- First, great technology. I really like the integrated instructions, text editor, and compiler all in one browser window. Before I was using Codecademy I started with classes on Udemy (which is essentially just a video player), and the experience on Codecademy is much more interactive and seamless. With Udemy I ended up having the video playing in one screen, my text editor in another, and a browser to view the finished product, and was constantly toggling between them. They’ve invested in really great technology to get you learning within minutes and keep you engaged. Continue reading
Recent headline on Techcrunch: Blackberry Considering Going Private, following Dell in bid to refocus
I’m not surprised. Having spent four years at a public tech company, I’ve seen first hand that the public markets can be disastrous for innovation. The concept of taking big risks to achieve greater long term rewards is inherently opposed to creating short term shareholder value in the eyes of investors and media. It will be interesting to see how behemoth Apple continues to innovate and take risks now that its market cap is enormous. There are already signs from the Board at Apple that innovation is slowing.
When I buy an $80 vacuum cleaner, and it doesn’t suck dirt, I take it back, and I get a refund.
Note: This Facebook post sparked a healthy debate, so i thought I would expound on my original statement and re-post the thread below.
For the first time in nearly a century, cities are growing faster than suburbs. I believe this is partly about economic realities – young people are having difficulty finding jobs, so they’re staying close to cities where those jobs are, delaying marriage, kids, and buying their first home, and avoiding buying a car. However, I’d also like to believe that our generation, more than those before it, genuinely enjoys city living, and that even after this wave of unemployment has passed, we will continue to see them chose to stay in cities. Yes – the economic downturn has created an opening for companies like AirBnB and GetAround to help us travel on a budget. But we don’t just do it to save money. AirBnB has genuinely positioned itself as aspirational – as a cool, innovative, and exciting way to experience distant places. It’s not for poor people – it’s for people who are Thrifty. Same thing with companies like H&M and Zara – who are notorious for rapidly-copying runway fashions and rolling them out in stores at affordable prices. Our generation genuinely likes our loft apartments in converted warehouses, our gourmet food trucks selling mini creme brulees, and city life over the white picket fence and Ford Explorer. We want to walk to a coffee shop listening to our iPod, not drive a suburban to the mall. Our generation is willing to compromise on less space to be closer to the action – closer to music, art, food, and each other. We appreciate character.
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.