rborovoy | MIT Center for Civic Media

Recent blog posts by rborovoy

Rethinking IT Training in the Age of Online Labor Markets

A few of us at the Center are beginning to explore a new approach to Information Technology job training. We have heard from our colleagues focusing on workforce development at the Community Foundation of South Woods County that it's hard to determine the set of skills that will make an IT trainee employable. Asking employers in the community is a good place to start, but at best, they can say what skills they're looking to hire now -- not what they'll need in 12-24 months when training is complete. We really want information about what IT skills are going to be in demand by the time a new set of IT workers can be trained.

Help Us Develop the Junkyard Jumbotron

The Junkyard Jumboron is a really quick, web-based way to combine many people's laptops (9, 12, 20...) into a giant, eye-catching display.

It's useful for...
...when you're organizing a rally, and you wan to draw the interest of passers-by.
...when you've assembled a cool collection of people, and you want to capture a unique photograph of the event.
...when your organization has a storefront, and you want to call attention to your cause.

All it takes is 3 steps to set up a Junkyard Jumbotron

1. Collect people's laptops, smartphones, etc and arrange them in a grid (on a table, in people's arms, etc). Any device with a web browser will work.

2. Point each device at a special url

3. Take a picture of the screens and the special "glyphs" that show up on them (thanks to the special url) and send it to a special email address (see left image below)

Now anyone can send arbitrary images to the Junkyard Jumbotron via email (see right image below)

Rick Borovoy unveils first LostInBoston.org sign outside MassArt

Rick Borovoy, Visiting Scientist at the MIT Media Lab and the Center for Future Civic Media, proudly unveils the first Lost in Boston sign.

LostInBoston.org is a general-purpose web tool that cities can use to get citizens involved in civic improvement projects.

Rick's Startup Whiteboard #3: Designing a Validation Trajectory for your Startup

[If the video is not embedded above, go here]

Everyone knows that creating a startup involves a carefully-ordered sequence of steps -- eg, don't start selling your product until you have a product (actually, that's surprisingly easy to screw up). However, there's a guiding principle about designing the right sequence that doesn't get talked about enough. You need to think about designing your "Validation Trajectory". Here's the deal:

Rick's Startup Whiteboard #2: You Need Partners, Not Employees

Welcome to Episode #2 of Rick's Startup Whiteboard (the video is at http://techtv.mit.edu/videos/4106-ricks-startup-whiteboard-episode-2-ear... if it's not showing up above). This one focuses on the importance of working with partners -- not employees, not contractors -- when you're the pony-diving stage of a startup project, still trying to figure out the key pieces of the puzzle (see episode #1 on pony diving).