The Next Rocketship - Sponsored by The Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell
Last week, Valleywag published a disdainful list of “The Biggest Bullshit Job Titles in Tech,” calling out kooky positions like AOL’s “Digital Prophet” and Tumblr’s “Fashion Evangelist.” Betabeat wondered, What do these people actually do for a living? What, pray tell, does an “Innovation Sherpa” or a “Chief Happiness Officer” do all day? Are their jobs as illusionary as they sound, or are they just normal jobs with wacky titles?
Following chief happiness officer Jenn Lim, our second interviewee was eBay’s chief curator Michael Phillips Moskowitz, who’s been working with the company since August 2013. Mr. Moskowitz is on the team leading the roll-out of eBay’s new “experience,” which debuted in North America on October 22, 2013, and will expand overseas to the UK and Germany in early March.
Q & Oh Hey
“The Next Rocketship” is a series of Q&As with startup founders who are figuring out the tech solutions of the future. Our first interview is with Yext co-founder and CEO Howard Lerman. Read More
Quora, beloved source of information both practical and profound, has added a new feature that should boost users’ chances of getting answers to their most pressing questions. It’s already possible to ping recommended experts, using Ask to Answer. But starting today, you’ll be able to see which of those brains are currently online and therefore more likely to respond in a timely fashion.
Following the recent announcement that Quora cofounder Charlie Cheever will be taking a backseat role at the company, something of a revolution has begun to foment at the question and answer site so popular among the Valley’s elite. For a platform which purports to embrace openness and honesty as its core ethos, its own staff has not been particularly forthcoming about Mr. Cheever’s departure.
Social Times points out that a question about Mr. Cheever’s status at the company was answered by Quora’s other founder, Adam D’Angelo. Users immediately called Mr. D’Angelo out for his disingenuous reply, which was bathed in a thick coat of PR BS. One such indictment–posted by another startup founder–even garnered more upvotes than the original response.
If Law and Order doesn’t provide you with sufficient insight into those who protect and serve our fine city, perhaps this Reddit thread can help. A user named 10-13 decided to initiate an “Ask Me Anything” post last night about his experience as a NYPD officer.
Perhaps because the Occupy Wall Street fervor has ebbed, or because 10-13 is a well-respected member of the r/NYC subreddit, the questions weren’t as pointed or aggressive as we anticipated. Maybe anonymous user names don’t automatically engender bad behavior, after all.
The Third Degree
Ask.com, the Oakland-based, IAC-owned, Jeeves-powered search engine-turned Q&A service, just released the most pressing questions of 2011. We won’t make you squirm: “Was Kim Kardashian’s wedding fake?” was the hottest question asked on Ask.com in 2011.
David Pakman is a partner at Venrock and a board member at the New York Venture Capital Association. He was formerly an entrepreneur, helping to introduce the idea of the “digital locker” for music files and serving as CEO of eMusic.
Q: You always remember the ones that got away. Tell us about the startup you regret passing on the most.
A: That’s easy. Twitter. It’s not really fair to say that we passed, but we did not fight hard enough to get in to their Series C round.
It's What You Know
For a few years now Sasha Grey has occupied a unique niche, managing to sit atop the world of adult entertainment while also branching out to modeling, books and more mainstream films. But then two weeks ago, she officially called it quits on her Facebook page.
Here at Betabeat we’re keeping a close eye on the Q&A space. It’s red hot right now, with Stack Exchange bagging $12 million in new funding, not because they need to, but just because they can. Quora meanwhile is beating off investors with a stick. What kind of stick is best Read More
One of the core tenets at Stack Exchange is that it doesn’t make sense to start a Q&A site unless you’ve got a critical mass of experts ready to answer queries. Now the company is using some of the $12 million it just raised to send its users to out into the real world for some continuing education.
“This is really what distinguishes us from our horizontal competitors whose names begin with Q,” says founder Joel Spolsky. “They are trying to do everything all at once. There is no possible way to get all the cartographers, or auto mechanics or any group on Quora to feel like they own a certain topic area, and to be committed to making it great.”