Dumb apps equal big bucks in Silicon Valley's new math

Stupid is the new smart, as Silicon Valley throws money at apps that are so ridiculous, they'll make you cry

Pammy won't talk to me. After an epic tantrum because I'm too lazy to found my own messaging startup that the Zuck or maybe Nadella would have snapped up for a billion or so, she's doubly pissed off because I foolishly joked about Yo at the dinner table.

Yo is an app that's so stupid it makes a gray Rubik's Cube look like a Hawking proof. Apparently, its only function is to send the word "yo" to other idiots with the same app installed. This thing has snagged more than $1 million in actual, no-I'm-not-kidding funding from a cadre of investors who are too ashamed to make their names a matter of public record.

[ What do you get when you cross vaporware and an empty suit? Hewlett-Packard's 'Machine.' | For a humorous take on the tech industry's shenanigans, subscribe to Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter and follow Cringely on Twitter. | Can we talk? Send your tech war story to offtherecord@infoworld.com and get a $50 AmEx gift cheque if InfoWorld publishes it. We're all ears! ]

I too was infected by this grand delusion, to the point where I was convinced I could make her laugh with one of the patently hilarious observations the lot of you seem to clamor for on a weekly basis. Instead, she became really quiet and the vein in the side of her neck started throbbing. Then she waited until I was heading for the kitchen, handicapped by dishes in my hands, before she whipped around like cobra on Ritalin and punched me in the hoobles. Now she won't talk to me, and she made me sleep in the garage ... in the car or, more precisely, the trunk.

To top it off, she woke me up in the morning by pulling a few donuts in the driveway.

Apps so stupid they might work

The message from my meaner half is clear: I need to found a stupid startup. Thing is, I can't think of anything stupid enough. What's dumber than Yo?

Washboard could be a contender. This is an app that'll send you quarters on a subscription basis, so you can function in coin-op laundry. If you think I'm joking, get ready to cry. At least unlike Yo, Washboard will help a certain mollusk-minded segment of the population. In terms of sheer dopey uselessness, Yo has it beat hands down.

I could think of something smart ... eventually. Maybe I'll ask you readers to send ideas that I'll then steal, even as I delete the email trail like the geniuses comprising IRS executive management. ("It's absolutely brilliant, Dorfmann. They'll never see through it! I'm promoting you to head congressional liaison.") But smart isn't in right now. Stupid seems all the rage these days.

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