If These Are the "Coolest People in New York Tech," San Francisco Wins

New York's startup scene has a considerable advantage over Silicon Valley: it's not fully of technolibertarian, amoral, poorly dressed Stanford-dropout vampires. It's a pretty normal bunch. But one thing the Alley is not, is cool--and if this Business Insider list is the best of the best, that's sad.

Vanity Fair's "New Establishment" was bloated, cloying money-nonsense, but at least it included people of actual gravity—Zuckerberg, Bezos, Sandberg, et al. People who "matter," and whose opinions are "cared about." People who run "large, successful companies." Trivial stuff! But the Business Insider ranking is basically an Can we even come up with 100 cool people who sit at a computer every day?

The answer was clearly no—we have no idea in fuck who most of these people are, where they came from, or what they do with their time beyond sell mobile ads and hope for a Yahoo! buyout, but this is likely the first and last time they're described under a boldfaced COOL header:


  • Sam Biddle and Nitasha Tiku, Valleywag (Bloggers will never, ever be cool—especially tech bloggers)
  • Zephrin Lasker, Geoff Grauer, and Roshan Bangera, Pontiflex (I have no idea what this is)
  • Heather Marie, CEO of 72Lux (No one cares about 72Lux)
  • Ryan Rzepecki, CEO of Social Bicycles (No idea)
  • Alex Bedder, Lynn Maharas, Kuan Huang, Paul Murphy, Karthick Ramakrishnan, Annalise Domenighini, and Grant Custer, of Poncho (SIX people involved in a weather app. Six.)
  • Cindy Gallop, Founder of MakeLoveNotPorn (Perennial list-filler, sex sells!)
  • Simon Mansell, CEO of TBG Digital (An ad exec, that's cool)
  • Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL (Cool!)
  • Jared Grusd, General Counsel at Spotify (Lawyers are NEVER cool)
  • Jonathan Zabusky, President of GrubHub Seamless (Food delivery is nice but this is not cool)
  • Jonathan Hefter, CEO of Neveware (???)
  • Elliot Hirsch, CEO of AdYapper (Again, advertising is not cool, no, never)
  • Susan Lyne, CEO of AOL's Brand Group ("AOL's Brand Group")
  • Chad Dickerson, CEO of Etsy (Most things you buy on Etsy would get you beat up at school)
  • Alexis Ohanian, Founder of Reddit (Reddit, not cool)
  • Nicole Glaros, Managing Director of TechStars (Venture capital is NOT cool)
  • Matthew Burnett, Tanya Menendez, and Scott Weiner, co-founders at Maker's Row (What is this? I don't know)
  • Lee Hnetinka and Calvin Lai, co-founders of WunWun (WunWun more like WhatWhat)
  • Diego Zambrano, founder of Bondsy (No idea)
  • Dan Roth, executive editor at LinkedIn (LinkedIn is as cool as a tie from Macy's)
  • Andy Dunn, CEO at Bonobos (Selling pants on the internet isn't cool)
  • Jordan Cooper, Eric Hippeau, Ben Lerer, Ken Lerer, VCs (Again, investing isn't cool)
  • James Robinson III, James D. Robinson, Stuart J. Ellman, Eric Wiesen, Will Porteous (More investors, come on!)
  • Brendan Lewis, Steven Rosenblatt, of Foursquare (Brendan is a nice guy, but PR is not cool)
  • Jared Hecht, founder of a "stealth startup" (Yeah, sorry, absolutely not)
  • Matthew Rosenberg, Andy Thompson, and Michael Constantiner, founders of Cameo (No clue what this is or what it does)
  • Jon Stein and Eli Broverman, co-founders of Betterment (More financial snoozing)
  • Matt Meeker, Carly Strife, Henrik Werdelin, co-founders of BarkBox (Tech for dogs isn't cool)
  • Michael Bloomberg (Any cool list with Mayor Bloomberg on it should be deleted or launched into space, Christ)
  • Howard Morgan, Chris Fralic, Phin Barnes (More dull investors)
  • Cyrus Massoumi, Oliver Kharraz, and Nick Ganju, of ZocDoc (ZocDoc is useful, but certainly not cool)
  • Anastasia Leng and Ryan Hayward, co-founders Hatch (What is this?)
  • David Tisch (Another VC)
  • Jason Goldberg and Bradford Shellhammer, founders of Fab.com (Firing people isn't cool!)
  • Charles Phillips, CEO of Infor (Not sure what Infor is but with a name like that, it is not cool)
  • Elias Roman, CEO of Songza (A music app, nope)
  • Rytis Vitkauskas, Viktoras Jucikas, co-founders of YPlan (No one uses this)
  • Ben Hindman and Brett Boskoff, co-founders of Splash ("During NY Internet Week, Hindman was named Webutante Ball King")
  • Soraya Darabi, CEO of Zady (No one knows what Soraya does, it is a cosmic mystery)
  • Brian O'Kelley, CEO of AppNexus ("AppNexus," NO)
  • Jay Bregman, Russell Hall, Caspar Woolley, Gary Jackson, Ron Zeghibe, and Terry Runham, co-founders of Hailo (Nice, sensible people, and there's nothing cool about that)
  • Pierre Valade and Jeremy Le Van, co-founders of Sunrise (You made a calendar app, that's not cool)
  • Kim Taylor and Cecilia Retelle, co-founders of Ranku (School isn't cool)
  • Bryan Goldberg, walking sack of flour and CEO of Bustle (Not just uncool, but a huge jerkoff)
  • Jamyn Edis and Brian Langel, co-founders of Dash ("FitBit for your car," come on)
  • Glynnis MacNicol and Rachel Sklar, co-founders of TheList (Professional list-sitters with inexplicable careers)
  • Robby Stein, Bart Stein, Kevin Palms, co-founders of Stamped (Selling to Yahoo! is very not cool)
  • Doug Imbruce, founder of Qwiki (See above)
  • Avner Ronen, Idan Cohen, Tom Sella, and Roee Vulkan, co-founders of Boxee (Sorry dudes, no one bought your thing)
  • Joseph Einhorn, CEO of Fancy (Tries way too hard)
  • Jack Welde, CEO of Smartling (This seems pretty nerdy, not falling for it)
  • Rich Antoniello, CEO of Complex Media (Cool if you're a 10th grade boy)
  • Mahbod Moghadam, Tom Lehman, and Ilan Zechory, co-founders of Rap Genius (Cool if you're a 9th grade boy)
  • Alex Crisses, Deven Parekh, Jeff Horing, Jeff Lieberman, Larry Handen, Michael Triplett, Peter Sobiloff, Richard Wells, Ryan Hinkle (Oh good, another boatload of venture capitalist dudes)
  • Michael Wolf, founder of Activate (If your claim to fame is "getting Marissa Mayer hired," you are not very cool)
  • Dan Loeb (Another VC)
  • Chet Kanojia, Barry Diller (Barry Diller, cool? Not on our watch)
  • Corey Capasso, Wesley Barrow, and Marc Ferrentino, co-founders of Nomi (Again, marketing is the anti-cool)
  • Eli Pariser and Peter Koechley, co-founders of Upworthy (Trying to be positive and uplifting is the lamest venture possible)
  • Mike Brown Jr. (Another VC, I'm about to have a stroke)
  • Shana Fisher (Here's another!)
  • Ori Allon and Robert Reffkin, co-founders of Urban Compass (That track jacket isn't cool)
  • Marco Arment, Tumblr's first hire (Having a Twitter account about your BMW is not cool)
  • Joe Meyer, CEO of Hopstop (Everyone uses Google Maps, sorry man)
  • Brad Burnham, Fred Wilson, Andy Weissman, and Albert Wenger, Union Square Venture (Fred Wilson is A Big Deal, so we can give his friends a pass)
  • Bre Pettis, CEO of MakerBot (3D printing is about as cool as athlete's foot)
  • Bill Day, CEO of Tremor Media (Ads! Those aren't cool)
  • Jim Payne, CEO of MoPub (Ads! Still not cool)
  • Jon Oringer, CEO of Shutterstock (The guy is a billionaire, but I'm sorry, stock photography is not cool)

Wow. So where does that leave us? Almost the entire list is made of people whose presence in the universe—or at least New York—cannot be described as remotely cool. They are middling, or unknown, or broke, or sold out to some other company when the going was good. They are advertisers, investors, coders who Business Insider managed to find visual evidence of having once worn a blazer. Many of the women on the list seem insultingly tossed in because of some proximity to the fashion industry—that's not cool!

There are some mentions, like David Karp, Philippe von Borries and Justin Stefano (Refinery29) or Reshma Saujani and Kristen Titus (Girls Who Code), who are actually doing something in the world that's peripherally cool, at least. But really, it's a silly enterprise from the start, because virtually no one in tech is cool. The premise is garbage. No one who cares so deeply about smartphones or spends multiple conscious hours per day thinking about Twitter can be considered cool. Devoting yourself to making money isn't cool. Devoting yourself to making money and failing is even worse. Disqualify this list. Disqualify tech. We will never be cool.