San Jose Mercury News recently launched a new weekly podcast called Inside Silicon Valley. Their first podcast caught my attention with an interview of Bradley Horowitz about Yahoo's idea incubator, Brickhouse, in San Francisco.
Yahoo is hoping that this new campus will evoke a start-up vibe and spur innovation within the company. Yahoo executive Bradley Horowitz explains how it will work.
If you're reading this in an RSS aggregator, click over to see the embedded video.
I've mentioned Brickhouse once or twice before. It's an idea incubator that recreates the startup environment with all the resources and full backing of Yahoo. They focus around relatively short term projects; roughly 4-6 people working on an idea for 4-6 months. I find this extremely interesting as I have always loved the startup experience from having read many startup articles and visiting friends that work for startups in California.
I think Brickhouse is a top-notch concept that has come to fruition and will succeed. A lot of quality talent is pushed away from pursuing ideas in the form of a startup as they don't want to risk everything including traditional benefits from working for a company, like health insurance. By retaining those benefits and adding the resources that Yahoo can provide, ideas/projects/products have a much greater chance at succeeding. Rather than worrying about where to find funding or places to buy ramen in bulk, Brickhouse workers can relax and develop their idea in a collaborative environment.
Since Brickhouse is oriented around short term projects, it's not a big deal if one or two ideas don't go anywhere - employees can either begin working on another Brickhouse idea or head back home to Sunnyvale Yahoo! HQ doing what they used to do. Compare that to a real startup where a failed product is a huge deal. In the end, this means that they can tinker around with many ideas, setting themselves up for a greater chance at victory. Brickhouse might not have a basketball or sand volleyball court, but I think people will be able to get over that with the trendy surroundings of San Francisco's SOMA neighborhood. If you haven't taken note yet, Brickhouse seems like a place I would love to work.
Yahoo's 2006-acquired video startup Jumpcut is an example of the type of talent that now works at Brickhouse.
Brickhouse starting coming out of the woodwork while I was interning at Yahoo! last summer and Bradley Horowitz, who was interviewed in the Mercury News podcast, worked near me along with Brickhouse visionary Caterina Fake. For more information about Brickhouse and to see what it looks like, check out the Yodel Anecdotal post as well as the Yodel Anecdotal flickrstream.