"If we want NYC to kick ass in the world's tech community, we have to stop favoring a few 'friends' and let everyone get time on stage." CenterNetworks founder/writer/editor Allen Stern doesn't just complain about inbreeding in New York's Web 2.0 scene, he documents it by listing the companies that presented at last night's NY Tech Meetup, and speculating on their potential conflicts of interest. Jeez, Allen, wait'll you find out I used to be on the secret MacArthur committee. Here's what we're group-thinking out here in our Valley chatroom:We sure do love to watch New Yorkers catfight on Twitter. But if you literally "let everyone get time on stage" you won't have a punk-rock utopia, you'll have a boring parade of bad ideas and worse PowerPoint. Think TechCrunch50 expanded to TechCrunch52,157 and you get the idea. Still, we sense it coming: Look for CenterNetworks' own startup event in early 2009. (Photo by Brian Solis)
Even before he worked at Valleywag, Nicholas Carlson had taken "Alleywag" as his commenter name. I always saw that passion for the site shining through his posts. True, he sometimes exhibited the inevitable traits of his hard-to-manage millennial generation, but he's unique — unique, I tell you! — among the precious snowflakes of his generation in being able to look at his peers' self-involvement with a wry glance. He covered the beat of online advertising adeptly, and made lists smart. What Here's what I think were some of his best pieces. Name your favorite Alleywagiana in the comments. Like me, you can keep following my favorite Gen Y-er on Tumblr. Natch.
New York wantrepreneurs preparing for a night of rejection and glazed looks can relax — tonight's New York Tech Meetup is canceled due to a power outage at IAC. "We tried to find a replacement venue for tonight, but couldn't find anything for all 400 of us at this late notice," reads a memo sent to all invitees. The group won't meet again until September 2. Trust us: You'll survive four weeks without learning about the next great Muxtape killer. (Photo by waywuwei)
Silicon Alley Media, disgraced tech-stocks analyst Henry Blodget's recently formed blog collective, has raised a modest $1 million from wealthy investors, Tech Confidential reports. The A round's A list included Tacoda cofounder Dave Morgan and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz. With the proceeds, Blodget is hiring editors for two new sites: Clusterstock, a spreadsheet-heavy analysis site, and Business Sheet, a tabloidy take on business personalities.
In June, Google expanded its Chelsea offices in New York by leasing more space across the street. Since Google's precious employees — not even its acquired lot of DoubleClickers — should have to brave New York's muddy winters, rheumatic indigents, and aggressive newsmen, rumor has it Google plans to build a skybridge connecting the buildings. Leave it to the Valley's geeks to finally give New York's cityscape the future it was promised by images such as this one, a 1917 postcard titled "The City of Skyscrapers."
Gary the Puppet — who in the clip embedded below tours the offices of Tumblr, Next New Networks, Gawker, CollegeHumor, and Wallstrip — might be the perfect metaphor for the New York tech scene. It makes a big show of itself, but it's kind of flimsy and despite how it may look, somebody much larger and more powerful is actually running things. For New York tech, the puppeteer's hand is old media companies. IAC and CBS own College Humor and Wallstrip, respectively. Tumblr has its roots in Hanna-Barbera cartoons. So does Next New Networks, which just agreed to distribute its videos over Hulu, a News Corp. and NBC joint venture. And what's Gawker but a tape worm in Old Media's belly? Still, New York tech has this over the Valley: perhaps because of those old media connections, it knows how to present itself with a hokey smirk instead of new media's typical sassback.
Google has a tremendously huge office at 111 Eighth Avenue in New York. But at about a 500,000 square feet, it's apparently not big enough to house Google's suits and Google's New York-based engineers together. The company's opened a new, 25,000 square foot office for its sales team and marketers on the second and fourth floors of Chelsea Market. New York Senator Chuck Schumer cut the ribbon on the place yesterday. There, the MBAs and failtreprenuers can hone their "soft skills" such as "business development" and "revenue generation," leaving grateful engineers to work on changing the world in peace. As a bonus, it should free up some of the Razr scooters, too.
Now that Caterina Fake has left Yahoo and Stewart Butterfield has tendered his abstract resignation letter, what will the widely beloved Flickr cofounders do? And where will they go? Brendon Wilson, who worked in the Valley himself before returning to his native Canada, pointed us to an effort by a group of geeks to convince Fake and Butterfield to come back to Vancouver, British Columbia, where Flickr was launched. The welcome wagon even turned out a video slideshow of Flickr photos to remind the couple just how beautiful the city can be. Look, a rainbow! And it may just be working — last night, Butterfield added himself to the Bring Stewart and Caterina Home! group on Facebook. Fake may have other plans, though.
Apple will move into a new New York office tower going up on 510 Madison, taking two floors. The building is still under construction, but developer CBRE Richard Ellis has a live construction cam you can use to follow its progress. Glancing at sketches,we expected more from design-obsessed Apple. Other than the pictured garden terrace, and a for-tentants-only indoor pool and health club, the place looks pretty much like every other Manhattan office tower.
Social reviews site Yelp isn't nearly as popular in New York as it is in San Francisco and management has been planning to do something about it. "They're gonna pump up efforts to conquer NYC, renting an office in Gramercy area and assign [an] East Coast community leader," a source with new details tells us. Yelp already has an ad sales office in New York's West Village, but our source says those people will move to the larger office further uptown by September as well. Yelp is a cousin to widgetmaker Slide, with Slide founder Max Levchin on Yelp's board. With Slide's own upcoming move to New York and Yelp's city expansion, we'd expect to see a lot more Levchin around the Alley, except, well, we hear he never leaves the office. (And if he did, we'd prefer he say hello to his bride to be first.)
Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of some city on the East Coast with good nightlife but lousy conditions for startups, has unveiled a $2 million fund for companies doomed to failure by their thoughtlessly poor choice of location. Why doesn't he just give the would-be founders plane tickets to San Francisco and a deposit on a SoMa loft office? That seems easier. [Silicon Alley Insider]
Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis made his name running Silicon Alley Reporter back in the 1990s. You'd think Calacanis would be happy to hear that some guy named Gary Sharma has brought the Silicon Alley Report back to the Web. Nope. On his last trip to New York, Calacanis gleefully told a table full of reporters that Dow Jones, which bought the publication from Calacanis back in 2003 — was preparing to sue Sharma's project out of existence. Sharma denies the legal trouble. "Word on the street is that these are just baseless rumors being spread around by that lovable scumbag Jason Calacanis," Sharma tells us. "Maybe he's getting a lil antsy now that SAR 2.0 is getting rave reviews from the Silicon Alley community?" Asked to comment, Peter Kafka, managing editor of Silicon Alley Insider, a blog often confused with Calacanis's old rag, said: "Who?"
Meet wantreprenuer Nate Westheimer and venture capital associate Kristian Hansen. Westheimer founded BricaBox, a publishing platform which you still haven't heard of, despite publicity stunts like the "Silicon Alley 100: People's Choice." Hansen you might know because his boss cofounded Wallstrip, which used to feature Lindsay Campbell, whom you definitely know. Here's the pair's lipdub to Justice's "D.A.N.C.E." As the song goes, fellas,"The way you move is a mystery." The clip is below.
Will one-time AOL exec Bob Pittman sell email newsletter DailyCandy to Yahoo? That's what DailyCandy execs are said to have discussed over dinner last week at the Village Restaurant in New York. Ben Lerer, publisher of Thrillist, another online publication backed by Pittman, told us he's heard no talk of a sale. But, tellingly, he was very curious to know what we've heard. That's because while Yahoo might be a surprise suitor, Pittman's desire to sell DailyCandy is no secret. In 2006, the WSJ reported Pittman had put DailyCandy on the block, hoping to sell his $3.5 million investment for more than $100 million. If the dinner happened, it's surprising Pittman didn't clue Lerer in. Ben's dad Ken, a cofounder of the Huffington Post, was a close ally of Pittman at AOL.
Julia Allison, Meghan Asha and their friend, bag designer Mary Rambin, are planning a mid-April trip to Silicon Valley. This time, they say they're after funding for their new startup — Oprah on the Web! — not geek boyfriends. The three met with some New York VCs last week and it went "well enough," Allison told me, that their next stop: Menlo Park. Ah yes: Broadway has become the warm-up act.
Mahalo founder Jason Calacanis will host a dinner at New York Chinese restaurant Golden Unicorn tonight. He's calling it Dim Sum 2.0. I'm going, but not for the lazy susan full of food. The last time Calacanis hosted one of these during a trip to New York, it was the night after Calacanis and DealBreaker blogger John Carney nearly came to blows. At the end of a fundraiser for Mouse, Carney allegedly told Calacanis "I will #&%$!ing drop you to the floor." The pair didn't come to blows, but maybe they just needed a little encouragement?
Google hosted an event in Manhattan yesterday to pitch advertisers on YouTube. Silicon Alley Insider's Michael Learmonth tried to crash and got booted. The New York Times's Louise Story played nice and apparently got to stay, but later told readers the "bulk of the event" was "off the record." Apparently, neither tried Google search. Attendee Ian Schafer, CEO of a digital marketing agency, was happy to blog everything.