A nine-year-old in Irvine, California, frustrated with the quality of videogame virtual-reality goggles, began tinkering with VR helmets he’d bought cheap from government auctions and hospital supply shops. Eventually, he succeeded in producing a glitch-free device that, with smooth perfection, can serve up a game's visuals in any direction you look. Called Oculus Rift, it caused a sensation at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show.
Reporters and gamers are clamoring for it. But Palmer Luckey, now 20, is taking his own sweet time to market — which he’s free to do since his funding comes strings-free from Kickstarter. Right now, he’s releasing it only as a developers’ kit. “It would be irresponsible for me to say when we'll have consumer products," he tells this enthusiast from Popular Mechanics, since the device still lacks sound — and who knows what else? If the developers say it needs some new functions, he insists (in an approach more reminiscent of the old mainframe makers than a 21st century start-up), he won’t release it until he’s perfected those functions, too.
Denizens of incubators well know the benefits of working in the same building with other aspiring entrepreneurs, who share their passions, frustrations, odd hours, advice, and companionship. In Deskmag’s Annual Global Coworking Survey, Lydia Dishman sees data suggesting that established businesses try the approach, as the staffs from Gawker, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Vimeo did temporarily in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Fully 71% of study participants reported a boost in creativity since joining a coworking space, and 62% said their standard of work had improved. Only 30% use the space during normal working hours, which Dishman sees as a sign of go-the-extra-mile engagement, but might also indicate a lot of people moonlighting.
The benefits of two-parent families in helping their children get ahead, as success in school translates into higher incomes in life, has been well-documented in the developed world (though the statistics here are well worth a look — they’re pretty dramatic). But researchers are not finding that the same holds true in the developing world, where data show children from single-parent households do as well, and often even better. Why? Investigator W. Brad Wilcox offers up three reasons. Extended families are more common, fathers are less engaged in any event, and the disparity of school quality is so great it matters far more than family structure.