The Oauth.io Interview: Three Clicks, Three Steps, and You’re Done

OAuth, the universal login protocol, was supposed to make life so easy — and now, thanks to Oauth.io, it does.

In the latest @sfbeta On Air interview, Webshell Co-Founder Mehdi Medjaoui tells the story of his life as a rising star in the open source startup universe.

With the power of a simple API, OAuth.io powers integration with over 100 Oauth providers. The process involves three lines of code, and takes about 90 seconds to complete, saving developers headaches, money, and most importantly — their sanity.

Built atop a major open source project, oauthd, Oauth.io relies on this open daemon, built from contributions of developers from across the world. The power of the daemon helps explain why more than 4000 apps already rely on Oauth.io, which streamlines and simplifies what can often be an unwieldy and cumbersome integration process.

Rather than embracing the defensive IP mentality of a proprietary thought regime, Mehdi sees open source as a core strategy to the success of his startup. While acknowledging a more guarded approach may yield better short-term results, Medhi believes that the long-term success of his company depends on the future of the web — and at Oauth.io, he’s jointly invested in both.

Watch the full Oauth.io interview on YouTube.

Bountysource: Continuous Crowdfunding for Open Source Projects

More than ten years ago, David Rappo and Warren Konkel met in an IRC chat room to figure out ways to incentivize open source software development. They built a solution called Bountysource, sent it into the wild, and moved along.

But in the way that projects find a life of their own, Bountysource never died — in fact, it kept growing. So last year, Warren and David gathered all their contributors together, and brought the band back to San Francisco. Once a project, now a full-time startup, Bountysource is the continuous crowdfunding marketplace moving open source forward.

The platform-agnostic service adds a financial incentivization layer across major open source repositories — GitHub, SourceForge, and so on. Through Bountysource, companies and individuals place “bounties” to fix bugs, solve features, and start new projects, ranging from a few dollars to a few thousand.

Popular not just with engaged end users and open source geeks, companies like Facebook and Mozilla place bounties on important bugs to drive attention to them — generating fast, low-cost solutions that would otherwise languish or consume the time of an in-house developer.

Bountysource is for more than fixing bugs — it’s a fundraising platform for entirely new projects. They helped fundraise a campaign for NeoVIM, the modern take on the popular text editor — along with HabitRPG, the open source task management system with gamified RPG elements. Unlike platforms like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, Bountysource offers continuous crowdfunding, with a funding model that supports the continuous lifecycle of product development.

Some developers love Bountysource because avid users posts bounties on issues that matter to them most. When dealing with dozens, if not hundreds, of potential projects at once — when figuring out what problems to solve can be the biggest problem of all — bounties help developers identify issues that mean the most to their users, while giving users direct input and influence over the direction that a project takes.

The Bountysource team will be showcasing at the BCV Open Source Startup Summit on April 22, and more information can be found at http://bountysource.com

This GDC “SausageFest” is Actually… A Festival with Sausages

Developer cat is a developer.

Developer cat is a developer.

GDC, the annual game developer conference, is heating up in San Francisco — as are the bazillion parties oft dubbed “sausage fests” for their preponderance of dudely revelers. Realizing this, an ingenious company called Paymentwall is hosting a sausage fest of its own — but this time, there will actually be sausages.

The cleverly-titled SausageFest takes place tonight at the upscale San Francisco-based Supper Club — and oh, will there be supper. In addition to the obligatory scantily clad women in German regalia (*sigh*), the third annual festival features unlimited German sausages of all shapes and sizes, washed down with free-flowing pints (perhaps even litres?) of German beer.

Ve have vays of making you drink.

Ve have vays of making you drink.

According to Paymentwall’s CEO, Honor Gunday, the party will be set to a soundscape of German 80s music, along with a German oompah band. It is unclear whether the mashup geniuses of Bootie will be there to mix the two sounds together, but one can only speculate — and hope.

Paymentwall makes a suite of monetization services for mobile and social games, including subscriptions, offer walls, and in-game currency sales. The company helps free-to-play apps become profitable by incentivizing users to become customers, whether through actions they take, or purchases they make.

Appropriately enough, the SausageFest admission policy eats the dog food — so to speak — of its parent company’s philosophy. Attendees can either pay $10 for admission, or visit the Paymentwall booth at #2030 on the GDC convention floor to redeem a complimentary “MINT Card” for free admission.

Hundreds of people are attending. However, as of press time, research indicates that no one on the list is named Dick, Johnson, or Wang.

Codementor Introduces One-on-One Help for Frustrated DIY Programmers

There are better ways to enjoy your laptop.

There are better ways to enjoy your laptop.

Online programmer education is enjoying a renaissance, led in no small part by NYC-based CodeAcademy. But those struggling to learn codecraft on their own may often find themselves lost in a well-known quandary: #TWYGS — or, the Time When You Get Stuck.

Reported today in TechCrunch, Codementor, a new startup out of Seattle-based TechStars, extends a branch to those stuck on TWYGS. By introducing live video chat with experienced developers, along with side-by-side screens to pair program, Codementor offers aspiring developers the next step in online education.

The startup, founded by YCombinator alumni Weiting Liu, curated a pool of 500 experts from a field of over 2,500 candidates. Each expert was vetted, in part, on their profiles on LinkedIn, CodeAcademy, and Stack Overflow.

Codementor joins a competitive field of startups offering similar services, include AirPair and HackHands. Liu says the company hopes to distinguish itself with an incremental pricing model that begins at just $10 for a 15-minute lesson.

Austin: There’s Gold in Them Thar Silicon Hills

Marching towards progress.

Marching towards progress.

My first taste of SXSW, circa 2008, left a weary residue on my palate. Unable to see beyond the hype of the festival, I swore I’d never return. But then, this year, thanks to my co-founder Mike Gold, I came back, and with eyes freshly opened, I can say that, folks, this place is the real deal.

Culturally, economically, and ecosystemically, Austin is quickly emerging as the next big startup hub, joining the esteemed ranks of San Francisco, New York, and London. As Faith Merino writes for Vator:

The tech scene in Austin is booming, so much so that it’s been dubbed the “Silicon Hills.” Heavy hitters like Apple, Facebook, Google, HP, IBM, Dell, and more have set up shop in Austin, and the city now accounts for much of all the tech-related revenue in the state.

So if you’re looking to get your idea off the ground and you don’t want to live under a freeway overpass in Silicon Valley, Austin is the place to go.

Moreso than Boston (too stodgy), Portland (too chilly), Boulder (too small), LA (too sprawl-y), Seattle (too Amazon-and-Microsoft-y), or Chicago (too — I’m not sure what — but just not Chicago), Austin has the perfect storm of factors that position it for exponential growth in the years to come.

Consider the following fun facts, if you will:

  • Austin is the fastest-growing city in the country, with regional population increasing by 2.8% annually, and economic growth soaring by 6.8%.
  • One of the largest universities in the nation, UT Austin, sits blocks away from downtown.
  • Similar to the San Francisco counterculture of yore, Austin celebrates individuality, self-expression, and weirdness — qualities that befit an entrepreneurial culture that challenges, rather than embraces, the status quo.

More to the point, Austin has a genuine and growing startup ecosystem already in place. Vibrant spaces like Capital Factory and Conjunctured offer world-class co-working. Accelerators like TechStars, Tech Ranch, and ATI offer numerous opportunities for incubation and early-stage growth. Growth-stage startups, like WPEngine and uShip, anchor the community with proven success stories.

And then, of course, there’s SXSW Interactive, bringing together more people from more startups than any other event in the world.

Southby serves as a telling analogy to the city’s sensibility as a whole: deeply community-driven, yet friendly and open to the outside world. Tellingly, denizens identify as “local,” not “native”; hometown pride permeates every square inch of the city’s 271.8 square miles, but it’s a smiling pride, a friendly pride, a welcoming pride — a pride that says mi casa, su casa — this is my home, and it can be yours, too.

Granted, none of this is intended to paint a rose-tinted view of the place. Austin has its share of problems and shortcomings — the startup scene lacks growth-stage venture capital, and, outside of SXSW, the event community is said to be lacking (though we’re certainly thinking about ways to change that). The city itself lacks blue-state-quality public transit, endures its fair share of crime, and sits in the midst of a state that’s governed, at least for now, by a festering mold of scum better known as Rick Perry.

Then again, the gaps and shortcomings in Austin (for the startup scene, at least) imply that there’s room to grow — and, with both an open-minded and business-friendly culture, the future shines brightly.