The Media Elite
Annie Leibovitz’s Silicon Alley photo shoot has finally made its way into print, as part of Vanity Fair’s annual “New Establishment” list. As we’d hoped, the magazine opted to pose Arianna Huffington in the sidecar of David Karp’s vintage motorcycle. (Guest appearance by Mr. Karp’s “French-English bulldog,” Clark.) Only in the version that made the October issue, Dennis Crowley is depicted emerging from a manhole, avec le swag. As before, the annual list is chockablock with tech types, but just like last year, Silicon Valley dominates.
Peter Thiel comes in at no. 37, repping for libertarian utopias between Tyler Perry and Ryan Seacrest. Elon Musk is no. 9 on the list, two rungs higher than Adele, but one spot below a new entrant: Pinterest’s Ben Silberman, no. 8. Despite Square’s caffeine-fueled growth, Jack Dorsey stayed at the no. 5 spot, but finally got the fashion props he’s been waiting for. “It’s a Prada suit; for everyday wear, it’s denim from Scott Morrison’s Earnest Sewn line, which was the first brand to use Twitter.”
Scattered among the elite are a handful of New York techies, present and accounted for. By and large, it’s the same group of people as last October, although it’s interesting to note how Vanity Fair assesses their power ranking, year-over-year.
The Facebookers Will Inherit the Earth
Where are the original Facebookers these days? Well, Zuck is attempting to steer Facebook through the rocky shoals of a slipping stock price. Peter Thiel is unloading his stock and donating to Tea Partiers. Eduardo, presumably, is popping bottles with models in Singapore.
Meanwhile, as the Huffington Post reports, Sean Parker is defending his legacy on Twitter.
Back in late July, Sean Parker told the New York Times that, ”Every good entrepreneur I know ends up in the wasteland of being a venture capitalist. It’s really frustrating.” Right, well, as Inc. writer John McDermott proceeded to point out, Mr. Parker hasn’t spent the last few years setting the tech world on fire:
There were perhaps 100 print, online and TV reporters drinking coffee and eating parfait at the press event in Chelsea last week. Media from Bloomberg, CNN, the Associated Press and the New York Times down to GigaOM, Business Insider and BuzzFeed were there for more than an hour watching a mini-parade of celebrities take the stage. Now that Airtime has been out for a week, we can assess the results of that massive press push.
Chicago-based startup founder Romil Patel writes in to brag that he went on Airtime for the first time, ran into Sean Parker (they had a mutual friend), and made a Social Network joke. That joke. You know the one.
Of course Mr. Patel took the opportunity to tell Mr. Parker about his startup, SayClip, an asynchronous app that lets people leave video messages for each other. Writes Mr. Patel:
He was like “you’re a founder of something video related?” I said yeah, then I talked about what exactly SayClip was, which is a private video messaging service for iOS and OS X. He thought being on desktops as a native app running in the background off the menu bar was a smart and practical move for the service we provide. We chattered on, then he asked me what the end vision is for SayClip. I said building a kick ass company that everybody loves. Then he asked ”hypothetically” would I ever sell? I said yeah, if someone wrote me a check for $1 billion because I’m not as cool as Zuckerberg. He lol’d and said, you never know, you may get an offer next week in this world.
The rest of the convo was spent chatting about Mr. Patel’s thoughts on Airtime, until Flash crashed in his browser. The moral of the story is, it’s still unclear whether Airtime will take off or flame out. But “a-million-dollars-isn’t-cool” jokes are forever.
Airtime, the Sean & Shawn bred startup that launched earlier this week, has slowly grown on us. Our initial reaction was in line with the majority of the Internet’s: “Okay, it’s Chatroulette without penises.” But the more we’ve used the service, the more its benefits for networking, flirting and stymying boredom have revealed themselves.
But the thing is, since the site hasn’t really hit critical mass yet, you tend to run into the same types of people over and over again. They’re almost always very nice, but in our experience, they also almost always fall into one of the below five categories.
CNN’s Laurie Segall managed to sneak in a question about Facebook’s IPO debacle by Sean Parker during a promotional tour for his new startup Airtime. “Somehow I knew I was going to get this question,” Mr. Parker winced, holding his head in his hands. But the former Facebook president quickly rebounded, blaming the hype and then the media for the stock’s volatile performance.
“It was sort of a relief in a way,” he said. “We knew that that speculative interest was not going to go in a good direction. It never ends well. whenever there’s something that’s so hotly anticipated and so speculative. The thing that was unexpected was how quickly the media turned on it and therefore short circuited the retail investor and their speculation.”
It seems more than a little disingenuous for Mr. Parker to scapegoat speculators when Facebook decided to both price shares higher than expected and increase the number of shares offered by more than 25 percent.
Hope you aren’t holding your breath ’til you can register that .money address. The expansion of top-level domain names has reportedly morphed into a “bug-plagued mess.” [CNNMoney]
Now here’s a blast from the pre-Internet past: Microsoft has partnered with Encyclopedia Britannica and will now prominently feature its information in Bing results. [TechCrunch]
Sounds like the legal community is losing patience with the patent wars. A judge just canceled the Apple-Motorola trial, because neither could prove damages. [Reuters]
There sure are a lot of dudes on Airtime. Hey Sean Parker, maybe another way to make the Internet less boring would be to interest more women in your service? Spitballing here. [BusinessWeek]
The U.N. is mulling a tax on American Internet companies. Good luck with that, guys. [CNET]
North Korea has discovered cyberwar. [ZDnet]
Ready for Our Close Up
Forbes freaked out your Betabeat writers recently with an alarmist post about the way Sean & Shawn’s new videochatting service, Airtime, monitors the tool for inappropriate content. Apparently Airtime takes pictures of you sporadically throughout your videochat sessions to make sure there’s no sexy cam action going on (reserve that for “off the record” Gchats, plz).
But the post got us wondering: what are some other issues–privacy-related or not–that you should be wary of when using Airtime? Here are a few we came up with.
Expectations were starting to flag as a scrum of reporters stood in a milk-white waiting room waiting for Airtime to fix a few last-minute bugs. “Sean is freaking out,” we overheard one Airtimer confide. (Or was it Shawn?) But media were ushered in just after 10:30, and when latenight talk show host Jimmy Fallon ran onstage to rock music to introduce us all to the “live social video platform,” we knew we were in for a show. “Tell me how you guys met,” Mr. Fallon asked Airtime cofounders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. The audience’s terrible, frenzied applause was just getting started.
Airtime, the super stealth video startup from Napster cofounders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, is launching at a press event this morning at Milk Studios in NYC, and celebrities on Twitter are apparently really, really excited about it. It’s perhaps unsurprising, though, considering the company that Shawn & Sean are used to keeping: Airtime’s investors include Ashton Kutcher, will.i.am and Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun. But who knew Martha Stewart was so plugged in to the startup scene? Perhaps Nick Bilton was right about tech being the new Hollywood.
We, too, are looking forward to the launch of Airtime, but could Sean & Shawn maybe fix their website first?