taking a break
i’m taking a step back from the internet for a bit.
i’ve spent the past few years sharing everything. my stream of consciousness on twitter, my exact locations on foursquare, my friends and relationships on facebook. i don’t enjoy it as much as i used to, so i am taking a break.
online networks are powerful and have helped shape who i am — in all seriousness, i wouldn’t be who i am today without the friends i’ve made online or the things i’ve learned from them.
but i often found myself head-down on my phone tweeting with someone or scrolling through instagram instead of appreciating what was around me. i was in a constant search for what’s next and what else versus the moment.
i want to spend a bit more time in that place.
Today’s the day. The day you help save the internet from being ruined.
(Long story short: The FCC is about to make a critical decision as to whether or not internet service providers have to treat all traffic equally. If they choose wrong, then the internet where anyone can start a website for any reason at all, the internet that’s been so momentous, funny, weird, and surprising—that internet could cease to exist. Here’s your chance to preserve a beautiful thing.)
walking around east village on friday, emanuel captured this photo.
dogs are the best.
Mattermark: Predicting Who Will Start Companies Next
“Mattermark Founder Prediction Is 25X Better Than Chance.”
But there are some patterns we can talk about. Some results ran counter to commonly-held thinking about founders, but other patterns revealed that conventional wisdom can be stronger than just a hunch. For example, the most predictive bucket of future founders were Stanford graduates with Computer Sciences degrees who are currently working (but not founders of) a venture-backed startup. Go figure.
Here are some surprising things we learned:
38% of venture-backed founders are over 40 years old
Only 15% of venture-backed founders have a Computer Science degree
Management consultants are more than 2x more likely to be venture-backed founders than engineers
43% of venture backed founders worked at a venture-backed company immediately before founding
Two thirds of venture-backed founders were not in a senior leadership position prior to founding
Contrary to conventional wisdom, being “stuck” in the same company or position for a long time (even a decade) does not diminish your likelihood of becoming a founder
In the past, before the days of Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, the ghost of a relationship could be found on an old record, or at your favorite burger place, or in the Polaroid photos hung up on a cork board in your bedroom. These items, the ones that incessantly conjured up unwanted memories, ended up in a box to be hidden in the closet until you eventually threw them away or looked at them wistfully years later. You kept that box until the memories weren’t so unwanted anymore.
Today, there’s no way to tuck that box under your gym bag in the back of the closet. The echo of your relationship lives in every stroke of the key, in every alert notification noise, and in every single pixel. Exes live in auto-correct, in your Instagram feed, in your Gchat window, and in your very own social media history. Before we became dependent on the Internet for everything, including life management, taking control of the box was easier.
understanding the way human interactions, life events, heartbreaks happen— on the internet, and in life— is fascinating to me. this is a great piece from TC, and gives a thoughtful presentation of the way our lives exist online.
this is a brilliant partnership.
Some Thoughts on Facebook
Why do you still use Facebook?
Mostly everything I share on Facebook is from a different service. I post a picture from Tumblr, a status I’ve already shared on Twitter, an invite code from a new startup or a link to an interesting article. So why is it that I still check Facebook? Groups.
Every day, I read a secret Facebook group. It consists of people involved in tech, media, advertising, communications industries. It started two years ago as a group of around 12 people, and has grown a lot. I find it incredibly valuable and trust the group to give honest feedback and good discussion— but I don’t find this anywhere else on Facebook.
Occasionally, I check a group called Janelle’s List. Many probably have heard of it, the original group has grown to over 10,000 members. This is a group I use passively. It’s description is:
“craigslist without the creeps, linkedin without the lame. membership is word-of-mouth, anyone within the group may invite new members.”
I was invited by a friend in NYC when looking for summer housing, and have added friends since then. It’s passive in that I only check it when I need something. It’s a mostly one-sided group, in that there are postings often but limited discussions.
Then, there are the groups I ignore. The college class project groups, groups from events, random one-off groups from the very early days of Facebook before Pages existed.
Groups are the single reason I still use Facebook, but just about everything else results in neutral or negative experiences for me. I don’t use Facebook messenger, for the same reason I rarely use Snapchat. Most messages I receive on Facebook are thoughtless, rushed, and not genuine. Rarely do I find any benefit from scrolling through my news feed and ingesting content that lives on Facebook alone. Most posts I see in my news feed are not engaging or thought-provoking.
What has Facebook become? Does it delight you with every interaction? Are you a happy user? They illicit either a negative reaction or a neutral one, rarely a positive emotion. For me, the use of Facebook is dwindling. Excluding groups, I don’t get much out of Facebook. I use Facebook because it is a utility. Similarly to laundry, or Comcast, it exists without a clear benefit.
Do Facebook groups work well simply because of the scale of Facebook? Or, could someone truly tackle online communication by creating a better method of group communication? My group of high school friends used to keep in touch daily via a Facebook group. Now, we use GroupMe almost exclusively. For whatever reason, we made a switch, without realizing it. We used to use iMessage, but with the number of messages sent per day, we switched to GroupMe so we could “snooze” messages. (Sidenote: one of the best GroupMe features.)
Some argue that it’s difficult to move off of Facebook because of the “cost” of switching. Push that idea further- define “cost” in the situation. Is it the number of people that you communicate with on Facebook? Is it the time it would take to try a new product, to form a new habit? Convincing your friends to try something new?
I think there’s opportunity for a new way for groups to exist online. I’m not sure if Facebook will be part of that.
[Footnote] What if Facebook removed the news feed, and was solely based on groups? Sounds a bit like Google+ circles.
happy π day!