The headline is true, except for the fact that if I was actually sitting in the Stanford CS 183 class, I would hear Peter Thiel’s voice, not Siri’s.
Yet, I can’t help but smile at the fact that I can highlight any amount of text, sit back, and have my phone read it to me. It’s awesome!
I am aware this functionality can be found in other downloadable apps and is not the first time I could have text to speech. But baked into iOS makes it that much easier and fluid. Just take this as a brief step-back from technology and realize how cool our world of mobile technology has become.
It’s how I have been consuming most of the class notes Blake Masters has graciously been posting on his blog. I am sure (although an afterthought to him) it’s been quite the traffic spike for his blog. These class notes are indeed long reads and when I don’t feel like reading, I just highlight and listen.
How to get Siri to read to you:
1. Have an iPhone 4S
2. Hold finger and highlight any content
3. Select speak.
I continually think about what kind of culture I am building within the Seconds team. We are still a rag-tag founding team, some full time and some very part time, most on the west coast but some outside of Seattle. Yet setting a strong and distinct culture at this embryonic and incubation stage of the company is one of the most important things a founder can do.
I read this the other day and it made me pause and reflect on how to better create culture within my team. From Blake Master’s notes on Peter Thiel’s CS 183 class:
Good company culture is more nuanced than simple homogeneity or heterogeneity. On the homogeneity side, everyone being alike isn’t enough. A robust company culture is one in which people have something in common thatdistinguishes them quite sharply from rest of the world. If everybody likes ice cream, that probably doesn’t matter. If the core people share a relevant and unique philosophy about something important, you’re onto something.
Similarly, differences qua differences don’t matter much. In strong company cultures, people are different in a way that goes to the core mission. Suppose one key person is on an ice cream only diet. That’s quirky. But it’s also irrelevant. You want your people to be different in a way that gives the company a strong sense of identity and yet still dovetails with the overall mission. Having different kinds of problem-solvers on a team, for example, can make for a stronger culture.