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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Brickhouse: Yahoo's Answer to Google's 20% Time

A new weekly podcast by the San Jose Mercury News called Inside Silicon Valley features in its first podcast, Yahoo's Brickhouse. The San-Francisco based idea incubator is like a startup farm: 4-6 people work for 4-6 months on speculative ideas that would traditionally fall to startups to pursue.

The idea for employees is: less risk, more reward. Employees have the full backing of a large company like Yahoo, but don't face the do-or-die mentality that guides many (most) startups. But I'm sure many founders of startups would argue that that's exactly what makes so many startups successful.

One big question Yahoo's VP of Product Strategy, Bradley Horowitz, addresses is whether Yahoo has an idea-deficit. The unspoken elephant in the room is, of course, Google's 20% strategy to promote idea innovation by employees. It translates into one day of the week when Google employees can work on projects of their own choosing. Whether Yahoo can succeed in creating a culture of entrepreneurial spirit with Brickhouse remains to be seen-in 4-6 months.

A really neat demo they show in passing is a giant touchscreen world map that displays Flickr photos from around the world.

Watch the full podcast below:



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