NEWARK IS SAVED! Super Mayor Cory Booker Pivots #waywire to Focus on Video Curation

 
 
 

UPDATE (!): We have just been touched by the gracious, digital hand of Cory Booker, who replied to our tweet asking about his salary — “@StartupBookCo No salary. All the best.”

The dude has almost 1.4 million followers…we regularly tweet at founders who hold about 1/1000 of that social media footprint, and they rarely respond. So for the sole reason that he lived up to his hype, we retract all sarcastic statements about #waywire which may appear in this blog post. *wipes tear* Bless you, Mayor Booker!

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Newark Mayor Cory Booker likes to talk about the role of technology in government. And perform acts of heroism. Everything besides actually improving the City of Newark, anyway (if you’re to believe the New York Times). To this end, our favorite Captain America is doubling down on his entrepreneurial ambitions by pivoting his #waywire startup to focus on allowing users to curate videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Vine and news sites into themed playlists, according to TechCrunch.

The original goals of the company revolved around informative user-generated content, which were evidently stymied by the fact that user-generated news shows typically suck. #Waywire in its new form, describing itself as a “Pinterest for video,” could almost be compared to Jimmy Iovine’s plan for the future of music, focusing on expert curation.

He’s also got quite a team behind him: Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt is a co-founder, and Oprah is among the company’s prominent investors. #waywire (the jury is still out on whether the first ‘w’ is capitalized…) also accepts videos from CollegeHumor, HuffPost Live, Refinery29, Slate, The Young Turks, and many more. The monetization plan involves sponsored posts and pre-roll advertisements.

No word yet on how a video start-up will improve Newark’s under-performing school system or general ghetto horror-story reputation…but political criticism aside, the idea is actually pretty promising. A quick look at today’s front page gives me access to a grab-bag of videos for a variety of topical themes, including the “rat-sized snails” of Florida and North Korea military threats.

The operation is headed by former Gilt City head Nathan Richardson, but we wonder what kind of  renumeration Booker would receive from the site if it started to blow up? Not  that we wouldn’t be impressed if he became America’s richest mayor in addition to its most tech-savvy, but still…