Teach Me How to Startup
Caught In The Webb
Yesterday morning, Betabeat popped out of the subway a little further downtown than normal for an Internet Week breakfast panel at Eventi. The four speakers, assembled to discuss the city’s role as a leader in the new tech economy included Seth Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Rachel Sterne, the city’s chief digital officer, Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of Cornell NYC Tech, and Craig Gotsman, director of the Cornell-Technion Innovation Institute.
Considering our profile of Mr. Pinsky and multiple features about the battle between Stanford and Cornell to win a chance to build on Roosevelt Island, it was not unlike seeing the pages of Betabeat on stage–only with free pastries and a lot more suits.
So Long Staus Quo
Rick Webb co-founded The Barbarian Group, a digital ad agency, and is now a writer and angel investor in the tech industry.
I meet all sorts of people starting new companies. A ton of them are starting hot new tech startups and are out there looking for funding and often succeeding. Many more are starting much-needed service firms in high tech—providing much-needed services along the lines of iOS app development, web development, marketing, PR, content creation, and backend development. There are massively talented people in both types of companies. They do the same work. They hang out together, they have the same skills. They need each other.
Yet one segment of them have the potential to earn millions, and the other doesn’t.
It makes no sense.
Foursquare’s Naveen Selvadurai, Craiglist’s Craig Newmark, dotcom doyenne Esther Dyson and Nassim “I see black swans” Taleb walked into a Chelsea loft. No, it’s not a lead-up to some joke about how Wall Street is drowning the tech bubble. It was the scene of a dinner party hosted by Takeout, a budding consultancy that sloughs off the dated McKinsey model–train an army of MBAs to travel around the country consulting–for a fresh look more appropriate for the digital age.
Why ask an MBA to tell you how to fix your company when you can hire someone who runs their own? Hey, it could have saved Conde Nast somewhere in the six figures. Just imagine how their troubled iPad editions would look if they’d tapped the brains behind New York’s tech scene to figure out the internet instead.
Takeout, a reference to “taking out” the status quo (and not, say, Seamless deliveries), started in London in 2007, but recently ramped up its efforts in New York. By next month, it expects 75 percent of its business to be based out of its New York office. Microsoft, Gilt Groupe’s Jetsetter, and iVillage are already clients, along with a few other big players that prefer not to be named. But the proof is in the pounds.