Sunday, May 08, 2011

Apps a Million! The Stanford "Facebook Class" That Led to Million-Seller Apps and Fortunes

Apps a million .... there is no limit to what can be done with apps.
We know that TODAY.

But here was the homework assignment at Stanford University in the year 2007, as reported by Miguel Helft at the New York Times in The ‘Facebook Class’ Built Apps, and Fortunes:
"ALL right, class,
here’s your homework assignment:
Devise an app. Get people to use it. Repeat."
B. J. Fogg, head of the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University, pushed through a class course on "Facebook" as a subject. The class came into being despite administration opposition who thought that the social networking portal was "not serious" enough for academic perusal.

Wrong. Facebook currently has ca. 700 million users.

What started out as a social networking site for a small closed audience suddenly became "in". The Wikipedia writes:
"The website's membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, the Ivy League, and Stanford University. It gradually added support for students at various other universities before opening to high school students, and, finally, to anyone aged 13 and over.".
The great paradox of human society is that it is not the mature people of great knowledge, advanced learning and years of experience who lead the future, but precisely those of lesser knowledge, lesser learning and lesser experience who drive the forces of change. You have to be at the pulse of "what's happening". While older generations are busy hoarding their wares for themselves only -- you can view a lot of reactionary politics from that perspective -- younger generations are interested in changing and improving the world and adding new things to it.

The class story at Stanford is what happened after Fogg gave the homework assignment to his "Facebook Class" participants to build some apps for Facebook at a time when apps were few. A class of 50 participants designed 25 apps and some of those apps like "KissMe" and "Send Hotness", harmless platonic-type social applications, became big hits attracting millions of users, earning money via advertising revenue and led many students into future entrepreneurship.

See our postings on the history of Facebook.

Read here the story about how the future is sometimes unexpectedly made
, indeed, seemingly often at Stanford University and in neighboring Silicon Valley.

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