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Teach Me How to Startup

Teach Me How to Startup

Meet the StartupBus Brain Trust at Its Accelerate ‘Unconference’ in NYC [Discount Codes]

startup-bus-aisle-shot

“I would say that it takes a very specific type of person to want to go on a three day bus trip on a cramped, smelly bus to try to launch a startup,” Jonathan Gottfried, a developer evangelist from Twilio told Betabeat last week. Mr. Gottfried was talking about the StartupBus, the pipe dream of an idea that started with a bus trip from San Francisco to SXSW in 2010, migrated to the New York City in 2011, and is now in Europe as well.

The bus trips–going to tech conferences like SXSW and now Le Web–consist of a competition where teams are formed, products built, and winners picked, all while hurtling along the highway. Read More

Teach Me How to Startup

Rap Genius Cofounder Responds to ‘The Haters’ with Yet Another Diss Video

Diss video Rap Genius

Last Friday, Betabeat followed up on reports from author Byron Crawford about offensive racist IMs shared in one of Rap Genius’ editor chatrooms. (For those of you unfamiliar with Rap Genius: A. Where the hell have you been? And B. Here’s our contribution to the cacophony on their $15 million investment from Silicon Valley powerhouse Andreessen Horowitz.)

In response to our questions about the racist chatter, cofounder Mahbod Moghadam dismissed the notion that this was reflective of the Rap Genius community, telling Betabeat that users can gain entry into “Editor Chats,” without being vetted by earning Rap IQ points on the site and that users have used voting rings to game the system in the past. He then blamed hackers for the offensive content, before recanting and saying the parties responsible were merely exploiting a loophole in the system that allowed members to impersonate another user’s name in chat, rather than hacking into the company’s code. Read More

Teach Me How to Startup

At Queens Tech Meetup, CornellNYC Answers Whether They Serve the Nerds or the Socially Adept

Dean Huttenlocher. (Photo: Jukay Hsu, via Instagram)

October’s Queens Tech Meetup began with a statistic. Coalition for Queens founder Jukay Hsu announced that, since the inaugural June meeting, the group has grown to more than 800 members. While it didn’t look like everyone had turned out on Wednesday night, Long Island City’s See Exhibition Space was packed, with the chairs almost full and a fringe of folks standing in the back.

Getting top billing were two ambassadors from CornellNYC: Dean Dan Huttenlocher and entrepreneurial officer Greg Pass, Twitter’s former CTO.

IRL, the pair are kind of an odd couple. The towering Dean Huttenlocher, clad in professorial business casual (read: a roomy, tucked-in button-down) took the mic like a natural and began holding forth. Mr. Pass stood back, arms crossed in the untucked startup uniform.

“Definitely have to shorten that bio,” admitted Dean Huttenlocher as he took the mic, before launching into his spiel: “The Bloomberg administration, I think set the tone here for trying to push tech forward in New York City in all kinds of ways,” he said. Read More

Teach Me How to Startup

Mo’ Money for Rap Genius: Impish Ivy Leaguers Raise Millions for Internet Decoder Ring

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Visitors who search for Harlem rapper Azealia Banks’ breakout hit, “212,” on Rap Genius, an online platform that crowd-sources explanations of hip-hop lyrics, will find nearly every verse annotated by the site’s users, who clocked more than 2 million monthly uniques in August, according to comScore. Click on the line “Now she wanna lick my plum in the evening / And fit that ton-tongue d-deep in,” and a pop-up immediately appears explaining that Ms. Banks is employing a metaphor for cunnilingus and that “She stutters the words tongue and deep to mimic the stuttering that occurs when one receives such a gift.” That exegesis received 11 upvotes, earning the contributor jamima-j, a female “slam poetry writer,” a healthy bump in “Rap IQ” points on the site.

Readers might find her analysis either amusing or unnecessary. But the reigning kings of Sand Hill Road, venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, view Rap Genius as “one of the most important things we’ve ever funded,” co-founder Ben Horowitz told Betabeat last week. The prominent V.C. firm, which clawed its way into the Silicon Valley firmament in just three years by aggressively plowing millions into fast-growth tech start-ups like Facebook, Pinterest, foursquare and Airbnb, often at towering valuations, were the sole investors behind the site’s $15 million Series A. Read More

Teach Me How to Startup

Got Questions? Thanks to YEC’s #StartupLab, You Can Ask an Entrepreneur

Note the whiteboard. (Photo: YEC)

It’s awfully hard to learn entrepreneurship out of a book, or even out of Hacker News comment threads. Sometimes, you just need to pin down someone who’s been there for an answer. But not every newbie has access to a high-powered mentor. That’s where the Young Entrepreneur Council wants to help, with its #StartupLab initiative.

#StartupLab is a Facebook application built by the Young Entrepreneur Council in a partnership with Citi, which you can access here. The organization also gives it away to organizations ranging from Junior Achievement to local high school enthusiast groups, so they can embed it on their own pages and distribute to their members. Through, users can access videos, free ebooks, and free lessons.

But perhaps the most exciting prospect is the live Q&As. Every Thursday, an entrepreneur gives up an hour of his time for a live chat. Participants have ranged from Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian to Foodspotting’s Soraya Darabi. You can either ask a question during the chat, or in advance (in exchange for tweeting about it in advance, that is). Read More

Teach Me How to Startup

Charlie O’Donnell and David Tisch Really Don’t See the Point of Pivoting [Updated]

From left to right: Mr. O'Donnell, Mr. Tisch, and Mr. Penenberg

New York University’s premier tech club, Tech@NYU, is in the midst of its annual Startup Week. This year’s series of panels featuring familiar faces from Silicon Alley are all organized under the theme “Hacking as a mentality.”

Hence last night’s event starring Charlie O’Donnell, partner of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, and David Tisch, the former Read More

Teach Me How to Startup

CornellNYC’s Unpredecented Partnership with Dept. of Commerce Will Help Startups with Patents

(Photo: CornellNYC Tech)

The patent wars rage on in the tech world, but today a couple of big names extended olive branches in hopes of brokering a peace–or at least one between the industry and the notion of patents. This morning, leaders from the Commerce Department and Cornell University announced that there’ll be a U.S. Patent Office staffer permanently planted right on campus.

That individual will serve as a kind of liaison between the worlds of tech and intellectual property, working to connect university students and affiliates to whatever resources the Commerce Department has to offer. (Before you private sector devotees scoff, that ranges from IP strategizing to government grants.) It’s all in the service of speeding innovations from academic notion to marketable product.

This is the first time the bureau has ever devoted such attention to a particular university campus. How you like dem apples, Stanford? Read More

Teach Me How to Startup

Lean Startup Machine Launches Validation Board, A Free Tool to Vet Your Startup Idea

Lean Startup Machine Valuation Board

Sometime around hearing the umpteenth pitch for a location-aware, mobile, social events recommendation tool, one starts to wonder if the founders ever really questioned their basic assumption: that anyone would download yet another one of those apps when none of their friends are on it.

Lean Startup Machine CEO Trevor Owens wants to help with that. Today, he’s launching a free product development tool called the Validation Board that help startups crystallize things like their “Riskiest Assumption,” which ideas have been “Invalidated,” and what constitutes a “Minimum Success Criterion.” Read More

Teach Me How to Startup

The Flatiron School Promises to Make You an Employable App Developer in 90 Days

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On a windy evening back in April, Betabeat took a Skillshare class with Designer Pages founder Avi Flombaum called, “Be One of the Cool Kids: An Introduction to Ruby on Rails.” We emerged a modicum cooler, with a much better understanding of Ruby, but nowhere near ready to touch an SDK.

“Does that make sense?” Mr. Flombaum asked repeatedly, thoughtfully checking in on whether his pupils understood why “hash is like a vending machine.” Once he got into the weeds, the best we could do without a programming background was nod politely and pretend.

That helps explain the need for his newest venture, the Flatiron School, which attempts to the close the gap between a dilettante and a skilled app developer. Read More

Teach Me How to Startup

A Few More Details Emerge About CornellNYC’s Inaugural Instructors [UPDATED]

Artist's rendering. (Image: Cornell University)

CornellNYC is starting to come together. Applications are now being accepted; the infant school has a home with Google until the Roosevelt Island campus is complete. Now the Cornell Daily Sun reports that the debut roster is growing, announcing one name who’ll be doing splitting his time between Ithaca and New York and a semester-long visitor from San Diego.

That faculty lounge is starting to fill up! Provided the faculty lounge is actually David Karp’s sidecar.

Joining UCLA poachee Deborah Estrin (for the first semester, anyway) will be a Cornell professor of electrical and computer engineering, Rajit Manohar, and a University of California at San Diego professor of computer science engineering, Serge Belongie. Read More