Yesterday there was this meme where you could look up your own Uber rating, see what the DRIVERS thought of YOU.
When I first heard about this, I was deeply offended. I was like, “wait WTF, so I am paying all this money to be judged?!”
I am still pretty pissed about it, I think I am going to switch to Lyft. That way, I don’t have to be analyzed, I can just fist pound with my bruh-bruh. I am not a piece of meat, I am a human being! I think it is pretty shameful that Uber even lets the passengers judge the drivers, but whatever, at least I am paying to objectify this dude.
My introduction to Bitcoin came from the smartest living man. Balaji Srinivasan is the youngest General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Currently he is building a development wing for Andreessen—a project that, to my knowledge, no VC has ever undertaken. Ben Horowitz calls him “Young Einstein”.
Balaji is Indian, but has piercing green eyes. Looking at his face is hypnotic. He is a prodigy — he started teaching at Stanford when he was 26. The first time I met him, he took me to brunch in Williamsburg and we discussed asking Nas to record a diss track on this bitch-ass tech reporter whom we both loathe…
The conversation quickly turned to Bitcoin.
(adapted from Chapter 5 of entitled Rap Jesus)
When Rap Genius started in 2009, the name was Rap Exegesis — the words “Rap Exegesis” were literally the first words that came out of my mouth when Tom (Lehman — my co-founder/BFF) presented me with the concept. We worked on the site for six months with this name, and even though we loved it, we knew it would someday have to change because:
Rap Genius cofounder Mahbod Moghadam might not be working at the startup he helped create (which was recently rechristened Genius) anymore. But he’s not going quietly — he recently revealed he’s working on a book about his time with the startup formerly known as Rap Genius.
We had to get some more details, so we emailed Mr. Moghadam some questions about his new project and his past experiences. Also check out this book teaser Mr. Moghadam shared with us from his upcoming tome, Genius Inc.
When it comes to covering the tech industry, Rap Genius is the startup that keeps on giving. The average human can only take so many boring press releases about how a knockoff of Snapchat is going to change the world, you know?
But whenever the Rap Genius guys appear in public or sit for an interview, something bizarre happens. Today, for example, Business Insider broke the news that the annotation site has nabbed $40 million in funding from Ben Gilbert (as well as Ben Horowitz and Marc Andreessen, who is also an investor in BI) and that they’re changing their name to the catch-all Genius.
App for That
Earlier this year, I took a leave of absence from college to go work for the cofounder of Rap Genius, Mahbod Moghadam. I lived with him in his house — the “Rap Genius Mansion,” I started calling it — in Bel-Air, Los Angeles, for a month.
There are a lot of negative misconceptions about Rap Genius, but there’s a reason why they have a $15 million Series A investment and the backing of some of the biggest names in the game. They’ve done an incredible job of putting together a collection of the most passionate, talented startup people that I’ve ever been around. Seeing the way that its three cofounders — Tom Lehman, Ilan Zechory, and Mahbod — moved helped me learn in a way that college never could. This is a very serious company with a very bright future ahead of them, and I was incredibly fortunate to be a small part of it.
The Year Observed
Fresh off the Christmas Day SEO snafu that had Google leaving their site for dead (to Google’s own detriment), the guys of Rap Genius have launched an app.
The app, called Genius, connects to users’ iPhone music players, allowing them to read and annotate lyrics while listening to songs. A button allows users to get the lyrics for what they’re listening to, or the songs in their iTunes Library.
Funding rounds and IPOs come and go, but one thing we can always count on is the quirkiness of the tech sector’s execs. Herewith, a smattering of the weirdest things our favorite CEOs did (at least publicly) this year.
Teach Me How to Startup
The bros from Rap Genius opened up the final day of TechCrunch Disrupt NY with a very special announcement. They’re launching soon a new vertical called News Genius, which follows the paradigm of Rap Genius. However, instead of analyzing 2 Chainz lyrics, the site will explain news-related clippings and documents. That sort of sounds like journalism!
“I want Barack Obama to explain the news, the constitution and Jay-Z’s ‘99 Problems,’” semi-joked cofounder Mahbog Moghadam, adding that “there has to be a legal explanation behind that.” The site, which was the idea of investor/”godfather” Ben Horowitz, has already softly launched judging by its Twitter account.
Mark Zuckerberg is hardly the first billionaire turned off by the antics of Rap Genius cofounder Mahbod Moghadam. As Betabeat learned while reporting a feature on the startup’s $15 million investment round from Andreessen Horowitz, Mr. Moghadam’s career in tech began only after he yapped his way out of an internship with Warren Buffet.
In the midst of the recession, Mr. Moghadam was given a year off–with reduced pay–from the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf. Only Berkshire Hathaway found his personal blog, Beneficent Allah, where he wrote a satirical billable memo referencing the “Ballstate Insurance Company.” Allstate was a client of Dewey’s, the offer was rescinded and long story short, Mr. Moghadam now gets to dine with Nas.