I read a headline on TechCrunch this week about how the startup Proven is helping people build résumés and apply for jobs from their smartphones. My immediate reaction was to think this is a ridiculous idea. Really, if a job opening is so great that I want to drop everything to apply, wouldn’t I at least take a few minutes to get to a PC?
Then I actually read the article and realized I had it all wrong. Proven’s target users aren’t people like me—a writer sitting in front of my computer way more than can possibly be healthy. The app is aimed at people applying to service industry jobs at hospitals or restaurants or in clerical roles. In many cases, they want to put their name in for job opening quickly, and their smartphones are the best computer they have access to on any given day. Why not make it easy to apply and build better résumés on their own devices?
I have no idea whether Proven’s idea will take off, and it seems it took the founders a few iterations to come to their current version. But my initial reaction is an example of the inherent shortcomings of one common piece of advice given to would-be startup founders: think of a product that you want to use, or a problem that you would like to see solved. It’s the kind of advice that leads to ideas like many of these.
One answer is to dramatically increase the range of people who are launching startups. But given the demographics of today’s entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, maybe it’s also time for a different bit of advice: think of what markets and potential users might be missed by this narrow approach.
Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free
Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3
The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus
The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.
Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging
The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.
Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI
One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.