The Joyful Frog Digital Incubator recruits a certain type of founder. We look for hackers and makers – artists, designers, developers, engineers.
You don’t have to be a hacker to be an entrepreneur. But in the Internet and Mobile sector, it helps.
We mean “hacker” in the Steven Levy, MIT, Richard Stallman, GNU/Linux, Eric Raymond sense of the word.
By our definition, a hacker is someone who, from first principles, produces the elegant and unexpected.
Some hackers produce works which impress only their peers. Others impress wider audiences. We seek hackers who are willing to apply themselves to the field of business: their art should impress a wide audience, and the value of the work should be quantifiable; we happen to use money as a measure of value.
Hackers run JFDI. For years Hugh produced Tomorrow’s World for the BBC: by chronicling one generation of hackers, he inspired another. Meng co-authored RFC4408 which has become part of the world’s email system. In 2009 he co-founded hackerspace.sg.
During the bootcamp you’ll be spending time with them and with hackers like them, learning the language of business. You’ll be participating in a fine tradition of engineers turned entrepreneur. Consider Eric Schmidt. Larry and Sergey were very technical, so they brought in Eric Schmidt to be the grown-up business guy. But Eric Schmidt wasn’t just some MBA. He was the co-author of lex. Did you know that?
For more on hackers, see:
Let’s paint a picture of the other participants in the JFDI program. You’ll be spending a lot of time together.
Joyful Frogs like to read. A lot. The Singularity is coming, and it doesn’t faze them: they expect to keep up! Participants in the JFDI program will be offered a steady stream of fiction and nonfiction. Thanks to a semi-structured curriculum, you’ll leave the program with a deep understanding of:
- the history of media technologies since Gutenberg,
- the precise technical meaning of the term “disruptive innovation”,
- the philosophy of value and the essence of entrepreneurship,
- the practice of agile software development, customer development, and lean startup methods, and
- virality and game mechanics.
You’ll find that every JFDI participant is at the leading edge of some technology. They might be a core contributor to an opensource project, an expert in some programming language, a scalability architect with hard-won experience, or a specialist in mobile UX design.
But that’s just the beginning. In addition to that, JFDI participants have a deep drive to please. Technology on its own is neat, but you’ll find that everyone here has an itch to apply technology in the service of others.
Consider the word “app”: it’s short for “application” – the application of a technology to a problem. Yes, it’s important that the thing works. But it’s more important that lots of other people use it.
You’ll find that your fellow frogs at JFDI know certain problems very well: they know the prior art. They know everybody who’s active in that problem space. And everybody else knows them. And – this is what makes them interesting for JFDI – they’ve got some new approach that they’re ready to experiment with.
Besides all this, hackers tend to be alpha geeks. First to get an iPhone and first to jailbreak it. First to get an Android phone and first to write an app for it. Their computers tend to run an OS on steroids, jacked up with nonstandard extensions or running a custom kernel. Hackers are extraordinarily competent and creative in multiple domains: they seem to be good at everything they set their hand to. One hacker I know is a mathematician and a top-notch programmer – he writes compilers for fun – but he’s also a championship fencer, a poet, and a costume designer.
If this sounds like you, and like the sort of people you’d like to hang out with, join us in January!