must see alexis
Did you wake up this morning thirsting for a Web series about startups in New York? Was your ideal host of said Web series Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian? When you were picturing this Web series, did you envision it with the slick production style of something created by The Verge? Well consider it your lucky day.
Twitter attempted to have a conversation about race and the tech industry yesterday. The loudest voices? White men on either side of the argument shouting each other down. What got obscured along the way was just how much pattern-matching plays into the lack of diversity in the tech industry and the people who cover it and how that holds all of us back.
They almost made Jamelle Bouie’s point for him.
In a feature for The Magazine, Mr. Bouie examined why the mastheads of tech blogs like The Next Web, The Verge, Engadget and Gizmodo were overwhelmingly white and male. Rather than “overt racism,” he found a prohibitive combination of dependence on unpaid internships–and the network effect of a wired boys club whose members sometimes seem to be talking solely for each other’s benefit.
It’s a gloomy, rainy Friday in New York, but we’re about to serve you a piping hot bowl of gossip. Bon appetit!
Map-maker, Map-maker, Build Me a Map! If Tim Cook‘s mea culpa wasn’t enough to demonstrate how hard Apple is scrambling to fix its iOS 6 mapocalypse, then how about its last ditch recruiting techniques to find Ruby developers? Mojo Talantikite, a cluster engineer at Engine Yard in New York City, said he (and a number of his technically talented friends) have been hit up by Apple recruiters recently.
“I don’t think it’s too out of the ordinary for a company to scramble to soak up talent once they figure out their product is deficient,” he told Betabeat by email. “But considering that the beta of Apple Maps was terrible three months ago, you’d think they would have started the aggressive recruitment phase then,” he said, adding, “It’s pretty easy to realize they are in put out the fire mode.”
UPDATE 5/17: Bitly CEO Peter Stern reached out to Betabeat Thursday to dispute much of what was reported in The Verge yesterday. “While I would be delighted to report that we raised a significant amount of money, I’m not in a position to report that just yet,” said Mr. Stern, who did acknowledge that he is in the process of raising funds, but said that has been true since he started his tenure as CEO. The company raised a $1.4 million convertible note in March.
Mr. Stern said Bitly is at work on a consumer product, but the company is not yet willing to discuss it. Last October, Bitly blogged about developing a real-time search engine that lets the company “see into the future.” However, Mr. Stern said, “A Bitly revamp is in the works, but it doesn’t include a viral search, which is only available for business customers.”
Link shortening service Bitly is moving up and out–literally and figuratively. According to The Verge, the company moved out of Betaworks’ offices this week into its own space
, and has also landed $20 million in new funding.
The Verge launched yesterday in the early a.m. without a hitch: a sleek tech news site complete with longer analysis, forums, a product database and a Q&A with insanely-popular Apple blogger John Gruber to ensure a nice inaugural traffic boost.
“For me, this was an idea that was forming for a long time,” said Josh Topolsky, former Engadget editor and current editor and co-founder of the new site. The editor—Jimmy Fallon’s gadget consultant and electronic musician—was getting notes from co-workers as he spoke to Betabeat this morning by phone (“26, 27 editorially-focused employees? Okay, I’m being told it’s 29″).
the startup rundown
FITOCRACY GOES FREEMIUM. Fitocracy, now a year old, just announced a subscription plan for $4.99 a month. Subscribers get unlockable titles, the ability to copy workouts, greater visibility in the stream and early access to new features.
YOUNG NYTM. Tonight’s New York Tech Meetup will feature the annual spotlight on demos from college students and faculty. Here’s the lineup: BodyJam, Commons, Grafighters, Codecademy, Lewis Dots, PlayPower, Hacker League, LoCreep, AdRunner, MidiPHON, Bluefin Labs, Upod, Imaginary Marching Band. At the 92nd Street Y. But if you go you will miss Ben Lerer talking about the story of Thrillist at General Assembly.
A few months ago, Engadget editor Josh Topolsky jumped off the AOL ship for destinations unknown. He ended up taking at least five other employees with him, leaving the AOL-owned Engadget an empty corporate-ruled corpse.
One of the casualties was the much-beloved Engadget Show, created and soundtracked by Mr. Topolsky and filmed in New York. But after a month-long hiatus, AOL is bringing the Engadget Show back next week, valiantly hosted by Tim Stevens and Brian Heater. The general feeling in the comments section on Engadget was not positive.
“You should probably slumber a bit longer, I was thinking when you get a host that does not put me to sleep faster then my sleeping pills,” one person wrote. “I hope this edition is a fantastic re-edit of our favorite Josh Topolsky moments!” said another.