Imagine it's 2011. Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" is the number-1 song in the country, "Moneyball" and "The Descendants" are in theaters, and you've decided to jump on the social media bandwagon.

You've got opportunities to get involved with one of two social media startups:

  • The first is a tiny, two-person company that's raised a paltry $500,000 and has spent just eight weeks working on its product.

  • The second has the backing of the most-feared Internet company in the world. It plans to expand its user base quickly by relentlessly marketing its new social network to the hundreds of millions of people using its other services.

Go with the first one, Instagram, and you'll be working with a company that will be acquired for $1 billion a little over a year later. Go with the second one, Google+, and you'll be signing on with the future red-headed stepchild of one of the world's biggest tech companies.

In a blog post, it announced, "we decided to sunset the consumer version of Google+," because of a report about how the company decided not to report a significant privacy breach, and the broader issue that it "currently has low usage and engagement."

So, raise a toast to Google+, even though you'll basically be drinking alone. And take inspiration from the other side of the story. The biggest players don't always win; sometimes it's the scrappy team with the much better product that comes out on top.

Here's what else I'm reading today:

How a brain researcher stays mentally fit

Jessica Langbaum, the associate director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Initiative at the Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Phoenix, says it comes down to one simple piece of advice: Stay in the workforce--or at least keep your brain working. (John Hamilton, NPR)

For the holiday season, "many (un)happy returns"

The economy is booming, and retailers are looking forward to a great holiday season. The one thing to watch out for however: consumers buying products only to plan on returning them after January 1. About 10 percent of all holiday purchases wind up returned, and that goes as high as 30 percent for Internet buys. (Steve LeVine, Axios)

The first all-women Supreme Court clerk team

We bring up Justice Brett Kavanaugh here only to point out that just hours after being sworn into the Supreme Court, he made history by bringing with him an all-woman team of four clerks. This is the first time that's happened. (Kathryn Krawczyk, The Week)

Good news if you haven't hit your peak yet

A new study in the journal Nature says that nine out of 10 people will have a "hot streak" during their career, when they'll achieve the greatest mass of their best work. The good news is that the hot streak can come at any time in life, so if you haven't had yours yet, just hold on. (Tim Herrera, The New York Times)

For sale, VW Beetle, asking $1 million

This one is for you if you're a car nut or a design aficionado, and if you have an extra $1 million lying around. Up for sale: a truly iconic 1964 VW Beetle with just 22 miles, kept in storage since it was driven off the lot, brand new. (Bill Murphy Jr., Inc.com)

Published on: Oct 9, 2018
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.