Sunday, December 21, 2014

Favorite business writing linked to - on Twitter, Netflix, Facebook, Declara & Tankchair

With this the final post I've got planned around my favorite business writing linked to so far, organized by category into various posts with the last on great writing about security, I wanted to cover a bit of a grab bag of great writing I've seen on fascinating companies that I haven't written about yet as part of this project... Twitter, Netflix, Facebook, Declara and Tankchair (absolutely worth reading the piece to learn about the company):

"The Incredible Stair-Climbing, Self-Parking, Amphibious Wheelchair" by Joshua Green for Businessweek in June 2014 – on the company Tankchair LLC. Really a great story about Brad Soden and the company that came out of his desire to improve quality of life for his paralyzed wife and now helps many seriously injured veterans.

"The Hidden Technology That Makes Twitter Huge" by Paul Ford for Businessweek in Nov 2013 – on the amount of detail that each and every tweet contains, and how that detail can then be sliced, diced, categorized and segmented.

"Declara Co-Founder Ramona Pierson's Comeback Odyssey" by Ashlee Vance for Businessweek in Sept 2013 – on an absolutely remarkable person and as Vance wrote, Pierson out of college was in the U.S. Marines (who paid for her final years at U.C. Berkeley) and "worked with algorithms to help calculate the position of Russia’s nuclear silos and guide F-18 fighter missions" until she in 1984 was hit by a drunk driver and spent 18 months in a coma. About this cataclysmic injury, Vance wrote "Passersby saved her life. One massaged her heart to keep it beating; another used pens to open her windpipe and vent her collapsed lung so she could breathe. The crude handiwork kept Pierson alive long enough to get her to a hospital." Next in the story Vance wrote of Pierson's rehabilitation, including the equally fascinating time she spent in a senior citizens center with the residents helping her get better. Vance then covered how Pierson became an accomplished blind rock climber, cross-country skier, and cyclist. Additionally, she after leaving the senior citizens center studied psychology and received a master’s degree in education and then PhD in neuroscience. In terms of her Pierson's work efforts, Vance covered in the piece how she served as CTO of Seattle public schools and developed database software around the students and their learning. Still utilized today, this software led Pierson to forming and then selling the educational company SynapticMash prior to starting last year in Palo Alto, CA her current company, Declara. Geared towards both education and businesses, Vance notes how Declara "a type of social network that links everyone in a company or an organization. With the help of algorithms developed by Pierson and others, Declara’s system learns how people interact, what types of questions they’re looking to answer, and who can best answer them." 

"Netflix, Reed Hastings Survive Missteps to Join Silicon Valley's Elite" by Ashlee Vance for Businessweek in May 2013 – a piece that starts off with the sentence from Vance that "on a normal weeknight, Netflix accounts for almost a third of all Internet traffic entering North American homes." 

"Facebook: The Making of 1 Billion Users" by Ashlee Vance for Businessweek in Oct 2012 – on engineering at the company and how it basically launches a new site version with tweaks each and every day.