There are two things that triggered me to write this post: 1) USV is asking applicants for their Analyst role to answer the question “Which web or mobile services most inspire you, and why?” and it got me to thinking about what my favorite services are, and 2) I’ve been slacking on my Startup of the Week posts. So I figured I’d answer the question as a blog post.
Codementor is a marketplace for 1:1 help from developers. There are a few other similar services, but Codementor is the only one I’ve used. Codementor inspires me because it takes advantage of globalization and excess capacity to deliver an experience tailored to the needs of the buyers on the marketplace. It also provides developers with additional revenue opportunities. Codementor helps the demand side of the platform start and build companies and learn to code — two areas that I think are very important.
Fedora is basically a whitelabel online school. It’s very similar to Skilljar, but I’m a customer of Fedora so I’ll describe why Fedora is inspiring to me. As a customer of Fedora, I received a fully functional and self-branded online school within hours and at no upfront cost. If I wanted to build it myself it would have cost tens of thousands of dollars and months of development time.
It’s additionally inspiring because I’m excited about opportunities for software to eat software development, and make it easy for entrepreneurs to build software products. Lastly, Fedora supports a democratization of teaching and learning and education is an area I’m very interested in.
3. Amazon’s Direct Publishing
Amazon’s Direct Publishing’s user experience and network effect are massive improvements to the traditional publishing model. It enables anyone with a message to be heard. It also enables “micro-entrepreneurship” — it enables people to diversify and create additional revenue streams. I’ve self-published a few books and my experience has been great. I could have never imagined it being so easy.
Bitcoin is not a service per say, but there are a plethora of services that have been built to support fiat currencies that presumably could also be built to support Bitcoin. I wrote about Bitcoin back in May of 2012. I had no idea it would become as popular as it is now.
I’m not as much of a Bitcoin bug as some people are, but I think the prospect of a decentralized independent currency presents enormous opportunities. While I don’t think there’s a high probability that Bitcoin will become a widely adopted currency, I think the potential upside makes it an attractive investment as a risky asset within in a diversified portfolio.
Those are the web services that most inspire me: Codementor, Fedora, Amazon Direct Publishing, and Bitcoin. I realized after making my list that they are all web — there are no mobile native services here. Maybe that will be different next time I try to answer the question.
What web or mobile services most inspire you? Let me know in the comments…