Eva's Café

Is Silicon Valley Funding the Wrong Stuff?

During my research, I stumbled upon an interesting article where Christopher Mims presented his interesting view on Silicon Valley VC funding startupspublished in The Wall Street Journal on July 6, 2014.

What has been funded lately in Silicon Valley?

  • Social networks that allow you to send only the message “Yo” to your contacts.
  • Food-delivery services valued at $400 million.
  • Startups that deliver rolls of quarters to your home (just $27 for $20 in change!).

It isn’t hard, looking at a lineup like this, to conclude that Silicon Valley has jumped the shark. The entire Bay Area appears to have given up on solving anything but its own problems: those afflicting the same 20-somethings who are building these startups.

That’s a pretty cynical take on what’s going on in technology.

And what about Google and Facebook buying everything in sight for billions?

But, to my surprise, the partners of one Silicon Valley venture-capital firm made the very same case to me: That their kind had lost its way—and, in the world of startups, money wasn’t flowing where it should anymore.

Read more here: http://online.wsj.com/articles/is-silicon-valley-investing-in-the-wrong-stuff-1404688048

Regards, Milorad.

Founders Parade

Founder and CEO of Lesson Planet

Meet Jim Hurley, Founder and CEO of Lesson Planet


Lesson Planet is an American website that catalogues lesson plans and therefore acts as a search engine for teachers.  The website is run by a group of educators who rate and catalogue each lesson uploaded by tags that relate to the subjects, skills, grade level, and core/state standards.  Teachers, schools and school districts can purchase a membership to website which allows them to quickly search for lesson plans and technology resources that relate to their curriculum.  In addition, Lesson planet offers online tutorial videos and live professional development sessions.  The website is aimed at creating an easy and effective way for teachers to introduce technology into their classrooms.

Hurley’s mother was a teacher and she inspired him to also become an educator in 1985.  By 1993 Hurley had also obtained a Masters of Education from the university of California, Santa Barbara(Hampton, 2013). Hurley always had an interest in computers and after the web boom he started his company Education Planet that was open to parents, teachers and administrators.  After seeing the enthusiasm of teachers on the website he changed the name in 2004 to Lesson Planet and focused mainly on teachers.  The company now has 50 employees, 20 of which are teachers and Hurley considers this a “built-in focus group” (Hampton, 2013).  It seems like Hurley has a genuine interest in education and helping teachers and wants to work in the technology sector.  As an educator, he knows his audience and created a company with a number of skilled teachers working to improve the lives of other teachers.  This seems like a good strategic move and makes his organization more credible to teachers, his clients.  Though it is difficult to find information about his board and advisors, there are a number of his employees who have master’s degrees in education (Hampton, 2013).  For example, Learning Planet’s director of content and learning has 18 years of teaching experience and the company’s director of strategic relationships has 22 years of teaching and administration (Smith-Meyer, 2014).  I think that they have a strong and fairly large team of qualified individuals, some of whom have dealt with budgeting and purchasing in the education sector before (admin.).  My only concern is if the business and web design staff as they are not mentioned, but based on their website I would say the web design is good.

Hampton, C. (2013, Fall). Gaucho company helps teachers bring exciting curriculum to the classroom.  CoastLines UC Santa Barbara Alumni Associaton. Retrieved From: http://www.ucsbalum.com/Coastlines/2013/Fall/feature_planet_lesson.html

Smith-Meyer, J. (2014, March 21).  Helping teachers become campus TechEd leaders: Lesson Planet to present at CUE.  Lesson Planet.  Retrieved from: http://www.lessonplanet.com/us/about_us