When Lawyers Send Letters
Oh good, the folks behind Invisible Children’s botched Kony 2012 campaign are at it again. After the highly-criticized campaign’s frontman Jason Russell was caught running around the streets of San Diego naked, the campaign tunneled underground to avoid further scrutiny. But now they’re back in the news for a pretty silly reason. Turns out they have a few choice words for the NYU ITP students who started Kickstriker, a Kickstarter parody that imagines a world where crowdfunded wartime might be possible. College kids, amiright?
It’s lunchtime on the East Coast, which seems like a good time to talk about the BurritoB0t, which is arguably the tastiest invention to come out of the 3D printer trend. Yes: it prints edible burritos.
BurritoB0t is a senior thesis project by NYU ITP student Marko Manriquez that fuses Mr. Manriquez’s “two passions – digital fabrication and good food.” Also, it prints burritos.
According to TechCrunch:
The system will let you use your iPhone to order different condiments and toppings. Sliders control the amount of salsa, guac, and crema. It uses a Thing-o-matic and is currently in beta form, so don’t expect it to make you a burrito anytime soon.
Mr. Manriquez’s website says that he’ll be demoing the BurritoB0t in New York this summer, so tell your belly to stop growling right this instant.
Teach Me How to Startup
We were immediately intrigued by AllThingsD‘s story about enterprising NYU senior John Mardini’s new startup, Voyager Mobile. For one, Mr. Mardini wants to open cheap cellphone services to the public via the suddenly-popular process of reselling service on another carrier’s network.
For $19 a month, reported CNET, Voyager would give users unlimited text and calling on last year’s models of prepaid mobile phones. For $39 a month, you could get unlimited data, talk and text. As a mobile virtual network operator or MVNO, Voyager does this by spreading “its service across Sprint’s wireless backbone.”
And then there was the quote Mr.Mardini, who hails from Knoxville, gave AllThingsD:
Unless you’ve gone off the grid, you probably already know that Internet Week 2012 launches on Monday. But with a dizzying number of events to attend, it’s hard to figure out which ones are worth the time, effort and subway fare. Betabeat guest blogger Gary Sharma, something of an events truffle hound, already penned his personal list of recommendations. But consider this Betabeat’s official to-do list: blogger tested, Betabeat approved.
Looks like DUMBO isn’t the only neighborhood eager to flaunt its tech prowess. According to a new site launched last week, DUMBO is just one ‘hood that’s part of the “Brooklyn Tech Triangle,” which also includes downtown Brooklyn and the Navy Yard. A local coalition from each neighborhood has been tapped to represent its district in the Brooklyn Tech Triangle initiative, which seeks to establish the area as an innovative and welcoming place for tech firms.
Silicon Alley U
UPDATE: Read our liveblog of the Mayor’s press conference about the NYU’s new Brooklyn campus here.
Well that was well-timed! Hours after The New Yorker posted a profile of Stanford that tore at old wounds about the innovation engine’s decision to drop out of building an engineering campus in NYC–blame sour grapes or Seth Pinsky, depending on who you ask–the city is finally ready to make an announcement about a secondary initiative.
According to Mayor Bloomberg’s schedule, it looks like the second-place winner is a bid from NYU and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University (NYU-Poly). In its initial proposal, NYU wanted to transform the derelict former MTA headquarters at 370 Jay Street into a Center for Urban Science and Progress. At 1pm this afternoon, the Mayor will be joining NYU President John Sexton to announce a partnership to create a new “applied sciences center in Downtown Brooklyn.”
The Medium is The Message
Remember the The Listserve, the email list project announced last week out of NYU’s ITP masters program that would only launch if it reached 10,000 subscribers? Seems like people aren’t too afraid of it becoming spammy, because the team hit their 10,000 goal on Sunday afternoon, just a few days after putting up the site.
The Medium is The Message
It’s the sad truth of the Internet: you can tweet and blog your sweet little heart out, but there’s no guarantee that anyone is actually listening. But what if there was a platform that gave you the chance to deliver whatever thoughts, feelings or advice you had, right to the intimate confines of someone’s inbox? And they actually voluntarily signed up for the chance to hear you?
It’s not a newsletter or a shared-interest listserv: it’s a new project out of NYU’s ITP masters program called The Listserve that gives the chance for one person each day to share their thoughts with thousands through a random lottery email system. Users sign up to receive one email daily from a randomly selected user. The email can be about anything–from what they had for breakfast that morning, to a picture of a kitten, to a politically-motivated diatribe–and it’s sent, either publicly or anonymously, out to the other Listserve subscribers.
Where do startups come from? Today in Silicon Alley, they seem to come from engineers and disillusioned i-bankers. But Spin Transfer Technology, which just scored a whopping $36 million round, took a different track thanks to what is essentially a private equity-funded startup factory.
Allied Minds is a Boston-based, private equity-funded “innovation company” that discovers early-stage technology being developed at American universities and labs and then forms, funds, manages and builds startups around said technology. In September of 2007, representatives from Allied Minds visited NYU to check out research in magnetism by professor Andrew Kent, an award-winning physicist and serial inventor who was working on a “spin transfer” technology that could improve computer memory.
Allied Minds’s slogan should be something like, “We take your tech and make it into money.” Once AM determined the invention was legit, it cobbled together Spin Transfer Technology the way a record label might put together a new boy band.
This semester, Coursekit, an academic social network of sorts that gives teachers and students a way to communicate outside of class, tried a little experiment from the Peter Thiel school of thought.
Coursekit founder Joseph Cohen, a Wharton drop-out and TechStars New York alum, was already familiar with the work of Aswath Damodaran, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business with a big academic following. So last year, he cold-emailed Mr. Damodaran to encourage him to join Coursekit’s pilot program. “I don’t think he was looking [for a solution like] Coursekit,” Mr. Cohen told Betabeat by Gchat. “But when he saw what it could do…he and I really hit it off.”
This semester, Mr. Damodaran decided to take it one step further and offer both his Corporate Finance and Valuation classes to anyone around the world, for free*. Considering that an MBA from NYU-Stern costs $100,894 for residents (with a “recommended annual budget of $82,867), we’d say that’s a pretty good deal. (*Beer pong networking sessions with the future 1 percent not included.)