Rap Genius co-founder Mahbod Moghadam is a testament to just how far you can push a venture capitalist. The Yale graduate is one of tech's foremost delusional fools—repeatedly embarrassing himself, his company, and everyone connected with it. He eventually resigned from the startup after publicly praising parts of a serial killer's manifesto. Yet it took a post about thieving from Whole Foods for one of his investors to finally disown him.
If female celebrities break into a cold sweat over Reddit users, just image how investors feel after throwing down $50 million in the hopes of profiting off the crowd-sourced site. But lead investor Sam Altman and CEO Yishan Wong appear to have come up with a plan to appease "the often volatile Reddit community."
This weekend, the CEO of Reddit tried to defend r/TheFappening, a section of his website trafficking in illegally obtained nude photos of young female celebrities. His argument? "Every man is responsible for his own soul." Not long after, Reddit backtracked and shut the page down anyways. Perhaps it was out of concern for Reddit's upcoming A-list Silicon Valley investors?
Last night Andreessen Horowitz, the same venture capital firm that invested in Facebook and Twitter, announced a $50 million investment in BuzzFeed that presumes the value of the company to be $850 million. General partner Chris Dixon compared BuzzFeed to Tesla, Uber, and Netflix because of its deep emphasis on technology and "world-class systems for analytics, advertising, and content management."
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert must have the hot hand. The Comic Sans-loving billionaire just won the dramatic toss up for LeBron James. Gilbert also boxed out other investors for a spot in a new round of funding for Rap Genius that is worth $40 million. Backing braggarts, it seems, is now an investment philosophy.
Last week I downloaded Tentwenty, a newly launched local message board that displays text and photos from anonymous users according to where they are in real time. Scrolling through my sparse feed at home in Brooklyn, I noticed that initial users weren't from the expected tech set, as well as a puzzling number of posts from Tenafly, New Jersey (not traditionally considered an early adopter mecca).
There are only three decent Twitter parody accounts in tech. There's the late, great @fakedorsey, which deleted its imaginary dispatches from the mind of Jack Dorsey. Then there's @ViceMeme, although that's more oh fuck this is life now than funny haha. And, before it got suspended, @A16ZElevator showed real promise.
Balaji Srinivasan, Stanford lecturer and newest addition to the Andreessen Horowitz venture capital all-star team, does not want to live near you. He believes he and his Silicon Valley vanguard deserve their own place—literally, a separate society. Now, the crazy is crazier: meet the "Inverse Amish."