Ping-pong, snacks, and segways: on startup culture

I have to admit, I’ve always been a little skeptical of the idea of the “fun-loving tech startup” — companies full of geeks lounging on bean bag chairs and playing ping-pong. The idea that a pampering environment could stimulate creativity and lead to wild success in the great internet frontier always seemed a bit trite. Weren’t these really just a bunch of geeks who got lucky, now attributing their success to some nebulous inspiration found between the primary-colored walls of their offices?

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Internship at Knewton

Today rounds out my first week at Knewton, where I’ll be interning this summer.  Knewton is a medium-sized (~80 people) tech startup in Manhattan that makes adaptive learning software.  Knewton’s software uses intelligent algorithms to direct students through modular course curricula which adapts as the student proceeds. The core ideas is to present students with content that will optimally build their knowledge and assessments which optimally gauge proficiency.  If you’d like to know more, just visit their website.

My first impressions of Knewton:

It’s a fun place to work.  Typical startup atmosphere: very friendly and informal, but hardworking.  I get lots of nice perks, too, like free dinner every day.