Category Archives: People

Kevin RoseUpdate: TechCrunch’s Alexia Tsotsis is reporting that Google’s hiring of Kevin Rose is indeed an acqui-hire role where the entire Milk team will be joining the search giant. The entire deal is reported to be between $15-30 million with all the investors very happy with the situation. Turns out that Google beat Facebook for the team since the now-former Milk team will be spearheading Google’s continued social efforts (and boy do they need them).

Original story: Seems like we now know what Kevin Rose is up to next. Since leaving his company, Digg, he’s gone and created a new startup called Milk, which introduced the world to “rate everything” app Oink, which was recently shuttered. Many people thought that Mr. Rose would go back to his entrepreneurial roots, but now, according to All Things D, his next plans are now becoming clearer…he’s joining Google.

Sources tell All Things D that the news isn’t an acquisition of Milk or an “acqui-hire” role…but it seems that Mr. Rose will be going to work for the search engine giant along with several of his startup colleagues. No idea on what he’s going to be doing at Google, but it doesn’t seem far-fetched for him to work with their investment arm, Google Ventures, or perhaps even helping the service to grow their social offerings. Maybe he could revive Diggnation on Google+ and rebrand it to something like Plusnation where he would be able to leverage his strong and loyal following.

This isn’t the first time that Mr. Rose hasn’t been pursued by Google. It’s important to note that in 2008, Digg was approached for a potential deal with Google for $200 million, but eventually hit a snag and the search engine walked away. Now, it seems that they’ll settle for the brains behind the operation and take Mr. Rose to help them out. Since starting Milk, Mr. Rose emphasized that it was all about quickly and efficiently launching startups and products. In 2011, he started Milk and soon he quickly debuted his first product Oink. Five months later, he shutters the service, and one day afterwards, pivots and joins Google.

VentureBeat and All Things D reports that Mr. Rose has always had a friendly relationship with the search giant…in fact, Google Ventures invested $1.5 million in a vote of confidence in Milk. Perhaps they saw something else in him that led them to talk about a potential full-time role.

No word yet on whether Mr. Rose will be shuttering Milk as well or if he’ll continue to run the company while also pursuing interests with Google.

Photo Credit: Kevin Rose via First Round

This April, join some of today’s leading PR professionals at the PR Disrupted Conference. Focusing on Food, Wine and Travel!

PR Disrupted is a conference that explores new ideas and disruptive and engaging trends in travel, food and wine. Yet with a compass focused on how content, public relations, marketing and social media are shaping the landscape.

The conference will help you anticipate the shifts and changes in the market place, consumer attitudes and how social media continues to play a broader role in transforming the way we engage and interact.

Date: Monday, April 9, 2012
Times: 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Where: J.W. Marriot Hotel – 500 Post Street, SF.
Registration: www.prsummit.org

Badgeless at SXSW 2012Will you be at South by Southwest this year? The odds are the if you’ve been there before, you probably didn’t go for a badge this year–or you are and you’re speaking, or you bought one just because you want to either (a) hang out in the blogger lounges or (b) quickly reserve your hotel room (I’m guilty of both). But if you’re fanatical about attending the SXSW interactive conference but didn’t bother to get a badge, one must wonder why? Is it because it’s too expensive? You weren’t selected to speak on a panel or keynote? Or you just wanted to party in Austin?

Regardless of your reason for not buying a badge, you’re not alone in your plight. In addition to the thousands of registered attendees at this year’s SXSW, there’s probably at least double that amount. This year, someone’s decided to reach out to these unaffiliated masses and create a support group dedicated to honoring this tradition and to help celebrate a theme they call “people over podiums”. If you happen to be one of these individuals who believe in this theme, then you are, by definition, part of the #badgeless2012 revolution.

#Badgeless2012 was started as a means of celebrating our individuality while also enjoying each other’s company and experience, while learning and partying from the community with some of the best music, best food, and events from around the world. Here in this temporary international hub of technology, chances are you’re going to meet someone new and get to share your thoughts about the latest trends, applications, and technology while being downloaded on what they find interesting. This sharing of ideas is what SXSW is meant to be about–#badgeless2012 looks to bring that out more by focusing more on the people who make up SXSW instead of the podiums on which they stand on and teach. According to their website, their goal is to learn from each other and self-organize.

In an opening post on the #badgeless2012 website, the organizers believe that this movement is:

…about the meritocracy of the new world, where you don’t have to have permission, money, postion or power to assemble, or to be a part of a community of common interests and common goals. Just as we did with Web2point1, the point is people. And people with social media tools can do a lot, drastically changing the veyr foundations on which our socioeconomic world view is formed.

Started by Social Media Club founder Chris Heuer, #badgeless2012 is not meant to dissuade people from attending SXSW–he still thinks that there’s some merit to attending, but he believes that it’s an acknowledgement of the “alternative and of our freedom to associate and assemble”. Maybe they’re trying to explore the rationale for why so many people are staying in Austin during this five-day period of interactive but aren’t actually purchasing a badge. This movement seems to want to strive to continue the SXSW experience, but without resorting to paying exorbitant registration fees or lack of hotel rooms, etc. In a sense, one might think that the theme of “people over podiums” somehow fits with the Social Media Club because both are about sharing of ideas and its only fitting to be associated with this organization (disclosure: I’m a professional member).

So if you’re going to be at SXSW this weekend and are representing the #badgeless2012 community, it’ll be great to see you. Mr. Heuer and the Social Media Club are creating #badgeless2012 t-shirts that you can purchase and wear proudly while in Austin (and wherever else you are). If you find Mr. Heuer around or stop by the IBM booth in the Austin Convention Center, you might be able to pick one up. T-shirts are also available on Cafe Press. Please note that all proceeds will go to support the Social Media Club and their fundraising drive.

See you in Austin!

Naveen SelvaduraiIt’s funny that right when I published my post about location-based check-in leader, Foursquare’s, recent milestone celebrating its third birthday, days later, I would need to write another post about the service–this time about one-half of the legendary founder team leaving. Yes, you read that correctly, one of the Foursquare founders has announced they’re leaving the company. That person would be Naveen Selvadurai.

In his farewell post, Mr. Selvadurai, mentioned that he’s seen the company take-off and that he’s worn so many hats in his time working on Foursquare. The service now has over a hundred employees and are “building amazing things” and probably has a lengthy product timeline for new releases, but unfortunately it seems that Mr. Selvadurai has felt he’s done it all and now he’s going to move on. Slowly, but surely, as this month starts to wind down, so too will his involvement with the company. But he won’t be gone for good–he’s determined to stay on the board and will continue to advise the service on things to improve and build. Will he go the route of becoming an angel investor or full venture capitalist? Probably not…he says that he’ll probably get back to what he loves the most–being an entrepreneur, learning, and building new things.

First reported by GigaOm’s Om Malik, who apparently keeps close tabs on the company, Mr. Selvadurai’s departure comes at a time when there’s reports that two major VC firms are trying to pick up Foursquare stock. Both Spark Capital and SV Angel are apparently trying to help mold Foursquare into a company that can give them more bang for their buck. In doing so, and with Mr. Selvadurai’s departure, remaining founder, Dennis Crowley, will become Foursquare’s CEO–and it’s probably a good choice since he’s (1) the founder, (2) has got the vision for the company, (3) drive to make it happen. So far the company has secured $71 million in funding and looks to keep on going.

We wish Mr. Selvadurai nothing but the best in his next adventures and success as an entrepreneur!

Photo Credit: Foursquare co-founder, Naveen Selvadurai, poses for TheRichest.org

Israeli President Shimon PeresSorry Mayor Ed Lee, I’m going to let you finish making an appearance at the upcoming LAUNCH conference this week (assuming he will be), but I got to say that having a sitting President has got to be the tops for any conference. Kudos to the LAUNCH conference.

Announced today, the 2012 LAUNCH conference, which will be held at the San Francisco Design Concourse on Thursday & Friday, will welcome Israeli President Shimon Peres to the stage. The ninth president of Israel, a former prime minister, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate (along with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin), will be in Silicon Valley as part of his his trip focusing on innovation in technology. At the 2nd annual conference, host & organizer Jason Calacanis will have the honor, along with famed Israeli entrepreneur and investor Yossi Vardi will conduct a fireside chat with President Peres to talk about the progress in Israel and how the two countries can work together to help foster the progress of technology.

It’s not as if Israel is lagging behind the United States in terms of developing new technology. Some of their latest startups have become quite well-known in the community, like Waze, my6sense, iStreamer, Soluto, and Shaker (a winner at TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco last year). And there’s definitely a growing community in this nation. In a BBC 2011 report, Israel currently has approximately 4,000 tech startups, more  than any other country outside the United States (according to the Israel Venture Capital Research Centre). Two years ago, venture capital funds amounted to $884 million being provided to these startups. The same BBC report states that Israel is a world leader in research and development spending as a percentage of the economy–it’s top in both the number of startups and engineers as a proportion of the population, and it’s #1 in per capital venture capital investment.

The arrival of President Peres on the stage of what is the latest tech conferences is a really good thing for the community. While the United States government might still not be a major supporter of the latest innovations, in Israel, it apparently is. Koby Simona from the Israel Venture Capital Research Centre believes that the government helped play a key role in the rapid rise of the “startup nation”. In 1993, Israel created the Yozma programme, a fund set up to invest in local VC funds that would channel money into new tech firms. Even Israel’s defense forces are supporting entrepreneurs–while compulsory, the military has set up high-tech units where those who are computer-savvy can go to come up with innovative ideas in computer security, cryptography, communications, and electronic warfare. So President Peres’ visit to not only the LAUNCH stage, but also the demo pit, should be a welcome sign that one of the United State’s closest allies and a hub of technology ingenuity is taking great interest in seeing how startups are helping to change the world…for the better.

To get your tickets to the LAUNCH conference here. The show goes on starting Wednesday, March 7 through Thursday, March 8.

Photo Credit: Israeli President Shimon Peres via The Jewish Chronicle Online