The social networking wars resurge, this time in the form of billboard dares. The latest entrant to the arena is PrimeHangout, spotted in San Francisco by Jonathan Cowperthwait, Product Marketing Manager at social analytics startup awe.sm.
Taking aim at Facebook’s billion-or-so users, PrimeHangout offers “Social media with artificial intelligence!” adding, “The future is here” — apparently a future freed from the constraints of pesky, sentence-ending typographical marks.
“We are the Next Step” claims the Philadephia-based startup, to approximately fifteen Twitter followers.
GaymerX2, the LGBTQ-focused gaming convention in San Francisco, secured over $12,000 in Kickstarter pledges in less than a day, easily surpassing their fundraising goal of $10,000 — with a month still to go.
The event follows last year’s GaymerX convention, which drew over 2,300 gaymers from around the world. This year’s convention promises an even bigger event, with three times the square footage at the InterContinental, a centrally-located downtown venue.
As with many fandom conventions, GaymerX2 offers a wide variety of attractions and spectacles, including live musical performances, celebrity appearances, and a rumored demo of Read Only Memories, the queer cyberpunk adventure game developed by in-house studio MidBoss Games.
The convention, along with the game — not to mention a YouTube video series — stem from the prolific, visionary mind of founder Matt Conn, whose efforts have galvanized widespread awareness of the queer gaming community, bringing a tangible sense of community and solidarity to a group whose members often express feelings of marginalization in both the gaming community and the world at large.
Fans and allies can back the GaymerX2 Kickstarter for as little as $1, with early bird convention tickets starting at $59.
The Revolution Will Be Wearable
In anticipation of the largest wearable computing conference since Google I/O, we invited Kyle Ellicot, co-founder of Stained Glass ...
Groundbreaking accelerator 500 Startups recently announced the 500 Women Fund, an AngelList syndicate dedicated to funding startups led by women in entrepreneurship. 500 founder Dave McClure commented to PandoDaily, “Smart women entrepreneurs are not getting the access to capital they could.”
An estimated 25 to 30 percent of teams currently funded by 500 Startups include at least one female founder, double the US average of 13%. (500 also invests substantially in international teams, bolstered by its Geeks on a Plane initiative.)
The 500 Women syndicate is a new program designed to further encourage women to become founders, and to support them with a deep network of investors, mentors, and peers.
I’m almost certain that we don’t discriminate against female founders because I would know from looking at the ones we missed. You could argue that we should do more, that we should encourage women to start startups.
Even for an industry structurally dominated by male-biased investment patterns, YCombinator stands out from the crowd: over its eight-year history, 96% of YCombinator founders have been men. It appears, however, that the tides of patriarchy may be waning. Commented PG (as he’s often known) in a subsequent essay:
More thoughtful people were willing to concede YC wasn’t biased against women, but thought we should be actively working to increase the number of female founders. As one put it, instead of being a gatekeeper, we should be a gateway…
We fund more female founders than VCs do, and we help them to overcome the bias they’ll encounter among other investors. In the current YC batch, 16 out of 68 companies, or 24%, have female founders.
I realize though that with female founders, efforts at our stage are not enough.
Pivoting from a previously laissez-faires attitude towards the gender gap, YCombinator appears ready to assume a proactive role in catalyzing social change. Complimenting his two provocative essays on the subject, Paul Graham’s wife and partner, Jessica Livingston, will soon co-host the Female Founders Conference.
Taking place March 1 at the Computer History Museum, the conference will feature an impressive series of talks from accomplished women in technology, including industry leaders Diane Green (Founder, VMWare), Julia Hartz (Co-Founder, EventBrite) and Jessica Mah (Co-Founder, InDinero).
But is it enough?
All these efforts, while commendable, overlook the growing gender gap afflicting the tech field as a whole. In 1984, for instance, 37.1% of US computer science degrees went to women; today, the same figure is 12%, less than a third of the rate three decades ago.
Women face similar discrimination at all levels of organizational leadership — only 19% of American CEOs are women, for instance — leading to the widespread, if controversial, notion of a “pink ghetto.”
Reasons for such a participatory decline may vary, but the scarcity of role models — women in technology with name recognition approaching Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, or, more contemporarily, Mark Zuckerberg — may likely play an inhibiting role in encouraging more women to enter the field.
Efforts by YCombinator and 500Startups may play only a minor role in reversing a long-standing sociotechnical trend, but even the longest journey begins with a single step — and in this case, it’s a step in the right direction.
The 111 Minna Story
On the eve of their twentieth anniversary celebration, Eiming Jung and Michelle Delaney of 111 Minna Gallery joined me to share ...
Advisor Relationships that Work
John Boitnott, VP of Business Development at CircleClick, talks all about startup advisors, from the role they play, to their spectrum ...
In what might be a Silicon Valley first, Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, won two startup awards on the same night, highlighting both the achievements of his role at the company’s helm, and the controversies created in the process.
Inside the Davies Symphony Hall, Costolo won “Best CEO,” the Best Actor equivalent of The Crunchies, Silicon Valley’s lavish annual award ceremony co-organized by TechCrunch, GigaOM, and VentureBeat. Costolo’s newest accolade emerged from fierce competition, in which he edged out Tesla’s Elon Musk, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Yahoo!’s Marissa Mayer, and runner-up-winning Travis Kalanick of Uber.
“This is really a team award,” said Costolo, in a gracious and brief acceptance speech. “It’s just such a delight to be able to get up in the morning and come to work with such enthusiastic, and creative, and courageous people. It makes it fun, it makes it exciting, and it never gets old, so thanks very much — I really appreciate it.”
Today marked the seventh year of The Crunchies, and the first of another event: The Crappies, organized in protest by the San Francisco chapter of Jobs With Justice. Playfully adorned with hand-written, paperboard signage, The Crappies organizers “awarded” individuals and companies for actions deemed problematic and harmful to the city and its myriad communities.
Dick Costolo was among the dubious cast of Crappies prizewinners, receiving the award for Best Tax Evader. The award references the company’s decision to relocate to the city’s Mid-Market neighborhood in the now-termed “Twitter building.”
In agreeing to the move, Twitter accepted a payroll tax credit pioneered by Mayor Ed Lee. The credit, misleadingly called the “Twitter tax break,” in fact extends to any company that relocates to the Mid-Market neighborhood, a trending district that incorporates areas of Civic Center and the Tenderloin, along with stretches of SoMa from 6th to 10th Street.
In guise of the real Costolo, local nonprofit worker and activist James Chionsini, playing a rather convincing Fake Dick Costolo, accepted the award. Chionsini’s last tweet, dated from almost a year ago, rings today with newfound prescience:
@twitter i work at a non profit at 5th and mission with seniors and the landlord is jacking our rent to attract tech firms. thanks a lot
The Crappies have followed a wave anti-gentrification protests across the Bay Area, where private buses transport Google workers to and from the company’s Mountain View headquarters. The protests, widely covered in both tech and mainstream press, highlight the tensions rippled by the wave of a tech economy that fails to lift all boats.
“San Francisco is in a crisis,” decries Jobs With Justice. Median rental prices recently topped $3,000 for the first time in history, situating the City by the Bay as the country’s single most expensive place to live.
Three Strikes Against the Open Web From Texas to New Jersey to the United Kingdom, this week has seen a host of troubling developments threatening both the right of the web ...