Fun Friday Links: Door-to-Door Start-up Sales, Removing Frictions + Are Coders Worth It?
Welcome to Conspire’s Super Happy Fun Friday Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times, LOLCAT ATTACK! Submissions are welcome, and you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
Door-to-Door Startup Sales
Local urban problems and the needs of small businesses are increasingly becoming inspiration for start-ups, and selling door-to-door — that icon of 1950s entrepreneurialism — is back with a new, digital face. Putting on a show for investors is one thing; facing off with an endless stream of bartenders and cash-register attendants over the shop counter is an entirely different proposition. Yet that’s exactly where many members of the newest crop of innovators are winding up as they try to bootstrap their billion-dollar ideas, one customer at a time.
A Coder’s Worth
Oh my, my, my. What an excellent read from James Somers, a computer programmer who turned to professional writing last October. He provides a rare, intimate glimpse into the life of a professional coder, simultaneously exalting and questioning his own worth. Some of my favorite clips:
To be this highly employable is to feel liquid, easy, as if you can do no wrong. I know that I have a great job guaranteed in any major city. And it’s hard not to give a thing like that moral heft. It validates you is what I mean; it inflates your sense of your own character. I tell myself a story, sometimes, that while other people partied or read for pleasure, I was sitting in a room with my head down, fighting — that I worked hard to learn these minute technical things, and now I’m getting paid for it.
We call ourselves web developers, software engineers, builders, entrepreneurs, innovators. We’re celebrated, we capture a lot of wealth and attention and talent. We’ve become a vortex on a par with Wall Street for precocious college grads. But we’re not making the self-driving car. We’re not making a smarter pill bottle. Most of what we’re doing, in fact, is putting boxes on a page. Users put words and pictures into one box; we store that stuff in a database; and then out it comes into another box.
This cascade of invention is a miracle. But as much as I want to thank the folks who did it all, I also want to warn them: When you make it this easy to write and distribute software, so easy that I can do it, you risk creating a fearsome babel of gimcrack entrepreneurship.
Is there another dotcom bubble on? It’s hard to call it a ‘bubble’ when the Nasdaq’s not running wild, when no one’s going to lose their pension — when all anyone’s going to lose is, in fact, time: time pretending at enterprise; time ‘sharing’ and ‘liking’ in forums of no consequence; time tapping out pedestrian code, extracting easy money.
A personal, data management wish-list from Jumptank partner, Francesca Ronfini. As she points out, this is a whole new area of education for many of us. And if we’ve left school already? The harder it will be to learn.
…this is a big friction, so I wonder whether it will give way to the creation of innovation for frictionless management of data.