Code or Be Coded

Catching Up With Codecademy: Nothing Says Christmas Like Building Your Own HTML/CSS ‘Code Cards’

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Codecademy managed to win the holiday news cycle last year with its Code Year pledge that even got Mayor Bloomberg to learn to code in 2012–or at least tweet his New Year’s resolution. It was hard to miss the headlines crowing about coding as the lingua franca of the 21st century. But despite the best intentions, some of us fell off the wagon, hard. Read More

Ride or Die

Mayor Bloomberg on Taxi Apps: ‘There Is a Group of Cab Owners That Are Opposed to Anything’

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This morning, on his weekly Friday radio show with John Gambling, Mayor Bloomberg discussed the Taxi and Limousine Commission’s vote in favor of a year-long pilot program to test out e-hailing apps, which let riders flag down a cab with their smartphone.

As we noted yesterday, the pilot was a last-minute compromise when it seemed like lobbying from black car and livery car incumbents would prohibit the passage of permanent rules to open up the taxi market to any app with a license. (Black cars and liveries worry that the ability to “pre-arrange” taxi rides with an an app will hurt their business.)   Read More

startup rundown

Startup News: Etsy Goes Big for Christmas and Bloomberg Giving Away Big Prize to Makers

Mr. Dickerson (Photo: Twitter.com)

Lots Of Tiny Wicker Puppets Sold Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson took to the company’s blog to address his craft-obsessed minons and report big new numbers. Etsy recently hit 20 million members across over 200 countries. In the first week of November, they passed the $700 million sales mark and their direct checkout system has now processed over $100 million in transactions. By the end of the year, Etsy projects that it will have sold over 100 million items in the company’s history.

The company is also going all out for the holiday season and expects to have its best month yet. It’s running a multi-million-dollar online advertising campaign and opening a Etsy Holiday Shop in SoHo from November 29th through December 8th. SoHo though? Isn’t Greenpoint or Williamsburg more on target with the Etsy brand?

Chu Bets Against Zynga Betable has already announced partnerships with big game companies and is right on the path to become the Spotify of online gambling and pass its closest rival, Zynga. Ya-Bing Chu, a former VP and GM of Zynga’s mobile division, has now joined Betable as the company’s new Chief Product Officer. At Zynga, he was responsible for operating Words with Friends and Scramble with Friends. Mr. Chu explains the move in an essay on Betable’s blog, where he says, “I realized that Betable was the only frictionless way to enter the real money market, which is revolutionary.” Read More

Ride or Die

Scrrrreech! The TLC Explains Why Square Stopped Its Pilot Program in NYC Taxis [UPDATED]

Misty, Instagram-filtered memories, of the way we were. (Photo: nycgov.tumblr.com)

Ouch, we think we just got whiplash. A couple weeks ago, Mayor Bloomberg was photo-opping in the backseat with Jack Dorsey, founder of the mobile payments company Square.

But this afternoon, the New York Post got its hand on a letter from Square to the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) announcing that the company has suddenly pulled out of its pilot program in yellow cabs, which the agency recently stated was going swimmingly.

The pilot run in 13 cabs was testing Square’s service–featuring iPads in the vehicle’s partition and iPhones in the front–as a replacement for TPEP, the agency’s internal moniker for the TV screens and credit card swipers currently run by an exclusive contract with Verifone and CMT that expires this coming February.  Read More

Silicon Alley U

Eric Schmidt and Qualcomm Founder Irwin Jacobs Join Mayor Bloomberg As Advisors To Cornell NYC Tech

(Photo: CornellNYC Tech)

Cornell NYC Tech, the Ivy League school’s Technion assisted expansion onto Roosevelt Island, just got a huge PR boost from three big names. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Qualcomm Founder Irwin Jacobs, and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt have all been tapped to be advisors to the new tech campus.

Now they’re like the super-important ultra-rich white guy Avengers of Cornell.  Read More

Metro Tech

Speedballing: Time Warner Cable Spends $25 M. to Improve Broadband in Startup Hubs

(Photo: Wikimedia)

Today Time Warner Cable announced that the company expects to invest $25 million to expand its fiber optic network in both “established and emerging” business sectors around New York City. Many of the areas highlighted in today’s announcement happen to coincide with burgeoning tech hubs.

In a press release to Betabeat, Time Warner said it would extend its broadband capabilities in “the World Trade Center, the Flatiron District, all areas of Midtown and throughout the Financial District,” in Manhattan. In addition to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Time Warner is also upgrading fiber in the “Brooklyn Tech Triangle, the Brooklyn Army Terminal and Industry City.” Long Island City in Queens, the future home to Shapeways 3D-printing factory, will also benefit from the effort. Read More

Antisocial Media

Before He Was Mayor, Michael Bloomberg Actually Liked Social Media

(Photo: YouTube)

On Mayor Bloomberg’s weekly radio address last month, he asked his cohost a pointed question, “How do you govern when there’s an instant referendum on everything, before you get a chance to build a constituency, before you get a chance to do a pilot?” It’s a refrain we’ve heard from El Bloombito before. In March, he made similar remarks, telling a crowd in Singapore, “Social media is going to make it even more difficult to make long-term investments,” in cities.

It’s a remarkably abrasive attitude from a mayor who has made sprucing up the city’s social media presence a priority during his last term, not to mention his gleeful bid to become Silicon Alley’s primary benefactor. As it turns out, however, the Mayor wasn’t always so disdainful about the wisdom of the crowd or the democratizing wave of the information age.  Read More

Visiting Dignitaries

Cover Boys! Annie Leibovitz Shoots Fred Wilson, Dennis Crowley, David Karp & More for Vanity Fair

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It appears New York’s tech scene will finally have its own calling card–a glossy, cinematic affair shot by Annie Leibovitz. The celebrated photographer cordoned off the cobblestone streets of Soho yesterday to direct a photo shoot for an upcoming issue of Vanity Fair.

Let Silicon Valley have its tacky tiger-monkeyblowouts, we’ll take the Conde Nast’s version of Social Register, thank you very much. Read More

Metro Tech

Mayor Bloomberg’s Big Plan to Improve Broadband

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It’s hard to crown yourself innovation capital of the world without the physical infrastructure to support it. With that in mind, Mayor Bloomberg and City Council speaker Christine Quinn announced a number of new initiatives this morning, aimed at improving the city’s broadband connectivity for the 21st century.

In a press release, the city said the efforts are “designed to capitalize on the growth” of the tech sector. With the success of the applied sciences campus competition, it looks like the city will be relying on that model when it comes to broadband as well. Read More

No FOMO

Gary Sharma’s Internet Week 2012 Highlights (Nerd Proms, Rooftop Parties, Will Arnett DJ’ing, Michael Stipe Sightings ‘n more!)

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Aol’s Andrea Hong, GroupMe/Skype’s Steve Cheney, TechStars’ Justin Overdorff, Shelby.tv’s Chris Kurdziel and Lauren Appelwick, American Express’ Meghan Paul, Acquaintable’s Joel Rodriguez and Greycroft Partners’ Alisa Richter posing at the always epic Webutante Ball @ Internet Week 2012. (Photo: Nick McGlynn / This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), Founder & CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary@garysguide.com.

“I think I just ran into Michael Stipe!”
“Get outta here. Srsly?”
“Well it looked like him.”
“Wait, who’s Michael Stipe?”
“The lead vocalist for R.E.M.”
“Hmmm, are you sure you saw Michael Stipe?”
“Well he was bald and looked familiar.”
“Maybe you saw Moby. You sure it wasn’t Moby?”
(We all peered into the crowd gathered at the Hard Candy Shell party scanning intently to see if we could spot a familiar, bald rockstar.)

Welcome to Internet Week 2012, y’all! Where the young & the restless mingle with the bold & the beautiful mingle with the rich & the famous all brought together by the seductive beauty and power of this thing we call the Internets! :)

With over 500 companies and 40,000 attendees, Internet Week (now in its 5th year) is billed as a celebration of the city’s thriving Internet industry and community. As festival co-chair David-Michel Davies (a.k.a. dmd) pointed out, it’s the web, not TV, that is driving the conversation today and is the hub of all things pop culture. And New York is very much a big part of where innovation on the web is happening. “New York is an exceptionally entrepreneurial city,” Mr Davies pointed out. “People come here for opportunity, and it’s been like that since the city was founded.”

Well, you know what they say. Mo’ innovation = Mo’ Companies = Mo’ Money = Mo’ Jobs! :) Yes, I can get behind that. (Also it’s been two months since all the partying + boozing + schmoozing + debauchery of SXSW and things have been a tad slow lately. Internet Week, you’ve arrived just in time!) Read More