Sunday, December 4, 2011
Exploring The ?Labs? Trend in Consumer Startups
For those of us who studied (or suffered through) chemistry at some point in life, images from the chem lab inspire nostalgia (or dread). White lab coats. Protective goggles and gloves. Glass beakers and measuring cups. It is a place of experimentation. Students are given strict lab instructions, such as ?Don?t mix baking soda and vinegar,? which many of course ignored. Whether one liked chemistry or not, there was usually an undeniable sense of excitement at conducting experiments that had the potential to cause chemical reactions, the kind that would trigger loud sounds, big messes, and new things. In the world of tech startups, the original image "labs" conjures up is of a few people ?sitting in their garage? hacking new ideas. In this world, it?s a powerful metaphor and how founders of seminal companies like Atari�and�Apple�etched their legend. The ?labs? nomenclature is back in vogue in the consumer web and mobile spaces, and the gritty garage has been replaced with urban loft studios filled with hipster gear and Blue Bottle Coffee.