. Now women who aren’t lucky enough to be on the show can still have their closets—and lack of fashion sense—torn apart, but without the benefit of a judgmental, national audience.
the startup rundown
3..2..1..BLASTOFF. It’s official: NYC is now one of the spots for NASA’s Space Apps Challenge, a two-day development event happening in cities on six continents and aboard the International Space Station. StartupBus NYC and the NY Tech Council are both helping with the coordination of the event, which focuses on how technology can address problems with minimal resources in creative and innovative ways. Register here.
SPLISH SPLASH. Don’t you hate it when all your friends get into a band you’ve already been sick of for weeks? You tried to spread the good sonic vibrations early on but to no avail—the world simply wasn’t quite ready for that new fangled rock ‘n’ roll music. But that’s not a problem anymore. Splash.FM, a new social music platform, will make sure you get the credit for discovering a band before they were cool. Splash.FM has been in private beta since Jan. 16 and is preparing to go live publicaly on April 17th. Like on Spotify, users can follow friends, search for and stream songs and make recommendations for friends—called “splashing.” Beyond that users will be be able to see what songs are trending among their friends and assign “splash scores” to rate other’s music discovery skills. It’s an official hipster socreboard! Splash.FM plans to eventually allow artists and labels into their analytics to see how when, how often and where their songs are being played. Take that, Spotify!
Earlier this week, Inporia co-founder Ryan Junee launched Kaleidoscope, a more monetizable take on those suddenly ubiquitous fashion apps, in the Android market. (Relax, fangirls, the Apple version if coming soon.)
It’s being described as “Pinterest meets ShopStyle,” and indeed, Kaleidoscope uses the ShopStyle API to source potential purchasing options. But there’s also an element of “human expertise,” Mr. Junee told Betabeat, with a team of fashion interns making sure the “shop that look” function links to the best selection of similar items. Mr. Junee said he’s also working on automating that function.