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Sean Parker’s Airtime: Great Possibilities? | Knowledge@Wharton High School

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“If you look at Facebook, Twitter, they’re all social networks, but there is an intended path of use,” notes Gregory Hosono, chief operating officer of Teens in Tech Labs, a Mountain View, Calif. company that provides tools and resources to young people to help encourage entrepreneurship at a young age. The Teens in Tech blog, which Hosono edited for a year before handing over the reigns this month, follows entrepreneurs and technologies that are “innovative and cool.” Anything Sean Parker does definitely qualifies. “The theory behind Airtime is that if you have similar likes to someone else, you will have a conversation with them and maybe become friends with them. I have used Airtime to chat with friends to see how the interface works, and I like it a lot,” adds Hosono, 16 and a rising junior at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. “It’s cool to be able to look at a friend and say, ‘I never knew that you liked that.’ The discovery part is completely different [from] anything else.”


But not everyone is convinced that it is the next big idea. Daniel Brusilovsky, founder and CEO of Teens in Tech Labs who says he will soon join venture capital firm Highland Capital Partners as a summer associate with its Internet and digital media investment team, believes that Airtime falls a bit flat. “To be perfectly honest, there’s a part of me that expected more,” says Brusilovsky, who is 19. “I think they tried to do Chatroulette better. There are companies like SpaceX [a space transport company founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk that in May 2012 became the first privately held company to send cargo to the International Space Station] that are true innovators. Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning are two of the smartest people in our industry. With their brainpower and connections, it should be a bigger idea and a bigger underlying mission — something that is going to change the world. The product is beautiful, and it works great. Was I expecting something more? Absolutely.”


I'm pretty much posting this because I know Greg & Daniel both, and I liked the point/counter-point.

Re: Daniel's point; I think it's fine for one person to focus on a certain sphere of innovation; most of Zuck's apps (e.g. Synapse, Facemash, Facebook and a few other projects written about in the Crimson) were social. It seems fair to assume that Parker and Zuck bonded over the fact that they both think about social in the "what's next" category.

Kudos to Sean & Shawn for dreaming big in a new way, regardless of how it turns out.

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