Go Behind The Scenes of FiftyThree

“For us, technology is there to help people create.”
–Georg Petschnigg, FiftyThree CEO

In September, our team made an episode of Small Empires with The Verge and reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. The episode debuted today and shows what it’s like to work at FiftyThree, shedding light on our culture and philosophy.

Meet Georg, Andrew, Julian, Tara, and Dave from our team and Brad Ovenell-Carter, an educator who uses Paper to engage students in creative thinking. See what motivates us to climb six (steep) flights of stairs every day to collaborate and create.

Watch the episode.

Small Empires: the art of ideation with Paper by FiftyThree

Tribeca, whose name derives from an abbreviation of “Triangle Below Canal Street,” is a neighborhood in downtown New York, most noted for its annual film festival and historic industrial constructions converted to lofted live / work spaces in the 60’s and 70’s.

One of those spaces is now the home of FiftyThree, a group of designers, developers and entrepreneurs founded by a group of Microsoft Research veterans that worked on the secretive Courier project. As Small Empires turns a new page and takes a look inside the colorful world that birthed the hit app, Paper, see how FiftyThree develops design-minded software that aims to help regular humans communicate their ideas effectively and beautifully. 

on the set of ‘small empires’ featuring fiftythree

A few weeks ago, FiftyThree was invited to star in an episode of ‘Small Empires’ with Alexis Ohanian for The Verge. Huge thanks to Brad Ovenell-Carter who flew in from Vancouver to be our featured creator and Ward III for having delicious cocktails, Negroni pie and for hosting us on a Monday afternoon.


Can Vimeo build a big business without selling out? - Small Empires Ep. 10

I’m so proud to work at this website with such talented folks who care about the best community on the internet.


Episode II of Small Empires is here! Let me know what you think – I had a great time with Rapgenius, but an even better time meeting a poet who’s using poetrygenius to annotate his world.

Coming soon: ‘Small Empires’ with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian

We’re incredibly excited to announce that The Verge and Alexis Ohanian have teamed up to bring you a brand new video series called Small Empires. Ohanian — a Reddit co-founder and all-around delightful chap — will visit rising New York City startups, offering an inside look at how the people behind these companies are building amazing and disruptive products. As Alexis sees it, the show will be something akin to “Inside the Actor’s Studio meets Dirty Jobs for tech in New York.” And obviously, we liked the sound of that.

Watch on

Have you seen episode 1 of my new show on The Verge, Small Empires?

Watch and then let me know what you think! And then get back to being awesome.


We’re back! Part 2 of Season 1 has begun – with OKCupid!

This could be my favorite Small Empires episode yet! What do you think?


This was one of my favorite episodes of Small Empires yet!

How do you like my glasses?


Small Empires: The $120M bet on people-powered language learning with Open English

Small Empires episode 003: Fitocracy

Gaming is addictive. Working out? Not so much. Cue Fitocracy. It’s the product of two people unhappy with their own body image, trying to figure out some way to motivate themselves getting in shape, and putting those efforts into a company.

Small Empires is our new weekly show that visits rising New York City startups and provides never-before-seen access to the men and women building our future. Join Alexis Ohanian as he talks to cofounders Brian Wang and Richard Talens at their office near Union Square - and later gets trained by a Fitocracy user.

Watch an early broadcast of ‘Small Empires’ tonight, live Q&A with Alexis Ohanian to follow

Our new web series Small Empires debuts across all internets tomorrow, July 30th, but we’re broadcasting the first episode one day early! That’s right — tonight at 8PM ET / 5PM PT, you’ll be able to watch the first episode with the show’s host, Alexis Ohanian. The episode will officially be available on demand starting tomorrow morning. 


Bananas! More behind the scenes of Small Empires, coming soon. » the_verge on Instagram