Archive for the ‘the scene’ tag
One of my favorite essays of all time is accomplished game designer Greg Costikyan’s account of attending the pay-to-pitch New England Venture Summit as a first-time entrepreneur raising money. Coming from the self-described subculture of “science fiction fandom”, Greg illustrates the conference as “[a] variation on that basic [subculture] motif”.
His opening observation on subcultures is worth repeating. Like Greg, I grew up as a part of a subculture. It happened to be online gaming, although the particular choice doesn’t really matter; subcultures are ubiquitous online and off. Now I’m part of a different subculture — scalable startups*. And it’s just as much of a subculture as anything else.
This isn’t just a semantic point. Lots of people casually refer to this community of entrepreneurs as the startup “industry”. But it isn’t an industry; it’s a subculture. Like any subculture, it has its own unique vocabulary, memes, and shared historical narratives and ideologies. It has its own heroes and villains, values and virtues. Healthcare, education and telecom are industries — within them they share trends and players, but from a social perspective are diverse and decentralized.
From the perspective of someone seeking a job at a startup, this distinction means that admission is granted to the startup subculture through a different means than if it were an industry. This is especially relevant to anyone who is trying to land a job at a young tech company but lacks programming or design skills. Submitting a resume will get you next to nowhere. Spending time meeting people and reading up on topics startups care about (which can easily be found on Hacker News) is a more efficient way in the door.
This doesn’t mean you need to be part of the scene. It just means you have to use different means than typical; means that may seem more analogous to a journalist wiggling into the long-haul trucker subculture than a recent college grad trying to get a job. So when someone approaches me looking for advice on getting a job at a startup, I tell them to think of the problem less like getting hired by Goldman or McKinsey and more like getting established as a writer or artist. After all, one could say that what many entrepreneurs are doing is a new kind of art.
* I specifically refer to the subculture as “scalable” startups to differentiate from, say, the affiliate marketing and lead gen world (which is a fascinating subculture in and of itself). But it’s a total different feel, with its own vocabulary and values.
I’ve struggled with the right way to use Letter.ly for a while. I don’t want to move Startup Adventures onto Letter.ly. The social value I get out of my blog exceeds the social + monetary value I would get from a comparable newsletter. Still, I’ve always been a fan of the exclusive / high-quality content network that Letter.ly is creating.
So I decided to do something different with it. I present: The Most Interesting Meeting of the Week. Every weekend, I pick out the single most interesting meeting I had over the previous week and write about it. For this service, I am charging $1.91 per month ($0.48 per interesting meeting!).
Obviously, I won’t disclose confidential information, and if a meeting is so filled with confidential information that it would be pointless to feature, I’d pick the second-best. Still, there’s a lot of value here. One of the most common questions I hear — especially from investors — is seeking information on the most interesting things in the tech/startup community happening right now. Typically, this is deal-related, although my writings won’t be exclusively focused there.
This is a social experiment. My end goal is not to make $0.91 per month. Rather, I’m very interested in social capital hacks, a topic I’ve written on before. Interesting Meeting of the Week (IMOW) is adding some simple game elements to my professional life. Every weekend, someone I have met with over the past week will get the title of “Interesting”, which will be communicated to all my newsletter subscribers. Whether this turns out to be a desirable title or not — and further, whether this changes the dynamics and quality of my meeting requests — is the experiment. Should be fun. Sign up here and see how it goes.
There’s an old adage in the game design field that good games are easy to learn, yet difficult to master. That is, a game should be simple enough for even the most uninitiated user to understand yet challenging enough for a master to spend years working to hone their skills. Chess is one oft-cited example.
Cities operate by similar principles. Great cities are easy for visitors to navigate yet take years if not decades for residents to fully explore and understand. Cities can be too simple, like so many in middle America that bore their smartest residents into submission (or departure). And cities can be too complex for newcomers — New York, for instance.
This is why Adopt a Hacker is a great idea. New York is possibly the most fascinating city on earth to master — but it’s also one of the most difficult places for a newcomer to learn, especially when it comes to meeting new people. Adopt a Hacker NYC lowers the bar to get great hackers engaged in the city by lowering the learning curve. By pairing visiting developers up with veteran NYC residents, it adds a tutorial to an otherwise dense game.
As more and more people look to the startup community to save our nation and our economy, it is only reasonable for things to get way more political. As more former bankers and teachers and rodeo clowns start companies, we’re witnessing the emergence of entrepreneurs as a political bloc.
But we are influenced by a different set of issues than the average partisan — H1B visa reform, patent reform, regulatory streamlining, et cetera — some of which haven’t yet been divided along partisan lines. In fact, it’s extremely difficult to assign the “entrepreneur’s agenda” to a traditional right-left spectrum. But this makes it even more interesting to attempt to arrive at some conclusions about the unique political beliefs of entrepreneurs.
However, some challenges. First, it’s notoriously hard to generalize anything about an entire industry. You can say that auto dealers and doctors tend to be conservative while teachers and scientists tend to be liberal, but technology-focused entrepreneurs are an even more diverse bunch. I’ve met founders who are die-hard socialists and others whose neo-conservative beliefs would make Glenn Beck blush. Second, politics is something that many founders simply don’t discuss in public. It’s tends to have a pretty poor risk-reward ratio.
However, I’ve seen a couple broad, fairly common threads among the political beliefs of startup founders, investors and early employees. I summarize them as “Libertarian Populism”, combining two political philosophies rarely seen together in the wild:
Libertarianism: A strong belief in individual freedom of thought and action. See the broad-based support for patent reform, creative commons licenses, regulatory reform (often de-regulation) and immigration reform.
Populism: The belief in the struggle of the people versus the “elites”, commonly represented by large corporations, specifically Wall Street. This tends to be particularly strong in developer-centric communities like Hacker News — most of the articles I’ve written that have hung on the front page for a while have had a strong populist streak.
But it’s more than just the independent adoption of these beliefs. Rather, libertarianism and populism are combined into a desire for freedom from all institutions, with little distinction between government and large corporations. After all, government and larger companies are both things that can (and do) harm small businesses. In many cases, government and big companies seemingly collaborate to attack startups: modern US patent policy, for instance, gives a massive advantage to enterprises with hoards of cash and lawyers.
Many entrepreneurs — especially the more common, cash-flow-focused entrepreneurs creating lifestyle businesses — consider their actions to be a declaration of independence of sorts from institutionalized corporate America and 9 to 5 drudgery. Yet the government’s rules tend to be written with the assumption that all companies are big companies, and the resulting administrative headache creates an antagonistic relationship between entrepreneurs and governments. Add to that the fact that big corporations — say, a health care provider — have similarly unfriendly rules, and the entirety of mainstream American institutions are thrown into the same bucket. Thus, libertarian populism.
This all has interesting implications. For instance, I’ve lately seen entrepreneurial populism leveraged to attack VCs. Take Chris Dixon, for instance, who has done a remarkable job leveraging his audience’s populist streak to paint VCs as the “other”. In reality, Chris is probably wealthier than most VCs — but he doesn’t have to answer to LPs, who are easy to lump into the government/corporate mob (and often justifiably so).
As our nation’s expectations of the startup community grows, expect the politicization of entrepreneurs to only deepen.
Haven’t gotten your pop psychology fix today? Well, OkCupid is pleased to let you know that iPhone users have more sex than users of other smartphones. Their evidence — a handy chart — is below:
OkCupid didn’t provide sample sizes, but let’s assume we’re dealing with their entire userbase — a statistically significant sample.
This is a pretty shocking graph. At age 27, iPhone users report having more than twice as many sexual partners as Android users. Quite an impact for a mobile operating system. So let’s look a bit deeper.
First, the heading — “iPhone users have more sex”. There’s nothing in that chart about the amount of sex people have. It’s a chart of the number of sexual partners. Anecdotally, if one removes the celibate — that is, people who have had zero sex and zero sexual partners — I haven’t seen a strong correlation between having a lot of sex and having a lot of sexual partners. In fact, there may be a negative correlation given the likelihood for people who don’t have long-term relationships to go through significant dry spells. That said, I haven’t seen any scientific data on this.
Second, it is important to realize that this is self-reported data on an online dating site. Data on sexual experience is notoriously bad even when subjects don’t clearly stand to gain by inflating the numbers, as they would on OkCupid. But that doesn’t explain why iPhone users claim more sexual partners than Android or Blackberry users, right?
Let’s take a step back. There are some oddities in this data. While I’m aware that the graph doesn’t provide a longitudinal sample, let’s consider it as such for the moment. The average iPhone user:
1) Has had four sexual partners by the time they graduate from high school.
2) Has less than one sexual partner during college
3) Has 2 sexual partners per year from 24 to 27
Those numbers are…odd. Especially given that the Kinsey Institute finds that about 35% of people haven’t had sex at all by age 18. I’m sure there is a long tail of kids who are having a *lot* of partners, but many of those teens would come from poorer and more urban families, not exactly a hot demographic for iPhones. And less than one (new) sexual partner during college? Who are these people?
So they’re probably lying, at least to some extent. But that still doesn’t explain the delta between iPhone users and Android or Blackberry users, which could be attributed to either or a combination of (a) an actual difference in sexual partners or (b) a difference in exaggeration.
OkCupid is particularly popular in San Francisco and New York — markets where the iPhone is more or less useless as a phone. It takes a certain type of person to own a really expensive, well-designed smartphone that doesn’t really work as a phone. Specifically, a person who perhaps:
1) Is wealthy enough that money is no (or very little) object.
2) Is extremely concerned about appearances and social status.
3) Is in the technology industry and needs it to keep up with innovation.
Let’s put (3) aside for a moment — while tech innovators are a big chunk of my own community, it’s probably a small percentage of the sample here.
(1) is probably correlated with having more sexual partners, although I can’t find any data on this. Once again, however, it is probably a small percentage of OkCupid’s users and could hardly explain a >2x difference in reported sexual partners by age 27.
(2) is more interesting. While someone who is more fashionable probably has more sexual partners than someone who isn’t, I’m more interested in the meta level — the need to appear fashionable and trendy. Awareness and desire to maintain appearances should be strongly correlated with inflating hard-to-verify information on an online dating profile. Like number of sexual partners, for instance.
In reality, the delta is probably driven by a number of factors. But a big piece of it is just about keeping up appearances — in profiles and phones.
I’m not sure anyone who reads Startup Adventures has been paying attention to the sad story of Jessi Slaughter, 4chan’s latest tween meme-toy, but you can read about it on KnowYourMeme here or ED here (NSFW). It’s a fascinating story about the fluidity and power of the anonymous web, but a couple points in the articles particularly stuck out:
The effects of her videos being posted to /b/ and various Tumblr blogs brought out the best of Anonymous, who began trolling her with taunts of her being stupid and ugly. She replied with comebacks that had little effect on the trollers.
Here’s how the Internet’s rage—funneled by Tumblr and 4Chan’s infamous /b/ board—ended in this sad and ridiculous scene.
She also seems to be an underage b& lurker or a total Know Your Meme n00b, due to her knowledge of several memes. She is the latest target of tumblr’s and /b/’s ire.
Call me old or out of touch, but what the hell, Tumblr? 6 months ago, this would’ve been attributed to “4chan” or maybe “4chan and eBaumsWorld”. In my world, Tumblr is the happy realm of new media hipsters — artists, designers, entrepreneurs and urbanites posting the latest LCD Soundsystem track.
When did it suddenly become Encyclopedia Dramatica with more whitespace?
I get how it works — Tumblr has taken serious VC money from some of the best consumer web investors on the east coast, and they need to continue to grow by orders of magnitude to justify the capital and achieve a proper venture exit. David Karp’s a smart guy, but I have to believe that this kind of growth will constrain the company’s ultimate value. There are a lot of reasons why Chris Poole has difficulty monetizing 4chan, but I don’t think it’s for stupidity or lack of trying. It’s just hard to make money off Anon.
Perhaps this is still a really small segment of Tumblr’s community. But given the natural virality of the platform, I would be seriously worried about these elements polluting the rest of the site. Don’t get me wrong, I believe the anonymous web is generally a Good Thing. I’m just not sure it’s a good business.
It’s now been three months since I started writing Startup Adventures in NYC. Those of you who know me know that I’m an analytics fiend, especially when it comes to search terms. After all, this blog started as 45% outlet for my thoughts and 45% SEO experiment. (The remaining 10% is lulz.) Thus and with limited commentary, I present The Random Shit People Type in to Search Engines to Find This Blog, in order of search frequency and with interesting bits bolded.
hot ny city startups
hackers and founders meetup nyc
brad hargreaves blog
brad hargreaves girlfriend
union or intersection bhargreaves
brad hargreaves tipping point
tipping point partners
tipping point nyc buzz fund
hacking venture capital
nyc startup drink list
option value bhargreaves
social network density
startup events suck points
union intersection bhargreaves
why vcs write
- “BH: Those who can’t do, manage. Those who can’t manage, invest. Those who can’t invest…”
founder collective llc
union square startup new york
‘brad internet investor manhattan online video game’
- “BH: Does not.”
adventures outside of new york city
bhargreaves ny social graph
bhargreaves social graph
brad hargeaves tipping point
brad hargreaves accredited investors
brad hargreaves blog yale
brad hargreaves new york
cargo cult design
mid size vc funds in new york
ny tech meetup parse.ly
nyc startup social
social network design -site:blogspot.com
startup adventures in nyc
kickstarter or “”indiegogo”” or “”rockethub””
lifestyle business technology success craigs list
matt mireles city of founders coders
option value, rail
paperlesspost newyork times 2010
pivotal labs hire hiring process
so a georgian luger goes into a bar…
tech company + “”fashion industry”” + “”new york””
2010 science education in america’
academic education and agile method
adventure start up company
airplane cargo game
bessemer fund vii size
best way to fly to silicon valley from nyc
bhargreaves positive externality seed financing
big agile development shops pivotal
boxee -listening -watching -“”just joined”” -likes
brad hargeaves blob
brad hargreaves , labapp
brad hargreaves blog startup
brad hargreaves chris paik new york startups
brad hargreaves death
- “BH: Greatly exaggerated.”
brad hargreaves dog
brad hargreaves game
brad hargreaves labapp
brad hargreaves startup
brad hargreaves tipping points
brad hargreaves venture
brad hargreaves yale
brad hargreaves, nyc
building software ny city
bureaucracy is invevitable to both small and large organization, justfy this statement with relevant factors?
car companies in silicon valley
cargo cult game design
cargo cult gaming
charlie o’donnell matt mireless
- “BH: Nick Carlson does this search daily. Always good material.”
cheap nyc startup space
commute times to silicon valley
cost of ageventure advertising
density in social networks
density of facebook network
density of social network
design cargo game
devshop out of business
diaspora a threat to facebook
differentiation based business model
differentiation in marketing
disposable reality gawker
do you think unions and intersection is used in marketing?
drink list new york
drink tip nyc
drinklist new york
drinks for start ups
equity mutual funds
equity-based software development for startups
fameball new york startup scene
finance professionals & social graph
fund size first round
funded companies in ny
game design seo
game design startups
gaming start up of private equity firms
go cross campus out
graphs showing successful entreprenuers
hargreaves residence, new york, ny
hedge fund accredation requirement
hiring in nyc tech and media space
homefield nyc funding
hottest nyc startups
hottest start up new york
hottest startup in silicon valley 2010
how does diaspora work
how does diaspora work?
how much further is government techonology
how to get a job at a ny startup
innovative crm ideas for marketing
- “BH: That search has to be worth at least like $50, right? Maybe I have a new model.”
just what is counts media, manhattan, ny?
list of drinks
list of funded startups in nyc
list of startups nyc
list of vodka in nyc
map companies silicon valley
march 2010 interview brad hargreaves
matt mireles funding
matt mireles more conserversal
media startup lower east side
menu drink at nydc
michael segal bessemer
most startups city san francisco
mutual funds accreditation.
new cargo games
new yokr city seed capital
new york best drink menu
new york city – companies receiving funding
new york city latest venture capital funding
new york city series a startups
new york city venture capital events 2010
new york city venture capital firms
new york city venture capital internship
new york startup bar hunch etsy
new york startup brooklyn or manhattan
new york startup drink list
new york startup drinks
new york startups funded
new york subway map superimposed
new york tech scene growing up
new york themed drink menu
new york times nyc start up venture capital
new york versus san francisco retail start-up costs
ny angels interested in social networking
ny consumer internet vc’s
ny drink 2010
ny fun places 2010
ny industrial venture capital
ny startups as drinks
ny tech startup events
nyc entrepreneur “”hang out””
nyc media startups
nyc restaurant startup costs architect
nyc startup scene new york ny
nyc startup space
nyc startups 2010
nyc vc list
nyc venture firms
nymag tech start up story
option value go to
parse.ly startup drinks
people who claim to be alison angel and getting money from people
pie chart % by development stage company bay area california
private fund accreditation
proof that diaspora is legit
provide a brief write up why a company should hire you.
python powered tech startup
rails intersection union
rather than intersect?
relationship between union and intersection
required startup capital nyc bar
rre capital new york
seed funding is entering the world of philanthropy, and i think it’s a very good thing
seven points capital new york ny
should i hire a product developer
silicon valley company map
silicon valley startups newyork
silicon valley tech companies map
site hargreaves: startup event suck
social food venture nyc
social media fashion startup
social networking new york city
speakertext new york startups
start up – for him 25
start up networking events new york city
start up networks and ny
startup adventures in ny
startup bar growth rates nyc
startup companies in nyc since 2005
startup companies nyc event
startup development shop
startup events bay area free
startup funding choices in nyc
startup headhunters nyc
startup on social graphs
startups hire bad manager
startups that will train me
- “BH: Ha.”
tech startup lectures nyc
tech startups near penn station nyc
the ny startup scene
the union into the intersection
theme designed by mono-lab
there is option value
tipping point partners and brad
tipping point partners brad
tipping point partners brad hargreaves
tipping point ventures
unions and intersections identify groups
unions and intersections online activity
vc firms that invest in ny startups
venture capital firms in new york city
venture capital firms nyc
venture capital funding charts & graphs
venture capital graphs 2010
venture capital meetups ny
venture capital new york
venture capital nyc
venture capital totals location based social networking
venture companies in nyc
venture funded startups nyc
venture start ups new york city
well funded nyc start ups
well funded start ups in the new york area
what are the a, c and e trains nyc like at 530 am
- “BH: Have you ever switched trains at Broadway Junction at 5:30 am?” is my new “Have you ever been in a Turkish prison?”
what makes new york start up city
where does brad hargreaves live
whois a venture capitalist
why does nyc allow building wrap advertisement?
working out intersection given union
yc start-up list
zachary adam cohen
the death of the fameball and the evolution of the ny startup scene
bhargreaves buzz fund
brad hargreaves tipping point venture
I hosted a party with Superconductor’s Matt Brimer a couple weeks back. Since I’m more or less incapable of throwing a party these days that doesn’t turn into a NYC tech mixer, we decided to embrace it and craft an appropriate drink menu.
I wish I could take credit for more of this, but it’s primarily the work of Brimer and HomeField‘s Reece Pacheco.
They tried to capture the spirit / theme of each startup in the drink. Or something like that.
The Bit.ly: Tequila shot
The Boxee: Vodka, triple sec, lime, shaken, serve on rocks in tumbler
The Drop.io: Beer + Shot of Bourbon, Vodka or Tequila
The Etsy: Vodka, muddled lemon, sugar, ginger ale
The Foursquare: Vodka, sour (shaken), garnish w/cherry + orange
The GoodCrush: Vodka, triple sec, lime juice, cranberry, shake on ice and strain into martini glass.
The Hot Potato: Jager-Bomb
The Hunch: Gin and tonic
The Kickstarter: Muddled bitters, sugar, orange, cherry, add rocks, bourbon.
The OMGPOP: Lemonade, Gin, Peach Schnapps, sour mix. shake. Highball or glass on the rocks.
The Parse.ly: Muddled mint + sugar, bourbon, sour. Tumbler glass on rocks.
The Postling: Bourbon, Ginger Ale, highball or tumbler on the rocks.
The ScoopSt: Vodka, Gin, Rum, Tequila, Triple Sec, Sour Mix, Jagermeister
The SpeakerText: Tequila, mixers
The Tumblr: Vodka Cranberry with a lime.
The Yipit: PBR
I’m just going to leave this here.
* Presence in Blogosphere as measured by TechMeme
Entrepreneurship in New York City is evolving. Everyone is talking about it — at meetups, at conferences, at drinks with friends. While there’s a lot of (warranted) concern about the venture community as a whole, there is a feeling in New York of inevitability; when the dust clears, the City will no longer be playing second fiddle to Boston and Silicon Valley in the world of tech entrepreneurship. Having a NY office is the new hot thing for any east coast VC, and tech startups are increasingly looking at New York as a better place to set up shop for the long term. One could easily claim that NYC owns the hottest VC (Union Square Ventures) and the hottest tech company to launch in the past year (foursquare).
But there’s one symptom of the coming of age of the NY startup scene that people haven’t really been talking about. I was having a conversation with a friend at Gawker Media the other day, haranguing her about Gawker’s lack of coverage of the web celebrities that it lent such weight to just a year or two ago. The Julia Allisons, Jakob Lodwicks and David Karps of the world. Where are they? Yeah, I know, Gawker has been clawing its way into the mainstream; to do that, is has to cover mainstream celebrities rather than NY media darlings. But at the same time, no one has taken Gawker’s place. Even The Awl shies away from the kind of webutante-centric coverage that Gawker became known for.
Most may write this off as a simple shift in new media’s focus — or haven’t even noticed. But I think it is extremely relevant and symptomatic of deeper trends in New York. After all, bloggers write about the topics that get pageviews.
In other words, it is indicative of bigger things. It means that the NY startup scene is maturing. It means that we are focusing less on the media-crowned personalities driving “the tech scene” in New York City and (hopefully) more on the awesome things that tech startups are creating. It’s a democratization; It means that tech in NYC is coming out of media’s shadow. It means that Richard Blakeley’s Webutante Ball last summer wasn’t the debut of the NY web celebrity but its timely demise.
Two years ago, there were essentially no high-profile tech events in the city that weren’t dominated by “new media” (and even quite a few old media) brands and individuals. New media became synonymous with New York Tech. Even the well-known New York Tech Meetup was throwing events at IAC, in the belly of the media beast. Now there are too many tech events to count, headlined by the burgeoning Hackers and Founders — an event that came out of the Valley’s YCombinator and a refreshing alternative to NY Tech Meetup’s cliquish lecture class. New York Tech is growing up.
Of course, you still have celebrity entrepreneurs in California. But their coverage has been focused on — or at least cognizant of — what they’ve accomplished professionally. Even on Valleywag during its heyday. And I can’t really name any big California celebrity entrepreneurs without reasonably sized companies to their names. A year ago, the same could hardly be said about the NY scene.
Still, personalities are important, and it will be interesting to see which (if any) individuals emerge into the roles of successful celebrity entrepreneurs you find on the west coast. Some of the old guard, such as Karp (if you can possibly call a 23 year-old a member of the “old guard”), are good entrepreneurs in their own right. And I can see at least a few investors who are rising to take more prominent and vocal positions in the NY tech scene.
Then again, it is quite possible that I’m suffering from some sort of observer bias, as I’m reasonably integrated into the startup scene. What do people think?