The Internet Makes You Social
Silicon Alley High
Around 8 p.m. on a recent Monday, about 35 people of disparate ages were sitting on the marble steps of the public atrium inside Two World Financial Center, listening to a 25-year-old in baggy jeans named Jordan Phoenix talk about Living. “This is the class where we figure out who we are and what we want to do with our lives,” he told his audience, a range of artists and professionals, employed and unemployed, 20-somethings and middle-aged divorcees who, like me, were drawn in by Mr. Phoenix’s aggressive pitch on the website Meetup.com.
As the post had put it: “This group is for you if you know you are capable of greatness, but are unclear and frustrated about how to get there.” The group, “Start Living in 2012,” had picked up more than 100 members in three days, which made it a very fast-growing meetup group indeed.
“I love that everyone here showed up,” Mr. Phoenix said. “Sixty-eight people RSVP’ed. Thirty people didn’t show up. Guess what? They’re not invited to the next meetup, because they’re bullshit artists.”
I had no intention of going to the next meetup. As much as I want to start living in 2012, I was merely a tourist.
On stage announcing the creation of a Software Engineering Academy this afternoon, Mayor Bloomberg revealed that the high school had the support of Fred Wilson and the city’s tech community. Betabeat has learned a little bit more about how that will work.
According to Department of Education spokesman Frank Thomas, Mr. Wilson has committed to financially supporting the school and to raise money for the school from the tech community at large. We have heard from other sources that Mr. Wilson’s financial commitment will be philanthropic and that the goal is to raise around $1.25 million, although that number has not been confirmed.
The sunny Polaris Ventures-sponsored Dogpatch Labs space is a mystery! Start-ups hand-picked by Polaris Ventures and entrepreneur-in-residence Matt Meeker get to jam on their product for six months and often longer rent-free, giving up no equity stake, agreeing to no “first-look” caveats, no strings attached, in a super space just south of Union Square. And despite some rumorous rumblings to the contrary, start-ups seem to have no trouble moving up after they leave. Today the five-person analytics start-up Spinback was acquired by Buddy Media for an undisclosed sum which was “very compelling”–compelling enough that the company scrapped the term sheets it had signed with east and west coast VCs for an (also undisclosed–but “very normal”) Series A. And after giving the company free rent along with the free coffee, free lunches and visits from tech luminaries that come with the space, Polaris Ventures made zero monetary return on their success.
Dogpatch Labs has interest from 250 to 275 companies for about eight to 10 desks, liaison Matt Meeker told Betabeat, after a steady increase gave way to a rush. “It’s been building over the past couple months, but the past couple weeks have really accelerated a lot (sorry for the pun),” he said. “I wish I had twice as many desks.”
UPDATE: Meetup CEO Scott Heiferman Responds >>
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Meetup.com is announcing something big next week.
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