Two of my favorite coffee institutions, Blue Bottle in San Francisco and Tonx, a subscription coffee service living on the Internet, are joining forces.

According to both Blue Bottle and Tonx, much of the deal is to get Tonx’s people and tech capabilities and use them to build a better online and store front experience. For Tonx subscribers, nothing is going to change immediately, but within a matter of months it will be subsumed completely subsumed into Blue Bottle.

“From a service perspective everything will stay the same–the Tonx product will persist but we’ll be maintaining one brand,” says Tonx cofounder Nik Bauman. “So eventually [Tonx] will become Blue Bottle, and we’ll become the ecommerce arm of Blue Bottle.”

The San Francisco Bay Area-based Blue Bottle, along with other formerly roasters like Portland’s Stumptown, Chicago’s Intelligentsia, and North Carolina’s Counter Culture helped kick off a brewed coffee movement in the United States. And while all have grown beyond their original city limits, none have really threatened to become the next Starbucks, or even Chipotle. Given its recent investment round, however, along with its purchase of Handsome Roasters in Los Angeles, Blue Bottle is clearly looking to get big. Tonx immediately gives Blue Bottle a much better online and app experience than now has.

It’s also a good deal for Tonx, which was attempting to raise more money to purchase its own coffee roaster (it currently has a contract deal where it rents one on the weekends) and open a store front. While neither announced a price, Tonx did abandon a $4 million fundraising round it had been pursuing recently. Presumably, the deal would be on par with that.

Blue Bottle’s funding really makes it the lead horse to become the boutique Starbucks, if you will. This deal goes a long way to helping Blue Bottle create a store presence that lives beyond the confines of brick and mortar. Tonx is fantastic if you have the disposable income and genuine love for coffee to spend on the subscription service. Otherwise, the economics just don’t work out.


Since David Letterman quietly announced his retirement last week, there’s been an outpouring of affection for the old grump and rightfully so. Letterman practically invented modern late-night television much in the same way that ‘Star Wars’ invented the modern blockbuster. Sure, neither was the first, but their lineage, DNA, and influence can be felt in everything that came after.

Here are three tributes all unique and touching in their own way. READ MORE

When Amazon debut its $99 streaming video box, FireTV — which is basically just the Amazon version of AppleTV1 — I noted: “Google’s probably working on their own johnny-come-lately $99 set top streaming box as I write this.”

Low-and-behold: Android TV. It’s sounds exactly like what I assumed it would be.

1. The reviews of Amazon’s FireTV, btw, seem decidedly mixed with most leaning towards the “nay”.

So, apparently Jon Hamm was on a dating show back when he was a waiter trying to be an actor. And he lost. Which never happens to Jon Hamm. But probably has something to do with how fabulous a date he had planned as a 25-year-old.

I would fully expect someone from The Daily Dot to track this girl down and ask her why Jon Hamm wasn’t good enough for her. Bet she’s wishing she had a take back right about now. That would make a more interesting story. [via browbeat]

body-dryerShocking… a TechCrunch writer, without an ounce of parody, brings us the compelling story about a disruptive NYC-based startup tech company that is solving a problem which doesn’t exist. Everything about “The Body Dryer” makes me think it should go straight to Brookstones. Because towels are so fucking complicated and costly.

amazon-fire-products-11Not content to let Apple and Roku dominate the $99 set top streaming box, Amazonlaunched one of their own today, the FireTV. Basically, it does the exact same thing as the other streaming device — you can watch Internet content on your TV via a slew of apps from Netflix and others. But, it does have one major difference in the vein of a gaming controller for $39. Plus, FireTV even has voice search!

Other than that, everything is pretty much the same as all the other products on the market. Google’s probably working on their own johnny-come-lately $99 set top streaming box as I write this.

As someone who has an Amazon Prime membership but never bothers to watch Amazon’s streaming video service, they better make sure they hired a UX/UI expert for the FireTV video service, because the experience sucks as is. It’s amazing to me that none of the major tech companies have cracked the TV nut yet. Even though Apple has put minimal effort (from the outside at least) into AppleTV, it still feels like it’s one major overhaul from owning this segment.

Ortiz-and-Obama-Selfie-22013 World Series MVP, David Ortiz, asked the President to snap a selfie with him and the team in the background during the Red Sox visit to the White House and then posted it to Twitter. Because that’s how the world works these days. In 30 year’s when America elects its first “Snapchat” president, I’m sure I’ll be yelling incoherently to get off my damn lawn. [via uproxx]

“Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts. Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won’t — and if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything — because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for, but to the gift itself.” — John Green, author of ‘The Fault in Our Stars‘, offers superb advice for aspiring writers, but also life more generally. 

The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson reevaluates the income inequality narrative thrust into the headlines by Occupy Wall Street during the fall of 2011:

It turns out that wealth inequality isn’t about the 1 percent v. the 99 percent at all. It’s about the 0.1 percent v. the 99.9 percent (or, really, the 0.01 percent vs. the 99.99 percent, if you like). Long-story-short is that this group, comprised mostly of bankers and CEOs, is riding the stock market to pick up extraordinary investment income. And it’s this investment income, rather than ordinary earned income, that’s creating this extraordinary wealth gap.

The 0.1 percent isn’t the same group of people every year. There’s considerable churn at the tippy-top. For example, consider the “Fortunate 400,” the IRS’s annual list of the 400 richest tax returns in the country. Between 1992 and 2008, 3,672 different taxpayers appeared on the Fortunate 400 list. Just one percent of the Fortunate 400—four households—appeared on the list all 17 years.

Now there’s your real 1 percent.

FantasticBeastsCover_big“Over the weekend news broke via a New York Times profile on WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara that Warners not only wants to dip back into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but is pushing forward with a new trilogy based on JK Rowling’s textbook FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM with some unpublished stories surrounding it that Rowling was toying with around the time that 54 page book published. The film will have nothing to do (directly) with Harry Potter or Lord You-Know-Who. In fact it will be set over seven decades before the events of the first Potter film. Oh, and it also begins in New York, which will be a major tone difference than the extremely British Potter series. Famed magizoologist Newt Scamander will be the lead character.”