The 72-hour bus ride for wannabe startup founders


I really enjoyed a recent 5-part series of Gimlet’s Startup podcast which covered StartupBus, a “hackathon on wheels, where a bunch of strangers come together to launch companies in one week, all while on a bus.”

They covered some cool projects (that are now real businesses), and you got to hear the teams debate the merits of their ideas in real-time.

Some of the businesses that launched on StartupBus:

  • Daisy, a digital service that helps you deal with funeral logistics.
  • Phishly, a service that helps businesses fight malicious email hacks.
  • DropIn Pedals, which makes an “adapter that transforms clipless pedals into flat pedals for easy use with casual shoes.” (Note: This company doesn’t have a web presence so who knows what’s going on with this project).

Listen to the series (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5) then check out my list of my podcast recommendations.

Image courtesy Flickr/Julia Buchner. Used under Creative Commons.

Friday Tab Dump

Friday tab dump

Ten years in, nobody has come up with a use for blockchain by Kai Stinchcombe {hacker noon}

My Internet Mea Culpa by Rick Webb

The Case for the Subway by Jonathan Mahler {nyt}

We’re Going to Need More Lithium by Jessica Shankleman, Tom Biesheuvel, Joe Ryan, and Dave Merrill {bloomberg}

How Do You Vote? 50 Million Google Images Give a Clue by Steve Lohr {nyt}

Creating a Daily Routine for Growth by Ben Cotton

Facebook lets companies target job ads by age. Is that really so bad?

Young professional

The New York Times and ProPublica released a story a couple weeks ago detailing the extent to which employers can target their recruiting ads on Facebook.

Here’s the lede:

A few weeks ago, Verizon placed an ad on Facebook to recruit applicants for a unit focused on financial planning and analysis. The ad showed a smiling, millennial-aged woman seated at a computer and promised that new hires could look forward to a rewarding career in which they would be “more than just a number.”

Some relevant numbers were not immediately evident. The promotion was set to run on the Facebook feeds of users 25 to 36 years old who lived in the nation’s capital, or had recently visited there, and had demonstrated an interest in finance. For a vast majority of the hundreds of millions of people who check Facebook every day, the ad did not exist.

Setting aside the issue of legality (age-based ad targeting may violate the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the article notes), I’m struggling to see how this is a necessarily bad thing. After all, if a recruiter is biased against older workers, they’re not likely to hire them once they infer their age based on their resume. Many hiring managers have a range of expected ages for a given position based on the required experience, the age range of others on the team, etc. I’m not arguing that this is a good thing. Everyone deserves a fair shake, no matter how old you are. But blaming Facebook for this existing human bias doesn’t advance the cause either.

Further, the issue at hand is only that the companies are advertising open positions to people in certain age ranges. Many companies require all open positions to be posted on the careers page; and the majority of such positions also appear on job boards such as It’s not as though the jobs are being hidden from people; rather, certain people aren’t being actively targeted.

Of course this is easy for a 30-something well-versed in technology to say. But the outrage over this issue robs job seekers of their agency and gives Facebook too much credit. If your idea of a job search is to browse your Facebook Feed for ads from companies who want to recruit you, I don’t think you’re going to have much luck. It’s far more effective to seek out companies and career opportunities that match your objectives than waiting for them to come for you via Facebook ads.

Image via Flickr.

I found the key to happiness, and it’s available for iOS (Android coming soon)


The Bhutanese believe that the key to happiness is to think about your mortality five times a day. So the good folks at WeCroak made an app that uses push notifications and quotations about death to automate the process for you.

The most recent prompt I received was this little ditty:

Sometimes, doctors offer hope by describing remarkable recoveries without also mentioning the high likelihood that most people who have such serious conditions will die much more quickly.
Merck Manual on Death & Dying

I thought about dying a lot before I installed this app, so it’s hard to say if it has caused me to think about the fleeting nature of humanity any more. But hey it’s only $1.99 and if helps you take things for granted a little less that’s money well spent.

{Found via The Atlantic via TechREDEF; tombstone image via Flickr}