So the reviews for Arrested Development are poor… but holy crap is that an amazing statistic.
Lets do the math. 30 million total subscribers * 10% * 15 episodes * 28 minutes per episode / 60 minutes = 21,000,000 hours of TV watched in one day.
And that’s ONLY the people that finished all the episodes. I’m sure there’s a long tail of the netflix subscriber base that watched only a couple episodes…. that’s crazy.
My own $0.02: after watching the first two episodes I was a little disappointed, but after watching 5 episodes I completely loved the new season. It’s very layered… if you want to get all the jokes you have to pay close attention to details you don’t quite grasp yet to fully enjoy the following episode. It’s clever. I rarely get to use my brain at all when watching a sitcom.
What Software Do You Pay Foward?
Every modern Internet company has been built standing on top of the shoulders of giants. With the very rare exception of a full Microsoft stack company (1 in 1000 pitches I see), everyone relies on open source technologies to power their web stack.
Because companies that leverage open source tech get so much value for free, I think they all owe it back to the community to either A) allow their engineers to contribute back to the projects they use or B) open source some piece of their stack themselves. For example Twitter did a wonderful job of this with Twitter Bootstrap.
It’s the Pay It Forward rule of software development.
MOOC Sports… Proud Home of Digital Scholar Athletes
How long before a MOOC provider attempts to field a NCAA sports team?
The Coursera Cosmonauts… Udacity Kumquats… EdX Oxen… endless possibilities. :)
I give it 3 years before someone tries this, likely in parody. Over/Under anyone?
Hard Tech Challenges Are Great, But Not Necessary
I met a set of founders recently that were solving a real problem for a known market. So far so good.
The solution the team implemented was technically trivial. It was a simple CRUD app that, if built on top of a web framework like Rails or Django, could probably be implemented in 7-10 days by a developer and designer paired up. And it probably was.
The solution was effective. Initial user testing showed that the solution addressed the problem well, and the customers were providing enthusiastic feedback.
I think the Andrew from 6 or 7 years ago would get really hung up on the trivial technical challenge. “This is so simple… Won’t 5 clone competitors popup overnight?” I might have said.
This is a classic pitfall that engineers often stumble into, myself included. But the triviality is irrelevant to product-market-fit, and that fit is paramount early on in a startup.
I love it when engineers push the boundaries of what’s possible with technology. Elegant hacks to difficult engineering challenges are inherently sexy. But, they are neither necessary nor sufficient to build a big company.
Innovators Patent Agreement
I love the Innovators Patent Agreement (IPA). I think it perfectly captures the spirit of how intellectual property should work in today’s era. Rather than butcher the description with my own short hand, here’s a concise description right from the GitHub page where the IPA is hosted:
The Innovators Patent Agreement (IPA) is a new way to do patent assignment that keeps control in the hands of engineers and designers. It is a commitment from a company to its employees that patents can only be used for defensive purposes. The company will not use the patents in offensive litigation without the permission of the inventors. This control flows with the patents, so if the company sells the patents to others, the assignee can only use the patents as the inventor intended.
I’m delighted that four Spark Capital portfolio companies have already embraced the IPA: Lift, Jelly, Stack Exchange, and Twitter. If I were an engineer considering multiple job offers, I know the IPA would factor in my decision-making. I’ve seen countless inventors embarrassed by how their patents have been used offensively without their permission, absurdly long after their date of invention and leaving their company.
While I hope more Spark portfolio companies will follow, that’s up to the companies to make that decision, and, along the same lines, please don’t confuse the musing on my own blog with Spark’s official stance. I sweep the floors there.
I feel strongly that offensive usage of patents is net-innovation-destructive. It’s not a position i’ve come to lightly; I’ve arrived over 5-7 years of consideration and internal debate.