This week is the New York edition of TechCrunch Disrupt, which means it’s time for the annual friendly grilling of Silicon Alley personalities. Taking his turn in the hot seat this morning: Fuelband-brandishing Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley.
This year’s conference takes place in the least startup-y of neighborhoods: right next door to Penn Station, in the Hammerstein Ballroom. It’s covered in faux rococo detailing, and the carpet has seen better days, possibly during the Ford administration, and don’t even try sitting down on the stairs to make a phone call because you will be bounced.
So it was in incongruous surroundings that @dens tackled a no-fun question: Where did all the adulation go?
Do high-powered tech types have any idea of the right way to spend a weekend? Apparently not: When VC and former Square COO Keith Rabois made a critical, slightly snide remark about how Foursquare is faring, he ignited a two-day-long tussle over when it’s okay to criticize a founder.
I swear, sometimes you’d think we Read More
Several big tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Intel have publicly declared their support for gay marriage. They’re part of a corporate group that’s reportedly planning to file an amicus brief in support of overturning California’s Prop 8. [Bloomberg]
Yahoo would like you to know that its new, anti-work-from-home police has absolutely nothing to do with you (unless you work at Yahoo). [Mercury News]
“While hanging with my 12 year old cousin the other day, I unknowingly entered into the world of Tweenstagram, a vastly different space than the Instagram I have grown to know and love (and refresh too often).” Do go on. [Wisdom of Pearls]
Max Levchin, one of the cofounders of PayPal, is launching a new mobile payments startup with the chipper name of Affirm. “You will essentially be putting a purchase on a digital tab, and we are going to make it work for us by looking at all available data to determine if you are someone who will pay it back.” [AllThingsD]
Former Square COO Keith Rabois, who left in the wake of sexual harassment accusations, has landed at Khlosa Ventures as a VC. [AllThingsD]
When Lawyers Send Letters
Earlier today, news broke that Square’s COO, Keith Rabois, had left the company. It was a strangely-timed departure, considering Square recently raised $200 million in a Series D. Now, the Wall Street Journal has broken the news that Mr. Rabois is embroiled in a sexual harassment claim from a fellow Square employee, and resigned so that the allegations would “not cause a distraction for the company.”
Aleksey Vayner, the Yale grad who gained Internet infamy in 2006 for his video resume, “Impossible is Nothing,” is dead at 29. [Motherboard]
Square COO Keith Rabois is leaving the San Francisco-based payments company; Kara Swisher says disagreements with CEO and founder Jack Dorsey are at least partially behind the departure. [AllThingsD]
The latest petty sleight in the high-school style feud between two social media giants: Facebook has cut off access to Twitter’s new video-sharing service, Vine, preventing the app from using Facebook to find new friends. [AllThingsD]
What asshole decided to name a smartphone made for the African market YOLO? [Mashable]
A French court wants to force Twitter to reveal the identities of users who author racist tweets in violation of the country’s hate-speech laws. Twitter is deciding whether to fight the ruling. [NYT]
Considering a move to the West Coast, but not sure if you should do it due to all the Alley-boosting blog posts in Betabeat and your Tumblr feed? Here’s an Alley-to-Valley success story for you. TopGuest, a New York startup that launched in the beginning of 2010 to add social and mobile features to consumer loyalty programs, just had its big exit: an acquisition by San Francisco-based global customer service software company ezRez for an undisclosed sum.
CEO Geoff Lewis moved out to California with his two co-founders about a year ago to work on TopGuest, which raised $2 million and sported Peter Thiel as an advisor and Silicon Valley all-stars Keith Rabois and Ron Conway as angel investors, according to AllThingsD.
Death of Blogging
The idea that blogging is bad is borderline sacrilege in New York, where Fred Wilson, Charlie O’Donnell, Chris Dixon, Nate Westheimer, numerous founders and every biz dev hustler in town post regularly–on Tumblr, at the very least–and hold up the blog as the paragon of self-promotion.
Boo, luminary Keith Rabois says.
“I have invested in nearly 75 companies, no more than 2 of the founders have an active blog, maybe less,” Mr. Rabois tweeted on Wednesday. He thinks blogging has a low return and entrepreneurs and investors should spend their time on more productive things, he told founder, venture capitalist and blogger Jordan Cooper during a conversation at TechCrunch Disrupt. Mr. Cooper, of course, blogged about it.