For our weekend business readers:
“HACKER HOSTEL” OFFER HOPE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS
Great piece in the New York Times on a hostel chain in San Francisco that is offering a low-budget commune for techies looking to network with each other.
The hostels are a place where aspiring entrepreneurs can brainstorm 24-7 with others, much like a dorm atmosphere or an intense research park environment. These bunk beds aren't for “hackers” in the pejorative sense; the term “hacker” is a positive one.
Many tenants are here not so much for the cheap rent — $40 a night — as for the camaraderie and idea-swapping. And potential tenants are screened to make sure they will contribute to the mix.
Justin Carden, a 29-year-old software engineer who is staying in another hostel, in Menlo Park, while working on a biotech start-up, talks about the place as if it were Stanford.
“The intellectual stimulation you get from being here is unparalleled,” Mr. Carden said. “If you’re wanting to do something to change the world and make it a fundamentally better place, you need to be around the right people.”
What are these “hackers” working on? It's pretty interesting and it's an interesting concept. Read the full story here.
FACEBOOK'S “WANT” BUTTON
Facebook is apparently testing a new social commerce effort that could include a “want” button.
Similar to the popular “like” and “share” buttons, the “want” button could allow you to add products for purchase, give to charities, or rack up games for download.
From Mashable's Samantha Murphy:
Using official Facebook channels to share this information would open up a lot of opportunity for merchants or game developers, allowing products to go viral in ways we’ve seen on sites such as Spotify and Pinterest.
“Considering the huge impact Facebook music has had on Spotify and news integration for sites such as Yahoo, social shopping seems to be the next focus,” Waddington said. “The important distinction is that these aren’t custom integrations — they will be sanctioned and controlled by Facebook, which means they will get the premium placements, similar to the ‘Trending Articles’ unit.”
Read more here.
TWO MONTHS UNPAID WORK
Also from Mashable, a survey shows that the work-life balance is a little out of kilter.
In short, Americans are working an extra two months a year on average without pay by looking at those work-related emails before and after hours.
Some 68% of us check work email before 8 a.m., with half of us doing so before our heads leave the pillow. (The average check-in time of the 1,000 randomly-selected respondents: 7:09 a.m.) At the other end of the day, 69% of us can’t slip into slumber unless we’ve checked that old work email one last time.
Simply by answering work-related calls and emails when we’ve left the office, the average respondent is working an extra seven hours a week. That adds up to 365 hours a year. Assuming eight-hour days and five-day weeks, that’s
around two months per year of unpaid overtime…
Access the study and read more on the subject — in your free time, of course — at this link.
MICROSOFT PLAYING CATCH-UP
Microsoft, once the first name you thought of in the tech age, has been playing catch-up to Apple, Google and Facebook in recent years. The Wall Street Journal looks at some stumbles Microsoft has made in the last half decade.
The failures are not just financial setbacks. Perhaps more importantly, the WSJ notes, is that Microsoft lost time in its botched execution.
Microsoft bought aQuantive back in May 2007. Before Lehman crashed, before the economy tanked, before Europe boiled over. But, more importantly, before the iPhone, before social-media took off, before tablets. While Steve Ballmer & Co. have been playing catch-up in the browser wars these past five years, the world’s been moving past them, at light speed.
Microsoft spent five years trying to “catch” Google in the search market. It bought aQuantive. It did the deal with Yahoo. It renamed its search engine Bing and made a big deal of it. Yes, it did double its market share in search, to about 13%. But it did that by essentially taking Yahoo’s market share; it didn’t lay a glove on Google, which has 74% of the market.
In the meantime, the tech world changed, drastically. Apple came out with a couple of products you may have heard of, and did pretty well with them, by most accounts. Facebook became a global phenomenon.
Read more and listen to tech analysts break down Microsoft's dilemma at this link.
THE BEST SELLING PRODUCTS OF ALL TIME
Is it a car, a toy, a tech product?
24/7 Wall Street takes a look at the best selling products of all time and what made them so outstanding.
Besides selling in droves, many of the products on this list changed American culture. While each product is in a different industry — from smartphones, to video game consoles and music albums — there are clear similarities among the leaders.
Access the complete list at this link.
NEW YORK CITY GETTING GREENER THROUGH APP CONTEST
Mashable.com spotlights a recent New York City competition that was held to create phone apps focused on sustainability. The winners invented apps that could be adapted for any sizable city. Here's a short list of 5 winning apps and what they do:
- BikePooling – for bike commuters looking to ride in groups similar to a carpool
- GreenCan – to help find nearest recycling bin
- ReBounty – to locate items left on the curbside around a city
- FreshFixNYC – to locate farmers markets in big cities
- GreenerNeighbor – competition of neighborhoods focused on sustainable efforts
Read more on the subject here.
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