When Zynga honcho Mark Pincus bought a house in San Francisco, everyone gushed. It sounds okay! According to the Wall Street Journal, "Spanning four levels, the seven-bedroom home has an elevator, six fireplaces and views of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Dutch Colonial Revival house was never previously on the market; it had remained in the Newhall family since it was built in 1907." Not everyone was so impressed, according to the new Vanity Fair which I am now going to go out and buy. According to Trevor Traina, "San Francisco’s undisputed social king," “Their house needs a lot of work but also has superb potential, so I’m [...]
Mark Ghuneim and David Peris dug up this delicious chestnut from January, 1999: "Internet search engine Yahoo! Inc. confirmed Thursday it will buy GeoCities, a fast-growing Web site community, in a $3.6 billion deal that will further solidify Yahoo!'s position as a frontrunner in the online popularity contest." RIMSHOT.
Makes a billion dollars for Tumblr seem like a steal. Here's what I don't understand: who's blabbin' about the potential acquisition of Tumblr by Yahoo!? Oh, gosh, whoever benefits from that. Tumblr made $13 million in 2012, so $1,000,000,000 sounds totally natural.
Oh, and how was GeoCities at the time of its Yahoo! acquisition? "In [...]
To be fair, there are a thousand reasons to be based in New York City: it's great, the talent is great, it's magical, all that jazz. Don't like living or working anywhere else. Plus, there's a Starbucks everywhere for when you have a cruddy office with no conference room. That is A+. Oh but wait, why would you support a non-NYC startup with coffee money? Take that meeting to, say, Gregory's Coffee. But what has the City done for you lately, besides offering terrific mass transit service and a lack of affordable rent? Mayor Bloombucks has gone on the charm offensive once more about tech startups: "New York Mayor [...]
Say that Peter DaSilva is coming over to take your photograph. The San Francisco-based photographer has shot them all, from Ev Williams to Mark Hurd to Hunter Walk to Carol Bartz to, now, Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, the Instagram darlings of the moment, to accompany the front-page New York Times story about their sale to Facebook (for a billion in cash and stock, basically about a week after Instagram raised $50 million, at a $500 million valuation). And Peter's done it all without kicky filters! Tee hee! Anyway so of course maybe this photograph will end up on the front page of the New York Times and you [...]
Tmrrw I'll write about my favorite ice cream flavor & then spend three days dealing with press attacks about how unethical I am.
— Michael Arrington (@arrington) February 14, 2012
If you love Internet drama—and why wouldn't you? It's so spiritually refreshing and intellectually fulfilling!—don't miss the current "Silicon Valley tech reporter/investor" throw-down happening at multiple showcases near you. Here's a pretty good entry point: "This started when Nick Bilton of the New York Times posted an item criticizing Path, which had been caught up in a firestorm when it emerged that Path had been uploading entire address books from people’s iPhones. Bilton made the legitimate point [...]
$85 million sounds like a lot of money! That's what Tumblr just raised, on top of the $30 million they raised ten months ago, bringing their investment dollars to a bit north of $120 million. There's a staff of 50 (now only 82% male!), so that's like $5 million a year right there. (Also, they've outsourced tech support (rather poorly; if you ask Tumblr for help with something, you get some dude copying and pasting a manual at you) with some minimal supervision, and that's probably a significant, if user-annoying, cost savings.) But staff costs are surely dwarfed by the cost of doing at the very [...]
Oh, no. Coming in September to Bloomberg TV (I think that's channel 547803 in New York?), it's TechStars! A TV show based on the entrepreneurial mentorship bootcamp program! This is formatted as a reality show, and was shot at TechStars' last three-month incubator program in New York. It's all about winning that big check for your hot startup, just like in real life. (Ha.) But it's not just about tech! It's about stars too! Because money = fame, and fame = money, and both of those = validation. This all fits into my theory that the current bubble is more of an emotional bubble, not actually an economic bubble. [...]
"Web start-up companies are like play-companies. They stand in relation to real companies the way those cute little make-believe baking stations stand in relation to kitchens."
A "serial entrepreneur" is in "stealth mode" for his "new blog" which, he reveals, is going to "target female readers," because "so much of the new media publishing focus is still on men" and "there is a massive market failure going on right now" and "so few new media properties have tried to capture the demographic ." No, I've actually cherry-picked the good sentences
I know, it's so crazy, absolutely no one has touched the market for women online, now maybe finally someone will build a web publishing company that "targets female readers" and then take it public, because what an amaaaaazingly good [...]
"AppData, a service that collects data about sites and services that connect with Facebook, indicated that Airtime had just 400 users a day and 10,000 over the course of a month, but Mr. Parker and other executives at the company suggested those figures were off. Nielsen and comScore, two independent analytics firms, both said that traffic to Airtime was so small that it did not yet register on their charts." —Aggressive Facebook-harvesting startup Airtime is surely going to pivot to a dong-related market.
It's been really quiet on the Internet Bubble front, because no one likes that narrative. It's bad for everyone! (Except some people.) But here's a report from close to the startup incubators that makes it pretty obvious that nothing's changed in the last year. Or if it has changed, then for the worst: "Y Combinator had sixty-five companies present. And we saw 500 eager investors, frenzied almost, excited to invest in entrepreneurs. One investor emailed me four times, texted me three times, called me and sent me a message on LinkedIn—desperate to get a check in before the round closes. No business plans, not even pitch decks [...]
With Buzzfeed announcing a fresh $15.5 million in funding today, on top of its previous $11.5 million in funding, all web properties should stop and ask themselves: what would you do with that cash? We already have it planned!
• office radio with AM and FM.
• tiny house collection in the middle of the office's sculpture courtyard.
• a "sympathy big board," displaying only least-viewed blog posts.
• Ben Smith's younger, weirder cousin from Ditmas Park, Yaniv Smith.
• an actual awl.
• basement meth lab (because media companies just becoming tech companies is very 2011; 2012 is about dreaming bigger).
• a fearsome, extremely [...]
Everyone is losing their minds over Netflix's announcement that they'll split into two companies: one that does streaming (called "Netflix") and one that does DVDs, called… Qwikster? (This comes after last week's Netflix freakout, over changes to pricing which immediately sent its stock down 19%.)
Now everyone is making fun of CEO Reed Hastings on his own corporate blog. But not just there! Everyone is also making fun of them everywhere else for not securing the Qwikster Twitter account before announcing this new company, which is lackadaisically maintained by a madly inarticulate marijuana-loving gamer named Jason Castillo.
"Groupon is Essentially Holding a Portfolio of Loans Backed by the Receivables of Small Businesses."
"I strongly encourage every business that is about to go under to call Groupon. It makes total financial sense—as a Hail Mary play. If you’re lucky, the upfront cash will be enough to help you stay afloat. If not, well, you were already going out of business." —The latest GroupOn takedown—one of dozens!—is intriguing.
Yahoo buying Tumblr is digital gentrification.
— Jason Chen (@diskopo) May 19, 2013
The question of the weekend is: "Why did Yahoo! spend one-third of their cash on hand to buy a company that by all accounts is about to run out of money?"
And here are some fairly sober answers, including: "if you were given 1.1 billion dollars, would you be able to build a service used by more than ten million people for more than an hour a month? You could not. That's a bigger audience than American Idol, or for that matter anything else (except Facebook or Twitter)." That's very attractive!
(I mean [...]
• Has the Internet Run Out of Ideas? "We're now at the stage where we should be getting the next wave of disruptive surprises. But—guess what?—they're nowhere to be seen. Instead, we're getting an endless stream of incremental changes and me-tooism."
• Navigating a Tightrope with Amazon. Apple "selected Mr. Bissinger’s digital sequel as a Pick of the Week, giving customers a code they could redeem online for the book… Amazon interpreted the promotion as a price drop and lowered its price for 'After Friday Night Lights' to exactly zero."
If you're not paying attention to the always incredible goings-on at Pinterest, some recent updates:
• Pinterest is perfect for people to find and buy things. That's why this spammer is making a minimum of $1,000 a day, all from affiliate links. Nothing really wrong with that: affiliate links to Amazon are a good business! And so is shoving up thousands of Pinterest pics a day, with affiliate links attached, apparently. BRB, gotta get on this, hate to watch a gravy train pass me by.
• Last week, when Pinterest rolled out new terms of service, which including banning thinspiration blogs—wait, sidebar? The poor anorexic bloggers! They are to [...]
I love watching an argument unfold across the Internet. Here's a thread that bounced from evangelist-loudmouth-romanticizer to startup engineer to VC where everyone's right and everyone's a bit wrong too.
• "You might be sad that you work long hours and that sometimes your boss yells at you when tensions run high. But you also know that there is nowhere on earth like Silicon Valley…. There’s so much money in Silicon Valley now that a lot of non-like minded people have rolled in. Looking for easy stock options at a hot startup. They start whining when they realize that they have to give so much to make it [...]