startup rundown

Startup News: David Karp And Rachel Sterne Get Judgemental and Louis C.K. Inspires a Startup

Hipstblr (Photo: wikipedia.org)

Game Over? There seems to be a mass exodus at Zynga. It was reported yesterday that Wilson Kriegel, the former chief revenue officer of Omgpop, has now left the company. In the last 30 days, the company has lost its COO, CCO, and two vice presidents. Maybe it’s time for them to “draw something” different, like a new management plan.

A New Hope? In much better Zynga news, the company has partnered with Food Network’s Robert Irvine to help beef up its Chefville game. Mr. Irvine has introduced a series of challenges to help improve the game where you run your own restaurant. “I couldn’t be more honored to have an avatar of myself and Restaurant: Impossible be a part of ChefVille,” Robert Irvine said in a press release. “As we lend insight to players on what it takes to create their dream restaurant while earning my approval.” Read More

Wedding Season

Rachel Sterne and Jakob Lodwick Got Married This Weekend (But Not to Each Other)

jakob lodwick

Love must be in the sticky, humid, sweltering air this season. After three Facebook mafia nuptials in a succession, New York techies are taking their turn at the altar.

The New York Times covered Rachel Sterne‘s East Hamptons wedding to LiveStream founder and CEO Maxime Haot twice in the past two months, once in a trend story about live-streaming your special day. (Yes, they live-streamed it. No, you couldn’t watch without a password.)

However, Vimeo cofounder Jakob Lodwick, perhaps burned by the public’s response to previous displays of affection, avoided the paper of record’s carefully combed-over Wedding section. Read More

No FOMO

Gary Sharma’s Internet Week 2012 Highlights (Nerd Proms, Rooftop Parties, Will Arnett DJ’ing, Michael Stipe Sightings ‘n more!)

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Aol’s Andrea Hong, GroupMe/Skype’s Steve Cheney, TechStars’ Justin Overdorff, Shelby.tv’s Chris Kurdziel and Lauren Appelwick, American Express’ Meghan Paul, Acquaintable’s Joel Rodriguez and Greycroft Partners’ Alisa Richter posing at the always epic Webutante Ball @ Internet Week 2012. (Photo: Nick McGlynn / This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), Founder & CEO of GarysGuide and proud owner of a whole bunch of black suits, white shirts and, at last count, over 40 red ties. You can reach him at gary@garysguide.com.

“I think I just ran into Michael Stipe!”
“Get outta here. Srsly?”
“Well it looked like him.”
“Wait, who’s Michael Stipe?”
“The lead vocalist for R.E.M.”
“Hmmm, are you sure you saw Michael Stipe?”
“Well he was bald and looked familiar.”
“Maybe you saw Moby. You sure it wasn’t Moby?”
(We all peered into the crowd gathered at the Hard Candy Shell party scanning intently to see if we could spot a familiar, bald rockstar.)

Welcome to Internet Week 2012, y’all! Where the young & the restless mingle with the bold & the beautiful mingle with the rich & the famous all brought together by the seductive beauty and power of this thing we call the Internets! :)

With over 500 companies and 40,000 attendees, Internet Week (now in its 5th year) is billed as a celebration of the city’s thriving Internet industry and community. As festival co-chair David-Michel Davies (a.k.a. dmd) pointed out, it’s the web, not TV, that is driving the conversation today and is the hub of all things pop culture. And New York is very much a big part of where innovation on the web is happening. “New York is an exceptionally entrepreneurial city,” Mr Davies pointed out. “People come here for opportunity, and it’s been like that since the city was founded.”

Well, you know what they say. Mo’ innovation = Mo’ Companies = Mo’ Money = Mo’ Jobs! :) Yes, I can get behind that. (Also it’s been two months since all the partying + boozing + schmoozing + debauchery of SXSW and things have been a tad slow lately. Internet Week, you’ve arrived just in time!) Read More

Teach Me How to Startup

Why New York City Still Can’t Keep Smart Kids Away From McKinsey

Mr. Pinsky and Ms. Sterne

Yesterday morning, Betabeat popped out of the subway a little further downtown than normal for an Internet Week breakfast panel at Eventi. The four speakers, assembled to discuss the city’s role as a leader in the new tech economy included Seth Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, Rachel Sterne, the city’s chief digital officer, Daniel Huttenlocher, dean of Cornell NYC Tech, and Craig Gotsman, director of the Cornell-Technion Innovation Institute.

Considering our profile of Mr. Pinsky and multiple features about the battle between Stanford and Cornell to win a chance to build on Roosevelt Island, it was not unlike seeing the pages of Betabeat on stage–only with free pastries and a lot more suits. Read More

Made in NYC

Mayor Bloomberg Unveils New Map to Chart the Locations and Job Openings of NYC Tech Companies

The Made in NY Digital Map

It was sticky and rainy outside, but scores of people showed up to see Mayor Bloomberg shake his tech pom-poms today at Internet Week HQ. The Mayor trudged to 82 Mercer to announce a new initiative alongside chief digital officer Rachel Sterne, NYCEDC president Seth Pinsky and–surprisingly–Josh Miller, the cofounder of Branch.

So what exactly did Mr. Mayor have up his sleeve? Turns out it was a new interactive map that displays the locations of tech companies around New York City. A sidebar also displays which of these companies are currently hiring. Read More

The Olds

Watch Rachel Sterne on ‘Morning Joe’ as Joe Scarborough Tries to Explain Foursquare to His Co-host

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Screen shot 2012-03-21 at 11.56.31 AM

New York City’s chief digital officer Rachel Sterne has already graced the pages of Vogue magazine. But this morning, fresh off of waving the Made in NYC pom-poms at SXSW, she stopped by MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to announce NYCgov’s new Facebook photo contest to get your pic on the big screen in Times Square.

Joe Scarborough and his guests took the opportunity to shout out their personal digital requests, such as Wifi in the subway and shower.

“You know, I’m a small government conservative,” said Mr. Scarborough. “But you know just—

“—Free wifi for all,” interrupted one of his guests.

“Everybody!” Mr. Scarborough continued, gesticulating enthusiastically. “User name: USA. Password: Number1.” Read More

Metro Tech

Mayor Bloomberg Announces Official NYC Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Foursquare Page

NY ♥ Kelly Choi

Time to get serious about social media! And what better time than Social Media Week. New York City may be winning accolades for its sloppy, wet embrace of the local budding tech sector, but City Hall was still a step behind. Too that end, during Mayor Bloomberg’s speech at Tumblr headquarters today, he announced that the city will be streamlining its efforts with four new central channels on Facebook and Twitter, and well as hometown heroes Tumblr and Foursquare all under the NYCGov handle.

Of course, because this is government we’re talking about, links to said channels weren’t embedded in the press release. But to get some idea of just how tangled and confusing the city’s existing forays into social media are, take a look at this list, showing the manifold Twitter accounts and Facebook pages by agency, department, community board, etc.,  until it’s practically just a dude on a street corner tumbling about his block. Read More

Your Tax Dollars

Rachel Sterne Lists New York City’s Top 10 Digital Accomplishments in 2011

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Civic tech blog GovFresh recently named New York Employee of the MonthCity of the Year.” Rachel Sterne, the city’s Chief Digital Officer, reciprocated with an interview. We pulled out tangible accomplishments and listed them here in the order they were mentioned.

The city’s biggest accomplishment by far, in our view, is the plan for an applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island built by Cornell and Technion. The city has also been tweeting, Tumblring and Facebooking more, which may seem frivolous but in reality probably makes government more accountable, transparent and responsive than many of its other initiatives. The ReinventNYC.gov Hackathon stands out as the greatest example of wasted potential: an almost-great idea, city bureaucracy kept the event closed, low-impact and kinda corporate (hackers had to submit portfolios in advance and it helped if they had designed a website with over 1 million visitors a month). Also, nyc.gov, the city’s retro website which has ballooned to more than a million pages, still hasn’t relaunched. Read More

Metro Tech

At Opening of Yelp’s New East Coast HQ, Mayor Bloomberg Gives NYC Five Stars

Cat that swallowed the startup canary.

If you haven’t gotten the memo, Mayor Bloomberg is uber-amped about the tech scene. Look over here folks, nothing to see at Zuccotti Park!

Not only has El Bloombito been stopping by tech meetups and demo days, but he’s also christening techie offices. After all, “We just want to change the world” is an easier industry to get behind than “Hey, thanks for that bailout.”

This morning, Mayor Bloomberg and “head nerd” Rachel Sterne, fresh off her Vogue profile, swung by Yelp’s new East Coast headquarters, stationed in Union Square (for maximum local tech cred). Read More