When we think of something “going viral,” usually the first association is videos of pandas sneezing and clicky BuzzFeed listicles, not office management software. But a program called Slack is sweeping through media and tech companies, mostly because people who leave Hipchat and Gmail to try it out become major converts, and can barely shut up about it.
In only one year, Slack has become the go-to for teams at the Wall Street Journal, Airbnb, HBO, eBay, Gawker Media, Medium, BuzzFeed, PayPal, and dozens of other companies that are just as impressive.
Yahoo’s Q4 earnings were bad. Revenues dipped 2 percent to $1.2 billion and the stock tanked as a result. [BI]
Medium, which is not Tumblr, has raised $25 million in another round of funding. [Recode]
Apple added a TV section to its online store so that means everything in your life is going to change. [New York Times]
Netflix could finally expand to Germany and France. [Verge]
The Daily Dot has acquired the British version of themselves, The Kernel. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. [TechCrunch]
Uber is pissed at the person who leaked internal revenue figures to Valleywag, but didn’t deny that it makes millions. [AllThingsD]
Even creator Ev Williams is still figuring out what Medium should be. Hopefully the redesign helps? [Fast Company]
On Cyber Monday, Pinterest nearly tripled the revenue on retail sites that it sent traffic to. [TechCrunch]
Here’s what happens when you use bitcoins to purchase gifts on your Christmas list: you commission a portrait of your cat. [Time]
Airbnb’s new San Francisco headquarters have mini apartments influenced by major cities, like Bali and Paris. [PSFK]
Make It Stop
Netflix trawls piracy websites to see which television and movies it should purchase. Did you know people in the Netherlands still watch Prison Break? Neat. [TorrentFreak]
Dick Costolo’s $25,000 investment in Twitter will rake him in $10 million.[Business Insider]
Evan Williams laid out his great plan for Medium but it’s probably just another thing that’s going to be stuck in our Instapaper queue if we’re being honest here. [TechCrunch]
Rdio, a.k.a. “hipster Spotify,” has struck a deal with Cumulus Media to sell ads. [New York Times]
If words are too hard, Rotten Tomatoes is implementing its rating algorithm on TV shows. [Variety]
Bye bye beta
It’s hard out there for a startup, what with the tech talent crunch and all. A different kind of hardship than the one faced by America’s millions of underemployed, of course. But how are you going to recruit a programmer when Facebook can throw more money at almost any candidate worth having? At the seed-stage level, you’ll need more than the promise of equity and the ability to work from home.
Well, two well-funded companies have figured out one way to stand out from the pack: cutesy job postings!
Conversation platform Branch announced in a post on its blog today that it is now out of invite-only beta and open to the public. With no more wait list, users can sign up immediately to start a conversation or group on Branch.
Power Literary Hire: Twitter cofounder Ev Williams’s new publishing tool, Medium, just added an impressive member to its team. Kate Lee, a former literary agent from International Creative Management (ICM), has joined Mr. Williams’s startup as the director of content. Ms. Lee was responsible for plucking several bloggers out of obscurity and giving them book deals. The Observer announced her leave from ICM back in April. In a blog post on the site, Mr. Williams described her job as “encouraging, soliciting, commissioning, and contextualizing interesting ideas, authors, and institutions” and noted that she would be building a small team in New York to help her do that.
Branch Finally Lets You Hang Out With Your Friends: Branch, the social conversations site, just launched a groups feature yesterday. In an email to Betabeat, Branch cofounder Josh Miller described it as “Branch’s equivalent of a Follow button.” The idea was inspired by the conversations that people have at dinner parties, in which smaller groups form to discuss topics that they care about. On Branch, these groups can be added into a conversation. Branch’s example site includes a group featuring Mr. Miller, Medium’s Ev Williams, John Borthwick from Betaworks, Michael Sippey from Twitter and Facebook’s Sam Lessin. These groups have a possibility to create Bloods and Crips-like warfare in tech. Choose sides wisely.
Stuff White People Like
The elevators to the BuzzFeed office are magnificently slow. Each fits about six people comfortably, and they trundle and groan up to the 11th floor, where the company’s ops, tech and marketing people sit. “Considering how fast the company moves, it’s amazing how slow its elevators are,” quipped one dapperly dressed man as we all awkwardly waited for the doors to open.
Betabeat was visiting the BuzzFeed office for the first time to attend a real-life roundtable. Hosted by Branch cofounder Josh Miller, the event included beers and mingling among some of New York’s prolific tech reporters and entrepreneurs, as well as a discussion with Twitter cofounder Ev Williams and BuzzFeed’s own cofounder Jonah Peretti.
BuzzFeed’s FWD tech blog has stepped forward to answer one of the most burning questions of our time: where do you find white guys on the Internet? As a service to the caucasian XY-deprived populace, FWD focuses its survey on three somewhat similar bloggy or social networking-related start-ups: Svbtle, Medium and App.net: