Almost Famous: The Stars of Social Media

Q&A: YouTube Star ‘Shoenice’ Chugs Deadly Amounts of Liquor for Fame

A typical day in the life of Shoenice. (Screengrab: YouTube)

The YouTube sensation known as Shoenice has proven that shock factor can still get you to the top. He’s achieved Internet fame by filling his channel with eating and drinking stunts that leave viewers with their jaws on the ground.

In his three years on YouTube, Chris Schewe has uploaded more than 550 videos, the vast majority of which showcase his outrageous stunts that could be fatal for others. The most popular videos are his alcohol “slams,” wherein he downs entire bottles of liquor in seconds. From the comfort of his own home, he’s slammed a bottle of Patrón (14 seconds), a bottle of Everclear (15 seconds), a small bottle of Bacardi 151 (6 six seconds) and four Jegar bombs (33 seconds) among many, many more. He’s also eaten condoms, a tube of painter’s caulk and Kim Kardashian. Read More

Crowd Power

Addictive App ‘Pyne’ Lets You Ask Thousands of People Whatever You Want

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 10.17.46 AM

We all have questions, and these days, it’s the masses on the Internet that we go to for answers. Crowd-sourced Wikipedia is allegedly replacing our need to remember anything and social networks are many kids’ first destination for feedback. And after all, the most visited site of all time is really just a giant question answering engine.

Pyne is a new app that sends your pressing questions right to the thousands of other anonymous Pyne users, who are a sample of all different ages, locations and backgrounds. It’s a sleek new contender — and likely the most addictive — among a number of new apps that ask the crowd to weigh in on our pressing issues or odd opinions. Read More

hbo's silicon valley

CEO Reveals What It’s Really Like To Win TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battle

Mr. Walker presenting UberConference at the real-life TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battle in 2012. (Screengrab: TechCrunch)

Craig Walker is the CEO of UberConference, a startup that offers high-tech conference call software. In 2012, Mr. Walker valiantly pitched UberConference on the TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Battle stage, where UberConference ended up scoring the first-place prize — much like Silicon Valley’s Pied Piper.

In honor of Sunday’s Silicon Valley finale, Betabeat spoke with Mr. Walker about what it was actually like to present a startup on the daunting TechCrunch Disrupt stage and emerge victorious. Read More

Q&A

Inside ‘BS’ Tech Jobs: What eBay’s Chief Curator Actually Does

Michael Phillips Moskowitz

Last week, Valleywag published a disdainful list of “The Biggest Bullshit Job Titles in Tech,” calling out kooky positions like AOL’s “Digital Prophet” and Tumblr’s “Fashion Evangelist.” Betabeat wondered, What do these people actually do for a living? What, pray tell, does an “Innovation Sherpa” or a “Chief Happiness Officer” do all day? Are their jobs as illusionary as they sound, or are they just normal jobs with wacky titles?

Following chief happiness officer Jenn Lim, our second interviewee was eBay’s chief curator Michael Phillips Moskowitz, who’s been working with the company since August 2013. Mr. Moskowitz is on the team leading the roll-out of eBay’s new “experience,” which debuted in North America on October 22, 2013, and will expand overseas to the UK and Germany in early March. Read More

Q & Oh Hey

You Can Now Pester Logged-in Quora Users for Immediate Answers to Your Questions

RIDDLE ME THIS, Quora users! (Photo: Wikipedia)

Quora, beloved source of information both practical and profound, has added a new feature that should boost users’ chances of getting answers to their most pressing questions. It’s already possible to ping recommended experts, using Ask to Answer. But starting today, you’ll be able to see which of those brains are currently online and therefore more likely to respond in a timely fashion.  Read More

Defoundering

If Silicon Valley Isn’t Like High School, Quora Certainly Is

Mr. Cheever (Photo: Quora)

Following the recent announcement that Quora cofounder Charlie Cheever will be taking a backseat role at the company, something of a revolution has begun to foment at the question and answer site so popular among the Valley’s elite. For a platform which purports to embrace openness and honesty as its core ethos, its own staff has not been particularly forthcoming about Mr. Cheever’s departure.

Social Times points out that a question about Mr. Cheever’s status at the company was answered by Quora’s other founder, Adam D’Angelo. Users immediately called Mr. D’Angelo out for his disingenuous reply, which was bathed in a thick coat of PR BS. One such indictment–posted by another startup founder–even garnered more upvotes than the original response. Read More

99 AMAs

NYPD Officer Does Reddit Q&A, Further Confuses Us About Legal Implications of Jay-Z’s ’99 Problems’

(Photo: Magnetic Productions)

If Law and Order doesn’t provide you with sufficient insight into those who protect and serve our fine city, perhaps this Reddit thread can help. A user named 10-13 decided to initiate an “Ask Me Anything” post last night about his experience as a NYPD officer.

Perhaps because the Occupy Wall Street fervor has ebbed, or because 10-13 is a well-respected member of the r/NYC subreddit, the questions weren’t as pointed or aggressive as we anticipated. Maybe anonymous user names don’t automatically engender bad behavior, after all. Read More

The Third Degree

Venrock’s David Pakman on Missing Twitter and Me-To Markets

david-pakman

David Pakman is a partner at Venrock and a board member at the New York Venture Capital Association. He was formerly an entrepreneur, helping to introduce the idea of the “digital locker” for music files and serving as CEO of eMusic.

Q: You always remember the ones that got away. Tell us about the startup you regret passing on the most.

A: That’s easy. Twitter. It’s not really fair to say that we passed, but we did not fight hard enough to get in to their Series C round. Read More