So this is just a quick note on some things that I am personally finding really interesting right now


as mentioned, I think this is going to be cracked soon, and maybe Khan academy will do it. Either way, I think whoever does it would need to be a "full stack" startup. I have thought about trying some things - like a GitHub type system for open-sourcing education materials and resources, creating open-standards for curriculum and educational texts etc - but they have always just been tools or things around the periphery. I don't think I have the resources right now to be thinking full stack!

Android first

Android is the most pervasive mobile OS (yes, there are some caveats about the stats, such as numbers coming from China, and the value of the customer compared to other iOS), and Google continue to widen their reach (recently purchasing Nest etc) I think we are going to seeing our first truly Android first apps. If Instagram was built today, would it be iOS first? Probably, but I think that landscape is changing. I think coupled with the following areas this could be a big one.  If I'm building a mobile app it's going to be Android first. Silicon valley is under-invested in Android - There is also growing appetite for it:

Smartphone as your social graph

I have mentioned this one a few times here. Smartphone usage is continuing to increase (even whilst tablet sales falter) and more and more existing mobile users across the world upgrade. Further to this, your smartphone is really where you social graph is. Your address book has your contacts in it, your phone number gives you a unique identifier, and as WhatsApp proved, it gives great power to mobile first startups to disrupt the social network incumbents. It could be argued that Google+ was never going to succeed to usurp Facebook as king of the social networks because people are lazy, and essentially creatures of habbit - if all your friends are on Facebook, why try to convince your entire network to switch to g+? But the smartphone takes away that power, as your network is on your device, not a particular platform.  Couple that with the fact that so many use their phones to double up as cameras it now means most of our photos/videos are also on the device.


I was recently talking with some colleagues about the future of TV and I speculated that in 5-10 years we may see the end of scheduled television, and everything will be only on demand. This would leave some interesting questions/problems:

  • One big problem as I see it is the fragmentation of device software - if you are creating an on demand app, you need to think about Android, iOS, browsers, Xbox, PS, not to mention all the TV manufacturers that have their own software running on their web enabled TV. This means at the moment, if you buy a new web enabled TV or set top box, the on demand apps may not be available, and may not be consistent. I think this could be a good market for Android and wouldn't be surprised if they do make some bold moves in this area (yes, bolder than Chrome Cast) - I would think it would make sense for them to be linking up with TV manufacturers to as the de-facto TV OS (would benefit from android app eco system - even if it would mean a LOT more work for app developers to fix up for another range of screen sizes
  • Another interesting implication of such a switch would be would we see a decline in produced content. At the moment there is a lot of content created specifically for quieter times of the viewing schedule (mon-fri afternoons, early morning, etc) - what might be considered as "filler", but we might see a decline in this as consumers will have complete control of what they want to watch, and there won't be any watch it because its on mentality.
I think its an interesting areas where battles are really going strong, with big players in the content production/distribution space (Netflix/Amazon/YouTube) as well as Google/Apple etc taking on the incumbents in hardware.  I just today saw a link for a site called Glass that is dedicated to ongoing conversation about this topic.

rob hinds

I'm on to the next one, on to the next one..