Bad education? CampInteractive and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian are hosting an ed tech hackathon at General Assembly this weekend, inviting developers, students and ed tech influencers to tackle improve the classroom experience. Since gold stars are being offered for hacks that help engage students with “unusually compelling learning experiences,” we’d like to suggest a Read More
Made in NYC
The small talk sounded heavy as Betabeat stopped by the beer counter last night at General Assembly’s Demo Night. “We just A/B test, A/B test” one young gentleman explained to his companion. “Meetings and meetings,” a young lady said to hers. Thankfully the younguns had a few hours of respite from the pressures of Read More
Nodejtitsu, the New York and San Francisco-based hosting platform co-founded by a pair of young but extremely prolific developers, had a mega release yesterday: Flatiron, a framework for node.js app development. It’s not the first node.js framework, but it’s had rave reviews from developers so far who praise it for simplicity, speed and sheer volume of code.
Notorious Nodejitsu just got a big fat “get out of jail free” card from Paul Graham. The New York-based startup has been persona non grata on the influential geek forum Hacker News since . . . well, we first heard about the drama, oh, back in December?
Mr. Graham, who runs Y Combinator and Hacker News, says Nodejitsu was banned for spamming; Nodejitsu’s founders suspected it was because they compete with Y Combinator alum Heroku. But as of Sunday night, Nodejitsu’s back in the game.
High Forms of Flattery
Alley vs. Valley
A FEW MONTHS AGO, AN ENTREPRENEUR in the tri-state area was soliciting web development help via Craigslist. “I’m looking for a Meetup.com clone script,” the listing said. “It must have all the social community features that Meetup.com has, including the capability to add new groups, users events, polls, connect to other social communities, shopping cart, sponsors and sub sites.” Meetup, which was founded in 2002 and has about 80 employees, is reportedly valued at more than $50 million. The asking price for a replica was $300 to $600.
Last week, two ads appeared from the other side of the fence: a programmer-for-hire looking for something to build who claimed to have built a Facebook clone in four days, a Flickr clone in three days and a Google clone in two weeks. He noted that he’d also created a Craigslist clone, adding, “but no one visits it so we are posting this ad to Craigslist.”*
When it comes to internet startups, much is made of the entrepreneurs who first bring an idea to market—innovators or “first movers,” in the parlance of market researchers. But vastly more common are “fast followers,” the ones who jump on a hot idea and dash off a carbon copy. After all, the first mover doesn’t always win the race: just look at the Mac, launched in 1984, versus the Windows PC, launched in 1985, or at Facebook, which came after Friendster, Myspace and the Winklevoss social network HarvardConnection.
It sounds like a Mortal Kombat match-up: Heroku vs. Nodejitsu! The former, one of Y Combinator’s biggest exits, recently launched support for node.js app hosting–the gold rush that New York-based Nodejitsu jumped in on a year ago.
Nodejitsu knew this was coming, it was just a matter of when. But node.js is still relatively unknown, and the highly-visible Heroku could end up sucking up the air before the younger start-up can get its own lesser-known, albeit catchy, name out. We asked CEO Charlie Robbins how he plans to handle competition from the Silicon Alley giant.
Is Heroku’s product a direct competitor to Nodejitsu?
Yes, Heroku’s offering directly competes with our personal and small business node.js cloud hosting offers. I have used Heroku in the past when I did some Ruby development, and their workflow doesn’t change switching over to node.js. I’ve heard feedback from some of their customers in the IRC room(s) that it is still somewhat rough around the edges, but clearly their new stack is a big step forward for them. On the lower-level, the work they’ve done with LXC process virtualization is very interesting when one considers trying to fully utilize available resources.
Did you guys expect Heroku to come out with node.js support?
Heroku’s experimental Node.js support came out in April 2010, and their first beta support was released at Node Knockout last year. We’ve known about it from the beginning thanks to our friends in the community.
The Start-Up Rundown
LOOKBACK. Turntable.fm continues to suck up all the air in the New York start-up scene–our top post this week was the news about the music site’s 140k users, but we liked this more rumorish postie better. We did hear some hand-wringing over the departure of young Josh Weinstein, Peter Thiel acolyte, rumored last week to be headed west–if General Assembly can’t keep ‘em, what can?
GAWKER CONSORTS WITH HACKERS. Gawker’s Adrian Chen has been tirelessly tracking the story of Lulz Security hack attacks. Mr. Chen spoke to a member of the collective via Skype, he claims, and although we’re not sure how Mr. Chen would know one way or another if he was Skyping with a Lulz hacker, the quotes are amazing.
“As an arrogant and violent sociopath driven to a frenzy by the sense of my own power, I can’t divulge the upcoming releases,” he said. (Earlier in our chat, Topiary had brought up a March Gawker article that he said portrayed him and his crew as “arrogant sociopaths.”)
After all this bluster, we asked if Topiary was worried at all about being caught. His response: “Worrying is for fools!”
Your week in New York start-ups:
ANOTHER ONE BITES THE FACE. Facebook has [edit: not acquired, hired the people behind] pretty, pretty Daytum, the two-person New York-based start-up that has been helping users organize and make spiffy all that data we create: check-ins, runs, hot dogs eaten. The app will live, the company said, but the team is moving out West.
Nodejitsu, a three-person start-up based out of General Assembly that’s basically bootstrapped themselves through a year of coding, just raised its first round of outside funding: $750,000, led by General Catalyst.
The Nodejitsu team is building a platform that takes advantage of the buzz around node.js, a relatively new technology that’s rapidly gaining popularity with developers. RRE Ventures and First Round Capital also participated, after Mr. Robbins was introduced to investors there through contacts at General Assembly.