Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It Starts with a Tweet

AVC.com always has great posts.

In this one, "Understanding Twitter," the comments show enormous support for a tool that already seems like it's always been around, even though it's still new.

Twitter is so many things, and they all start with tweets:

-- Community: crises, disasters
-- Promotion: events, products, brands
-- News and information: #ongoing #topics
-- Personal AP wire: people tweeting to their communities as editors/curators
-- Personal/public: friends @ friends

I have just about abandoned my Facebook account and use Twitter in pretty much all these ways.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Startup Idea: Summer Camp Registration Clearinghouse

This would be so huge so fast -- the Summer Camp Registration Clearinghouse.

1. Camps post schedules and descriptions.
2. Parents search, select, register: One ID, one website.
3. Camps get paid.

Perfect, right?

If You're Not Going to Let Me Buy the Song, At Least Make it Simple

Subtitled: Why Piracy Will Never Go Away
Also subtitled: Reducing Friction for Content Is the Definition of Digital

So, I had a musical flashback to "Jokerman," which is on a couple of Dylan albums I have on CD and in iTunes. Awesome.

Is there a live version on iTunes? Yes, but it took two clicks to find out why and how I can't buy it.

The first message said it's not available in the US store, and directed me to the Ireland store.

Clumsy, but okay -- until the second message said nyah, nyah, nyah; people in the US can't buy a song from a store someplace else.

This is two levels of foolish.

1. If iTunes won't sell it to me, one message saying so would suffice.

2. A backend that can deny a sale to a US IP address/iTunes ID should also be smart enough to prevent a pointless redirect.

Of course, just allowing a sale to someone who wants to buy something would have been the smart customer experience.

The forced restrictions took me back to college, when my music geek friends who had really enormous speakers were enraptured with their latest "import" album purchases -- social objects that were obscure and expensive and difficut to acquire.

But digital should mean the end of all that. Digital doesn't care where you are. Digital crosses all borders. Digital just is.

And there are many, many, many live versions of "Jokerman" on YouTube, from everywhere.

Postscript: A friend who used to work at a music label said the restrictions are probably more of a case of forgetting to manage the back catalog than attempts to restrict markets geographically, which is worse in some ways and better in others.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

You Could Do Something to Stop #SOPA.

This site could disappear forever. Lots more, too.

You could call or email Congress with a click.

You could go on strike.

You could see where your reps stand in your state.

Or you could do nothing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sputnik II: Rebooting Math and Science Funding

@FredWilson and his wife, @GothamGal, have done an awesome and amazing thing for NYC and the planet -- They helped launch a public high school software incubator:
The Academy For Software Engineering is not a "specialized school." It will be open to all students as part of the high school admissions process in NYC. The City's goal (and mine too) is to open up opportunities for many more students than the small number of specialized schools can deliver. Hopefully the curriculum that is developed and teachers that are trained at the Academy will get rolled out into high schools all over the city in the coming years.
The comments are filled with respect and admiration, mine included.

So, what will it take for national funding of math and science at the level needed, K-12?

For this to be not just one extraordinary and uniquely situated project, but the standard across the country, it has to be named and framed with the urgency of the space race. 

In the previous century,  Sputnik kickstarted US funding for math and science education as part of national defense.

Cold-war logic + the Space Race = investments in schools, under the National Defense Education Act of 1957:
"The launch shook the American belief that the United States was superior in math and science to all other countries. U.S. citizens feared that schools in the USSR were superior to American schools, and Congress reacted by adding the act to take US schools up to speed."

"The year 1957 also coincided with an acute shortage of mathematicians in the US. The electronic computer created a demand for mathematicians as programmers and it also shortened the lead time between the development of a new mathematical theory and its practical application, thereby making their work more valuable.

What has that urgency today?

What would be the naming, framing and tagline for new math and science investments?

Here's one: Do you want to fund math and science education, or do you want to cede the future to countries that do? Fund math and science education now.