Robert Scoble, who seems to sign up for every single new service the internet has to offer, recently went on a bit of a rant against Glassmap, a Y Combinator funded company, for doing something allegedly nefarious to his Facebook feed. As Dustin Curtis points out the fault is likely not with Glassmap, but with Facebook. Still, the comments in the thread became highly entertaining when one of the founders of Glassmap jumped in, capping with Scoble telling him:
You aren’t listening to feedback. You deserve to fail.
Perhaps I’m noticing this because I’m particularly attuned to Y Combinator companies — Y Combinator is, right now, one of the most powerful organizations in Silicon Valley — and perhaps I’m noticing this because many of the startups out there getting paid attention to are Y Combinator companies. Either way, let’s just say that I’m not especially confident in my sample size or selection. But, this is not the first time a Y Combinator company has had a problem dealing with people:
- InDinero ripped off Shopify’s design.
- AirBnB handled a user’s complaints poorly.
- Dropbox had a security breach and some users felt insecure.
- Curebit ripped off a design from 37signals.
In all these cases, the handling of the event was seen as worse than the event itself. I can’t help but wonder if this is largely a function of youth — Y Combinator founders tend to be on the younger side. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that these startups aren’t doing a great job playing with others. As Mike Arrington wrote about these types of situations:
And the way to roll over is an unqualified apology, backed up with a short and easily understood explanation of how such a thing will never happen again. Don’t use any big words, and for the love of God don’t try to justify any part of what happened.
And sound advice from Richard Nixon:
It’s not the crime that gets you, it’s the cover-up.
With New Standard, Wi-Fi Could Become As Widespread As Cellular
It will be interesting to see how an easy-access wifi network affect bandwidth management issues. It will certainly move some of the load off mobile operators.
In late 2010, Verizon rolled out its 4G LTE network, which offers data speeds 10 times as fast as 3G networks. But as mobile data traffic continues to grow—experts anticipate that it will increase 26-fold in the next three years—it’s unlikely that any network will be able to keep up. Fortunately, something else is set to happen over the next three years: Wi-Fi could become as ubiquitous and easy to access as cellular is now.
Wi-Fi is up to 15 times as fast as LTE, but at this point it’s an unrealistic substitute for cell service. Connecting is not a standard process. Users need to log into access points individually, enter passwords, and go through other credentialing rigmarole. And range is limited; once logged in, a user can’t wander more than a few hundred feet from an indoor router. But such limitations will soon be gone.
Later this year, the Wi-Fi Alliance, a consortium that oversees Wi-Fi certification and testing, will release the Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint standard to automate logins. Based on the IEEE 802.11u protocol, Passpoint will allow devices to identify preferred hotspots, connect to them, enter passwords, and authenticate security credentials—all automatically. Users may be able to add Passpoint access to their cellphone plans or sign up for standalone service through another provider, such as Boingo, a company that serves 400,000 hotspots at locations like malls and restaurants. When users with Passpoint walk into a coffee shop or arrive at an airport, their phones will automatically connect with the network.
The volume of data that businesses collect is exploding: in 15 of the US economy’s 17 sectors, for example, companies with upward of 1,000 employees store, on average, more information than the Library of Congress does. New academic research suggests that companies using this kind of “big data” and business analytics to guide their decisions are more productive and have higher returns on equity than competitors that do not. As big data changes the game for virtually all industries, it will tilt the playing field, favoring some over others. The financial and information sectors rank among those with the highest potential to create value in the near term. To learn more, read “Are you ready for the era of ‘big data’?” (October 2011).