64. Tara Lemmey

CEO, Net Power & Light

64. Tara Lemmey

The Host For The Masses

Coursera and Udacity may open up lectures to millions around the world, but they can’t re-create the classroom vibe–and that’s where Tara Lemmey thinks the magic truly happens.

“To me, it’s all about the emotional connection,” she says.

Spin, her company’s online application, lets people interact in a digital space. Users can watch and react to the same video, play the same game, or work on a project as though they were all in the same room. Spin’s coolest function may be how it transforms videoconferencing. Participants can organize and size their view windows according to volume–a teacher would place herself at the top, with the loudest “mike,” and her pupils down below.

An early trial brought together 500 students from China, Brazil, India, and Japan for a semester of lectures by Harvard professor Michael Sandel. Spin scores in other ways as well. In a pilot project for the soccer team D.C. United, it made Spin Stadium, a digital place for fans to watch and cheer together.

“Interaction isn’t gaming; it’s emotional response time,” Lemmey says. “It’s having a laugh at the same moment.”

About the author

Sarah Kessler is a senior writer at Fast Company, where she writes about the on-demand/gig/sharing "economies" and the future of work.