EARLIER THIS MONTH, ON A SUNDAY MORNING, the startup world woke up to that rare stripe of news which quietly sends shockwaves reverberating throughout an entire culture of people: Ilya Zhitomirskiy, 22 years old, had passed away. The cause of death “appears to be a suicide,” noted a San Francisco police officer who spoke with CNN. A forthcoming coroner’s report will make a final determination. Mr. Zhitomirskiy was one of the four co-founders of Diaspora*, once breathlessly hyped in a May 2010 New York Times article as a “cry to arms” against Facebook, in a story that employed a classic tech narrative: four brilliant young men, on the verge of changing the world, subsisting on ramen and pizza.
Y Combinator’s Hacker News link to the item racked up pages of comments, many devoted to shouting down those who wanted to have a discussion about depression in the technology and startup community, noting it as an inappropriate moment for that topic. One user noted that a breaking news thread announcing Mr. Zhitomirskiy’s death was “a terrible place to have a discussion about ‘the stresses of life … related to tech.’”
Another disagreed: “We don’t talk about suicide in society very well let alone within the startup community. Founders find themselves in extremely stressful situations and living lifestyles that exacerbate the effects of this stress.”
This second comment read in contrast to the first, whose final suggestion on the matter was to “have that discussion inside your head” for the time being, and then go talk about it some other time.
Caught In The Webb
In 1997 in Boston I had the pleasure of witnessing in person what Steve Jobs called “my worst and stupidest staging event ever.” He had recently made his triumphant return to Apple, and I was amongst those psychopathic faithful that continued to use OS 9 even though it was obviously a piece of crap compared Read More
Thank you, Matt Langer, for directing us towards one of the most sadistic treatments—”bastardization” is unfair to bastards, here—of the entire genre of rap music, ever, delivered at the hands of a startup rapping about how they’d like some VC money.
And yes, of course they’re white.
Betabeat is looking to find the best young startups in New York for a new web series we’re producing called Elevator Pitch, which is being sponsored by FedEx.
The premise is simple: we’ll profile a group of great startups and give each of them a chance to sit down and pitch Lerer Ventures.
There are Read More
Follow the Money
The folks at Dubset.com, one of the original General Assembly companies, have released a fun little explainer video on the MixSCAN technology they are developing in partnership with Sony Gracenote. The idea is that DJs can upload their mixes and create a virtual watermark. That way any system running MixSCAN can identify when a Read More
White Collar Capital
The big bucks available for brainy folks willing to work on Wall Street is depleting the talent pool for startups according to a new report from the Kaufman Foundation authored by Paul Kedrosky and Dane Stangler.
The study focuses on the rate at which STEM graduates (Science, Engineer and Math) have moved Read More
Where does some of the best coding get done? In coffee shops. Where do some of the biggest deals close? Over drinks.
This thread on the Q&A site Quora sparked a conversation this week about where entrepreneurs and investors like to hang out in the city. Investor Charlie O’Donnell of First Read More
There’s plenty of tech talent in Israel, but it’s not staying in the promised land.
Entrepreneurs at Israeli tech startups still depend heavily on the U.S., as “one of the pioneers of the venture industry” told the Wall Street Journal. Israeli entrepreneurs find that they have to come to New York to get access Read More