By now you’re probably wondering what this is all about, why FBI agents pulled you out of your barista job … we’ve got one last-ditch plan ... And you’re just the liberal arts major we need to lead that team.
… I need someone with four years of broad-but-humanities-focused studies, three subsequent years in temp jobs, and the ability to reason across multiple areas of study. I need someone who can read The Bell Jar and make strong observations about its representations of mental health and the repression of women. …
I’ve seen your work and it’s damn impressive. Your midterm paper on the semiotics of Band of Outsiders turned a lot of heads at mission control. Your performance in Biology For Non-Science Majors was impressive …
Don’t think I don’t have my misgivings about sending some hotshot Asian Studies minor … I can’t believe the fate of mankind rests on some roughneck bachelor of the arts. I know your type. You feed off the thrill of inference and small, instructor-led discussion. You think you’re some kind of invincible God just because you have cursory understandings of Buddhism, classical literature, and introductory linguistics.
Read the whole thing. Via Newmark’s Door.
P.S. I should talk: last year my school was designated at Utah’s liberal arts university, and now, just this month, they’ve put together a 21 person search committee for a new university President … and have declined to include representation from the School of Business.
The amazing this about this is that none of the parts of this are funny in and of themselves, but the combination of high technology, joyous folly, decent karaoke, acute embarrassment, schadenfraude, stage bravery, stage fright, and good humor is just transcendent.
It is possible to create a good startup with a good idea, but great startups are often the result of ideas that would have seemed ridiculous if you had heard them prior to seeing them working.
Ask yourself, if you were a venture capitalist pitched one of these ideas, what would your reaction have been?
Facebook - the world needs yet another Myspace or Friendster except several years late. We'll only open it up to a few thousand overworked, anti-social, Ivy Leaguers. Everyone else will then join since Harvard students are so cool.
Dropbox - we are going to build a file sharing and syncing solution when the market has a dozen of them that no one uses, supported by big companies like Microsoft. It will only do one thing well, and you'll have to move all of your content to use it.
Amazon - we'll sell books online, even though users are still scared to use credit cards on the web. Their shipping costs will eat up any money they save. They'll do it for the convenience, even though they have to wait a week for the book.
Virgin Atlantic - airlines are cool. Let's start one. How hard could it be? We'll differentiate with a funny safety video and by not being a**holes.
Craigslist - it will be ugly. It will be free. Except for the hookers.
iOS - a brand new operating system that doesn't run a single one of the millions of applications that have been developed for Mac OS, Windows, or Linux. Only Apple can build apps for it. It won't have cut and paste.
Google - we are building the world's 20th search engine at a time when most of the others have been abandoned as being commoditized money losers. We'll strip out all of the ad-supported news and portal features so you won't be distracted from using the free search stuff.
PayPal - people will use their insecure AOL and Yahoo email addresses to pay each other real money, backed by a non-bank with a cute name run by 20-somethings.
Instagram - filters! That's right, we got filters!
LinkedIn - how about a professional social network, aimed at busy 30- and 40-somethings. They will use it once every 5 years when they go job searching.
Firefox - we are going to build a better web browser, even though 90% of the world's computers already have a free one built in. One guy will do most of the work.
Twitter - it is like email, SMS, or RSS. Except it does a lot less. It will be used mostly by geeks at first, followed by Britney Spears and Charlie Sheen.
So, what do I use?
Firefox is my main browser, although I try to have a second one open at all times.
I use Google constantly.
I use Amazon occasionally (I’m a family man, so I’m actually persistently broke).
Paypal (mostly to get paid for stuff, rarely to buy something).
I would certainly us Virgin Atlantic if the opportunity arose (although I can remember when Virgin was just a really hip record store on Tottenham Court Road).
Facebook. Please … I have an account that I avoid like the plague.
Dropbox. Yes, I have an account, but I mostly use Skydrive (which, BTW has failed me badly since they folded the better Windows Live Mesh into it). I also use those 20 other free ones that were mentioned.
Craigslist? I peek at it once in a while.
iOS (I get smartphones, but I spend most of my life sitting near a computer, and I don’t encourage any more of that).
Instagram? What are you stupid? My life is already recorded in thousands of photos just like that. We had lead paint back then too, and reviving that look be just as useful as Instagram.
LinkedIn – I was one of the first people on LinkedIn, and I have yet to see value from it.
Twitter? Again, I was one of the first people to be on this, and what has been most useful for: figuring out the evolving Cyprus crisis last month. Not exactly a big deal.
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