The Signal #14: unleash your inner developer

from our June 27 newsletter, slightly edited for public consumption:

Friends –
We are impressed. In our last newsletter, we wrote about Kim Kardashian and Spotify, and despite the obvious click-bait headline, our open rate was largely unchanged compared to past newsletters. We take this to mean that there’s an audience who will read us regardless of subject matter. Right? Right?

A lot has happened since we last talked. Jon and his MBA class went to Japan, where they met with a host of companies, generally with a focus on artisanship (monozukuri), demographics and cross-border business. (And on two days, got rained on. Hard.) There are many folks to thank for their help in arranging the trip – we’ll give a special tip of the hat to Linkers, Osaka Innovation Hub and GCA Savvian.   Lest you think Japan is unique in facing aging demographics, check out this diagram from Pew Research.

On Friday June 24, we moderated at the Telecom Council’s event on mobile edge computing, which, if the term “mobile” hadn’t been in the title, would have sounded like a discussion of distributed cloud computing, but with traditional telco industry stakeholders such as AT&T, Nokia and Ericsson doing the talking.

Silicon Valley investors have long lamented the talent shortage that makes it hard for companies to hire and scale, and, of course, drives up the cost of hiring. That perceived shortage has been one of the hypotheses behind venture investment into online education services like Udacity and Coursera or academies like General Assembly – that these services can bring new talent onto the network, so to speak; that they can help surface dormant talent that may not have gone through traditional education programs, or help incumbent talent acquire new essential skills.   Udacity, for example, got its start when then-Stanford professor Sebastian Thrun put his course on AI online for free – and 160,000 people signed up.  Udacity now provides paid nanodegrees with corporate partners like AT&T and Google.

Last week, Google announced a new Android Basics nanodegree.  We are proud to share that on Tuesday June 28, Google lead program manager for developer education Shanea King-Roberson will share her experiences with this nanodegree and its predecessor nanodegree program, at a program on educating workers for the on-demandJSNClogo economy, hosted by Digital Garage and organized by the Japan Society.  Our own Michi Kaifu will share her insights on how to apply these practices to the workforce in Japan, and Jon will moderate.  Come on down to DG717 and learn how to unleash your inner developer.

– Team Blue Field