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!
Bye bye beta
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.
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.
Stuff White People Like
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:
After the tragic loss of one of its core members, the team behind Diaspora–a Y-Combinator-backed open source “anti-social network”–went underground for a while, privately grieving while attempting to keep the well-funded and highly hyped company running. But the startup show must go on: AllThingsD reported today that the Diaspora team channeled their grief into a new site–launched today and called Makr–that allows you to easily remix and distribute photos.
Google Maps updated its transit layer and now has scheduling info for more than a million public transportation stops, but that still won’t make the F train come any faster. [Google]
Speaking of Google, its Mountain View campus has a 3D pasta printer for its employees. We’re not jealous or anything… [TechPP]
What’s the deal with Obvious Corporation’s new publishing platform, Medium? Nieman Lab breaks it down for you. [Nieman Journalism Lab]
Fresh off the heels of his amusing lawsuit debacle with Charles Carreon, The Oatmeal is putting his efforts into building a museum for Nikola Tesla. [The Oatmeal]
People pirate because it takes three years for Avatar to come out on 3D Blu-ray, apparently. [Gizmodo]