No Active Shooter At DC Area Mall, It Was Just a 16-Year-Old Viner





Matthew Espinosa, Vine, Tysons Corner, active shooter

Over the past two decades when the words “active shooter” are put together with “teenager,” it usually involves a suspect of some sort. That’s not what happened this weekend at Tyson’s Corner Mall in Northern Virginia.

Vine, the Twitter owned short form video app, has created huge internet sensations in the few short months it’s been on the market. People love Vine; they are addicted to making silly little six second videos th

at loop and watching the creativity of their favorite viners.

Vine has catapulted several teenagers into stardom, some of whom have hundreds of thousands if not millions of followers on the service. These teenage “Viners” like LohAnthony, Kayden Stephenson and Mathew Espinosa do little more than smile at the camera, sing  a little song or just talk about what they had for dinner. There’s not much you can do in six seconds, but it’s that short time frame which makes vine so addictive.

Some may remember Kayden Stephenson from American Idol last year. The 16-year-old Oklahoma City teenager has cystic fibrosis. His disease affects his breathing and also makes the 16 year old look a lot younger. He has a decent voice, but it was his story that won over the hearts of American Idol judges last year. Unfortunately he

didn’t last long on the show, but as soon as Vine was released he bulked up on followers. As for the other two, they are just normal teenagers with a sense of humor and a way with their peers.

Fast forward now to this past Saturday. Espinosa, who lives in Woodbridge Virginia, decided he was going to meetup with some of his Vine followers/fans at Tyson’s Corner mall, one of the largest shopping malls in the Metro DC area.

Although it was never revealed how many people Espinosa thought would attend his little meetup, over 10,000 screaming girls came to see the blonde teenager who bares a slight resemblance to Justin Bieber. Fox 5 reports that some of the girls came from over 5 hours away.

Espinosa arrived at the mall and shook a few hands and gave a few autographs. At one point mall security and police had to escort him out of the mall.

That wasn’t before curious mall goers were trying to find out what was going on, why all these teenager girls were at the mall. At one point someone got confused and said that they were shooting a video where all the fans had congregated. Well as you can see from the Fox 5 video below, shooting a video quickly became “shooting” and all hell broke loose.

People started screaming and running from the mall. Others started calling the police and the local news stations. The Washington DC suburbs have been on high alert since a gunman killed 12 and injured even more at the DC Navy Yard last week.

This is obviously the power of Vine that Gary Vee is banking on.



Vine Is Not Dead, Gary Vaynerchuck Launches Talent Agency For Viners

Gary Vaynerchuck, video, vine, Instagram

New York entrepreneur, wine connoisseur, angel investor and now talent agent. Gary Vaynerchuck must believe that Instagram’s Thursday introduction of 15 second video clips won’t hurt Twitter’s popular Vine product.

Vine allows users to create 6 second videos that are looped for eternity and then share them across Twitter and Facebook.

It was long reported that Instagram was working on a video product to rival Vine. The Facebook-owned company unveiled that feature for Android and iOS users on Thursday. It became an instant success (no pun intended), especially with Instagram users who hadn’t started using Vine.

As for the Vine users, the verdict is still out. Several Vine and Instagram users posted “goodbye Vine” videos on their Instragram channels. Others quickly learned that the looping feature wasn’t available on Instagram and that sometimes 15 seconds is too much.

Vine gained almost instant popularity among popular bloggers, like the crew at Phillip DeFranco’s SourceFed and several sports stars and celebrities. 6 seconds gives viewers just enough of a glimpse into people’s lives that it’s fun. It’s quick enough that it doesn’t sidetrack viewers for very long.

Some people are getting very creative with Vine, often using the six second loop to make a continuous movie of sorts.

Vaynerchuck is no stranger to how successful video can be. He started a very successful YouTube show about wine in 2006. Now he thinks Vine is where it’s at.

“I’d seen this rodeo before,” Vaynerchuk tells Fast Company. “I started a YouTube show in 2006, so I lived that phenomenon. I lived what happened on Twitter for the first year and a half, before quote, unquote, real celebrities were on it. It’s just so obvious to me that this is going to happen.”

Vaynerchuck’s Vine talent agency is appropriately called Grape Story, and Virgin Mobile is his first client.

Though the talent will have a level of creative freedom while crafting contracted videos, they’ll incorporate specific Virgin Mobile messages. Vaynerchuck wouldn’t disclose how much stars will be paid per video, but according to Fast Company he did say that a star who made about 20 videos each year could make a living. That’s only two minutes of video. In a year.

Vaynerchuck isn’t the least bit worried about Instagram’s new video feature.

Ron Fairs, Virgin Mobile’s head of brand marketing, and Vaynerchuck’s first client for this venture added “I often question when a platform has its tried and true, which is photography, still photo, moves into another medium,” he says. “What is really the motivation behind it? . . . There could be a host of reasons other than this is what the consumer wants. Vine is something that was born into the model of [six]-seconds of video. And I think when you see other people trying to replicate that model, it’s not going to have the same organic lift and success as the person who came up with it first did.”


Move over Gary Vee, this New York startup says they’re the Wolverine of wine startups.

Gary Vaynerchuck image, vimeo

Window Shop Through Your Friends’ Lives With Chicago Startup flik

flik,Chicago startup,startups, vine, pinterest, yelp

Chicago-based husband and wife team Chris and Tracy Hayes have launched flik, a new startup that promises to bring the best of Vine, Pinterest, and Yelp into one unique experience.

Using your iOS device’s camera, flik captures short video clips between 5-8 seconds. Then they are instantly shared across your social channels. But unlike Vine, the clips are full clips rather than snippets of video looped together. Flik is designed for users to create original content around the products and places they love. Nothing says review better than a quick video.

While the company is just now launching, flik had a very interesting set of beta testers. Hayes used his network of professional baseball players in both the minor leagues and Major League Baseball (MLB) and their wives to test out the new app. They all reportedly loved it.

Hayes has been a career baseball player since graduating college from Northwestern University. Hayes started his minor league career with the Burlington Bees, an A league affiliate of the Kansas City Royals in 2005. At age 29 in 2012 he played with the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League.

While other players talk shop, watch tape, and goof off while traveling, Hayes took it upon himself to learn how to code.

He handled all of the coding for flik, while the business operations, marketing, and “everything else” was done by Tracy. Tracy also attended Northwestern, but a few years earlier than her husband.


EEBOTHDiscountWhat does your company do?

flik is an iPhone app that allows users to upload short videos showing products and places they love.


Who are the founders, and what are their backgrounds?

The co-founders of flik are a married couple, Chris and Tracy Hayes. Chris is a professional baseball player who has a degree in Computer Science from Northwestern University who coded several web and iOS apps during his days as a ball player. He was the weirdo sitting at his locker, working on his computer in the clubhouse and on buses and planes. He is self-taught in iOS, but incredibly anal retentive when it comes to coding. His engineering brain is a nice complement to his wife, Tracy, who is much more of a big picture, out of the box thinker. Tracy also went to Northwestern, but she robbed the cradle a little bit, so they never met in college. Tracy has worked in Research & Information at McKinsey & Company and ran a successful consulting business before launching flik. Tracy and Chris equally came up with the idea for flik (but when asked separately, they would each tell you that they came up with the idea on their own and the other person had nothing to do with it), but Chris does all the coding, Tracy does everything else (including writing this Q&A … in the third person, of course).


Where are you based?

flik is based out of Chicago, but has been lucky enough to have a team of people all over the country (West Coast, Midwest and East Coast — with a special shout out to the app’s beta users in the South. Thanks y’all!).


What problem do you solve?

flik solves a problem for both consumers and for businesses. Oprah isn’t the only one who has a list of favorite things and, until flik, there hasn’t been an appropriate place for regular people to share the things they actually have and love with their social network. For businesses, there really hasn’t been a great way to get truthful, real-time feedback from their customers.


Why does it matter?

The video space is hot right now and users are craving purposeful videos that are also easy to create. There are a lot of really amazing apps out there that allow people to share aspirational things they love, but users aren’t posting their own stuff on those platforms because it can be intimidating to create professional-looking content. The awesome thing about flik is it’s not asking its users for artsy-fartsy, it’s looking for REAL. flik is an app for real people who use real stuff in their real lives and that’s what sets it apart. It’s a jeans and t-shirt kind of app — casual and laid-back, allowing people to connect through things they love and places they go. At the same time, flik is your favorite jeans and t-shirt kind of app — not some crappy t-shirt you got when you signed up for that airline rewards credit card. So the content on flik is real and its real-ness invites users to post original content, AND at the same time, it’s all cool stuff–stuff flik users love. Don’t care who you are, that matters, right there.


What are some of the milestones your startup has already reached?

The flik team has been lucky enough to beta launch within the Major League Baseball community of players and wives and get key feedback from people who travel a ton, have cool stuff, and are on social media all the time. flik’s users have viewed fliks over 20,000 times (the flik team thinks that’s pretty impressive for a small beta group!) and flik has just launched a pretty awesome new website and cool video. Also, within a day of our public announcement, we began receiving emails about being pre-approved to become Nigerian millionaires if we just send a small check to some random address. So, it looks like things are moving along smoothly.


What are your next milestones?

flik is looking to build out its website to be a fully functional web platform and release an Android version of the app as well as bring on a few pretty awesome fliksperts, (experts in a particular area) to share their favorite things. There may be a trip to Nigeria in there as well.


Where can people find out more?

flik’s new website is pretty awesome – the video is worth watching, especially the hair dryer who says, “Tell them how hot I get”. Here’s flik’s website:, our social media: @flikketyflik and

When you say Jump, this Florida startup literally asks you, how high?