News.me’s iOS apps are no more. The team is pulling the plug to focus on Digg, thanks to onerous new requirements from Twitter and the fact the service is increasingly a competitor. Existing users will still get support (for now) and the email service is unaffected. [TheNextWeb]
This start-to-finish accounting of Ellen Pao’s gender discrimination lawsuit against VC firm Kleiner Perkins–along with the details of her husband’s financial difficulties–is riveting and a handy primer for anyone who wants to get up to speed on the case. [Fortune]
“The days when people could be very influential in the blogosphere aren’t here anymore.” Netroots ain’t what it used to be. [The Daily Beast]
As companies like Airbnb, Coursera and Uber begin shaking up traditional industries, they’re being met with regulatory pushback. Good luck with that, traditional industries. [GigaOm]
In the end, Facebook paid a mere $715 million in cash and stock for Instagram. It’s less than a billion due to–you guessed it–the drop in the value of the social network’s stock. [TheNextWeb]
Can You Digg It?
In the winter of 2004, soon after the husks of once-great dot-com startups had dried and shriveled, a 27-year-old college dropout named Kevin Rose deployed a barebones new site, simply named “Digg.”
It was one of the first social networks in existence. Back then, the term “social networking” hadn’t shouldered its way into our lexicon yet. Facebook was a nascent, walled platform for college gossip; Google was still idly toying with its search algorithm; Twitter wouldn’t launch for another two years.
News itself was a hierarchical affair, largely produced and disseminated by trusted broadcasters and editors. Journalism’s democratizing forces hadn’t congealed, yet; bloggers weren’t sitting front row at fashion shows or making a living off of Google Ads. The idea that a community of Internet geeks could manipulate the news cycle would’ve elicited howls of mocking laughter from the Conde kingmakers.
Can You Digg It?
The clock is ticking for the team at Betaworks, which has promised to overhaul its newly-acquired social news site Digg by Thursday. Today the team published a preview of V1, complete with photos of design wireframes and some hints as to what we can expect of the new release.
Rethink Digg stresses that V1 will adhere to minimalist themes. Many of the bloated features tacked on to the old version of Digg as an afterthought–features that drove many of its users permanently to Reddit–will be lumped off in favor of three core principles: “Top Stories, Popular and Upcoming.”
Hmm, that sounds familiar.
Can You Digg It?
On an aptly named new website called Rethink Digg, the Betaworks and News.me teams proposed a rather ambitious plan today: completely rebuild the ghost town-like social news aggregator–which saw many users decamp for Reddit–from the ground up. Oh, and they’re going to do it in six weeks.
Much like Lena Dunham on last night’s episode of “Girls,” New York technophiles seem to be embracing their “experimental” side. Some side projects are more facetious than others. But a new leisure pursuit from News.me general manager Jake Levine and designer Justin Van Slembrouck released today falls into the more utilitarian camp. Welcome to the Last Great Thing. Each day for a month, the duo plan on featuring a single link to the last great thing someone saw online.
The twist is that the site is “purposefully ephemeral,” Mr. Levine told Betabeat by email. “There will be no archive. What’s visible on Tuesday won’t be findable on Wednesday.” As far as gimmicks go, the disappearing link tops “by invitation only” in our book. We already feel a sense of panic over missing something great! Today’s entry from Clay Shirky is off to a stellar start.
the startup rundown
SHUTTER. Luminance is not your average photography conference. Instead of focusing on the latest gear, this two-day program will bring together experts at the forefront of the technology we use to create, manipulate and share our images. Among the speakers are Behance founder Scott Belsky, Hipstamatic cofounder Lucas Allen Buick, Google’s Chris Chabot, Pulitzer prize winning photographer Barbara Davidson, Tumblr
CEO president John Maloney, Facebook Photos engineer Srinivas Narayanan and the School of Visual Art’s David Ross. All speakers will present a 20-minute TED-style lecture.
TOE, HEEL, TOE, HEEL. What Not to Wear‘s Stacy London is the cofounder of a just-launched site that aims to connect personal stylists with the stylistically clueless. Style For Hire stylists will perform a “closet audit,” provide personal shopping services or create new outfits out of clothes a customer already has—that’s called closet shopping. Now women who aren’t lucky enough to be on the show can still have their closets—and lack of fashion sense—torn apart, but without the benefit of a judgmental, national audience.
the startup rundown
HOP SCOTCH. New York City based Next Jump, a company that strives to better match consumers with businesses, has raised over $500,000 to bring technology into more than 750 classrooms. The campaign, which started late last year, funds projects submitted through DonorsChoose by shoppers on OO.com, Next Jump’s discounts and deals website. The initiative has already impacted the lives of 85,000 NYC students, most of them in needy public schools.
TARGET MARKET. PeerIndex, the social influence marketing platform, has raised nearly $3 million in Series A funding led by Antrak Capital. NYC resident and former Thomson Reuters CEO Tom Glocer also invested in the round. PeerIndex, whose CTO is New York tech evangelist Sanford Dickert, seeks to identify “influential individuals” on social media and “facilitates sampling interactions between brands and these influencers.” Sounds effective—but kind of creepy.
App for That
News.me, part of the Betaworks family of social web startups, just released a free iPhone app version of its news curation and discovery service and, due in part to the C train’s snail-like crawl from Brooklyn to Manhattan, we’re pretty psyched to test it out. The startup, which was born as a prototype in the New York Times Research and Development Lab, aims to solve the “too much stuff” problem when it comes to finding news you actually care about.
To pull the right articles from the social media deluge, News.me’s iPhone app analyzes the links shared by your friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook to determine what’s relevant to you, using some metadata from Bit.ly (another Betaworks company) to help figure that out.
News.me already has a pared-down email product (of the top five links a day) and an iPad app that launched last April, albeit without the Facebook connection. But as general manager Jake Levine told us yesterday, the iPhone app is where things get social. The clean interface displays a nicely-formatted photo, headline, and, immediately below that, what your friends have said about the article, including their tweets and Facebook status updates as well as reactions on News.Me.
The Medium is The Message
In a certain way, the web is a terrible medium for trying to read articles. Your browser is full of distractions like Twitter and email that need constant attention. Which might be why users of News.me, the betaworks service created in conjunction with the New York Times, read an average of six times more articles on their tablets than they do when browsing News.me via the web.
“The experience on the tablet is more immersive, more contextual,” said Jake Levine, general manager at News.me. “When the iPad first came out everyone was complaining about how you couldn’t multitask, but I think more and more publishers and app creators are coming to see this as an advantage.”
Betaworks just got an entrepreneur-in-residence with some old and new media cred: Saul Hansell, former Timesman and the founding editor of the Grey Lady’s Bits blog just announced he’s coming aboard. Mr. Hansell headed up AOL’s freelance network, Seed.com (now “in the process of reformatting” and not giving out any new assignments, hm) before AOL bought the Huffington Post. “Seed is in fact thriving and will continue stronger than ever as part of AOL’s Advertising.com group, which is devoted to providing the best tools to online publishers and marketers,” Mr. Hansell wrote at the time.