Sex and the Valley
The Rosewood Hotel on Sand Hill Road, conveniently nestled near almost every important VC firm in the Valley, has long been a hotspot for wealthy VCs to meet potential mates. This is due in part to love concierge Amy Andersen, founder of the super stealth matchmaking company Linx Dating. She helped cultivate an unofficial “Cougar Night” at the hotel after setting up a meet-and-greet there for her wealthy clients in 2009.
That Sergey Brin sighting amid the hedgerow at Vanity Fair‘s Oscar party must have gone to the glossy’s head. Today, they attempted to catalog “Silicon Valley’s Most Stylish.”
Try as Jack Dorsey might with his “modified Mandarin collars,” this is a crowd that once compared its colorful sock flair to boardroom “gang signs,” so the bar was already low–especially considering that the New York Times already marked and tagged the every pair of Louboutins in the Bay Area.
Teach Me How to Startup
Quinn Norton speaks out on what life inside the Aaron Swartz investigation was like. “This will not be the final word on Aaron’s story, nor is it intended to be. Two years later, these are the events as I remember them, and the feelings as I knew them.” [The Atlantic]
Former dotcom millionaire Jennifer Sultan plead guilty to selling prescription drugs and conspiring to sell a firearm in exchange for four years in prison on Friday. Ms. Sultan, who sold her company Live Online during the first boom, burned through her fortune after becoming addicted to prescription pain killers. Let this be a cautionary tale for bubble 2.0. [New York Times]
Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz took to Rap Genius this weekend to decode Andrew Mason’s goodbye letter. Swag? [TechCrunch]
If you got an email this weekend from Evernote that it had reset your password, that’s because the company suffered a major security breach. [The Verge]
SpaceX Dragon has successfully docked at the International Space Station, which is great because we don’t really need any more griping from Elon Musk right now. [Ars Technica]
Agitprop about “coding as the new literacy,” lost momentum last year somewhere around the time adults felt compelled to issue public apologies to Codecademy for ignoring their email tutorials. But with President Obama shouting out high tech high schools in the State of the Union–and Chinese hackers inspiring a possible “Sputnik moment“–the cause of educating young minds in the ways of coding seems to have taken on new urgency.
Witness, for example, this video produced by Code.org, a nonprofit devoted to enhancing computer programming education. “Learn about a new ‘superpower’ that isn’t being taught in in 90% of US schools,” the description advertises. Wait, America still has a chance at staying a superpower? Tell me more!
death and taxes
GQ just published an in-depth feature on Reed Hastings, the endearingly gaffe-prone (RIP Qwikster) Netflix CEO. With a slew of original programming coming to the platform–including a new Netflix exclusive season of Arrested Development–Mr. Hastings is working diligently to turn the video streaming service into a true HBO competitor.
That’s all well and good, but Mr. Hastings has other worries on his mind: mainly, why did GQ scrap his photo spread? (No doubt the shoot would’ve given the Terry Richardson-Beyonce collab a run for its money.)
A funny thing happened the other day: somebody actually mentioned the debate over how the government should tax money managers in the context of the fiscal cliff.
Exit This Way
Marc Andreessen talks fast. And so when the Andreessen Horowitz co-founder sat down for a conversation with The New York Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin at Dealbook’s Opportunities for Tomorrow conference, he covered a lot of ground, from the fiscal cliff to higher education, the future of English majors, newspapers and self-driving cars, and other topics our fingers weren’t fast enough to keep up with.
Teach Me How to Startup
Earlier today, serial entrepreneur and investor Chris Dixon made it official. The cofounder of SiteAdvisor (acquired by McAfee) and Hunch (acquired by eBay), who invests both personally and through Founder Collective, will be decamping our fair city for sunnier shores to join Andreessen Horowitz as the Sand Hill Road powerhouse’s seventh general partner. We spoke with Mr. Dixon by phone shortly after the announcement was made to find out what it means for the many ventures he’s involved in here (like eBay’s massive new Flatiron R&D lab, which is slated to house 200 developers and data scientists).
Don’t hold your breath for an East Coast outpost, as cofounder Marc Andreessen emphasized earlier, his is a “single office firm.” In fact, based on the tenor of our questions, Amy Grady, a representative from Andreessen Horowitz who was also on the call, wanted to assure us Mr. Dixon’s hire was about more than just geography. “We didn’t hire Chris just because of New York. It’s a huge bonus, he’s obviously really tapped in, but if we find an entrepreneur with a great idea in Idaho, we’ll invest!”
Silicon Prairie, start your pitch decks.
Visitors who search for Harlem rapper Azealia Banks’ breakout hit, “212,” on Rap Genius, an online platform that crowd-sources explanations of hip-hop lyrics, will find nearly every verse annotated by the site’s users, who clocked more than 2 million monthly uniques in August, according to comScore. Click on the line “Now she wanna lick my plum in the evening / And fit that ton-tongue d-deep in,” and a pop-up immediately appears explaining that Ms. Banks is employing a metaphor for cunnilingus and that “She stutters the words tongue and deep to mimic the stuttering that occurs when one receives such a gift.” That exegesis received 11 upvotes, earning the contributor jamima-j, a female “slam poetry writer,” a healthy bump in “Rap IQ” points on the site.
Readers might find her analysis either amusing or unnecessary. But the reigning kings of Sand Hill Road, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, view Rap Genius as “one of the most important things we’ve ever funded,” co-founder Ben Horowitz told Betabeat last week. The prominent V.C. firm, which clawed its way into the Silicon Valley firmament in just three years by aggressively plowing millions into fast-growth tech start-ups like Facebook, Pinterest, foursquare and Airbnb, often at towering valuations, were the sole investors behind the site’s $15 million Series A.
Rap Genius, the Brooklyn-based site that lets the hive mind take a stab at explaining hip hop lyrics, announced today that they have received $15 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz. The powerful venture capital firm is run by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen and rap fanatic Ben Horowitz, notorious for starting his business-minded blog posts with a hip-hop epigraph. Read More