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

Talent Crunch

DeveloperAuction Helps Programmers Sell Themselves to the Highest Bidder


If you need more evidence to prove that developers are the 1 percent when it comes to chronic unemployment, take a gander at a recently-launched platform called DeveloperAuction.

Billing itself as the “first transparent marketplace for recruitment,” the site lets qualified engineers submit a profile, then startups bid against each other for the tech talent. Cofounder Matt Mickiewicz told TechCrunch, “We’re flipping the traditional model on its head, by having employers submit offers first, and interview later.” Read More


Booting Up: Tech-Mad Millennials Edition

Good morning, sunshine! (Photo:

Gen Y just loves working for tech companies. This study cites “flexibility,” which we’re just going to read as “free food.” [CNN Money]

AT&T towers are reportedly screwing with a pricey new police radio system in Oakland, California. [Ars Technica]

Quora assesses Y Combinator’s latest batch of graduates. [Quora]

Speaking of YC: Revenue was all the rage at yesterday’s Demo Day. [Bloomberg]

Shoreham, Long Island is one step closer to having its very own Nikola Tesla Science Center: The Oatmeal-instigated Indiegogo fundraiser to buy the inventor’s last remaining lab surpassed its funding goal late yesterday afternoon. [Indiegogo]

Six percent of the American population lives out of reach of broadband. [Wall Street Journal]

Reality Check

Pitiful Silicon Valley Resident Asks Quora to Explain The Outside World

(Photo: Rosie Says)

Listen, we understand the desire to reside in a big ol’ tech bubble. It’s so warm and cozy here, with beanbags for office chairs, free lunches prepared by gourmet chefs and cashed-out friends lending you spare Burning Man costumes. Why would you ever want to leave?

But sometimes the need for a reality check burns a hole in your chest, just beneath your hand-sewn, perfectly tailored Everlane shirt. While whipping through the city in an Uber expensed to your corporate card, you might grow a little wistful, hot tears fogging your Warby Parker specs. As you listen to MGMT on the iPod you got as a company Christmas gift, you might become nostalgic for a time when “pitching” referred to baseball and you could easily relate to How The Other Half Lives. Read More


BummerVille: Sounds Like Zynga’s Plunging Stock Is Sending Morale Down the Tubes

Plotting? (Photo:

If you’ve got shares in Facebook, here’s a sure-fire way to make yourself feel better. Take a look at Zynga’s current value (somewhere below $3), and you’ll feel nothing but a sharp rush of pity and there-but-for-the-grace-of-God gratitude.

So naturally, someone took to Quora to inquire, “How do Zynga employees feel about the company’s summer 2012 stock price drop?” One word in particular leaps out: Devastated.

One blistering response, from an anonymous user claiming to work for a studio acquired by Zynga, quickly climbed to the top of the pile, with over 600 upvotes. And it is a pretty nightmarish testimonial: Read More


Booting Up: The Mayer Effect Edition

Seemed like a cat pic kind of day. (Photo:

Two more execs are leaving Yahoo. Call it the “Mayer effect.” Or is that the term for bringing Googlers to Yahoo? [AllThingsD]

The social media sector has LinkedIn and Yelp to thank for boosting its image by meeting their projected revenues. The rest of y’all look like chumps. [Wall Street Journal]

Hey everyone let’s freak out and say you can’t read Quora anonymously. But psst…you can. Just change your settings. Problem solved! [GigaOm]

Au revoir, piracy police. At least in France, anyway. [PaidContent]

Yes, you can go to jail for admitting to rape on Reddit. Also, you’re a monster. [BuzzFeed]

Wiki World

Sorry, Students: Even Jimmy Wales Agrees You Shouldn’t Cite Wikipedia in That Term Paper

Mr. Wales (Photo: Quora)

It’s a widely-accepted adage passed down from class to class that citing Wikipedia in a paper is not just lazy, it’s unacceptable. This reporter had a high school teacher who insisted she’d outright fail us if she found us even using Wikipedia to glean information about a paper topic. Granted, back then Wikipedia wasn’t the well-respected bastion of crowd-sourced facts it is today, but still: citing the Internet’s favorite encyclopedia was–and is–frowned upon.

It seems that even Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales agrees with this nugget of wisdom. In a recent Quora thread asking what Mr. Wales thought of professors saying Wikipedia isn’t a “viable source,” Mr. Wales cut the BS and agreed with your crochety 10th grade teacher. Sorry, kids. Read More

Summer Friday

What Does It Feel Like To Create ‘Wiener Detection Technology’?


Confession: lately, Betabeat has been on something of a Quora binge. In a fit of heat stroke yesterday afternoon, we found ourselves wishing we could just type “Quora” along with any question and have the answers magically appear. Quora: How many degrees will my apartment be when I get home? Quora: What’s a good age to freeze my eggs? But in our estimation, the service’s appeal isn’t the answers as much as the questions. It’s basically a window into the secret preoccupations of the human mind.

Take, for example, one anonymous user’s probing query into the development of Airtime, the video chat startup cofounded by Napster alums Sean Parker and Sean Fanning. “What does it feel like,” the user asked, “to be the engineer at Airtime who created the wiener detection technology?”  Read More

Sex and the Valley

Ellen Pao: I’m Not Quitting Kleiner Perkins

Ms. Pao (

Ellen Pao has broken her silence to issue a short statement regarding her position at Kleiner Perkins, the firm she is suing for gender discrimination–on Quora, of all places. (Quora: a publicist’s nightmare?)

On a question asking if she had left the firm following her lawsuit, Ms. Pao wrote the following simple yet powerful statement: “No, and I don’t plan to quit.” The answer received over 250 upvotes, primarily from bloggers and techies, as well as 13 comments. Of note is one comment from 500 Startups cofounder and prominent VC Dave McClure, who responded with a strong gesture of support. “Hang in there ellen :),” he wrote, and 24 people upvoted it. Read More