robertogreco + startups   108

Uber’s Path of Destruction - American Affairs Journal
"ince it began operations in 2010, Uber has grown to the point where it now collects over $45 billion in gross passenger revenue, and it has seized a major share of the urban car service market. But the widespread belief that it is a highly innovative and successful company has no basis in economic reality.

An examination of Uber’s economics suggests that it has no hope of ever earning sustainable urban car service profits in competitive markets. Its costs are simply much higher than the market is willing to pay, as its nine years of massive losses indicate. Uber not only lacks powerful competitive advantages, but it is actually less efficient than the competitors it has been driving out of business.

Uber’s investors, however, never expected that their returns would come from superior efficiency in competitive markets. Uber pursued a “growth at all costs” strategy financed by a staggering $20 billion in investor funding. This funding subsidized fares and service levels that could not be matched by incumbents who had to cover costs out of actual passenger fares. Uber’s massive subsidies were explicitly anticompetitive—and are ultimately unsustainable—but they made the company enormously popular with passengers who enjoyed not having to pay the full cost of their service.

The resulting rapid growth was also intended to make Uber highly attractive to those segments of the investment world that believed explosive top-line growth was the only important determinant of how start-up companies should be valued. Investors focused narrow­ly on Uber’s revenue growth and only rarely considered whether the company could ever produce the profits that might someday repay the multibillion dollar subsidies.

Most public criticisms of Uber have focused on narrow behavioral and cultural issues, including deceptive advertising and pricing, algorithmic manipulation, driver exploitation, deep-seated misogyny among executives, and disregard of laws and business norms. Such criticisms are valid, but these problems are not fixable aberrations. They were the inevitable result of pursuing “growth at all costs” without having any ability to fund that growth out of positive cash flow. And while Uber has taken steps to reduce negative publicity, it has not done—and cannot do—anything that could suddenly pro­duce a sustainable, profitable business model.

Uber’s longer-term goal was to eliminate all meaningful competition and then profit from this quasi-monopoly power. While it has already begun using some of this artificial power to suppress driver wages, it has not achieved the Facebook- or Amazon-type “plat­form” power it hoped to exploit. Given that both sustainable profits and true industry dominance seemed unachievable, Uber’s investors de­cided to take the company public, based on the hope that enough gullible investors still believe that the compa­ny’s rapid growth and popularity are the result of powerfully effi­cient inno­vations and do not care about its inability to generate profits.

These beliefs about Uber’s corporate value were created entirely out of thin air. This is not a case of a company with a reasonably sound operating business that has managed to inflate stock market expectations a bit. This is a case of a massive valuation that has no relationship to any economic fundamentals. Uber has no competitive efficiency advantages, operates in an industry with few barriers to entry, and has lost more than $14 billion in the previous four years. But its narratives convinced most people in the media, invest­ment, and tech worlds that it is the most valuable transportation company on the planet and the second most valuable start-up IPO in U.S. history (after Facebook).

Uber is the breakthrough case where the public perception of a large new company was entirely created using the types of manufactured narratives typically employed in partisan political campaigns. Narrative construction is perhaps Uber’s greatest competitive strength. The company used these techniques to completely divert attention away from the massive subsidies that were the actual drivers of its popularity and growth. It successfully framed the entire public discussion around an emotive, “us-versus-them” battle between heroic innovators and corrupt regulators who were falsely blamed for all of the industry’s historic service problems. Uber’s desired framing—that it was fighting a moral battle on behalf of technological progress and economic freedom—was uncritically ac­cepted by the mainstream business and tech industry press, who then never bothered to analyze the firm’s actual economics or its anticompetitive behavior.

In reality, Uber’s platform does not include any technological breakthroughs, and Uber has done nothing to “disrupt” the eco­nomics of providing urban car services. What Uber has disrupted is the idea that competitive consumer and capital markets will maximize overall economic welfare by rewarding companies with superior efficiency. Its multibillion dollar subsidies completely distorted marketplace price and service signals, leading to a massive misallocation of resources. Uber’s most important innovation has been to produce staggering levels of private wealth without creating any sustainable benefits for consumers, workers, the cities they serve, or anyone else."
huberthoran  uber  carsharing  taxis  transportation  2019  economics  technology  technosolutionism  huxterism  propaganda  regulation  disruption  innovation  scale  networkeffects  amazon  facebook  venturecapital  siliconvalley  latecapitalism  capitalism  exploitation  labor  growth  lyft  china  startups  cities  urban  urbanism  productivity  traviskalanick 
june 2019 by robertogreco
Data for Social Good: Crisis Text Line CEO Nancy Lublin | Commonwealth Club
[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRlCX597JhA ]

"Suicide and mental health are hard subjects—so Crisis Text Line leveraged the power of the data it collects to help their counselors determine the best way to talk about the topics with those in need. The nonprofit, founded in 2013 by CEO Nancy Lublin, has provided a free text-based and human-driven service to support those experiencing mental health stress, gathering data points from more than 75 million text messages sent and maximizing the impact of their information to better train counselors and support their community. Its innovative and data-driven methodology for tackling hard conversations can also be applied to more than the mental health space, including to Lublin’s latest venture: Loris.ai. 

Lublin’s entire career has focused on initiatives addressing social issues, and she founded Dress for Success and Do Something prior to Crisis Text Line. With her technology lens on big challenges, she continues to iterate on innovative mechanisms and creative solutions to sticky problems. At INFORUM, she’ll be joined in conversation by DJ Patil, head of technology at Devoted Health and former U.S. chief data scientist in the Obama administration, to dig into the power of data to effect change. Come curious!"
data  mentalhealth  socialgood  crisistext  nancylubin  djpatil  2019  nonprofit  nonprofits  911  socialmedia  suicide  society  government  crisiscounseling  emoji  language  communication  responsiveness  texting  sms  stress  funding  fundraising  storytelling  technology  siliconvalley  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  charity  startups  capitalism  importance  charitableindustrialcomplex  canon  noblesseoblige  humanism  relationship  courage  racism  connection  humanconnection  loneliness  pain 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Bay Area Disrupted: Fred Turner on Vimeo
"Interview with Fred Turner in his office at Stanford University.

http://bayareadisrupted.com/

https://fredturner.stanford.edu

Graphics: Magda Tu
Editing: Michael Krömer
Concept: Andreas Bick"
fredturner  counterculture  california  opensource  bayarea  google  softare  web  internet  history  sanfrancisco  anarchism  siliconvalley  creativity  freedom  individualism  libertarianism  2014  social  sociability  governance  myth  government  infrastructure  research  online  burningman  culture  style  ideology  philosophy  apolitical  individuality  apple  facebook  startups  precarity  informal  bureaucracy  prejudice  1960s  1970s  bias  racism  classism  exclusion  inclusivity  inclusion  communes  hippies  charism  cultofpersonality  whiteness  youth  ageism  inequality  poverty  technology  sharingeconomy  gigeconomy  capitalism  economics  neoliberalism  henryford  ford  empowerment  virtue  us  labor  ork  disruption  responsibility  citizenship  purpose  extraction  egalitarianism  society  edtech  military  1940s  1950s  collaboration  sharedconsciousness  lsd  music  computers  computing  utopia  tools  techculture  location  stanford  sociology  manufacturing  values  socialchange  communalism  technosolutionism  business  entrepreneurship  open  liberalism  commons  peerproduction  product 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Hello World, Episode 10: Searching for the Origins of the Universe in Chile
"Episode 10: With its extreme conditions and geological oddities, Chile is a prime spot for major tech projects."
chile  atacama  observatories  technology  lithium  desert  startups  makerspaces  2016  sanpedrodeatacama  santiago  astronomy  ashleevance 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Makerbase
"Makerbase is a database of digital projects like apps, websites or artworks, and the makers who create them.

Anyone can edit Makerbase.

Who is Makerbase for?

Makerbase is a reference for anyone who's interested in apps and web sites and the people behind them. It's particularly valuable for makers and aspiring makers, helping everyone discover who creates technology and the ways they teamed up.

Anyone who makes things on the internet should be here on Makerbase.

How do I use Makerbase?

Everything in Makerbase starts with search. From the homepage, you can type in the search box to find any maker or project that you're interested in. Don't see yours? Just click "Create this Maker" or "Create this Project". Makerbase will automatically pull in information from Twitter or the App Store to fill out the details.

After that, you can go to any project and add the names of makers who worked on it, with an optional description of what they did and the dates when they did it.

Makerbase automatically does things like showing you which people a maker tends to collaborate with.

Who is a maker?

A maker is a human being who has helped build a project in any way. Makerbase defines "making" broadly, so a project's makers aren't just the coders and founders.

It’s easy to find out who the founders of an app are, or the editors-in-chief of a site, or the organizers of a conference, or the hosts of a podcast, but not as easy to find out who designed the logo, or managed community, or wrote copy, or was a guest or speaker—that’s the value Makerbase adds.

If you contributed in any way to creating a project, you're a maker—go ahead and add yourself. Anyone else who has helped you build your project is also a maker. The only rule about makers is: a maker is an individual person. Companies, organizations, or brands are not makers.

What is a project?

A project is a digital work, like an app, game, web site, podcast, ebook, video, blog, or art project. Projects don't have to be exclusively digital. Anything that has a digital component—like programmable hardware, or an event focused on web technology—count as projects. Companies and brands are not projects, though some projects become companies.

Projects are not necessarily products, or things makers built at or for work. Makerbase welcomes hobby projects, weekend and nighttime collaborations, and student work or art projects.

Just like makers, Makerbase uses the term "project" inclusively. If you're not sure if your project qualifies, it probably does—add it! Makers have listed conferences, books, fundraisers, memes, and networks on Makerbase and they are welcome. The only guidelines are: a human is not a project, and a company is not a project.

Uh-oh, I see a mistake. How do I fix it?

Everything on Makerbase can be updated. Like Wikipedia, Makerbase is user-editable, which means that anyone can sign in with a Twitter account and add or revise any maker or project or role. If you need to make a change, click on the Edit button and make it.

If you added a project or maker by accident, click on the Edit button, and then the Archive button. If you accidentally archived something, simply click on the Edit button, then the Unarchive button.

If you need a page deleted completely from Makerbase, or want to report abuse, click on the Flag button on the relevant page.

Who makes Makerbase?

We all do! Everyone can add and update the information on Makerbase.

The Makerbase site itself was built and is managed by Anil Dash and Gina Trapani. (Our company is called ThinkUp, after our first product. You can read more about ThinkUp and about our values.)

What does Makerbase cost? Who pays for it?

Makerbase is free. Anyone can view, edit and explore the site without paying anything. Our business model is sponsorship, which means great companies like MailChimp, Hover and Slack support the site. In exchange, the Makerbase community supports these sponsors by letting the world know when they make use of these great tools.

We'll be introducing additional select sponsors in 2016; get in touch if you'd like to be one of them.

What if something's wrong or I need help?

Email us at help@makerba.se and we'll take care of it. If there's a problem with content or behavior on the site, you can include a link to the relevant page. There's also a flag link to report a problem on every page of the site.

I want to write about Makerbase. Who can I talk to?

We would love that! Email press@makerba.se and we'll answer any questions. You can also download our logo if you need it.

Makerbase is a trademark of ThinkUp LLC."
makerbase  anildash  ginatrapani  wikis  socialmedia  thinkup  projects  makers  diy  entrepreneurship  startups 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Entrepreneurs don’t have a special gene for risk—they come from families with money - Quartz
"We’re in an era of the cult of the entrepreneur. We analyze the Tory Burches and Evan Spiegels of the world looking for a magic formula or set of personality traits that lead to success. Entrepreneurship is on the rise, and more students coming out of business schools are choosing startup life over Wall Street.

But what often gets lost in these conversations is that the most common shared trait among entrepreneurs is access to financial capital—family money, an inheritance, or a pedigree and connections that allow for access to financial stability. While it seems that entrepreneurs tend to have an admirable penchant for risk, it’s usually that access to money which allows them to take risks.

And this is a key advantage: When basic needs are met, it’s easier to be creative; when you know you have a safety net, you are more willing to take risks. “Many other researchers have replicated the finding that entrepreneurship is more about cash than dash,” University of Warwick professor Andrew Oswald tells Quartz. “Genes probably matter, as in most things in life, but not much.”

University of California, Berkeley economists Ross Levine and Rona Rubenstein analyzed the shared traits of entrepreneurs in a 2013 paper, and found that most were white, male, and highly educated. “If one does not have money in the form of a family with money, the chances of becoming an entrepreneur drop quite a bit,” Levine tells Quartz.

New research out this week from the National Bureau of Economic Research (paywall) looked at risk-taking in the stock market and found that environmental factors (not genetic) most influenced behavior, pointing to the fact that risk tolerance is conditioned over time (dispelling the myth of an elusive “entrepreneurship gene“).

Resilience is undoubtably a necessary trait for success; many notable entrepreneurs experienced success only after leading failed ventures. But the barrier to entry is very high.

For creative professions, starting a new venture is the ultimate privilege. Many startup founders do not take a salary for some time. The average cost to launch a startup is around $30,000, according to the Kauffman Foundation. Data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor show that more than 80% of funding for new businesses comes from personal savings and friends and family.

“Following your dreams is dangerous,” a 31-year-old woman who runs in social entrepreneurship circles in New York, and asked not to be named, told Quartz. “This whole bulk of the population is being seduced into thinking that they can just go out and pursue their dream anytime, but it’s not true.”
1
So while yes, there’s certainly a lot of hard work that goes into building something, there’s also a lot of privilege involved—a factor that is often underestimated."
entrepreneurship  economics  business  inequality  wealth  2015  startups  aimeegroth  oligarchy  plutocracy  establishment  risk  risktaking  capital  capitalism  finance  privilege  conservatism 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Blog — Offscreen Magazine
"‘It doesn’t scale’ is a criticism levelled at many new ideas. (…) But how many things which are good when small get better by becoming bigger? (…) Humans are good at family, middling at community, dysfunctional as nations, and self-destructive as a planet. What doesn’t scale is our ability to relate to each other as human beings instead of target markets — as eyeballs to monetise."
growth  startups  small  scale  community  relationships  michaelhoney  kaibrach  families 
june 2015 by robertogreco
Amelia Greenhall: Start your own b(r)and: Everything I know about starting collaborative, feminist publications
[via: "Is there something like a website framework for starting an organization? Like boilerplate/best practices on decision-making, structure,"
https://twitter.com/CaseyG/status/598262858661699584

"This guide by @ameliagreenhall feels like the closest thing to what I'm imagining…but not as generic as a "framework" http://ameliagreenhall.com/posts/start-your-own-b-r-and-everything-i-know-about-starting-collaborative-feminist-publications "
https://twitter.com/CaseyG/status/598263698147377152

"I have a hard time believing there isn't already a whole universe out there of "forkable" sets of principles, how-tos, bylaws, workflows?"
https://twitter.com/CaseyG/status/598264178994974720 ]
via:caseygollan  advice  branding  publishing  startups  publications  howto  organization  bestpractices  frameworks  principles  workflows  organizations  2015  tutorials 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Inside the School Silicon Valley Thinks Will Save Education | WIRED
"Instead, AltSchools are single-room schoolhouses that sit in storefronts on city streets. Today, there are four. By next year, it’ll be eight, including an outpost in Brooklyn, the first outside the Bay Area bubble. Students get their own iPad or Chromebook, depending on their age, and their own weekly “playlists,” queues of individual and group activities tailored to the specific strengths and weaknesses of each kid. Meanwhile, AltSchool’s technology tracks each student’s progress—and setbacks—every step of the way.

This puts AltSchool at the intersection of two rapidly growing movements in education. Along one axis are the dozens of edtech startups building apps for schools; along the other are the dozens of progressive schools rallying around the increasingly popular concept of personalized education. The difference is: AltSchool is not just building apps or building schools. It’s doing both. In that way, AltSchools are more than just schools. They’re mini-research and development labs, where both teachers and engineers are diligently developing the formula for a 21st century education, all in hopes of applying that formula not only to other AltSchools, but to private, public, and charter schools across the country.

Of course, they’re also money-making operations. This is a venture-backed startup, after all, and in the future, Ventilla and his investors envision hundreds of these schools dotting the country, all of them shaping young minds, while also turning a profit."



"“It changes the landscape of the classroom because there are just things you can do now that you couldn’t do before,” he says. “What they’re trying to do is alleviate our time strain. If I’m not going through all these steps that a computer could fill in, then maybe I can spend more time in the classroom.”

That said, even France acknowledges that building these cards from scratch is extraordinarily time-consuming, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only does France have to curate dozens of cards per student every week, many of which he creates himself, but he must also make sure that those cards fit that student’s so-called “personalized learning plan”—a set of learning priorities for each student. One student’s learning plan might prioritize math over reading or emphasize time management skills or other similarly squishy concepts that a student needs to master."



"Providing support to teachers is precisely how Raj Bhatia, AltSchool’s vice president of product, views his job description. He and his team study AltSchool teachers like lab rabbits, exploring how the most minute technological details can either enhance or inhibit their performance. In one particularly interesting study on teacher time, Bhatia tells me, the team learned that some of its tools were running so slowly that 15 percent of teachers’ time was spent waiting for the system to load."



"The technology AltSchool is working on is not altogether unlike the tools that dozens, if not hundreds, of education technology startups are toiling over across the country. The difference at AltSchool is that all of these tools talk to each other, as do the people who use and build them. Once these tools have been validated within the AltSchool environment, Ventilla’s goal is to bundle them up into what he calls an “operating system for a 21st century education” and license them to the education system at large. That may mean partnering with new charter schools to help design their educational model or even licensing some of the tools AltSchool has built to existing public schools."



"It’s a good thing that Ventilla is armed with that mindset. He’s going to need it. Fashionable as personalized education is today, there’s a long and sordid history of education reform movements that haven’t panned out, including Mark Zuckerberg’s own $100 million investment in Newark schools, now considered a failure by many. Along the way, no shortage of tech companies have offered up technology as the cure for what ails America’s schools. Whenever these efforts fail, these schools become even more risk averse than ever.

“The biggest failure of technology in schools is people thought there was some inherent value to technology, rather than saying the only value in technology is that it enhances teaching or engages kids,” says Joel Klein, former chancellor of New York City’s public school system and current head of the NewsCorp-owned edtech company Amplify. “A lot of people looked at this through the technological lens rather than the teaching lens, and that’s a huge mistake.”

But there are other societal factors that could make it harder for AltSchool to bridge the gap between private and public schools. Like the fact that today, AltSchool is testing its educational theories and technologies on a fundamentally different demographic from the typical public school kid. About 40 percent of AltSchool students receive some form of financial aid, but any school where 60 percent of families can afford to pay $21,000 per year in tuition still qualifies AltSchool as a haven for the affluent in a country where more than half of public school students qualify for free or reduced price lunches. Meanwhile, rich and poor school students are more segregated today nationwide than the rest of the U.S. population as a whole. As this gulf grows, so does the difference between the challenges that schools face at either end of the spectrum."

[See also:

great critique: “Apples for the Teacher, Teacher is an Apple”
http://blogs.swarthmore.edu/burke/blog/2015/05/09/apples-for-the-teacher-teacher-is-an-apple/

some critique: “AltSchool, Media Hype, & the Dilemma of Innovation Stories”
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/the-grade/2015/05/altschool_media_hype_the_innov055427.php

and the fawning/PR

“Our Schools All Have a Tragic Flaw; Silicon Valley Thinks It Has the Answer”
http://www.psmag.com/business-economics/our-schools-all-have-a-tragic-flaw-silicon-valley-thinks-it-has-the-answer

“Mark Zuckerberg and Silicon Valley VCs Invest $100 Million in a Startup Elementary School”
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-05-04/mark-zuckerberg-and-silicon-valley-vcs-invest-100-million-in-a-startup-elementary-school

“Silicon Valley Reimagines School”
http://www.buzzfeed.com/mollyhensleyclancy/silicon-valley-reimagines-school#.xwPN6oyrjE

“AltSchool Raises $100 Million and Plans to Open More Schools”
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/04/altschool-raises-100-million-and-plans-to-open-more-schools/

“Mark Zuckerberg, Silicon Valley Investors Bet $100 Million on AltSchool”
https://www.edsurge.com/n/2015-05-04-mark-zuckerberg-silicon-valley-investors-bet-100-million-on-altschool

“Altschool Raises $100M From Founders Fund, Zuckerberg To Scale A Massive Network of Schools Around Personalized Learning”
http://techcrunch.com/2015/05/04/altschool-raises-100m-from-founders-fund-zuckerberg-to-scale-a-massive-network-of-schools-around-personalized-learning/ ]
altschool  2015  education  startups  personalizedlearning  learning  schools  maxventilla  schooling  inequality  technology  edtech  issielaposky  siliconvalley  personalization 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Slack's Stewart Butterfield, in His Own Words | Inc.com
"I'm going to end up with a lot more money than I feel like I'm entitled to given how hard I work. I see all kinds of people work hard all over the world, and some of them are barely making it. I don't just mean subsistence farmers. I mean people in the developed world who work multiple jobs, and because the cost of health care and child care eats up almost all of the living they make. To be clear, I don't have a better way in mind. I think the system we've developed, and the byproduct, of people who founded tech companies getting stupidly rich--I don't have a better alternative. It's something that can be addressed through tax policy. But I'm definitely very conscious of the role that luck and timing and race and gender play in all of this stuff. If I were a woman, it would be twice as hard to do what I do. If I were black in the U.S., it would probably be five times as hard. 

But also, there are early twentysomethings who work here--kids, from my perspective as a 41-year-old--who are going to make a couple million bucks. I think about the shitty jobs I had when I was 23. I worked as hard as they're working these days. There's something untoward, something incorrect--I'm not sure exactly what the word is. Wait, I know: unfair. There's something unfair in that."
stewartbutterfield  2014  startups  money  inequality  wealth  luck  capitalism  work  labor  fairness  unfairness  economics  poverty  race 
april 2015 by robertogreco
LOTR's One Ring explainer
"Here's a good explanation of what the One Ring from Lord of the Rings actually is and what it can do:

[video: “The One Ring Explained. (Lord of the Rings Mythology Part 2)”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKU0qDpu3AM ]

I transcribed a short passage from the video:
First, the ring tempts everyone (well, almost everyone) with promises that yes, this little ring can be a mighty weapon or a tool to reshape the world and gosh don't you just look like the best guy to use it. Let's go vanquish the powerful demigod who lives over there to get started, shall we? This is why the hobbits made great ring bearers, because they're pretty happy with the way things are and don't aspire to greatness. Of course, there's Gollum, who started out as a hobbit, but all things considered, he held out pretty well for a couple hundred years. Set the ring on the desk of most men and they wouldn't be able to finish their coffee before heading to Mordor to rule the world and do it right this time.

What's interesting about hearing of The Ring in this focused way is how it becomes a part of Tolkien's criticism of technology. The Ring does what every mighty bit of tech can do to its owner/user: makes them feel powerful and righteous. Look what we can do with this thing! So much! So much good! We are good therefore whatever we do with this will be good!

The contemporary idea of the tech startup is arguably the most seductive and powerful technology of the present moment, the One Ring of our times. It's not difficult to modify a few words in the passage above to make it more current:
First, the startup tempts everyone (well, almost everyone) with promises that yes, this little company can be a mighty weapon or a tool to reshape the world and gosh don't you just look like the best guy to use it. Let's go disrupt the powerful middleman who lives over there to get started, shall we? This is why the nerds made great ring bearers, because they're pretty happy with the way things are and don't aspire to greatness. Of course, there's Sergey and Larry, who started out as nerds, but all things considered, they held out pretty well for a decade. Set the ring on the desk of most men and they wouldn't be able to finish their mail-order espresso before heading to Silicon Valley to rule the world and do it right this time.

Ok, haha, LOL, and all that, but it's curious that nerds (and everyone else) shelled out billions of dollars to watch Peter Jackson's LOTR movies in the early 2000s in the aftermath of the dot com bust. Those were dark times...the power of the startup had just been lost after Kozmo's CEO Dave Isildur was slain by economists while delivering a single pint of Ben & Jerry's Chubby Hubby to far reaches of the Outer Sunset and had not yet been rediscovered by Schachter, Butterfield, and Zuckerberg.

And these nerds, whose spines all tingled when Aragorn charged into the hordes of Mordor -- for Frodo! -- and whose eyes filled with tears when Frodo parted with Sam at the Grey Havens, came away from that movie experience siding with Boromir, Saruman, and Denethor, determined to seize that startup magic for themselves to disrupt all of the things, defeat the evil corporate middlemen, and reshape the world to be a better and more efficient place. And gosh don't you just look like the best guy to use it?"

[See also: “The Lord of the Rings Mythology Explained (Part 1)”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YxgsxaFWWHQ ]
jasonkottke  kottke  lotr  lordoftherings  jrrtolkien  startups  siliconvalley  technology  2015  economics  humor 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Startups and Self-Loathing at the 8th Annual Crunchies Awards | Re/code
"Outside, Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder of Slack and an award winner that evening, was having a cigarette. He said the Valley loved satire because it cuts to the core of the issue: Much of the work and money in the startup industry is absurd. It’s almost disturbing. Satire is a way to cope.

“Everyone here must know that everyone is making too much money, and that’s why we love satire,” he said. “If anyone is honest with themselves, they must think that the reward is disproportionate to the work.”"
stewartbutterfield  technology  startups  money  economics  inequality  work  pay  income  crunchies  2015 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Joi Ito's 9 Principles of the Media Lab on Vimeo
"In a brief address delivered at the MIT-Knight Civic Media Conference, Media Lab director Joi Ito proposed the "9 Principles" that will guide the Media Lab's work under his leadership… some in pointed contrast to those of the Lab's founder, Nicholas Negroponte.

Ito's principles are:

1. Disobedience over compliance
2. Pull over push
3. Compasses over maps
4. Emergence over authority
5. Learning over education
6. Resilience over strength
7. Systems over objects
8. Risk over safety
9. Practice over theory"
joiito  mitmedialab  disobedience  compliance  authority  emergence  learning  education  resilience  systemsthinking  systems  2014  practice  process  risk  risktaking  safety  leadership  administration  tcsnmy  lcproject  openstudioproject  knightfoundation  money  academia  internet  culture  business  mbas  innovation  permission  startups  power  funding  journalism  hardware  highered  highereducation  agile  citizenjournalism  nicholasnegroponte  citizenscience  medialab 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Convivial Tools in an Age of Surveillance
"What would convivial ed-tech look like?

The answer can’t simply be “like the Web” as the Web is not some sort of safe and open and reliable and accessible and durable place. The answer can’t simply be “like the Web” as though the move from institutions to networks magically scrubs away the accumulation of history and power. The answer can’t simply be “like the Web” as though posting resources, reference services, peer-matching, and skill exchanges — what Illich identified as the core of his “learning webs” — are sufficient tools in the service of equity, freedom, justice, or hell, learning.

“Like the Web” is perhaps a good place to start, don’t get me wrong, particularly if this means students are in control of their own online spaces — its content, its data, its availability, its publicness. “Like the Web” is convivial, or close to it, if students are in control of their privacy, their agency, their networks, their learning. We all need to own our learning — and the analog and the digital representations or exhaust from that. Convivial tools do not reduce that to a transaction — reduce our learning to a transaction, reduce our social interactions to a transaction.

I'm not sure the phrase "safe space" is quite the right one to build alternate, progressive education technologies around, although I do think convivial tools do have to be “safe” insofar as we recognize the importance of each other’s health and well-being. Safe spaces where vulnerability isn’t a weakness for others to exploit. Safe spaces where we are free to explore, but not to the detriment of those around us. As Illich writes, "A convivial society would be the result of social arrangements that guarantee for each member the most ample and free access to the tools of the community and limit this freedom only in favor of another member’s equal freedom.”

We can’t really privilege “safe” as the crux of “convivial” if we want to push our own boundaries when it comes to curiosity, exploration, and learning. There is risk associated with learning. There’s fear and failure (although I do hate how those are being fetishized in a lot of education discussions these days, I should note.)

Perhaps what we need to build are more compassionate spaces, so that education technology isn’t in the service of surveillance, standardization, assessment, control.

Perhaps we need more brave spaces. Or at least many educators need to be braver in open, public spaces -- not brave to promote their own "brands" but brave in standing with their students. Not "protecting them” from education technology or from the open Web but not leaving them alone, and not opening them to exploitation.

Perhaps what we need to build are more consensus-building not consensus-demanding tools. Mike Caulfield gets at this in a recent keynote about “federated education.” He argues that "Wiki, as it currently stands, is a consensus *engine*. And while that’s great in the later stages of an idea, it can be deadly in those first stages.” Caulfield relates the story of the Wikipedia entry on Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, which, 16 minutes after it was created, "someone – and in this case it probably matters that is was a dude – came and marked the page for deletion as trivial, or as they put it 'A non-notable article incapable of being expanded beyond a stub.’” Debate ensues on the entry’s “talk” page, until finally Jimmy Wales steps in with his vote: a “strong keep,” adding "I hope someone will create lots of articles about lots of famous dresses. I believe that our systemic bias caused by being a predominantly male geek community is worth some reflection in this context.”

Mike Caulfield has recently been exploring a different sort of wiki, also by Ward Cunningham. This one — called the Smallest Federated Wiki — doesn’t demand consensus like Wikipedia does. Not off the bat. Instead, entries — and this can be any sort of text or image or video, it doesn’t have to “look like” an encyclopedia — live on federated servers. Instead of everyone collaborating in one space on one server like a “traditional” wiki, the work is distributed. It can be copied and forked. Ideas can be shared and linked; it can be co-developed and co-edited. But there isn’t one “vote” or one official entry that is necessarily canonical.

Rather than centralized control, conviviality. This distinction between Wikipedia and Smallest Federated Wiki echoes too what Illich argued: that we need to be able to identify when our technologies become manipulative. We need "to provide guidelines for detecting the incipient stages of murderous logic in a tool; and to devise tools and tool systems that optimize the balance of life, thereby maximizing liberty for all."

Of course, we need to recognize, those of us that work in ed-tech and adopt ed-tech and talk about ed-tech and tech writ large, that convivial tools and a convivial society must go hand-in-hand. There isn’t any sort of technological fix to make education better. It’s a political problem, that is, not a technological one. We cannot come up with technologies that address systematic inequalities — those created by and reinscribed by education— unless we are willing to confront those inequalities head on. Those radical education writers of the Sixties and Seventies offered powerful diagnoses about what was wrong with schooling. The progressive education technologists of the Sixties and Seventies imagined ways in which ed-tech could work in the service of dismantling some of the drudgery and exploitation.

But where are we now? Instead we find ourselves with technologies working to make that exploitation and centralization of power even more entrenched. There must be alternatives — both within and without technology, both within and without institutions. Those of us who talk and write and teach ed-tech need to be pursuing those things, and not promoting consumption and furthering institutional and industrial control. In Illich’s words: "The crisis I have described confronts people with a choice between convivial tools and being crushed by machines.""
toolforconviviality  ivanillich  audreywatters  edtech  technology  education  2014  seymourpapert  logo  alankay  dynabook  mikecaufield  wardcunningham  web  internet  online  schools  teaching  progressive  wikipedia  smallestfederatedwiki  wikis  society  politics  policy  decentralization  surveillance  doxxing  gamergate  drm  startups  venturecapital  bigdata  neilpostman  paulofreire  paulgoodman  datapalooza  knewton  computers  computing  mindstorms  control  readwrite  everettreimer  1960s  1970s  jonathankozol  disruption  revolution  consensus  safety  bravery  courage  equity  freedom  justice  learning 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Metafoundry 4: Indicator Species
"Yesterday, Dan Hon wrote about the culture of the Silicon Valley start-up scene in his newsletter, under the heading “Not All…” It’s clear to me that Dan’s trying hard not to tar everyone in the tech industry with the same broad brush (I sympathize; both of us have friends in startupland) but it’s also clear that he’s finding something seriously amiss.

For me, the title itself was the giveaway. What Dan was describing was not just the actions of individuals, but of a system. It’s not so much that tech bros are bad in and of themselves, it’s that they’re a indicator species for an ecosystem. Like an algal bloom, their overabundance is a sign that the balance is amiss.

The Silicon Valley startup ecosystem depends on venture capital. If VCs are putting in money, they want to see a return (and a big one, because of the expectation that nine out of ten companies, at a minimum, will crash and burn). And they want to see it ASAP, because that’s how the time value of money works, and because companies are burning money like liquid hydrogen as they try to achieve lift-off. So there’s an enormous pressure on founders to produce, which inevitably selects for people who are prepared to sleep under their desk for the chance of having a breakout company (and, not incidentally, making an enormous return for their VCs, who are presumably sleeping soundly in their nice Design Within Reach beds). The system doesn’t select for women, for people who have families or lives outside of work, for thoughtful people. And by not selecting for them, it actively pushes them out, creating a culture that rejects and is intolerable for them (witness the much-documented sexism and ageism of tech culture). On top of all that, we as a culture socialize boys to be over-confident in themselves and to be deeply messed up about gender, and then there's the Dunning-Kruger effect, and then we give them a bunch of money. So it’s not surprising that tech bros (or be both more precise and less ad hominem, techbro behaviors) come out of this system.

But there’s more to it. What makes a startup a startup isn’t that it’s new (we call that a ‘small business’), it’s that it grows rapidly, ideally exponentially. That pushes startups toward bits, not atoms (near-zero incremental cost), towards anything that leverages Metcalfe's Law, towards dark patterns of nonconsensual behaviour towards users (like strip-mining Contacts lists), towards eroding user privacy, to dumping everything users have created when the startup is acquihired, and towards falling back on invasive online advertising because having a viable business model was a distant second to growing a user base.

And of course, most people building startups are mediocre, in the way that we humans are generally mediocre: we are greedy, solipsistic, unaware of our implicit biases. But putting all these pieces together, we have a system that selects for, supports, and nurtures socially hostile techbro behaviors, that solves techbro problems and alienates everyone else. And so the people who display these behaviors thrive. But I certainly know smart, thoughtful, committed people who are doing worthwhile, interesting, and ethical work in startups. I have friends in companies like Mapbox, Threadable, Keyboardio, and The Echo Nest, and they are working and succeeding in tech culture despite it being a system that's stacked against people like them, in exactly the same way that (go figure) women who succeed in tech do so despite the structural barriers in place. And just like the women in tech that I know, I can see them struggle and pay the costs of trying to succeed in that system.

Coda: I sent my original rant to Scott Smith; having just returned from a trip to Silicon Valley with his family, he responded to me in an e-mail by talking a bit about how some parts of this cultural systems are visible even to outsiders.

This take is doubly interesting because I've just come back from a few days in SV, the last 48 hours of which were largely spent taking our kids around the Valley (including taking a half day to drive them around Google, Facebook and Apple HQ campuses) to see what it really looks like day-to-day. And spending time with my teenage daughter in particular, asking her what she saw—the people (the lack of women), the postures, the environments. She picked up right away that it was a lopsided culture. And we spent time discussing about how the power flows there, who has it, and what impact they are having on SF as a city, and on the world. We watched the Google buses pick up and drop people off, took in locals’ interactions in cafes and restaurants, and walked into the store at Apple’s main building to see new recruits (and tourists) shopping. This part of the trip wasn't really planned in advance—Susan and I just decided it would be an interesting experience once on the ground—to show the kids the other end of the pipe, so to speak, and give them an idea who is making things “for them” that shape their social and economic expectations and interactions."
debchachra  siliconvalley  scottsmith  technology  2014  startups  systemsthinking  ecosystems  echochambers  vc  gender  power  money  google  facebook  apple  sanfrancisco  economics  society  labor  influence  policy  politics  californianideology 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Corporate America Hasn’t Been Disrupted | FiveThirtyEight
"Talk to anyone in Silicon Valley these days, and it’s hard to go more than two minutes without hearing about “disruption.” Uber is disrupting the taxi business. Airbnb is disrupting the hotel business. Apple’s iTunes disrupted the music industry, but now risks being disrupted by Spotify. Listen long enough, and it’s hard not to conclude that existing companies, no matter how big and powerful, are all but doomed, marking time until their inevitable overthrow by hoodie-wearing innovators.

In fact, the opposite is true. By a wide range of measures, the advantages of incumbency in corporate America have never been greater. “The business sector of the United States,” economists Ian Hathaway and Robert Litan wrote in a recent Brookings Institution paper, “appears to be getting ‘old and fat.’”"
disruption  capitalism  us  startups  entrepreneurship  economics  business  2014 
august 2014 by robertogreco
Secluded innovation — Medium
"When work is fragmented and spread across multiple places, the ease of connections becomes more valuable than free coffee. Public transportation becomes critically important (as if it weren’t already). The maintenance of our sidewalks becomes as essential as their initial design. Parks and other urban punctuation move from being amenities to being productive assets. And all of this changes the equation for deciding what to do within one company’s own little fiefdom. If someone can walk a few blocks down for a break on a bench, or up the street for coffee, why recreate anemic versions of those options indoors? Why pass up moments of transition between spaces, between conversations, between peer groups, between moods? Those are the moments when serendipity is most active. If you value creativity, there is little incentive to recreate the city internally. The walls of the amenity fortress become more of a burden than a benefit.

One peace dividend of the intense competition and talent wars between consumer technology companies is massive effort being dumped into all the things that make a company. The staid pillars of human resources, operations, facilities, management hierarchies, and others are being consciously redesigned from scratch. If these approaches are affordable in slower industries where investors are more cautious, and they spread outside of the enclave of technology companies, this will be as important as the apps and websites those companies have built. Yet, for all of the attention — the hype, I think it’s fair to say — that the new tech-driven culture of work is attracting, it still feels cloistered behind the collective mass of security badges, clubby language and NDAs. These trappings of seclusion make it feel fresh and exciting if you’re on the inside of the bubble, but cultish if you’re on the outside.

Moving from cult to culture rarely happens by fiat; it’s a slow process that will be painful for the true believers and awkward for the rest of us. Yet luring all of us forward should be the potential that doing so means we change things on a fundamental level by redesigning the assumptions we’ve inherited from the industrial era. The city itself remains an under-loved ally in this. For a community that understands the essential value of open source, there’s a distinct lack of respect for openness in the way they relate to the city. Re-engaging with the public realm is the most fundamental tool that companies (and groups of companies) have to connect with the public, to understand needs more holistically, and to convert that understanding into longterm public and private value. Doing so will require many companies to go back to first principles and find a way to internalize the value of the outside world rather than literally importing it. Seclusion may make it easier to develop technology, but it’s a barrier to deeper innovations in how we live together as a society. Pop the bubble, come out of that garage; the weather’s great."

[See also: http://aeon.co/magazine/altered-states/what-tech-offices-tell-us-about-the-future-of-work ]
bryanboyer  architecture  cities  culture  technology  startups  cults  2014  officedesign  seclusion  isolation  offices 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Pinboard Turns Five (Pinboard Blog)
"Finally, there is stability on the business level. This means persuading people (including myself) that I am going to stick around, and then actually earning enough money to do that.

The money part turns out to be easy. People will pay for a decent service. As long as you stay small and don't forget to have revenue, you too can build a bookmarking website. There is plenty of room to specialize!

My strategy of pre-emptively antagonizing anyone who might possibly have an interest in acquiring or funding the site has worked wonderfully. In five years, I haven't received a single email from an investor or potential acquirer. The closest I came was a few months ago, when the new Delicious owners reached out to me about providing "vision", but I think they were just unfamiliar with my oeuvre. They learned quickly.

So the biggest risk in a project like this remains burnout.

Avoiding burnout is difficult to write about, because the basic premise is obnoxious. Burnout is a rich man's game. Rice farmers don't get burned out and spend long afternoons thinking about whether to switch to sorghum. Most people don't have the luxury of thinking about their lives in those terms. But at the rarefied socioeconomic heights of computerland, it's true that if you run a popular project by yourself for a long time, there's a high risk that it will wear you out.

It's not the fact of working on just one project that's the problem. This dude, for example, has spent much of his life building a Boeing 777 out of manila folders. Another guy (always dudes!) is slowly excavating his basement with toy trucks.

What burns you out is the constant strain of being responsible for a lot of other people's stuff.

The good news is, as you get older, you gain perspective. Perspective helps alleviate burnout.

The bad news is, you gain perspective by having incredibly shitty things happen to you and the people you love. Nature has made it so that perspective is only delivered in bulk quantities. A railcar of perspective arrives and dumps itself on your lawn when all you needed was a microgram. This is a grossly inefficient aspect of the human condition, but I'm sure bright minds in Silicon Valley are working on a fix.

Perspective does not make you immune to burnout. It just makes burnout less scary. I've gone through a few episodes since starting Pinboard, and I'm sure there will be more to come. People have been very understanding about my occasional need to flee the Internet. I find that the longer I run the site, the more resistant I become to the idea of ever giving it up, even if I need to take the occasional break. It is pleasant to work on something that people draw benefit from. It is especially pleasant to work on something lasting. And I enjoy the looking-glass aspect of our industry, where running a mildly profitable small business makes me a crazy maverick not afraid to break all the rules."
pinboard  2014  maciejceglowski  business  startups  growth  maciejcegłowski 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Jill Lepore: What the Theory of “Disruptive Innovation” Gets Wrong : The New Yorker
“Every age has a theory of rising and falling, of growth and decay, of bloom and wilt: a theory of nature. Every age also has a theory about the past and the present, of what was and what is, a notion of time: a theory of history. Theories of history used to be supernatural: the divine ruled time; the hand of God, a special providence, lay behind the fall of each sparrow. If the present differed from the past, it was usually worse: supernatural theories of history tend to involve decline, a fall from grace, the loss of God’s favor, corruption. Beginning in the eighteenth century, as the intellectual historian Dorothy Ross once pointed out, theories of history became secular; then they started something new—historicism, the idea “that all events in historical time can be explained by prior events in historical time.” Things began looking up. First, there was that, then there was this, and this is better than that. The eighteenth century embraced the idea of progress; the nineteenth century had evolution; the twentieth century had growth and then innovation. Our era has disruption, which, despite its futurism, is atavistic. It’s a theory of history founded on a profound anxiety about financial collapse, an apocalyptic fear of global devastation, and shaky evidence.”

[See also: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2014/06/clayton_christensen_and_disruptive_innovation_is_the_concept_a_myth.single.html
disruption  innovation  history  jilllepore  2014  claytonchristensen  buseiness  strategy  startups 
june 2014 by robertogreco
DE$IGN | Soulellis
"I’ve been thinking a lot about value and values.

Design Humility and Counterpractice were first attempts to build a conversation around the value of design and our values as designers. They’re highly personal accounts where I try to articulate my own struggle with the dominant paradigm in design culture today, which I characterize as —

speed
the relentlessness of branding
the spirit of the sell
the focus on product
the focus on perfection

and they include some techniques of resistance that I’ve explored in my recent work, like —

thingness
longevity
slowness (patience)
chance (nature, humility, serendipity)
giving away (generosity echo)

I’ve been calling them techniques, but they’re really more like values, available to any designer or artist. Work produced with these criteria runs cross-grain to the belief that we must produce instantly, broadcast widely and perform perfectly.

Hence, counterpractice. Cross-grain to common assumptions. Questioning.

And as I consider my options (what to do next), I’m seriously contemplating going back to this counterpractice talk as a place to reboot. Could these be seen as principles — as a platform for a new kind of design studio?

I’m not sure. Counterpractice probably need further translation. An idea like ”slowness” certainly won’t resonate for many, outside of an art context. And how does a love for print-on-demand and the web fit in here? Perhaps it’s more about “variable speed” and the “balanced interface” rather than slow vs fast. Slow and fast. Modulated experience. The beauty of a printed book is that it can be scanned quickly or savored forever. These aren’t accidental qualities; they’re built into the design.

[image by John Maeda: "DE$IGN"]

I’m thinking about all of this right now as I re-launch Soulellis Studio as Counterpractice. But if there’s anything that most characterizes my reluctance to get back to client-based work, it’s DE$IGN.

John Maeda, who departed RISD in December, where I am currently teaching, recently delivered a 4-minute TED talk, where he made this statement:

“From Design to DE$IGN.”

He expands that statement with a visual wordmark that is itself designed. What does it mean? I haven’t seen the talk yet so I can only presume, out of context. These articles and Maeda’s blog post at Design and Venture begin to get at it.

Maeda’s three principles for using design in business as stated in the WSJ article are fine. But they don’t need a logo. Designing DE$IGN is a misleading gesture; it’s token branding to sell an idea (in four minutes—the fast read). So what’s the idea behind this visual equation? As a logo, it says so many things:

All caps: DE$IGN is BIG.
It’s not £ or ¥ or 元: DE$IGN is American.
Dollar sign: DE$IGN is money.

DE$IGN is Big American Money.

and in the context of a four-minute TED talk…

DE$IGN is speed (four minutes!)
DE$IGN is the spirit of selling (selling an idea on a stage to a TED audience)
DE$IGN is Helvetica Neue Ultra Light and a soft gradient (Apple)
DE$IGN is a neatly resolved and sellable word-idea. It’s a branded product (and it’s perfect).

In other words, DE$IGN is Silicon Valley. DE$IGN is the perfect embodiment of start-up culture and the ultimate tech dream. Of course it is — this is Maeda’s audience, and it’s his new position. It works within the closed-off reality of $2 billion acquisitions, IPOs, 600-person design teams and Next Big Thing thinking. It’s a crass, aggressive statement that resonates perfectly for its audience.

[Image of stenciled "CAPITALISM IS THE CRI$IS"]

DE$IGN makes me uneasy. The post-OWS dollar sign is loaded with negative associations. It’s a quick trick that borrows from the speed-read language of texting (lol) to turn design into something unsustainable, inward-looking and out-of-touch. But what bothers me most is that it comes from one of our design leaders, someone I follow and respect. Am I missing something?

I can’t help but think of Milton Glaser’s 1977 I<3NY logo here.

[Milton Glaser I<3NY]

Glaser uses a similar trick, but to different effect. By inserting a heart symbol into a plain typographic treatment, he too transformed something ordinary (referencing the typewriter) into a strong visual message. Glaser’s logo says that “heart is at the center of NYC” (and it suggests that love and soul and passion are there too). Or “my love for NYC is authentic” (it comes from the heart). It gives us permission to play with all kinds of associations and visual translations: my heart is in NYC, I am NYC, NYC is the heart of America, the heart of the world, etc. .

Glaser’s mark is old-school, east coast and expansive; it symbolizes ideas and feelings that can be characterized as full and overflowing. And human (the heart). It’s personal (“I”), but all about business: his client was a bankrupt city in crisis, eager to attract tourists against all odds.

Maeda’s mark is new money, west coast and exclusive. It was created for and presented to a small club of privileged innovators who are focused on creating new ways to generate wealth ($) by selling more product.

Clever design tricks aside, here’s my question, which I seem to have been asking for a few years now. Is design humility possible today? Can we build a relevant design practice that produces meaningful, rich work — in a business context — without playing to visions of excess?

I honestly don’t know. I’m grappling with this. I’m not naive and I don’t want to paint myself into a corner. I’d like to think that there’s room to resist DE$IGN. I do this as an artist making books and as an experimental publisher (even Library of the Printed Web is a kind of resistance). But what kind of design practice comes out of this? Certainly one that’s different from the kind of business I built with Soulellis Studio."
paulsoulellis  2014  conterpractice  design  humility  capitalism  resistance  branding  speed  slow  consumerism  sales  salesmanship  perfection  wabi-sabi  thingness  longevity  slowness  patience  nature  chance  serendipity  generosity  potlatch  johnmaeda  questioning  process  approach  philosophy  art  print  balance  thisandthat  modulation  selling  ted  tedtalks  apple  siliconvalley  startups  culture  technology  technosolutionsism  crisis  miltonglaser  1977  love 
june 2014 by robertogreco
The One Room Schoolhouse Goes High Tech | MindShift
[Starts out rosy (and there is a lot of interesting in this model) and the title sounds encouraging, but the concerns are hidden down below. School of One and Rocketship are not progressive.]

"While the school is using Common Core as a guideline for its teaching standards, students aren’t grouped by grade level. Rather, students move through activities based on their skill and are broadly grouped in age ranges that include transitional kindergarten, “youngers,” “olders,” and middle school.

“We don’t think there’s such a thing as a grade,” Ventilla said. “Kids are at different levels across their academic and non-academic trajectories and it’s about creating an environment of peers, people that push them, people that are good influences, but also people that they can be friends with and have intellectual peers.”

This is not a new concept, of course. Champions of competency-based education have been advocating this model for years, and Brightworks, a school that opened a few years ago just a few miles away that’s focused on project based learning uses the same premise. In that way, it’s less a brand new innovation and more of an amalgamation of different models borrowed from Montessori, Waldorf, homeschooling, and different education theorists, as evidenced by the books scattered around the school’s office — Finnish Lessons, The Smartest Kids in the World, 5 Minds for the Future, How Children Succeed.

Another borrowed idea applied to AltSchool is the School of One model in New York. Students at AltSchool work from an individual playlist the teacher puts together that’s keyed to his or her interests. The teacher can keep track of student progress on a dashboard, ensure the tasks have been completed, and adjust activities depending on how students are progressing. For example, recently, AltSchool teacher Carolyn Wilson assigned a video about California’s delta to one student, paired with questions about how water moves through the system.

“He moved it to the ‘done’ column, but it wasn’t done, so I told him he was turning me into a screaming monster,” Wilson said. When she checked his work and saw he hadn’t finished, Wilson tagged that assignment with a screaming monster icon and a note to the student telling him to go back and answer the questions and complete a reflection."



"AltSchool is fundamentally a for-profit technology start-up, recently announcing $33 million dollars in venture capital funding. Slightly less than half of its current staff — a total of about 25 people, including teachers — are computer engineers. Despite the techy underpinnings, technology isn’t all that visually present in AltSchool classrooms the way it is in many schools with one-to-one programs or at a charter network like Rocketship, according to AltSchool staff. But technology is a pervasive part of this model behind the scenes.

“If you look at how learning gets personalized in most schools out there, it’s by sticking a kid in front of a screen,” said AltSchool Chief Technology Officer Komal Sethi. “That’s because it’s easy. That’s not how we think about it.” Tech tools help students track their assignments, document their work, and allow teachers to stay on top of each student’s individual lesson plan. “We want the real-world, project-based learning to happen, we just want to be able to see that it’s happening,” Sethi said. And to that end, AltSchool classrooms are being videotaped and recorded in an effort to capture classroom moments that the teacher might have missed. “We’re basically trying to say, what can we observe that’s going on to help the teacher do the things she already does,” Sethi said.

The engineering team is working to build technology that will allow teachers to bookmark moments when the class gets particularly loud, for example, so they can go back to that moment and see if something needs to be modified in the instructional practice, or if there is a particular incident to observe later.

“That’s a moment when something happened that the teacher wanted to keep so she could go back and see what happened that allowed this breakthrough,” Ventilla said. He also believes parents will be grateful for having a video recording of breakthrough academic moments in their children’s lives, like when they first learn to read. The school’s engineers are working to create sensors sophisticated enough to pick up on students’ facial expressions and then send a signal to the teacher’s dashboard. He said the sensors would potentially help teachers know when a child is struggling, even if she’s in another part of the room. It’s meant to give the teacher another set of eyes.

This model flies in the face of many student data privacy concerns surfacing recently regarding collecting more data on students. The school and its developers keep the raw video and audio data for two years before trashing it, but can save particular moments to share with teachers or parents for much longer.

ENGINEERS AND TEACHERS

AltSchool plans to launch officially next fall with several modular classrooms around San Francisco and surrounding cities, as well as in Silicon Valley at $19,100 per year. “Our model is attractive to families who know what they want educationally and come to us to have some of the logistics taken care of without having to reinvent the school,” said Anna Cueni, the school’s director of operations.

In addition to running schools, the company will be designing software for teachers’ needs. “Every one of our engineers spends time directly in the classroom, collaborates directly with students, and many of them actually teach during part of their week,” Ventilla said. Teachers and developers work together to design tech tools that meet specific classroom needs.

So far, developers have created the software that makes student playlists, the audio and video replay system that allows teachers to bookmark important moments in the classroom, and have made a weekly parent summary tool that makes it easy for teachers to curate and share insights about students each week. This close collaboration could create products that other schools find useful and eventually might license.

“We’re not trying to make existing schools work better,” Ventilla said. “We are trying to actually advance a new model of a school.” That said, if a charter network wanted to begin a whole new set of schools based on the AltSchool model, Ventilla wouldn’t be opposed. But he said the model would not work in a traditional large school building with a centralized administration and little flexibility."
altschool  2014  education  progressive  startups  maxventilla  schools  lcproject  microschools  smallschool  management  rocketshipschools 
april 2014 by robertogreco
18. Webstock 2014 Talk Notes and References - postarchitectural
[Direct link to video: https://vimeo.com/91957759 ]
[See also: http://www.webstock.org.nz/talks/the-future-happens-so-much/ ]

"I was honored to be invited to Webstock 2014 to speak, and decided to use it as an opportunity to talk about startups and growth in general.

I prepared for this talk by collecting links, notes, and references in a flat text file, like I did for Eyeo and Visualized. These references are vaguely sorted into the structure of the talk. Roughly, I tried to talk about the future happening all around us, the startup ecosystem and the pressures for growth that got us there, and the dangerous sides of it both at an individual and a corporate level. I ended by talking about ways for us as a community to intervene in these systems of growth.

The framework of finding places to intervene comes from Leverage Points by Donella Meadows, and I was trying to apply the idea of 'monstrous thoughts' from Just Asking by David Foster Wallace. And though what I was trying to get across is much better said and felt through books like Seeing like a State, Debt, or Arctic Dreams, here's what was in my head."
shahwang  2014  webstock  donellameadows  jamescscott  seeinglikeastate  davidgraeber  debt  economics  barrylopez  trevorpaglen  google  technology  prism  robotics  robots  surveillance  systemsthinking  growth  finance  venturecapital  maciejceglowski  millsbaker  mandybrown  danhon  advertising  meritocracy  democracy  snapchat  capitalism  infrastructure  internet  web  future  irrationalexuberance  github  geopffmanaugh  corproratism  shareholders  oligopoly  oligarchy  fredscharmen  kenmcleod  ianbanks  eleanorsaitta  quinnorton  adamgreenfield  marshallbrain  politics  edwardsnowden  davidsimon  georgepacker  nicolefenton  power  responsibility  davidfosterwallace  christinaxu  money  adamcurtis  dmytrikleiner  charlieloyd  wealth  risk  sarahkendxior  markjacobson  anildash  rebeccasolnit  russellbrand  louisck  caseygollan  alexpayne  judsontrue  jamesdarling  jenlowe  wilsonminer  kierkegaard  readinglist  startups  kiev  systems  control  data  resistance  obligation  care  cynicism  snark  change  changetheory  neoliberalism  intervention  leveragepoints  engagement  nonprofit  changemaki 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Maciej Ceglowski - Barely succeed! It's easier! - YouTube
"We live in a remarkable time when small teams (or even lone programmers) can successfully compete against internet giants. But while the last few years have seen an explosion of product ideas, there has been far less innovation in how to actually build a business. Silicon Valley is stuck in an outdated 'grow or die' mentality that overvalues risk, while investors dismiss sustainable, interesting projects for being too practical. So who needs investors anyway?

I'll talk about some alternative definitions of success that are more achievable (and more fun!) than the Silicon Valley casino. It turns out that staying small offers some surprising advantages, not just in the day-to-day experience of work, but in marketing and getting customers to love your project. Best of all, there's plenty more room at the bottom.

If your goal is to do meaningful work you love, you may be much closer to realizing your dreams than you think."
via:lukeneff  maciejceglowski  2013  startups  pinboard  culture  atalhualpa  larrywall  perl  coding  slow  small  success  community  communities  diversity  growth  sustainability  venturecapital  technology  tonyrobbins  timferris  raykurzweil  singularity  humanism  laziness  idleness  wealth  motivation  siliconvalley  money  imperialism  corneliusvanderbilt  meaning  incubators  stevejobs  stevewozniak  empirebuilders  makers  fundraising  closedloops  viscouscircles  labor  paulgraham  ycombinator  gender  publishing  hits  recordingindustry  business  lavabit  mistakes  duckduckgo  zootool  instapaper  newsblur  metafilter  minecraft  ravelry  4chan  backblaze  prgmr.com  conscience  growstuff  parentmeetings  lifestylebusinesses  authenticity  googlereader  yahoopipes  voice  longtail  fanfiction  internet  web  online  powerofculture  counterculture  transcontextualism  maciejcegłowski  transcontextualization 
march 2014 by robertogreco
The Myth of the Non-Technical Startup Employee, by Zoelle Egner | Model View Culture
"The indignities unwittingly foisted upon the early operations employee are many and varied."

As the first non-technical hire at a startup, you wear many hats.

You answer support tickets, write newsletters, even order lunch: whatever needs to get done. When you’re lucky - and I was - that means days spent untangling complex problems and creating processes to keep the chaos at bay.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the tech industry at large, it can also mean a constant battle to justify your intelligence, your value, and your very existence. It can mean struggling against gendered expectations about your work product and complete ignorance of what your role entails. Worse, as the defacto keeper of the sacred Company Culture™, you run the risk of enabling and reinforcing a system of amenities and perks which aren’t actually meant for you.

Though the indignities unwittingly foisted upon the early operations employee are many and varied, at their core, most can be traced back to three core misconceptions that pervade the industry at large.

1. You only take a job in business operations if you aren’t smart enough to be an engineer (or designer, or product manager, or…)



2. If your role isn’t technical, you don’t actually understand the product.



3. The ops person is here to be your mommy.



Operations is a necessary evil, and it doesn’t really matter

That means the people who do it don’t really matter, either.

Choosing to work at an early-stage startup can mean choosing to sacrifice a lot: weekends, the opportunity to see friends for weeks on end, even basic knowledge of what’s going on in the outside world. Obviously, it’s also rewarding enough that we continue to make those sacrifices time and time again. Yet the myths we hold so dear — the noble engineer, sleeping under his desk to get the product out on time; the company that cares for its employees’ every need — exclude and marginalize an entire class of people whose contributions to these startups make their success possible. Perhaps that just comes with the territory of working in an operational role, but it also sends a clear message: this industry is supposedly changing the world, but only the contributions of a select few are worthy of celebration. The rest, well — someone had to keep the snacks filled.

But of course it’s not that simple. If you don’t file your taxes or pay vendors on time or hire the right people at the right speed or handle any of the other, myriad issues that operations folks handle each day, it doesn’t matter how great your product is: you’re going to run into serious problems. Technical infrastructure isn’t the only part of a startup that needs to scale seamlessly. This, ultimately, is why these myths about business operations are so painful and damaging, both to the professionals who suffer from them and the businesses that perpetuate them. You can have a great product and still fail because your business was broken. But it shouldn’t happen that way, and it doesn’t have to.

Yes, it means taking the time as a founder to understand what operations means, and finding the right person to help make it happen, regardless of their gender. It means trusting that whomever you hire will be just as invested in the success of the company and just as valuable as people with more widely understood responsibilities. But the result is worth it. Particularly when it comes to early stage startups, a good operations person who is engaged as a true partner in building the business can lengthen your runway and give you the chance you need to be successful and sustainable. That’s a prospect worth fighting for."
zoelleegner  softskills  management  operations  startups  2014  gender  organizations  work  labor  culture  administration  technology  emotionallabor  shrequest1 
march 2014 by robertogreco
AltSchool
"Although the world is changing dramatically, education has been slow to respond.

What if we could start over? What if we could build a school from the ground up that is 100% focused on students and able to adapt to individual needs and foster individual passions? A school that encourages self-discovery, but also collaboration and social and emotional development? A school that prepares students for the world as it will be, not as it once was? Welcome to AltSchool.

AltSchool is an interdisciplinary team of educators, technologists and entrepreneurs building a network of schools that prepare students for our changing world. Each individual school is able to adapt to the needs of students, families and the surrounding community; the larger network connects everyone together and enables a far greater impact in our efforts to improve education. Underlying it all is a platform and curriculum that is personalized to each individual child.

Our team has come together because we all believe that more is possible. AltSchool provides a rich and personally meaningful education that is built for our children’s future, rather than our past."



What is AltSchool?

AltSchool is a company that is building a network of independent microschools serving K-8 students. We provide a personalized education that honors childhood, is flexible to the needs of students, families and teachers, and incorporates leading-edge technology and innovation.

What is a microschool?

AltSchool microschools have 20-80 students. Because of their small size, microschools are flexible in adapting to the needs of parents and students, foster a strong sense of community, and are closely integrated into local neighborhoods.

Each microschool is connected to other AltSchool microschools, allowing educators, students, and parents access to a wider community and allowing AltSchool to support specialist educators in art, music and technology."

[See also: https://www.facebook.com/AltSchool
https://vimeo.com/user20630393
https://twitter.com/altschoolsf
https://twitter.com/AltSchool_RDI
https://twitter.com/richardludlow
http://www.crunchbase.com/company/altschool

and
http://www.sfkfiles.com/2013/10/dadinthefog-altschool.html
http://www.sfgate.com/education/article/Learning-to-make-a-profit-and-a-difference-4948217.php ]
startups  education  schools  altschool  teaching  learning  forprofit  carolynwilson  maxventilla  independentschools  microschools  richardludlow 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Ben Pieratt, Blog - Internetland v. Print v. Self
"Yesterday I announced Internetland v. Print. a solo art show which includes three startups and hundreds of original print works. It started yesterday and will continue through Fall 2014.

You can read more about it on my site.

The list of New Things I’m trying to pull-off is hard to stomach. Some of them are new to everyone, and some are just new to me:

• Defining startups as art
• Introducing scrolls as a unique media format
• Defining and presenting myself as an artist
• Designing and filling a large gallery space with prints and sculpture
• Pitching a respectable NYC art gallery (or in the case of failure booking a pop-up shop)
• Raising over $350k from sponsors
• Hacking and giving away 1,000 tablets
• Launching three startups in 5 months

And since I have no funding or savings I’ll be trying to pull this off while I do full-time client work and support my family.

In frequent moments of honesty and paranoia, I feel ridiculous and foolish, caught in a loop of my own ambition.

It’s difficult to come to peace with."

[See also: http://pieratt.com/
http://pieratt.com/2.html
http://pieratt.com/3.html
http://pieratt.com/october2013.html
http://pieratt.com/november2013.html
http://pieratt.com/spring2014.html
http://pieratt.com/internetland_vs_print.html ]

"What I've learned through my work is that I love the internet.

I love that a few well-placed bits and rules can grow into a living organism from the behaviors of people all over the world.

I love that it's an abstraction that sits just above us. A new chance to build on our shared humanity, independently of what's come before us.

So I'm starting an art studio called Internetland.

In spirit it's a combination of Disneyland, the Promised Land, and Mad Max. In practice it's a love letter written in the language of startups, and lasting for my foreseeable career.

I've done a series of scrolls to announce them.

A scroll is akin to an interactive poster, but more basic. Ideally they're a new take on an old practice.



Additionally, surprisingly, I've built an analog art process that not only threads and flattens the last 100 years of print, but speaks directly to my digital work.

I'm not ready to talk about it too much yet, but here are a few examples of the output."
benpieratt  internetland  art  design  internet  scrolling  scrollers  startups  print  graphidesign  graphics  2013  web  online  lookwork  varsitybookmarking  2014  holyshit  macland  internetasliterature  internetasart  internetasfavoritebook 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Erin Watson: nonprofits, startups, and the middle place
"That center – where internet culture, creativity, and social justice intersect – is where we want to live, but neither of us knows how there’d be money in it. And that’s the real frustration: it seems like startup culture contains this vast pit of money and talent going towards selling ads and mining data. How do you get to the middle place? How do you build a life and thrive there? Thinking larger, how do we make a culture that values communities and their human needs over the next big thing? (I’m counting creativity among these human needs: I believe in the arts as an external immune system and a vector for transformative change.)

Because isn’t the real root issue that there’s no common denominator of what we value beyond how much money we make? There’s no atomic unit of satisfaction, or of social good, in the dark crevasse of late capitalism. There’s no winning at doing charity."
erinwatson  nonprofit  startups  middlegrounds  middleplaces  2013  art  community  socialactivism  change  creativity  culture  socialjustice  labor  work  latecapitalism  capitalism  satisfaction  socialgood  income  charity  charitableindustrialcomplex  vectors  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  nonprofits  power  control 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Alex Payne — Letter To A Young Programmer Considering A Startup
"But startups are the new big company. They are, as I’ll describe below, the field offices of a large distributed workforce assembled by venture capitalists and their associate institutions."



I won’t equivocate: I am deeply skeptical of this system. I’m skeptical of this system’s slavering, self-congratulatory fetishization of “disruption” while so obviously becoming the sort of stolid institution it seeks to displace. I’m skeptical of the startup community’s often short-term outlook. I’m particularly skeptical of its callous disregard for both the lives of the people who participate in it and the lives of those who live in the world that startups seek to reshape. Let’s not even begin to discuss how commonplace collusion, price fixing, and other market-corrupting activities are in the world of VC. The point being: it’s a bad game and a rigged one.

And yet. There are startups I wouldn’t want to see disappear. There are people working at and funding those startups who are good, kind, balanced in their personal and professional lives, thoughtful of the impact of their work. Just as we might cast aspersions and accusations of corruption on other systems like politics, mass media entertainment, and professional sports, we must admire those who operate ethically and efficiently within them. We should further celebrate those who are pioneering new and alternative systems, for they work in the shadow of a community that has a constant hand on the crank of the hype machine.

Now, you could say that I’m laying too much responsibility at the feet of the startup world. Though this system daily broadcasts itself as the savior of everything from capitalism to culture, surely we can accept that business is business and ideals are best left at the door. As a VC at a top-tier Sand Hill Road firm told me during a pitch several years ago when describing a conceptual feature in Simple that would let users easily and regularly donate a portion of their savings to charity, “let’s not waste time on that stuff; we’re here to make money”.

You could take this tack, but I hope that your idealism hasn’t been worn down at such a relatively young age. I hope you want your work to be imbued with meaning, purpose, and value no matter what form that work takes. More than that, I hope you want your life to be defined by more than work.

Young programmer, I urge you to consider both sides of the startup coin. There are so many ways to make a dent in the world."
vc  alexpayne  change  idealism  ideals  2013  systems  responsibility  startups  labor  disruption  meaning  meaningfulness  vocations  collusion  pricefixing  corruption  finance  power  control  hierarchy  purpose  bureaucracy  incubators  accelerators 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Bruce Sterling on Fantasy prototypes and real disruption | NEXT Berlin
[video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M7KErICTSHU ]

"In the closing keynote of NEXT Berlin 2013, acclaimed science-fiction author and journalist Bruce Sterling tackled a variety of topics like design fiction, start-up culture, and the mass adoption of disruptive technology. He sees science fiction as a form of design – design fiction that is part of the start-up world."
brucesterling  anabjain  superflux  nearfuturelaboratory  designfiction  disruption  design  networkedsociety  2013  nextberlin  nextberlin2013  protoyping  future  sciencefiction  scifi  capitalism  startups  money  culture  startup 
april 2013 by robertogreco
Ten Tips Guaranteed to Improve Your Startup Success - Anil Dash
"1. Be raised with access to clean drinking water and sanitation. (Every tech billionaire I've ever spoken to has a toilet!)

2. Try to be born in a region that is politically and militarily stable.

3. Grow up with a family that is as steady and secure as possible.

4. Have access to at least a basic free education in core subjects.

5. Avoid being abused by family members, loved ones, friends or acquaintances during the formative years of your life.

6. Be fluent in English, or have time to dedicate to continuously improving your language skills.

7. Make sure there's enough disposable income available to support your learning technology at a younger age.

8. If you must be a member of an underrepresented community or a woman, get comfortable with suppressing your identity. If not, follow a numbingly conventional definition of dominant masculinity.

9. Be within a narrow range of physical norms for appearance and ability, as defined by the comfort level of strangers.

10. Practice articulating your cultural, technological or social aspirations exclusively in economic terms."
culture  anildash  privilege  startups  economics  2013  californianideology  objectivism  libertarianism  gender  race  poverty  class 
march 2013 by robertogreco
PandoMonthly: A Fireside Chat With Sarah Lacy And Chris Sacca - YouTube
[via http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4965041 relating to http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/07/23/a-self-made-man-looks-at-how-he-made-it/ ]

[Once specific portion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViHuU6-CFDo ]

"I think, sometimes, like, arguing with libertarians can be really frustrating because, I think, it can be, um..., I think it can be intellectually lazy. And I think it can be convenient, and, in the same way that, um, you know when everything is going right it's easy to attribute it to your own success and when things are going wrong, it's because you got fucked or because you were unlucky etc., like, I think sometimes, like, the libertarian point of view can be, um..., can be rooted in a limited set of circumstances where you give yourself a little more credit than, um.., than you want, or than you are due, probably."
problemsolving  money  optimism  buckminsterfuller  wealthdistribution  incomegap  entrepreneurship  gambling  finance  decisionmaking  incentives  motivation  employment  elitism  regulation  government  traviskalanick  uber  politics  startups  women  gender  pandomonthly  sarahlacy  paternalism  economics  society  venturecapital  venturecapitalism  capitalism  2012  chrissacca  libertarianism  sharingeconomy 
december 2012 by robertogreco
How VCs Turned My Startup Into A Nightmare
"In the twenty-odd years of its existence, the Web has become the province of virtual monopolies (and the U.S. has become stuck at over 8 percent unemployment) for this exact reason: the inability of those in charge to realize the interconnectedness of the culture. Particularly, the false conviction among the rich that the middle class needs them more than they need the middle class, culminating, perhaps, in the ravings of Edward Conard and his cockamamie trickle-down-on-steroids theories.

So long as we continue to measure "success" — and allocate cultural and political influence — in dollars, we will remain at the mercy of those suffering the curse of Midas — the special gift of paralyzing all they touch through their thirst for gold."
middleclass  wealthdistribution  class  monopolies  finance  capitalism  money  success  edwardconard  venturecapital  venturecapitalism  vc  startups  technology  business  2012  mariabustillos  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
Evan Williams's Advice to Start-Ups: Don't Be Too Data-Driven - Liz Gannes - News - AllThingsD
"Projects that are worthwhile often don’t work right away, Williams noted… He urged start-ups to be willing to “fight the dragons.”

“I see this mentality that I think is common, especially in Silicon Valley with engineer-driven start-ups who think they can test their way to success. They don’t acknowledge the dip. And with really hard problems, you don’t see market success right away. You have to be willing to go through the dark forest and believe that there’s something down there worth fighting the dragons for, because if you don’t, you’ll never do anything good. I think it’s kind of problematic how data-driven some companies are today, as crazy as that sounds.”

"But all that capacity to instrument and analyze and optimize can be overused. If the possible outcomes are set before the experiment begins, there’s probably not much room for creativity.
Or, as Williams noted, the data can make it look like something’s not worth doing, even when it is."
entrepreneurship  strategy  startups  data-driveninstruction  2012  measurement  quantification  siliconvalley  persistence  cv  tcsnmy  data  evanwilliams 
december 2012 by robertogreco
Field Study | Don't Be Wise. Be Relentless.
"There are no tricks of any trade. There is volume and consistency. There is kindness. That’s it. There might be a few people out there that aren’t good and maybe were never meant to get good, no matter how much work they put in (and I’m not sure that’s true). But you’re not one of those people. You found something that you are pretty good at, and that you care a ton about. That gives you options to create any kind of career you want. Really. Honestly.

Start now by chasing opportunities. Be relentless. Write. Read. Make. Mimic (but credit your sources or course). Just don’t buy into any advice that tells you to be loyal, pay dues, bide your time. Those are truthy sounding old-time wisdom that has no real substance."

[Related: http://muledesign.com/2012/09/i-want-to-start-a-company-right-out-of-school/ and http://www.quora.com/David-Cole/Posts/Startups-and-Studios ]
cv  practice  experience  mikemonteiro  payingdues  hazing  consistency  volume  doing  making  learning  mentoring  mentors  mentorship  advice  careersm  startups  design  2012  kindnes  creativity 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Derek Powazek - Starting Up: The Love
"I once half-started a company. I identified a market opportunity, built a business plan, bought some domains, and started building. And then one morning I woke up and realized that, if everything went perfectly, I’d spend every day doing something I hated. The market opportunity was awesome – I just wasn’t the guy to do it. I had no love for it.

One way of looking at entrepreneurship is this: What will you look forward to doing every morning? You should start a company around that.

Because, truth be told, startups are hard. Like, really hard. So if you don’t have The Love for what you’re working on, you’re going to fail. Or, put another way: most startups fail, so you might as well spend the time working on something you enjoy, just in case you succeed.

If Cute-Fight is successful, I’ll wake up every morning to look at adorable pets. Not bad, as dayjobs go."
startups  lcproject  openstudioproject  whatwelove  business  entrepreneurship  passion  derekpowazek  2012  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
General Assembly
"General Assembly is a global network of campuses for individuals seeking opportunity and education in technology, business, and design."

"We offer a wide variety of learning opportunities, from 90-minute classes to long-form courses. With new options added daily, your only limit is scroll speed."

"A whole may be greater than the sum of its parts, but it's our parts that make us great. From members and instructors to knowledge-seekers and partners, our community defines what we are: collaborative learning advocates, forward-thinking envelope-pushers, and capri-pant enthusiasts.

We're excited to serve as a base for so many creative, innovative, and passionate thinkers and makers. Here are some of the Member Startups in our Community: [list]"
schooldesign  learning  classes  coding  philadelphia  sanfrancisco  boston  berlin  sydney  toronto  london  coworking  nyc  startups  openstudioproject  lcproject  sharedspace  technology  design  entrepreneurship  education  generalassembly  from delicious
september 2012 by robertogreco
Ron Johnson on the Progress of His J.C. Penney Remake - Businessweek
"If you change the interface, you can dramatically change the entire experience of the product…What we call that is the street, and you’re standing in the middle of it…

“Let’s not look at the paper. Where is the best place to buy a pair of jeans? …Let's … go there right now.” …

Our average store will have almost a third of a mile of streets when it’s done. There’ll be different activities along the street throughout the store. …

We view this as a startup. Like any startup, the question is how big will you be when you get your idea fully played out? At the end of this year, we’ll kind of find out how big our startup is. It will be less than it was the year before because we’re going through this process of retraining our customer. We knew we would go backwards, but once we get to next year, we think we start to propel forward. We’ve just got to get to the other side…

You know, we’re here to put a bear hug around the middle class, treat that customer with respect."

[Print view: http://www.businessweek.com/printer/articles/66326-ron-johnson-on-the-progress-of-his-j-dot-c-dot-penney-remake ]
departmentstores  remakes  clothing  experience  retail  redesign  tcsnmy  startups  ronjohnson  jcpenney  2012 
september 2012 by robertogreco
37signals Earns Millions Each Year. Its CEO’s Model? His Cleaning Lady | Fast Company
"…sounds like you want to build a slow company.

I’m a fan of growing slowly, carefully, methodically…not getting big just for the sake of getting big… rapid growth is typically of symptom of… there’s a sickness there. There’s a great quote by… Ricardo Semler… He said that only two things grow for the sake of growth: businesses and tumors…

I take…inspiration from small mom-&-pop businesses that have been around for a long time… restaurants all over the place that I like to go to that have been around a long time, 30 years or more… that’s an incredible run… not like in the tech world, where everyone wants to beat each other up…there’s one winner. Those are the businesses I find interesting—it could be a dry cleaner, a restaurant, a clothing store… my cleaning lady, for example, she’s great…

She’s on her own, she cleans people’s homes, she’s incredibly nice. She brings flowers every time she cleans, and she’s just respectful and nice and awesome. Why can’t more people be like that?"
momandpopstores  startups  leadership  small  openstudioproject  glvo  ricardosemler  slowcompanies  slowbusiness  business  growth  slow  management  37signals  jasonfried  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
Leaving the Guardian, creativity vs mild depression, the quantified self and running. |
And then, suddenly it stopped. Opening up the laptop in the evening to throw together two lines of code became too much. The words for a blog post would go racing through my head all day, but the effort needed to sit down that night to write them out was mentally exhausting. This wasn’t just an irritation, it was down right infuriating, I could see myself missing out on interesting things.
That you can sit there and go “I really want to do this” but you just can’t actually get up and make it happen is thuddingly amazing.
Interestingly my posting of Instagram photos increased over this period. I’ve tried to figure out why and this is the closest I could get. Kellan wrote a blog post [http://laughingmeme.org/2012/07/10/oldtweets/ ] about the 1st year of tweets, in which he said it worked best in the first year because of “ambient intimacy”. There were so few of us (relatively) using it that when you tweeted you knew you were mainly broadcasting to just your friends, even though the tweets were public.
thinking  revdancatt  depression  creativity  work  life  quantifiedself  socialnetworks  socialnetworking  flickr  twitter  instagram  blogs  blogging  cv  startups  organizations  guardian  motivation  sharing  identity  self  publicself  onlineself  via:litherland 
august 2012 by robertogreco
What do startup founders want? (Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought)
No, I think the thing startup founders want is importance.
Importance is a bit like power, but heavily diluted. Power is about being able to make people do something they wouldn’t otherwise do. The Instagram founders weren’t in it for power: they have very little interest in making people take photos they wouldn’t otherwise take. But nonetheless, their decisions had a great deal of importance for their users. If they decided to put ads in their app or remove a favorite filter, millions of people’s lives suddenly get a little bit more annoying.
Importance is different from impact. Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the Web) had a huge impact in the world, but he’s not particularly important. He decided long ago that the Semantic Web was the next big thing, but few people cared, because practically there was very little he could actually do about it.
technology  power  society  importance  startups  instagram  timberners-lee  aaronschwartz  via:tealtan 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Week 371 – Blog – BERG
"A black start is (and let me quote from the article here) “the process of restoring a power station to operation without relying on the external electric power transmission network.”"

"And all this is tough, you know, starting up an autopoietic system from scratch, trying to get every single part to move simultaneously.

So getting a studio like this up-and-running feels like a black start.

One day we’ll be our own power station, humming along and lighting up a city of smart products, ones touched by particular BERG values — happiness and hope, whimsy, socialising, play, excitement, culture, invention.

In the meantime: we do what has to be done. Fire up the diesel generators! Jump start the heavy turbines by flashing the electricity grid with a solar flare to create a potential difference across 2,000 miles! (Can we arrange that? I suppose not, but it’s worth a go.)

You take on work to build capabilities to generate experience and expertise… You jumpstart…"

[See also: http://snarkmarket.com/2012/7934 ]
newness  mattwebb  2012  starting  learning  startups  berglondon  berg  mattjones  blackstart  blackstarts  from delicious
august 2012 by robertogreco
New York City is the Future of the Web - Anil Dash
"New York City startups are as likely to be focused on the arts and crafts as on the bits and bytes, to be influenced by our unparalleled culture as by the latest browser features, and informed by the dynamic interaction of different social groups and classes that's unavoidable in our city, but uncommon in Silicon Valley. Best of all, the support for these efforts can come from investors and supporters that are outside of the groupthink that many West Coast VC firms suffer from. When I lived in San Francisco, it was easy to spend days at a time only interacting with other web geeks; In New York, fortunately, that's impossible.

Am I biased? Sure. But are there half a dozen startups anywhere in the world as interesting and full of potential as these new NYC efforts? Isn't it exciting that these are all built around the full potential of the open web, instead of merely trying to be land grabs within the walled gardens of closed platforms? I'm more optimistic about the environment and opportunity for starting new ventures than I've been in ages, and for me the fundamental reasons why are demonstrated best by startups that could only happen in New York City."
anildash  2009  nyc  startups  openweb  web  technology  culture  business  siliconvalley  bayarea  comparison 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Resiliency, Risk, and a Good Compass: Tools for the Coming Chaos | Wired Business | Wired.com
"There are nine or so principles to work in a world like this:

1. Resilience instead of strength, which means you want to yield and allow failure and you bounce back instead of trying to resist failure.
2. You pull instead of push. That means you pull the resources from the network as you need them, as opposed to centrally stocking them and controlling them.
3. You want to take risk instead of focusing on safety.
4. You want to focus on the system instead of objects.
5. You want to have good compasses not maps.
6. You want to work on practice instead of theory. Because sometimes you don’t why it works, but what is important is that it is working, not that you have some theory around it.
7. It disobedience instead of compliance. You don’t get a Nobel Prize for doing what you are told. Too much of school is about obedience, we should really be celebrating disobedience.
8. It’s the crowd instead of experts.
9. It’s a focus on learning instead of education."
onthecheap  innovation  startups  collaboration  change  work  mapping  maps  compass  adaptability  howwework  cv  failure  systemsawareness  systemsthinking  systems  crowdsourcing  crowds  experts  disobedience  compliance  theory  practice  education  deschooling  hierarchy  control  unschooling  objects  tcsnmy  safety  pull  push  resiliency  2012  joiito  risktaking  risk  resilience  networks  learning  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
Start-ups and Slash Fiction | booktwo.org
"My talk from NEXT Berlin 2012, in which I talk about ways of making meaning and fiction online (Original video on the NEXT site).

The quote at the the end, that “the history of the Internet is a history of metaphors about the Internet”, which I mistakenly attribute to Sherry Turkle, is actually by Christine Smallwood, as quoted in Andrew Blum’s Tubes (below), and appears to originate in an article called “What does the Internet look like?” in The Baffler, no longer online but preserved by the Internet Archive."

[Video also here http://nextberlin.eu/2012/07/james-bridle-metaphors-considered-harmful/ and here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1Y_g8jOQus ]

[Phrases of note:

* post-geographical position (William Gibson)
* notional space (William Gibson)
* Borges wrote fanfiction
* Gibson was always a Beat writer

]
libraryofbabel  mapping  maps  metaphors  metaphor  allaboard  slashfic  writing  collaborativewriting  omegle  forourtimes  tlönuqbarorbistertius  fiftyshadesofgray  twilight  pierremenard  andreafrancke  storytelling  stories  steampunk  allenginsberg  jackkerouac  charliestross  belatedness  hplovecraft  fanfiction  change  memory  startups  fiction  slashfiction  books  imagination  jamesbridle  videogames  notionalspace  context  walkman  postgeography  internet  christinesmallwood  scifi  sciencefiction  nextberlin  nextberlin2012  2012  williamgibson  borges  thelibraryofbabel  from delicious
july 2012 by robertogreco
Workplace experiments: A month to yourself - (37signals)
"Some companies are famous for their 20% time where employees get 1/5th of their time to work on their own projects. In spirit I like this idea, but usually it’s executed by carving out a day here or a day there – or every Friday, for example – to work on your own projects.

But all time isn’t equal. I’d take 5 days in a row over 5 days spread out over 5 weeks. So our theory is that we’ll see better results when people have a long stretch of uninterrupted time. A month includes time to think, not just time to squeeze in some personal work around the edges."
uninterruptedtime  timeoff  creativity  attention  howwework  howwecreate  glvo  startups  rework  sabbatical  makerstime  interruption  interruptions  2012  yearoff2  yearoff  distraction  time  google20%  makertime  makersschedule  from delicious
june 2012 by robertogreco
Webstock '12: Matt Haughey - Lessons from a 40 year old on Vimeo
"Matt will cover a bunch of lessons he’s learned in the past decade of life as he embarks on turning 40. They eschew much of the Techcrunch/ReadWriteWeb/Mashable world by focusing on taking a longer term view of your work and focusing on life/work balance and having a happy life as well as a fulfilling career."

["Semi-transcript": http://a.wholelottanothing.org/2012/03/my-webstock-talk.html
community  portability  backup  platformagnostic  urls  permanence  simple  attention  time  relationships  cv  metafilter  longterm  37signals  small  slow  bootstrap  lifestylebusiness  aging  wisdom  lifelessons  startups  webstock12  webstock  longnow  meaning  purpose  work  happiness  fulfillment  life  matthaughey  work-lifebalance  from delicious
march 2012 by robertogreco
Caterina Fake: Fast Growth for a Social App Is a Very Bad Thing - Liz Gannes - Social - AllThingsD
"Fake added emphatically that the worst thing a start-up social network can do is to buy advertising to attract users. Growth should happen because users find value in a site, and then get their friends to join, she said.

And if users don’t come? Start-ups should try harder to make a better product.

That’s why Pinwheel plans to only slowly let in the tens of thousands of people on its email list, Fake said. And it’s why Pinwheel will ask users to write original notes, rather than filling the many empty places on its map with existing location-based content from around the Web. “We’re not going to suddenly metastasize by adding Wikipedia content,” Fake said."

[See also the correction Caterina Fake makes in the comments.]
myspace  linkedin  facebook  twitter  google+  flickr  startups  growth  scaling  scale  2012  pinwheel  storytelling  caterinafake  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Alex Payne — On Business Madness
"We mistake dumb luck for a machine that produces success. We rely on induction when we should rely on deduction, and then, having realized our mistake, we lean on “data-driven decisions” in lieu of common sense. We chase patterns that aren’t there and miss eager markets right in front of us. All this while projecting the confidence, real or manufactured, that’s necessary to play the game.

This madness takes many forms…"

"How can we be like the successful ones and not like we are: tired, confused, scared, not-rich? Just tell us the secret. There is a secret, right? There must be. They make it look so easy.

I am not a business person. I don’t know what makes a good business. It seems like it helps to have a good idea, great people, the willingness to work hard, and an absolute shit-ton of luck. Being certain about much beyond that seems, well, a bit crazy to me."
nobodyknowswhatthey'redoing  patterns  patternrecognition  deducation  induction  2012  successworship  entrepreneurship  processcults  taylorism  processcult  process  failure  madness  startup  advice  luck  startups  success  business  alexpayne 
february 2012 by robertogreco
A VC: The Management Team - Guest Post From Joel Spolsky
"For every Steve Jobs, there are a thousand leaders who learned to hire smart people and let them build great things in a nurturing environment of empowerment and it was AWESOME. That doesn’t mean lowering your standards. It doesn’t mean letting people do bad work. It means hiring smart people who get things done—and then getting the hell out of the way."
servantleadership  2012  stevejobs  empowerment  leadership  management  business  startups  joelspolsky  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
An Introduction to the Crowdfunding Revolution by Don Lehman - Core77
"Now think of side-stepping all of that. You refine your idea on your own. You talk to manufacturers and see what it would take to get it made. You work out the budget. You shoot a video marketing the idea and explaining what you need to get it done.

You launch it.

Maybe it doesn't get funded. But at least then you can say that you tried and failed on your own terms, without going tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt. At the very least, you have an interesting portfolio piece to talk about and maybe if you're feeling frisky, you refine it further and try launching it again."
doing  making  startups  leanstartups  business  kickstarter  core77  crowdfunding  donlehman  2012  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Generation Make | TechCrunch
"We have a distrust of large organizations…don’t look down on people creating small businesses. But we’re not emotionless…We have anger…flares up to become Arab Spring & OccupyWallStreet…We have ego…every entrepreneur who thinks their tech startup is the best…We have passion, & an intense drive to follow…through, immediately. Our generation is autonomous…impatient. We refuse to pay our dues…want to be running the department. We hop from job to job…average tenure…is just 3 years. We think we can do anything we can imagine…hate the idea that we should ever be beholden to someone else. We do this because we have been abandoned by the institutions that should have embraced us…We are a generation of makers…of creators. Maybe we don’t have the global idealism of the hippies. Our idealism is more individual: that every person should be able to live their own life, working on what they choose, creating what they choose…"
socialmedia  makers  making  generations  millennials  2011  justinkan  williamderesiewicz  entrepreneurship  ows  arabspring  occupywallstreet  idealism  attitude  trends  passion  unschooling  deschooling  hierarchy  revolution  via:preoccupations  davidfincer  markzuckerberg  individualism  self-actualization  independence  work  labor  behavior  startups  startup  workplace  motivation  geny  generationy  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
Innovation in Open Networks
"Moore's Law and the Internet have dramatically lowered the cost of the creation and distribution of information, fundamentally changing the way we collaborate. We no longer live in a world of central control but rather in ecosystem of "small pieces loosely joined" with innovation on the edges. Open source software and open standards thrive in this environment and push the networks to be even more open, making it possible that the agility we see in software and consumer Internet services may spread to hardware. Joichi Ito will show what startups, the MIT Media Lab and citizen geiger counters in Japan have in common."
joiito  opennetworks  open  2011  towatch  mitmedialab  medialab  mit  japan  smallpieceslooselyjoined  control  ecosystems  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  innovation  networks  startups  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
Caterina.net» Killing the Abraham
"Companies without a strong Abraham lose their way. If you can’t identify who is at the helm, it better be a commodity business that anybody can run (Warren Buffett: “Invest in a company any fool can run, since some day a fool will.”)…

The Abraham is especially powerful in social software, in anything that shows the people, the members, what to do, how to communicate, and how to behave. The founders dictate what the software does, how people use it, what the practices and mores are of the community. This is built into the software, and its assumptions of human behavior."…

Abrahams are often called upon to do difficult work, thankless tasks, and sometimes, terrible things, as when god asked Abraham to kill his own, firstborn son, Isaac. Steve Jobs was rightly praised for his ability to “Kill his babies” — that is, disrupt himself."
caterinafake  business  startups  leadership  creativity  2011  culture  management  lcproject  tcsnmy  administration  cv  behavior  killingtheabraham  abrahams  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
Networked Society 'On the Brink' - YouTube
"In On The Brink we discuss the past, present and future of connectivity with a mix of people including David Rowan, chief editor of Wired UK; Caterina Fake, founder of Flickr; and Eric Wahlforss, the co-founder of Soundcloud. Each of the interviewees discusses the emerging opportunities being enabled by technology as we enter the Networked Society. Concepts such as borderless opportunities and creativity, new open business models, and today's 'dumb society' are brought up and discussed."
future  trends  social  soundcloud  caterinafake  davidweinberger  ericwahlforss  davidrowan  mobile  web  internet  socialmedia  business  startups  networkedsociety  society  change  mindshift  2011  entrepreneurship  ccpgames  eveonline  robinteigland  elisabetgretarsdottir  work  virtualcurrencies  connectivity  mobility  internetofthings  robfaludi  botanicalls  touch  interaction  jeffbezos  networkedcities  education  healthcare  robinteiglend  spimes  iot  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
Will Dropouts Save America? - NYTimes.com
"Classroom skills may put you at an advantage in the formal market, but in the informal market, street-smart skills and real-world networking are infinitely more important.

Yet our children grow up amid an echo chamber of voices telling them to get good grades, do well on their SATs, and spend an average of $45,000 on tuition — after accounting for scholarships — while taking on $23,000 in debt to get a private four-year college education."
entrepreneurship  dropouts  2011  business  education  unschooling  deschooling  startups  psychology  careers  highered  highereducation  michaelellsberg  networking  mentoring  learning  schooliness  schooling  failure  risktaking  jobs  work  grades  grading  standardizedtesting  from delicious
november 2011 by robertogreco
Start Ups Will Not Save Us: Unflattening The World | Underpaid Genius
"The Flat World Friedman at first advocated, & which he now treats like gravity—a force of nature outside our control—is a choice…a set of policies designed to benefit multinational corporations. Globalization is more politely refer to as free trade, which is where multinationals convince governments to drop trade barriers so that they—corporatists—are free to move their capital around & invest it in ways that amass the greatest amount in their hands. This means that in the US, corporations can avoid taxes, unions, environmental regulations, & active oppostion to their policies by locating manufacturing & other facilities in countries w/ lower pay & less controls.

Free trade has also come along w/ Devil’s bargain in the US, too, where states take on more the look-and-feel of third world nations by advertising themselves as ‘right to work’ states, which means that they have made union activities more difficult. Consider…Boeing planning to move jobs from WA to South Carolina."
stoweboyd  thomasfriedman  freetrade  us  economics  policy  corporatism  2011  southcarolina  washingtonstate  boeing  samueljohnson  andygrove  startups  jobs  employment  work  globalization  progressives  politics  manufacturing  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
Finding the Courage to Work for Change « Cooperative Catalyst
"I make a decent, middle-class salary as a college professor, healthcare costs are reasonable (in part because I don’t have children), and there is a pension plan for my future (assuming it does not go bankrupt!). While I do live rather frugally and have a good start on my own retirement savings, I just can’t seem to muster up the courage of potentially stepping away from all that. What if I quit my job to start a school and it goes kaput?"<br />
<br />
[Some good comments with pointers to other posts.]
entrepreneurship  socialentrepreneurship  startups  fear  security  aero  education  unschooling  deschooling  risktaking  honesty  kristanmorrison  alternativeeducation  teaching  cv  democraticschools  2011  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Berlin: Europe's hottest startup hub - Aug. 9, 2011
"Berlin, known for its creative vibe & underground music & art scenes, has been an ideal backdrop for a venture looking to make sound a shared experience.

Ljung describes the city itself as startup: ever-changing & innovative, creative with a bit of an anti-establishment attitude.

"It has a tradition of the counterculture & wanting to do things a different way," he says. "You go back to why people start startups — they want to do things differently."

Berlin's current air of artistic & entrepreneurial freedom is linked to its tumultuous history. Walk though the city & you'll pass structures and monuments that have been destroyed & rebuilt, only to be destroyed & rebuilt again during World War II. Buildings punctured with bullet holes are a constant reminder of Nazi Germany & the city's post-war struggle.

But since the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the city has let its hair down — pivoting yet again to become a center for all things creative: technology, design, fashion, music."
via:cervus  berlin  cities  startups  soundcloud  history  entrepreneurship  creativity  reinvention  from delicious
august 2011 by robertogreco
Subtraction.com: The End of Client Services
"Digital media requires something different, though. It’s not sufficient to just publish a narrative to the Internet. You have to build an experience around it, a system that lets the user experience the narrative but also one that responds to his or her inputs and contributions. Basically, to create anything meaningful in digital media, you need to think in terms of a product, not just a story.

However, it’s very hard for a design studio to create digital products on a contract basis because the messy timelines and continual course corrections that are required to launch a truly effective software product are anathema to the way clients like to be billed…The most critical time for designers to be involved in a digital product is all the time, but it’s perhaps most important for them to stick around after the launch, when they can see how a real user base is using it, and then amend, refine, revise and evolve it…"
khoivinh  clientservices  business  design  2011  startups  time  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
The end of client services? Nah… the end of _traditional_ client services – Thinktiv
"The problem that Khoi will run into a few years from now is that he will get bored. The innovation thinking of the start up will turn into spreadsheet level optimization—and the hay-day of infinite possibilities will narrow to polishing a button. When that happens, he will move on to the next start-up or the next project or maybe the next venture accelerator.<br />
<br />
The reason a venture accelerator is different from the traditional agency model is that it marries the idea of a consulting team (best practices and models that work) with an entrenched team (close knit, trusting and iterative)—and in doing so, it builds a practice of repeatable success. It removes the barriers and walls that separate agencies and clients and throws everyone into a pot to collaborate and innovate together…"
khoivinh  innovation  startups  clientservices  ventureaccelerators  2011  thinktiv  paulburke  design  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
The Problem With Silicon Valley Is Itself - TNW Entrepreneur
"As a Brit who gave up cheerleading the European tech scene to make the pilgrimage to Silicon Valley to live, eat & breath the world’s leading hub for technology startup innovation, I’ve been largely unimpressed and disappointed by the quality of startups here.<br />
<br />
…I’ve interviewed around 200 startups & there’s only 2, out of 200, I think are game changers. Now, don’t get me wrong, Silicon Valley is an incredibly inspiring place to be. Everyone is doing something amazing and trying to change the world, but in reality much of the technology being built here is not changing the world at all, it’s short-sighted and designed for scalability, big exits & big profits…<br />
<br />
…building technology to solve trivial issues…entrepreneurship in the Valley has become productized…Many entrepreneurs are in it for the wrong reasons, they should be more focused on doing something big and good for the world…entrepreneurs are not exposed to enough real-world problems…"
entrepreneurship  via:javierarbona  siliconvalley  vc  realworld  realworldproblems  clones  goldrush  rinseandrepeat  gamechanging  2011  money  funding  socialentrepreneurship  airbnb  startups  ycombinator  capitalism  getrichquick  hermioneway  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
COMMON | Home
"What would you do if you could do anything?

Have you ever felt like the world is divided into two groups of people? The people who just talk about making something and the people who actually make something.

COMMON is about making something. To be more specific, COMMON is about connecting people together and harnessing the power of true, rule-breaking creativity to launch socially beneficial businesses. Businesses that are designed to spread love and prosperity to all stakeholders.

Our COMMON Community and COMMON Accelerator Events are dedicated to shifting from talking about problems to actually engaging in new solutions. And we believe the fastest way to do that is through collaboration. We believe the tired old concept of competitive advantage must give way to a more meaningful system of collaborative advantage.

Our mission is to give creative people a chance to design and prototype the new capitalism."
design  designactivism  humanitariandesign  environment  social  community  collaboration  glvo  creativity  tcsnmy  lcproject  business  socialentrepreneurship  incubator  branding  entrepreneurship  startups  rapidprototyping  prototyping  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
You can call yourself an Entrepreneur when… Altucher Confidential
"Its not really such a great thing to be an entrepreneur. There’s no real “freedom” in it. People think that starting your own business gives you freedom. It doesn’t. When you work a corporate job where you only, realistically, work for 1-2 hours a day and you can leave your work at the office, then you have freedom.<br />
<br />
Entrepreneurship == slavery. You are a slave to employees, partners, investors, a board, clients, potential buyers, reporters, landlords, random people off the street who try to come into your office and rob you, etc<br />
<br />
On quora recently someone asked “When can I call myself an entrepreneur”. I’m happy to share some general guidelines:"
entrepreneurship  startups  cv  freedom  autonomy  misconceptions  jamesalthucher  happiness  stress  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
What motivates an early employee to work in a startup? - Quora
"The most powerful and sustainable motivator for an early employee at a startup, or for employees at any company for that matter, is the sense of meaning derived from work.  Meaning comes from working on a product whose long-term vision you believe will have an impact. It comes from working with a team whose members you respect, who constantly challenges you to learn and get better, and who you can't bear to let down. It comes from the dopamine rush you get from building and releasing something that your user base will love."
startups  startup  meaning  motivation  work  cv  vision  tcsnmy  respect  iteration  learning  leadership  management  administration  small  edmondlau  quora  lcproject  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
Evan Williams | evhead: Ten Rules for Web Startups
"#1 Be Narrow: Focus on the smallest possible problem you could solve that would potentially be useful. Most companies start out trying to do too many things, which makes life difficult and turns you into a me-too…#2 Be Different #3 Be Casual #4 Be Picky: Another perennial business rule, and it applies to everything you do: features, employees, investors, partners, press opportunities. Startups are often too eager to accept people or ideas into their world. You can almost always afford to wait if something doesn't feel just right, and false negatives are usually better than false positives. One of Google's biggest strengths—and sources of frustration for outsiders—was their willingness to say no to opportunities, easy money, potential employees, and deals. #5 Be User-Centric #6 Be Self-Centred: Make it better based on your own desires. #7 Be Greedy #8 Be Tiny #9 Be Agile #10 Be Balanced #11 Be Wary"

[via: http://interconnected.org/home/2011/01/18/ten_rules_for_web_startups ]
business  startup  entrepreneurship  tips  tcsnmy  lcproject  small  agility  evanwilliams  focus  startups  2005  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
BankSimple
"Many people are clearly fed up with their banks. Unreasonable fees, horrible customer service, and shady banking practices all add up to customers losing, and losing trust in their banks.<br />
<br />
Our vision is to simply put people first. Real customer service, no surprise fees, and a deep desire to help people is what makes BankSimple different."
finance  banking  business  money  startups  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
The Baan Dek Montessori - Welcome to Montessori in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
"The Baan Dek Montessori was established by Bobby and June George and is located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The school aims to offer an authentic Montessori education based on the principles of Maria Montessori. The Baan Dek Montessori is a fully recognized Associated Montessori International school in the State of South Dakota. We are also accredited by the state of South Dakota to teach Kindergarten.The Baan Dek History.

The original Casa dei Bambini, or Children's House, opened January 6, 1907. In keeping to tradition, The Baan Dek Montessori is named after this school. 'Baan Dek' is Thai for 'Children's House'. The Baan Dek Montessori opened September 5, 2007, in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and soon there after become the first accredited Association Montessori International in the history of the state."
southdakota  siouxfalls  montessori  startups  schools  education  learning  tcsnmy  lcproject  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
Información Cívica » Chile: Smart Rules for the 21st Century?
"Chile…just might be the 21st century’s “City upon a Hill” in terms of creating smart rules that bring about innovation and entrepreneurship. In July Chile became the world’s first country to guarantee net neutrality, ensuring small startups as much access to the market of internet users as established, major corporations. Just two months earlier Congress passed the region’s most progressive intellectual property reform, protecting fair use and satire while introducing copyright exceptions for the visually impaired, public libraries, and non-profit archives."
chile  startups  davidsasaki  start-upchile  ip  netneutrality  2010  incubator  funding  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
Clerk, your hotel in the cloud
"Clerk is the perfect administration tool designed to fit your needs as an Hotel Manager."
cloudcomputing  hotels  platforms  twitter  web  applications  chile  startups  webapps  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Scaling startups
"People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year."

"Process is an embedded reaction to prior stupidity."

"If you follow process religiously, you’ll never get anything done!"

"Hire well: This goes without saying, and I didn’t mention it in the panel. It’s a big topic probably best left for another post. Hiring great people makes everything else below easier.

Communication: Everyone in the company uses IRC, not just engineers. Everyone, all the time, from the CEO on down. Sure, sometimes you can miss things if you’re not in IRC at the time, but the benefits far outweigh the costs, and you have a lot fewer meetings about day-to-day mundane issues. …

Encourage experimentation … External transparency … Embracing failure …"
business  culture  startups  startup  entrepreneurship  scalability  risk  failure  strategy  chaddickerson  transparency  experimentation  tcsnmy  communication  process  purpose  riskassessment  riskaversion  risks  risktaking  hiring  via:stamen  scale  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
What Happened to Yahoo
"Why would great programmers want to work for a company that didn't have a hacker-centric culture, as long as there were others that did? I can imagine two reasons: if they were paid a huge amount, or if the domain was interesting and none of the companies in it were hacker-centric. Otherwise you can't attract good programmers to work in a suit-centric culture. And without good programmers you won't get good software, no matter how many people you put on a task, or how many procedures you establish to ensure "quality."

Hacker culture often seems kind of irresponsible. That's why people proposing to destroy it use phrases like "adult supervision." That was the phrase they used at Yahoo. But there are worse things than seeming irresponsible. Losing, for example."
paulgraham  hackers  entrepreneurship  yahoo  technology  startups  startup  management  media  programming  culture  business  google  history  software  hackerculture  facebook  markzuckerberg  tcsnmy  hiring  leadership  values  business-iness  lcproject  hierarchy  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Everything is fizzling and bobbling about « Snarkmarket
"Thatcher’s study sug­gests a coun­ter­in­tu­itive notion: the more dis­or­ga­nized your brain is, the smarter you are...It’s coun­ter­in­tu­itive in part because we tend to attribute grow­ing intel­li­gence of tech­nol­ogy world w/ increas­ingly pre­cise electro­mechan­i­cal chore­og­ra­phy...

Instead of thoughts of con­crete things patiently fol­low­ing one another, we have the most abrupt cross-cuts and tran­si­tions from one idea to another, the most rarei­fied abstrac­tions and dis­crim­i­na­tions, the most unheard-of com­bi­na­tions of ele­ments… a seething caul­dron of ideas, where every­thing is fiz­zling and bob­bling about in a state of bewil­der­ing activ­ity, where part­ner­ships can be joined or loos­ened in an instant, tread­mill rou­tine is unknown, and the unex­pected seems the only law.

He’s describ­ing “the high­est order of minds”—but he could just as eas­ily be describ­ing a startup, or a city. Which is exactly, I think, the point."
cognition  ideas  robinsloan  mind  brain  stevenjohnson  books  cities  startups  cv  howwethink  disorder  noise  disorganization  messiness  intelligence  crosspollination 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The Top Idea in Your Mind
"I realized recently that what one thinks about in the shower in the morning is more important than I'd thought. I knew it was a good time to have ideas. Now I'd go further: now I'd say it's hard to do a really good job on anything you don't think about in the shower.

Everyone who's worked on difficult problems is probably familiar with the phenomenon of working hard to figure something out, failing, and then suddenly seeing the answer a bit later while doing something else. There's a kind of thinking you do without trying to. I'm increasingly convinced this type of thinking is not merely helpful in solving hard problems, but necessary. The tricky part is, you can only control it indirectly..."
business  creativity  distraction  mind  lifehacks  productivity  psychology  thinking  startups  paulgraham  entrepreneurship  motivation  innovation  philosophy  politics  ideas  cv  attention  focus  tcsnmy  showers 
july 2010 by robertogreco
The Secret of Successful Entrepreneurs | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Business people with entropic networks were three times more innovative than people with predictable networks. Because they interacted with lots of different folks, they were exposed to a much wider range of ideas and “non-redundant information”. Instead of getting stuck in the rut of conformity—thinking the same tired thoughts as everyone else—they were able to invent startling new concepts... And this returns us to meritocracy. It’s not enough to simply take the smartest kids and make them smarter. What’s just as important is teaching these young people to seek out strangers, to resist the tug of self-similarity and homogenization. Diversity can seem like a such a vague and wishy-washy aspiration, but it comes with measurable benefits. To the extent our meritocratic institutions diminish our social diversity—are your college buddies just like you?—they might actually make us less likely to succeed. Perhaps Bill Gates knew what he was doing when he dropped out of Harvard."
diversity  entrepreneurship  management  success  sociology  startups  psychology  networking  business  creativity  jonahlehrer  interdisciplinary  looseties  homogeneity  crosspollination  networks  scoialnetworks  tcsnmy  toshare  strangers  topost  harvard  meritocracy  martinruef  michaelmorris  paulingram  bias  culture 
july 2010 by robertogreco
scraplab — You’ve Either Shipped or You Haven’t
"You’ve either shipped, or you haven’t. You’ve either poured weeks, months or even years of your life into bringing a product or a service into the world, or you haven’t.

If you have, you’ll know what I’m talking about. You’ll have flicked a switched, cap deploy‘d, or flipped your closed sign to open, and just waited – holding your breath for whatever happens next.

And at that moment everything that’s wrong with it suddenly comes into sharp focus...

So you wear your learning smile, step back a bit, have a think, and work out what to do next.

But whatever you do next, you’ve shipped. You’ve joined the club.

And the next time someone produces an antenna with a weak spot, or a sticky accelerator, you’re more likely to feel their pain, listen to their words and trust their actions than the braying media who have never shipped anything in their lives."
2010  learning  antennas  business  building  creativity  creation  entrepreneurship  apple  shipping  making  life  iphone  failure  experience  critics  culture  delivery  tcsnmy  lcproject  doing  do  make  via:migurski  empathy  startups  cv  controversy  complaints 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Minimum viable product - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"A Minimum Viable Product has just those features (and no more) that allows the product to be deployed. The product is typically deployed to a subset of possible customers, such as early adopters that are thought to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype or marketing information. It is a strategy targeted at avoiding building products that customers do not want, that seeks to maximize the information learned about the customer per dollar spent. "The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.""
product  productivity  minimumviableproduct  business  development  marketing  minimalism  prototyping  tcsnmy  startups  process  design  lcproject 
july 2010 by robertogreco
« earlier      
per page:    204080120160

related tags

4chan  37signals  1940s  1950s  1960s  1970s  aaronschwartz  abrahams  academia  accelerators  accountability  accretion  adamcurtis  adamgreenfield  adaptability  addiction  administration  advantage  advertising  advice  aero  ageism  agile  agility  aging  aimeegroth  airbnb  alacarte  alacarteeducation  alankay  alexpayne  allaboard  allenginsberg  alternative  alternativeeducation  altschool  amazon  anabjain  anarchism  andreafrancke  andygrove  anildash  antennas  api  apolitical  apple  applications  approach  arabspring  architecture  art  artists  ashleevance  astronomy  atacama  atalhualpa  attention  attitude  audreywatters  authenticity  authority  autodidacts  autoindustry  automation  autonomy  backblaze  backup  balance  banking  barrylopez  bayarea  behavior  belatedness  benpieratt  berg  berglondon  berlin  bespoke  bestpractices  bias  bigdata  bighere  bignow  blackstart  blackstarts  blogging  blogs  boeing  books  bootstrap  borges  boston  botanicalls  boutique  brain  branding  bravery  brianeno  brucesterling  bryanboyer  bubbles  buckminsterfuller  building  bureaucracy  burningman  burnout  buseiness  business  business-iness  businessmodels  california  californianideology  canon  capital  capitalism  care  careers  careersm  carolynwilson  carsharing  caseygollan  caterinafake  ccpgames  chaddickerson  chance  change  changemaking  changetheory  charism  charitableindustrialcomplex  charity  charlieloyd  charliestross  chicago  chile  china  choice  chrisanderson  chrissacca  christinaxu  christinesmallwood  cities  citizenjournalism  citizenscience  citizenship  class  classes  classism  claytonchristensen  clientservices  clones  closedloops  clothing  cloudcomputing  coding  cognition  collaboration  collaborativewriting  college  collusion  commerce  commons  communalism  communes  communication  communities  community  comparison  compass  complaints  complexity  compliance  compromise  computers  computing  confidence  connection  connectivity  conscience  consensus  conservatism  consistency  consumerism  content  conterpractice  context  contextcollapse  control  controversy  core77  corneliusvanderbilt  corporatism  corproratism  corruption  cost  costs  counterculture  courage  coworking  creation  creativity  crisis  crisiscounseling  crisistext  critics  crossdisciplinary  crosspollination  crowdfunding  crowdpilot  crowds  crowdsourcing  crunchies  cultofpersonality  cults  culture  cv  cycles  cynicism  danhon  data  data-driveninstruction  datapalooza  davewiner  davidfincer  davidfosterwallace  davidgraeber  davidrowan  davidsasaki  davidsimon  davidweinberger  dc  debchachra  debt  decentralization  decisionmaking  deducation  definitions  delivery  democracy  democraticschools  departmentstores  depression  derekpowazek  deschooling  desert  design  designactivism  designfiction  development  disobedience  disorder  disorganization  disruption  distraction  diversity  diy  djpatil  dmytrikleiner  do  doing  donellameadows  donlehman  doxxing  drm  dropouts  duckduckgo  dynabook  echochambers  economics  ecosystems  edmondlau  edtech  education  edwardconard  edwardsnowden  egalitarianism  eleanorsaitta  elisabetgretarsdottir  elitism  emergence  emoji  emotionallabor  empathy  empirebuilders  employment  empowerment  engagement  engineering  entrepreneur  entrepreneurship  environment  equity  ericwahlforss  erinwatson  establishment  evanwilliams  eveonline  everettreimer  evergreenstatecollege  exclusion  exhaustion  experience  experimentation  experts  exploitation  extraction  facebook  facebookinstantarticles  failure  fairness  families  fanfiction  fear  fiction  fiftyshadesofgray  finance  flexibility  flickr  focus  ford  forourtimes  forprofit  frameworks  freakingout  fredscharmen  fredturner  fredwilson  freedom  freetrade  fulfillment  funding  fundraising  future  futures  gambling  gamechanging  gamechaning  gamergate  gender  generalassembly  generalists  generations  generationy  generosity  geny  geopffmanaugh  georgepacker  getrichquick  gigeconomy  ginatrapani  github  globalization  glvo  goldrush  google  google+  google20%  googlereader  governance  government  grades  grading  graphics  graphidesign  groupthink  growstuff  growth  gtd  guardian  hackerculture  hackers  happiness  hardware  harvard  hazing  health  healthcare  henryford  hermioneway  hierarchy  highered  highereducation  hippies  hiring  history  hits  holyshit  homogeneity  honesty  hotels  howto  howwecreate  howwelearn  howweteach  howwethink  howwework  hplovecraft  huberthoran  humanconnection  humanism  humanitariandesign  humanities  humility  humor  huxterism  ianbanks  ianbrown  idealism  ideals  ideas  identity  ideology  idleness  imagination  immigration  imperialism  importance  incentives  inclusion  inclusivity  income  incomegap  incubator  incubators  independence  independentschools  individualism  individuality  induction  industrialization  industrialrevolution  inequality  inevitability  influence  informal  infrastructure  innovation  instagram  instapaper  intelligence  interaction  interdisciplinary  interface  internet  internetasart  internetasfavoritebook  internetasliterature  internetland  internetofthings  interruption  interruptions  intervention  intuit  iot  ip  iphone  irrationalexuberance  isolation  issielaposky  iteration  ivanillich  jackkerouac  jamesalthucher  jamesbridle  jamescscott  jamesdarling  japan  jasonfried  jasonkottke  jcpenney  jeffbezos  jeffjarvis  jenlowe  jilllepore  jobs  joelspolsky  johnmaeda  joiito  jonahlehrer  jonathankozol  journalism  jrrtolkien  judsontrue  justice  justinkan  kaibrach  kathylin  kenmcleod  khoivinh  kickstarter  kierkegaard  kiev  killingtheabraham  kindnes  knewton  knightfoundation  kottke  kristanmorrison  labor  language  larrywall  latecapitalism  lavabit  laziness  lcproject  leadership  leanstartups  leapfrogging  learning  lebbeuswoods  leverage  leveragepoints  liberalism  libertarianism  libraryofbabel  life  lifehacks  lifelessons  lifestyle  lifestylebusiness  lifestylebusinesses  linkedin  lithium  location  logo  london  loneliness  longevity  longhere  longnow  longshoremen  longtail  longterm  lookwork  looseties  lordoftherings  lotr  louisck  love  lsd  luck  lyft  maciejceglowski  maciejcegłowski  macland  madness  make  makerbase  makers  makerspaces  makersschedule  makerstime  makertime  making  management  mandybrown  manufacturing  mapping  maps  mariabustillos  marketing  markets  markjacobson  markzuckerberg  marshallbrain  martinruef  math  mathematics  matthaughey  matthern  mattjones  mattwebb  maverickcolleges  maxventilla  mbas  meaning  meaningfulness  measurement  media  medialab  memory  mentalhealth  mentoring  mentors  mentorship  meritocracy  messiness  metafilter  metamodernism  metaphor  metaphors  micaelsippey  michaelellsberg  michaelhoney  michaelmorris  microschools  middleclass  middlegrounds  middleplaces  mikecaufield  mikemonteiro  military  millennials  millsbaker  miltonglaser  mind  mindshift  mindstorms  minecraft  minimalism  minimumviableproduct  mint  misconceptions  mistakes  mit  mitmedialab  mobile  mobility  modulation  momandpopstores  money  monopolies  montessori  motivation  music  myspace  myth  names  naming  nancylubin  nature  nearfuturelaboratory  neilpostman  neoliberalism  neologisms  netneutrality  networkedcities  networkedsociety  networkeffects  networking  networks  newness  newsblur  newyork  nextberlin  nextberlin2012  nextberlin2013  nicholasnegroponte  nicolefenton  noblesseoblige  nobodyknowswhatthey'redoing  noise  nonprofit  nonprofits  notionalspace  nyc  objectivism  objects  obligation  observatories  obsolescence  occupywallstreet  officedesign  offices  oligarchy  oligopoly  omegle  ondemand  online  onlineself  onthecheap  open  openid  opennetworks  opensource  openstudioproject  openweb  operations  optimism  oregon  organization  organizations  ork  outsourcing  ows  pain  pandomonthly  parentmeetings  passion  paternalism  patience  patternrecognition  patterns  paulburke  paulgoodman  paulgraham  paulingram  paulofreire  paulsoulellis  paulzeitz  pay  payingdues  peerproduction  perfection  performance  perl  permanence  permission  persistence  personalization  personalizedlearning  philadelphia  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  philanthropy  philosophy  pierremenard  pinboard  pinwheel  platformagnostic  platforms  plutocracy  policy  politics  portability  portland  posterous  postgeography  potlatch  poverty  power  powerofculture  practice  precarity  prejudice  prgmr.com  price  pricefixing  pricing  principles  print  prism  privilege  problemsolving  process  processcult  processcults  product  production  productivity  programming  progress  progressive  progressives  projects  proofschool  propaganda  protest  prototyping  protoyping  psychology  publications  publicself  publishing  pull  purplethistle  purpose  push  quantification  quantifiedself  questioning  quinnorton  quora  race  racism  rapidprototyping  ravelry  ravivakil  raykurzweil  readinglist  readwrite  realestate  realworld  realworldproblems  rebeccasolnit  recession  recessions  recordingindustry  redesign  reform  regulation  reinvention  relationship  relationships  remakes  research  resilience  resiliency  resistance  respect  responsibility  responsiveness  restructuring  retail  revdancatt  revolution  rework  ricardosemler  richardludlow  rinseandrepeat  risk  riskassessment  riskaversion  risks  risktaking  robfaludi  robinsloan  robinteigland  robinteiglend  robotics  robots  rocketshipschools  ronjohnson  russellbrand  russelldavies  ryangosling  sabbatical  safety  sales  salesmanship  samueljohnson  samvanderverde  sanfrancisco  sanpedrodeatacama  santiago  sarahkendxior  sarahlacy  satisfaction  scalability  scale  scaling  schooldesign  schooliness  schooling  schoolofeverything  schools  sciencefiction  scifi  scoialnetworks  scottsmith  scrollers  scrolling  search  seclusion  security  seeinglikeastate  self  self-actualization  selling  serendipity  servantleadership  seymourpapert  shahwang  sharecropping  sharedconsciousness  sharedspace  shareholders  sharing  sharingeconomy  shipping  showers  shrequest1  siliconvalley  simple  simplicity  singularity  siouxfalls  size  slashfic  slashfiction  slow  slowbusiness  slowcompanies  slowness  small  smallbusiness  smallestfederatedwiki  smallpieceslooselyjoined  smallschool  sms  snapchat  snark  sociability  social  socialactivism  socialchange  socialentrepreneurship  socialgood  socialjustice  socialmedia  socialnetworking  socialnetworks  society  sociology  softare  softskills  software  soundcloud  southcarolina  southdakota  speed  spimes  stability  standardization  standardizedtesting  stanford  start-upchile  starting  startup  startups  steampunk  stevejobs  stevenjohnson  stevewozniak  stewartbutterfield  stories  storytelling  stoweboyd  strangers  strategy  stress  stuggle  style  substance  success  successworship  suicide  superflux  surveillance  survival  sustainability  sydney  systems  systemsawareness  systemsthinking  taxis  taylorism  tcsnmy  teaching  tech  techcrunch  techculture  technology  technosolutionism  technosolutionsism  ted  tedtalks  texting  thelibraryofbabel  themomentisripe  theory  thingness  thinking  thinktiv  thinkup  thisandthat  thomasfriedman  timberners-lee  time  timeoff  timferris  timoreilly  tips  tlönuqbarorbistertius  tonyrobbins  toolforconviviality  tools  topost  toronto  toshare  touch  towatch  transcontextualism  transcontextualization  transparency  transportation  traviskalanick  trends  trevorpaglen  tuition  tumblr  tutorials  twilight  twitter  uber  ui  umairhaque  unfairness  uninterruptedtime  unions  universities  unschooling  urban  urbanism  urls  us  usability  utopia  ux  valueadded  values  varsitybookmarking  vc  vectors  ventureaccelerators  venturecapital  venturecapitalism  via:carwaiseto  via:caseygollan  via:cervus  via:javierarbona  via:litherland  via:lukeneff  via:migurski  via:preoccupations  via:stamen  via:tealtan  videogames  villagefreeschool  virtualcurrencies  virtue  viscouscircles  vision  vocations  voice  volume  wabi-sabi  walkman  wardcunningham  washingtondc  washingtonstate  wealth  wealthdistribution  web  webapps  webdesign  webdev  webstock  webstock12  well-being  wellness  whatwelove  whiteness  wikipedia  wikis  williamderesiewicz  williamgibson  wilsonminer  wisdom  women  words  work  work-lifebalance  workaholics  workethic  workflows  working  workplace  writing  yahoo  yahoopipes  ycombinator  yearoff  yearoff2  youth  zacharysifuentes  zoelleegner  zootool 

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: