Start-ups Silicon Valley: Recapping Bravo’s Version of Startupland with a Valley Native


Last night marked the much-feared premiere of Bravo’s “Start-Ups: Silicon Alley“–a bikini clad-allegory about the startup world’s penchant for self-aggrandizing that vacillates somewhere between a light-hearted brother-sister romcom and “True Life: I Have No Fucking Clue How to Pitch a VC.” It’s your standard Andy Cohen clubhouse fare with the life cycle of an early stage company as a plot device.

But it’s hard for Betabeat, sitting pretty in New York City, to assess what, exactly, the show gets right and wrong about Valley culture. Is the primary mode of socialization really costume parties? Can you get humans to deliver room service to your dog just by saying “social media” three times? Thus we enlisted a native Spencer Chen to separate the real from the fake, borrowing from the recap format pioneered by chroniclers of that other cinéma véritée classic, “Gossip Girl.”

Last night my girlfriend and I hosted a viewing party for the premiere of Bravo’s latest reality show, “Start-Ups: Silicon Valley.” (Yes, startups is spelled with a hyphen and mixed caps and that alone should have been a signal of things to come). It’s definitely one of the more polarizing things to hit the Valley recently because this time, it’s personal. Danny Trinh, a well-known product designer for Path, captured the general sentiment: Read More

Be Cool Stay In School

The Case for College: You Say Keg Stand Like It’s A Bad Thing

sarah kunst

Minority Report is a guest column by Sarah Kunst, who does business development and product at fashion app Kaleidoscope. She’s a black, non-engineer female in tech, but plans to IPO anyway.

Few founder origin stories capture the nerd mind like “Hacker as dropout.” From Bill Gates at Microsoft to Box’s Adam Levie, and of course a little-known CEO named Zuck, the allure of leaving the dorm room behind to rake in billions seems irresistible.

Recently, this middle finger to the establishment of higher education has been codified by billionaire rabble rouser Peter Thiel. This past Sunday, for the second time in three months, the New York Times found cause for a close examination of the virtues of Mr. Thiel’s 20 under 20 Fellowship as a way for exceptional teenagers to pass college and collect $100,000 to spend on changing the world. Granted, participants aren’t your typical undeclared freshmen at State College U. Rather, they’ve already exhibited Mensa-level intelligence, with a work ethic to match.

What doesn’t coordinate quite as well? Their social lives. A recent night saw several Thiel fellows–all under legal drinking age–at a San Francisco house party described by one attendee as “tech hippies doing drugs and sitting in a cuddle pile.” Read More

Tech Talent Crunch

Nota Bene: When Poaching From Google, It Helps to Hire an Ex-Google Recruiter

Ms. Loh (LinkedIn)

Poaching for tech talent has reached such a crescendo in New York that, in some cases, proper etiquette is being thrown out the window. As Business Insider discovered with a few LinkedIn searches this morning, there seems to be a some kind of secret tunnel between Googleplex East and Foursquare. According to LinkedIn, 18 of Foursquare’s 67-staffers hail from from Google.

Filching from the behemoths is fair game, of course, and restricted stock units and salaries at Google has risen to try to stop the tide. But that figure might be low-balling it. “A source close to the company said around a third of the company’s employees have experienced some time at Google,” reports BI.

That might have a little something to do with a trend Betabeat noticed last year. Read More