I’m not sure where MOOCs go from here. I’m just thinking “aloud.” One way to think about this is to explore the question: “What purposes do traditional top tier universities serve?”
It seems like TaskRabbit – which offered the long tail of peer-to-peer services – is laying off perhaps 20% of its 65 employees. That’s really disappointing and troubling for me. I’m a huge proponent of the idea that collaborative consumption will re-shape the way we consume goods and services – it will make us more efficient as a whole, and will enable each of us to get by without having to “own” everything in our lives and instead renting what we need “on-demand” and therefore deploying our capital more efficiently over our life and our society’s capital more efficiently as a civilization. Therefore I was really hoping to see great things from TaskRabbit. perhaps what we can learn is that highly-focused community-marketplace startups like AirBnB – which is just doing house-sharing really well – are easier for users to latch onto, and they fill an existing use-case: “let me find a short term sublet” or “let me find a hostel or other cheap short-term accommodation in city X.” Whereas taskrabbit was “get a person to do anything for any amount of money at any time” without doing a great job with giving the user a list of potential use-cases beyond “assemble my ikea furniture” and “go pickup my dry cleaning.”
I’m still very hopeful that RelayRides, GetAround, AirBnB, and others will prove successful.
So I was checking-out my phone bill (for the first time in quite a few months, I might add). My phone bill is kinda high. It’s always been high. First it was high because I talked a lot, more than anyone expected, and one-day in 2005 Verizon called me and asked if I’d like to upgrade my plan, because I was paying exorbitant overage fees every month. So I did. Then I started texting, and so one-day in 2006 they called again, and told me I should probably be on a texting plan.
Then I got a long distance girlfriend. So when I signed a new contract, now with AT&T Windows Mobile phone (don’t ask), and a voice, data, and text plan, I made sure to get 1000 minutes/month. And to go with my shmancy new smartphone – an unlimited data plan. That seemed like enough, right? It wasn’t. I started paying overage fees, again. So I upped-it, again. This-time to 1400 minutes per month.
Then, when I went in to switch from the Windows Mobile brick I had bought to an iPhone 3GS, I signed another new contract. I would have just re-signed the same contract I had before – but the nice guy at AT&T pointed out that it was $79 for the 1400 mins/month contract, and only $69 for the Unlimited Voice plan. So I got that.
So today, after having a year to get used to having Unlimited Voice, and after six months to get good at having a long-distance girlfriend again, I checked-out my phone bill.
Total minutes last month: 3,020.
I did some quick calculations. Assuming 8 hours asleep/in the shower – I have about 16 hours of “useful-time” per day. Assuming 30 days in a month, that’s 28,800 “useful-minutes” in a month. Which means last month I spent 10.4% of my time on the phone.