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Come on, Silicon Valley, you can do better than this

Publication Date: 
June 23, 2014
The Washington Post
Vivek Wadhwa

Rock Center Fellow Vivek Wadhwa comments on what the new messaging app "Yo" says about Silicon Valley culture in an op-ed for The Washington Post. 

A new messaging app, called Yo, has created a sensation in Silicon Valley.  It is being hailed as the next big thing.

The amazing breakthrough?  Sending the word “Yo” to a contact with just one click.

This app received justifiable ridicule from Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert and many others.  But some technology industry moguls are taking it seriously.  Marc Andreessen wrote on Twitter that people who make light of it are missing the point; that Yo is “an instance of ‘one-bit communication’ — a message with no content other than the fact that it exists.  Yes or no.  Yo or no yo.”  He referred to the developing world’s use of “missed” calls as a communications mechanism and chided the naysayers for being biased.  He wrote: “the hilarity around Yo includes two problematic biases: Bias that one-bit comm isn’t useful, and bias that all markets are like the U.S.”