This Week in Tech - 8/21/15
Don't let people think you've been living under a rock.
“Nearly every person I worked with, I saw cry at their desk.” Amazon's work culture was the subject of a brutal expose in the Times this week, inspiring a number of responses. Some of the experiences shared by current and former employees are truly awful, but that probably won't come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the intense work culture associated with startups. The takeaway? Working for one of the most innovative companies in the world (not to mention the top retailer in the U.S.) is a tough job that requires tough people. [via The New York Times]
The Presidential Innovation Fellowship Program, introduced in 2012 as a way to bring the most innovative minds in the private sector to work on public policy issues, was made permanent this week by President Obama. The year-long program pairs innovators with local governments across the U.S. from Silicon Valley to Washington DC. So at least there's an option for you if your next startup endeavor collapses. [via Medium]
Leading technology research firm Gartner released their Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies this week, an annual report on the development of buzzworthy tech. Vying for King of the Mountain on the Peak of Inflated Expectations - that point early in a technology's life where everyone is so excited about it that you just know there's a mini-bubble - are:
- Advanced analytics with self-service delivery
- Autonomous Vehicles
- Internet of Things
- Speech to Speech Translation
Just ahead of these on the curve, rapidly accelerating toward the Trough of Disillusionment where everyone will be so over them are wearables, machine learning, and cryptocurrencies. Remember cryptocurrencies? Cryptocurrency Exchange rules the Trough of Disillusionment alone. [via VentureBeat]
When will appearance on the Gartner Hype Cycle become a point on the Gartner Hype Cycle?
This Week In Bootstrapping
How do you start a startup? With lots of advice, evidently.
Y-Combinator's Summer 2015 Demos took place over two days on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. So who have Sam Altman & Co. been working with? In total, over 102 startups. We won't go through each one, but this latest batch included a few unexpected trends that we loved - namely, an increased focus on hardware and earnest efforts geared toward increasing diversity and philanthropy in the tech industry. Also a whole lot of tools for software developers and startups. Can someone tell us what the difference between a bubble and a wave looks like from this side of things? [via TechCrunch]
Tech darlings Product Hunt launched their answer to Reddit's AMAs with Product Hunt Live, a platform for tech entrepreneurs to interact with the community at large. With 1404 upvotes, it's the second-most-hunted product so far in August, in the shadow of last week's Nebia Shower; but with 124 comments to Nebia's 51, we'll go ahead and call it the most popular release of the month (and keep our comments about the navel-gazing tendencies of startup culture to ourselves). Don't worry if you missed out on this week's featured guests; next week will see sessions with Ryan Sarver (Redpoint Ventures, ex-Twitter), Ben Rubin (Meerkat), and Nir Eyal (Author of Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products), among others. [via Product Hunt]
The Pew Research Center released their report on Mobile Messaging and Social Media Use for 2015. What did they find? Facebook is still dominating the social media space (contrary to popular belief), although the user growth rate of platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram, and Pinterest has been exponential. Better fire up FB Messenger and try to explain to your family why you've been ignoring their chats. [via Pew Research]
Afrostream, a noteworthy member of YC S15 Class
Things that intrigued and delighted us this week.
In the past year, the collection of personal data has dominated public discourse about technology. But is data any good without frameworks to contextualize how it is created and used? The concept is more than a bit heady, but Falon Fatemi lays it all out in his excellent think-piece The Future of the Web Is All About Context. [via TechCrunch]
SF Startup Padlet is hiring, so instead of trying to woo engineers with oil portraits and bacon-wrapped crossbows, they published a satirical post on Medium making fun of San Francisco Startup life. We're as tired as anyone of these reminders that this ecosystem has jumped the shark, but it made us laugh. An Honest Guide to the San Francisco Startup Life. [via Medium]
Padlet's Vacation Guide for Startup Employees. Is it satire or is it based off Amazon?