“Always re-examine and reflect on where you are in your career at least every two years. Even if you’re perfectly happy with your job, the exercise forces you to check that you are actually enjoying your work and learning on the job rather than just being comfortable.”
Edmond Lau, who was an early engineer at Quora, offers advice that he received by way of a friend’s mento.
A New App Will Let You Share Your Leftovers With Strangers
Startups have made it so much easier for peer-to-peer buying and bartering these days. Need a place to stay? Swap houses. Want to fill out your wardrobe? Swap clothing. And coming soon is Leftover Swap, a smartphone app to help you barter or give away your leftovers.
This is either ingenius or cringe-worthy, depending on your penchant for other people’s unfinished meals.
"It’s obviously not for everybody," says Leftover Swap co-founder Dan Newman. “But for as many people who seemingly have a problem with it, there’s people who love the idea."
"Bankruptcy," says Bob Marsh, CEO of LevelEleven, one of Detroit’s new startups, “gives me hope in what’s going to happen next. For decades, those of us living here have seen mismanagement and corruption and the same pattern: a new mayor comes in with plans on how to fix things and yet they keep getting worse. A lot of people here have wanted this to happen. It’s time to take drastic measures so the city can correct itself. Someone’s finally willing to take a pivot here.”
“If technology is designed mostly by white males, who make up roughly half our population, we’re missing out on the innovation, solutions, and creativity that a broader pool of talent can bring to the table.”
"One of the most important things to remember is that these companies don’t happen over night. They’re not an over-night success story, as I think a lot of people view certain companies. It’s really about finding what works and iterating your product."
—Danielle Abes, director of Qwiki, a video-sharing app that turns pictures and videos from events you’ve captured on your iPhone into brief, sharable movies.
Now that Google has reportedly agreed to buy Israeli crowd-powered navigation app Waze for $1.3 billion, many other “Silicon Wadi” startups are daring to dream big. Here are some others that could potentially follow in Waze’s footsteps:
Powermat:Battery drainage is one of the biggest problems faced by consumers as they increase their reliance on smartphones. EnterPowermat, whose wireless power solutions help millions charge their devices between home, car, and office.
Wibbitz:Wibbitz’s text-to-video platform uses advanced language processing to allow anything published online to be instantly turned into a video clip. Its publisher solution—which boasts a clientele of 50,000 websites and 17 million monthly viewers—will soon be available foriPhone.
Parko: Recent studies show that city drivers spend at least 20 minutes on average searching for a parking spot. Parko has developed a crowdsourcing solution for parking in a similar vein to Waze’s solution for traffic: It connects motorists looking for a spot with others about to leave one, while its algorithm identifies parking spots without users needing to remove their phones from their pockets.
“All the elements just seemed right with Circa—that they’re embarking on something new, that they’re trying to do something no one else has done before, and that they look at news presentation in the same way—that it’s broken—as I do, and they want to fix it. That’s something I always wanted to focus on and make something I do—it’s something I jump out of bed and think about.”
What do a startup king, a social network innovator, a hip hop prince, perhaps the best actor on television, and two absolutely hilarious dudes have in common? They’re all among the Most Creative People—and we can learn quite a bit from the way they work.
It’s only appropriate that Eric Ries is the subject of the first video for Fast Company's new series: The Pivot. He’s the author of a best-selling book, The Lean Startup, and the man who made the term “pivot” part of the business vernacular. During the course of his entrepreneurial adventures, he realized that some of the most iconic companies of our time—Twitter, YouTube, Groupon—had abruptly changed course before they achieved success. If they hadn’t, Twitter would have stuck with audio podcasting, YouTube would have been a video dating site, and Groupon would have continued organizing political protests (and you likely would have never heard of them). Virtually every startup he could think of had pivoted at one time or another. Ries’s observation quickly morphed into a kind of Moore’s Law for startups, which he believes are almost certain to change course before becoming successful.