Within the last few weeks an app entitled “Yo” has become fodder for both the tech and lay media alike. Here’s Steve Colbert’s take on it.
Yo! really s a silly app. With that being said, I have to wonder if maybe there isn’t a little unintentional (or maybe intentional) hypocrisy at play here. For the developers of Yo! Are their aspirations any more trivial than those aspirations of more “serious” apps or other tech endeavors?
As a mental exercise,allow me to offer some other spaces where our newly re-invigorated critical analysis skills might be brought to bear:
- The “New Economy”: Really ?, you mean to me tell there has never been another attempt at providing free content to consumers underwritten by advertisers.Hmmm, ok, if you say so
- The solution for both gender and ethnic diversity in hi-tech: This is a new problem ?, one unique to hi-tech and therefore immune to other best practices in other industries ? Shut the front door!
- MOOCS and online education in general: I recently saw a report indicating that the so-called “under served” communities who were supposed benefit most from MOOCS and other on-line courseware actually have a lower completion rate than was originally expected. Why is that ? I also wonder if after taking all these online course folks at Google, Apple, Facebook etc.. will actually hire them. Last I checked, these three were still trolling the halls of Stanford and other elite universities for their candidates.
- The need for more “coders”: Coders to do what, and at what price point. If I waved my magic wand and made everyone a coder, what would that really do for the labor rate of these folks ?
- The proven “meritocracy” of the tech sector: Do you really want me to comment here ?
Finally, the funniest thing in all of this is that by all popular accounts, tech is a bastion of market forces. If we are to REALLT hold that as a fundamental truth then let the market decide the fate of Yo!. I mean, what are we afraid of ? That some completely ridiculous “product” might end up proving to be incredibly commercially successful ?
I have an idea, let’s try a little honesty in characterizing the motivations of our industry; “If it makes money, and doesn’t do significant harm, we’re all good right”
P.S. There’s a sister at Emory, examine online college/courseware critically. You can check her here