Recent tales have surfaced that tell me that the filming of the new startup reality show to hit the San Francisco Bay Area has wrapped up. That’s right, San Francisco…you won’t have to worry about video cameras invading the myriad of startup and tech parties that we have around the city. The show, tentatively named “Silicon Valley”, that some either have hated from the start or love it has captured all the footage that it needs to make it’s eight-plus episodes for the season and has moved on to post-production work in order to get the whole thing ready for the upcoming fall season where it’s expected to make its debut.
“Silicon Valley”, as you may recall, is a reality show produced by Bravo TV that follows along the adventures of several entrepreneurs and records their day-to-day activities so folks around the world, or at least those that have Bravo as a cable channel, can see what it’s like to be a struggling entrepreneur, ready to defy-the-odds, and witness the potential birth of something great. The inaugural season has cameras that follow along at least six of the cast mates, including The Next Web reporter and Newspepper founder, Hermione Way, her brother, serial entrepreneur Ben Way, Dwight Crow, David Murray, Marcus Lovingood, and Kim Taylor. What antics, surprises, drama, and potential success stories will turn up? I suppose that we’re going to have to just wait until the fall season to find out.
Last month, a controversial article crossed my path and rather stunned me that I felt that I needed to respond to it. It was written by University of Iowa student Cathryn Sloane for the NextGen Journal publication and was provocatively titled “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25“. At first glance, one might think that this is one of those posts where it’s a ironic joke or something like that, so you would give it a glance and read it once thinking that some marvelous point would be made. But after reading it once, you’re going to start to realize that Ms. Sloane’s perspective and post are widely off-base.
The premise behind Ms. Slone’s point (right or wrong) was that her generation was way more suited for the role of helping companies and corporations figure out how to use social media simply because her generation was more closely tied to the development of social media. Yes, as Ms. Slone points out, when the largest social network, Facebook, came into being, her generation was just “teenagers in high school” and that they saw how these new tools and services came out and evolved. Whether it’s Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Foursquare, Digg, Technorati, MySpace, AIM, Skype, Zynga, etc., that generation tagged along. So why exactly should companies hire young individuals for that role?
There’s not a single rule in the world of business that says you have to be a certain age in order to start your own company or startup–and if there is one, then that needs to be ripped out of the rule book and abolished from the minds of human civilization. Those starting a business or have an idea that can drastically change the world are the backbone to the creation of our economy, not to mention our society. Take a look at the ages of folks like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and many other successes. All started at a young age. Some probably prospered more than others because of the support system that they had.
In order to help foster the innovations, aspirations, hopes and dreams of future entrepreneurs, Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, and well-known investor, decided he wanted to give something back and help the young people find their way so he started a program called the Thiel Fellowship where he would select 20 of the most brillant minds he could find, all under the age of 20, and give them a generous seed round to help fund their ambitions for the next two years. When you get down to the deeper meaning, it’s actually a means to back Mr. Thiel’s belief that entrepreneurs can be quite successful if they skip their post-secondary education. But why would someone be so bold as to abandon continuing their education? Well it could be for a variety of reason (too many for this post), but for Mr. Thiel, it’s because he says that the system is broken–the cost is not worth the benefit (you can read the industry’s reaction here). So rather than just complaining about the antiquated education system, he chose 20 high school students and gave them each $100,000 and started his Thiel Fellowship.
The world of mobile payments just got turned upside down. I think every startup has been wishing for this news to happen to them–it’s quite frankly a game-changer and can potentially put a lot of people out of business or at least rethinking their strategy. Okay, so what is everyone talking about right now? Probably that coffee giant, Starbucks, has just placed their bets on mobile payment service Square–so much so, that they’ve announced they’re going to invest $25 million in the startup’s latest round of funding.
Square has been in the news quite a bit lately and pretty much has become the media darling that everyone is talking about and wants to use. From recently announcing that they’ve processed over $6 billion in payments annually to securing deals with name brands like Staples, Target, Walgreens, and FedEx Office stores to distribute those iconic credit card readers, this mobile payment company has really hit the ground running hard and has become quite synonymous with pay-by-phone.
The world can definitely be an uncertain place where not everything can be figured out without some help from some friends…or at least by people you may know who have gone through it themselves. But for entrepreneurs, where can one turn to? Well that’s what Clarify.fm is all about. As I covered in an earlier post about them, it’s the mobile way for you to get connected with a major thought-leader, analyst, tech leader, investor, or even a serial entrepreneur to talk through your issues.
Founded by Dan Martell, who co-founded Flowtown, which exited to Demandforce a couple years ago, Clarity.fm has been growing at an astounding rate since its launch earlier this summer. Today, they’re announcing that they’ve connected over 10,000 users, from the United States and 42 other countries around the world, to date and are rolling out some brand new features that will help make the site more engaging and useful for users.