Growth was imperceptibly slow, and the vast bulk of the population was so poor that a harvest failure would kill millions. Almost half the babies born died before reaching age 5, and those who made it to adulthood were often stunted, ill and illiterate.
The right comparison for BuzzFeed is probably not newspapers, or even other websites like Business Insider; rather, it’s advertising agencies, or companies like Vice, which make their money mostly by creating, rather than simply running, web-based advertising campaigns.
Yo’s next iteration will let users send a link along with their “Yo.” And a forthcoming service that lets any person connect an RSS feed to Yo means every blogger, website and media outlet on earth will be able to send push notifications to their followers, including links, whether or not they have downloaded a corresponding app. I wouldn’t be surprised if “subscribe via Yo” became a button on articles alongside Facebook and Twitter share buttons.
Peter Thiel, one of the founders of PayPal, famously griped that “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.” But I guarantee you that if I had a flying car, after the first few days I would stop gawking at the scenery and start tweeting.
A lot of recent Silicon Valley startups look at first glance like non-technology companies, doing things like food delivery, home services, transportation, etc. The difference is that the founders often grew up with technology, have backgrounds developing software, and can’t imagine anything other then a technology-centric worldview. They’re betting that by putting technology at the core, they’ll be able to create dramatically better products and services.