Creative Comments

Our first visit today was with a company called Creative Commons. They provide licensing for a lot of content posted online. This allows content creators to allow others to use their content under certain restrictions, for example, under the condition that no profit is to be made from that product or any derivatives. This is an exception to standard copyright law, which is applied automatically to anything someone creates. We spoke to Tim Vollmer, who has been an employee for a few years now. Creative Commons has around 15-20 full-time employees, and they work from all over the U.S, and even around the world. There are people on both U.S. coasts and even someone in Iowa! His job is more along the lines of trying to get people to use the licenses, which are offered for free. The company itself is a nonprofit and gets its funding from foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Another interesting thing about the CC licenses is that they are being integrated into a lot of different programs – for example, if you need an image for a public slideshow, you can run a Google Image search, and in the advanced search options, there is one that filters images based on usage rights, which match directly with the Creative Commons Licenses applied to these images.

After a quick lunch back at home, we visited a company called Crittercism. They provide a service to app developers that tracks important data from whenever the app crashes on someone’s device. This allows the various developers of the third-party apps to better pinpoint where the problem is in the code. There are a number of issues with this task, like the necessity of cross-platform support and also that Apple’s stacktraces and other error data comes in the form of memory addresses (not so human readable). Yet another reason to get a PC (sorry, Brad). The person we spoke to was Jack Franson, an ’09 Luther grad, who, after the summer following his senior year at Luther bought a one-way ticket to the Valley, found a place to stay and started the job hunt. He worked at another startup and also for StubHub before Crittercism. It was interesting to hear his comparison of the larger company environment of StubHub than the startups. One of the members of the group asked him the million dollar question too – ‘how would you approach fixing poverty, both realistically and if you had the power of a king?’ Jack had probably the most comprehensive answer to date, talking a lot about not only the fact that rent is so high, but things that in his mind are broken and in need of repair, such as the unwillingness (both legally and just in general) to build taller buildings, and also mentioned eliminating ways for the extremely wealthy to get tax breaks. And the best part was he said straight out – he needs to be more informed about the problem.