Up and Comers

19-Year-Old Founder Ditches College and an Apple Internship to Run News Startup Full-Time

Mr. Meyer, when we met him last spring. (Photo by Jordyn Taylor)

Remember John Meyer, the 19-year-old tech pro we profiled back in May? When we hung out with Mr. Meyer at his coworking space — where he was rigorously working toward the launch of his news app, Fresco — he said he was debating leaving school to pursue his startup full-time. Well, now he has.

Mr. Meyer announced he was leaving New York University earlier this month on Medium, in a blog post titled “I am leaving a top tier university.” It’s now been viewed tens of thousands of times. We grabbed coffee yesterday with Mr. Meyer around Union Square — where he’s just signed a lease on an apartment, now that he can’t live in NYU’s dorms anymore — to learn more about his decision to leave school, and where his startup is headed next. Read More

Teach Me How to Startup

Peter Thiel Talked 20 More Kids Into Dropping Out of School

All 2013 finalists. (Photo: Thiel Foundation)

Get ready to feel like you frittered your youth away on terrible entry-level jobs!

Peter Thiel and co. just announced the latest class of “20 Under 20″ Thiel Fellows. In exchange for foregoing traditional higher ed, each of these baby Einsteins gets $100,000, some mentors and the mandate to start a company.

Let’s hope they also get a crash course in life skills and also how to tell their bewildered parents why they did this. Read More

Goooood Morning Silicon Alley!

Best Tech Events This Week (Happy New Year!)


This is a guest post from Gary Sharma (aka “The Guy with the Red Tie”), founder and 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 [at] garysguide.com.

So, 2013 is almost here. Time to break out the paper hats, the party glasses and the annoying air horns. How are you planning to spend your New Year’s Eve? At home with friends and family watching TV? Partying it up (a.k.a. getting your drunk on) at an overpriced club / lounge? Or smooshed together with the rest of humanity in the bowels of Times Square? Well, wherever you are, I hope you have fun and remember that 2013 will be an amazing year!

While we’re on the subject, an advisory from our friends at Uber: Surge pricing will be in effect for NYE, people. So don’t be surprised tomorrow morning when ya see the bill. In Uber’s own words, “NYE pricing is not for the faint of heart! The average surge multiple will likely be 2x normal prices, but during extreme spikes it could cost you $100 MINIMUM before time and mileage charges!” The most expensive times to take an Uber? Between 12:15am and 2:45am. There. You’ve been warned.

This Sunday is the Tesla Spirit Award Gala Benefit Reception at the New Yorker Hotel, marking the 70th anniversary of Nikola Tesla. Tesla died on January 7th, 1943 at the hotel in room #3327 on the 33rd floor, where he’d lived for the last 10 years of his life (1933-1943). Yup, he was a fan of the number three. And in case you don’t know who Tesla is (god forbid), here’s the Oatmeal comic celebrating the greatest geek who ever lived. Read More

Be Cool Stay In School

The Case for College: You Say Keg Stand Like It’s A Bad Thing

sarah kunst

Minority Report is a guest column by Sarah Kunst, who does business development and product at fashion app Kaleidoscope. She’s a black, non-engineer female in tech, but plans to IPO anyway.

Few founder origin stories capture the nerd mind like “Hacker as dropout.” From Bill Gates at Microsoft to Box’s Adam Levie, and of course a little-known CEO named Zuck, the allure of leaving the dorm room behind to rake in billions seems irresistible.

Recently, this middle finger to the establishment of higher education has been codified by billionaire rabble rouser Peter Thiel. This past Sunday, for the second time in three months, the New York Times found cause for a close examination of the virtues of Mr. Thiel’s 20 under 20 Fellowship as a way for exceptional teenagers to pass college and collect $100,000 to spend on changing the world. Granted, participants aren’t your typical undeclared freshmen at State College U. Rather, they’ve already exhibited Mensa-level intelligence, with a work ethic to match.

What doesn’t coordinate quite as well? Their social lives. A recent night saw several Thiel fellows–all under legal drinking age–at a San Francisco house party described by one attendee as “tech hippies doing drugs and sitting in a cuddle pile.” Read More


Booting Up: Patent Trolls Make Kids Cry Edition

(Photo: ThielFellowship.org)

App engineers are just like the original sheet music creators…or something. [Wall Street Journal]

San Francisco-based flirting app Skout shut down its forum for 13-17 year olds following a spate of child rapes linked to the app. Question: How did anyone think a location-based flirting app for 13 year olds was a good idea in the first place? [The New York Times]

Patent trolls had an app removed from the iTunes store. Seems like a pretty typical move–except that the app was a speech-to-text tool used by a mute little girl to communicate with her parents. Good going, assholes. [Hacker News]

But here’s an app you won’t miss: RIP Ping. [AllThingsD]

Meet your 2012 Thiel Fellows. These kids are probably too smart for their own good. [VentureBeat]

Hey Birchbox subscribers, don’t feel bad if you get some men’s products in your package this month. It’s just a teaser for Birchbox Man and is in no way shape or form a cruel reminder that you’re single. [TechCrunch]

And who cares if you’re single anyway? Etsy is making a major effort to hire more female engineers. Perhaps Hacker School is more your style? [AllThingsD]

Young Blood

Cradlerobbing: Peter Thiel Presents 24 Youngsters Who Will Probably Make You Feel Bad About Yourself


Who was it who made the analogy between entrepreneurs and football players?

Peter Thiel just scooped up 22 boys and two girls under the age of 20 for a two-year fellowship at the Thiel Foundation, where the famous Facebook investors network of mentors will help them build things the world has never seen.

“Andrew Hsu started doing research in a pathology lab when he was 10. By the time he was 12, he had matriculated at the University of Washington.” Read More