Jake’s new venture: The creation generation

Pardon the proud dad moment while I brag about my 15-year-old son, Jake‘s, new online venture: Middio.com, a search engine and player for music videos on YouTube. Jake found the quality of search there lacking, so he scraped data about the videos posted by official, legal music labels and made a search engine out of that, adding a random video feature and a top 100 list and the ability to share the video on your Facebook page. He links directly to the video’s page on YouTube and to the music lablels’ sites.

Pretty damned cool, huh?

middio.jpg

Middio was written up with a good review — whew! — on TechCrunch and Michael Arrington didn’t even know until I told him that it came from my kin. Then it was written up on Wired. Jake politely shot down this snarky review and got an apology. Webware gets the value of it: “In other words, you’re less likely to find videos of teenagers lip syncing the song you’re looking for.”

I have a bigger point to make about this but first let me tell you about Jake’s other latest creation — continuing my proud dad moment. Jake — who truly is my webmaster and tech teacher — told me about UStream.tv, which lets any of us become Justin.TV and broadcast live via an embeddable player; I was arguing that live is the next trend to overtake online video. When I looked at UStream’s blog, I read this:

On the Shoulders of Giants
We’ve been incredibly happy with the reception we’ve gotten from the true pioneers of the blogosphere. Scoble, Pirillo, Jarvis, Pulver-that’s the kind of company we like to keep. But this is special.

I thought, all too egotistically, that that was me and that puzzled me since I’d only just heard of UStream. But following the link, I found that Jake had mashed up something else new: Knapsack.tv, which he tried and has since taken down. It promised to show you high-school life through the back of a student’s backpack. Jake hooked up a laptop with a video camera and a high-speed cellular modem and set to broadcast through the back of his backback via UStream. He did it for a few hours and it worked.

When I saw this, I was overtaken with a both parental pride and parental dread. I was amazed at what he’d built — but also scared to death that he’d get expelled from school for combining all the things that scare principals everywhere: technology, the internet, cell phones, and cameras.

Jake didn’t quite understand why I was so amazed and proud and it rather embarrassed him. That is to say, we’re a normal father-and-son.

Now here’s the bigger point: Jake doesn’t think twice about making things like this (he has made other things, including this very blog). And I think that’s an important characteristic of his generation: They take the tools available and make things, whether that’s a blog or a video or a web page or an application. The more tools there are, the more things they’ll make. There is no end to it. They don’t consume. They make.

This is the creation generation.

  • http://deleted Tansley – addendum

    And you are justifiably proud, sir.

    I think about where the upcoming generation of today will be in thirty years’ time, and I’m not sure whether to shudder or be intensely jealous. Usually, I settle for a quiet laugh.

    Who would have imagined, back in Glenbard East High School in the Sixties, that we would have a global communications network at our fingertips one day, that we would have instant access to the most immediate news, anywhere in the world, and we would be able to COMMENT on it, in many cases immediately, and even get RESPONSE back from the originators?

    Or have robot vacuum cleaners, for that matter? Okay, maybe Hannah-Barbara, but NOBODY took THAT seriously.

    Sometimes those commercials that say “where will THEIR generation be?” can strike a wee bit too close to HOME, betimes….

    Congratulations, to you both.

  • http://avc.blogs.com fred wilson

    if he wasn’t in school and probably should stay there (?) i’d say send him my way.

    he’s a born entrepreneur!

  • http://kempton.ideasRevolution.com Kempton

    Hello Jeff, Congrats to you for being a proud father of a creative son.

    Hi Jake, Congrats to you for creating a clean tool that seems to do its job well (I have to play with it more and I will). Great stuff. Oh, and don’t feel too embarrassed. Via your dad, you are reaching out to users that may not have heard about your tool yet. Again, great stuff and keep up the good work.

    Congrats again to you both.

    – Kempton

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  • http://chrisyeh.blogspot.com Chris Yeh

    Hey Jeff, how does it feel to be the less famous Jarvis in the household now?

    Jake is truly an impressive young man. Congrats on doing such a splendid job as a dad.

  • Cooler Heads

    Congrats all around. But before you quit your day job….how many kids are hanging around the valley and at Stanford, etc. writing this same stuff? Zillions. There were dozens of different versions of the basic Pandora program floating around. But only one hit.

    There is money to be made doing what Jake does. But he’s hardly alone, and the competitition is ferocious. Just keep that in mind even as you applaud this success.

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  • http://www.recoveringjournalist.com Mark

    Spectacular work. Does Jake wanta job? :>

  • http://ann.brocklehurst Ann B.

    Congrats to your son but I know lots of young people who are quite technically incompetent. It’s a myth that they’re all whiz bang tecnophiles. some are, some aren’t.

  • http://bluebirdescape.com Bluebird

    Dear Mr. Jarvis,

    A friend and I are visiting the city on Tuesday, May 15. We will leave Thursday morning. I was wondering if you have an hour or so for us to meet and talk. I’d very much appreciate it.

    Thank you. You can email me if you wish.

    sincerely,
    elaheh

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  • http://robertdfeinman.com/society Robert Feinman

    Jeff:
    This is a perfect example of why your hobnobbing with media moguls is relatively pointless. The next big thing will come from outside the media industry and their current feeble attempts to be hip are still lame.

    Just yesterday the NY Times launched a new service to allow reading the paper online. It requires a special piece of software which one must download and then subscribe to the service. A typical example of not “getting it”.

    Now that your son is finished revolutionizing the world can we get the preview button back?

  • http://paulstamatiou.com Paul Stamatiou

    This is indeed the creation generation. I’ve been tracking Jake’s blog for a while now and with all of his projects, it makes me want to have taken interest in programming much earlier than I did, around the time I entered college.

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