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Builders for the Future (Notes from Dec. 24 – 30) January 16, 2019

Posted by Anthony in experience, finance, Founders, global, Hiring, questions, social, Uncategorized, WomenInWork.
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Hello all! It’s good to write again this week! And this one sent us back to the week of Christmas. Appropriate for this edition because I spent mine with my mom. She’s one of the strongest women that I know – the stars of their respective companies/start-ups/brands. They’re asking questions that affect all of us, whether it’s when we literally stay a Marriott Hotel, question our job choices going forward, try to learn a new skill, or even debating on jumping into a start-up with an idea.

I know I took quite a bit of the segments to heart and reflected on them. They covered a wide range of topics but ultimately, how do we move forward in whatever we’re doing.

  • Nicola Corzine (@ncTheCenter), Exec Director at NASDAQ Entrepreneurial Center (Bay Area Ventures, Wharton XM)

    • Enabled 7500 entrepreneurs in 65+ countries
    • 49% female and 65% minority as a big driver for her
    • KPIs as solving the business problems that are presented
  • Stephanie Linnartz, Chief Commercial Officer at Marriott International (Wharton XM)
    • Discussed how they had positioned to make sure certain hotels stand by their values
    • After buying Ritz Carlton, keeping it as Ritz Carlton brand
    • Host / rent-type brand and partnership to ensure that they can offer amenities in line with brand
    • Structure of Marriott being franchised, primarily
  • Ellen Ruppel Shell (@EllenRuppelShel), author of The Job (In the Workplace, Wharton XM)
    • What’s it mean to be satisfied at work? Depends on the person.
    • How gig economy changed mindsets – if it did? Many people want consistent paycheck
      • Control isn’t super valuable if they don’t know when the next paycheck is coming
    • Disagreements of people seeking ‘satisfaction’ or ‘meaningful’ employment – falsehood that has been pushed onto workers
  • Alice Bentink (@Alicebentinck), co-founder of Entrepreneurs First (20min VC FF 014)

    • Founded Girls Code
    • Was originally at McKinsey when she started – best way to think about next steps when they were graduating from university
    • Ingredients for EF: exceptional technical talent, co-founders that matter
      • Idea is important but not perfect idea (doesn’t exist)
        • Idea that resonates with you to attack and start to build
      • Non-technical people need to bring domain expertise (used a translation expert with contacts/work in the space)
        • People with years of expertise don’t want to work in their domain – EF is pained by this
      • Selection based on the talent over ideas (changing them 2-3 times)
    • What makes a great founder?
      • Thousands of applications – built companies or startups or products
        • How to keep an open mindset and willingness to learn
    • First time founders worry too much about the startup than the product being built
      • Don’t worry about accounting, incorporation, logo
      • Do built a test product, get feedback, iterate quickly
    • Friends and family rounds can be dangerous if there isn’t an understanding of the risk or time horizon (say, pensions or house deposit)
    • Scaling from 15 companies a year to 40 companies
  • Kirsty Nathoo, CFO of Y Combinator (20min VC 075)

    • Went from PWC in Cambridge, UK to YC and do-everything at a start-up accelerator
      • Got involved with YC through her husband, funded in 2008
      • Had a 3 week window to close up Cambridge and get to SV – was doing a ton of responsibilities
        • Control of all bank accounts, access to everything and it made her more trustworthy
    • First batch she was involved with was Winter 2010 and had 26 companies
    • 10 minute interviews questions – how big does it get? How does it adjust with getting customers what they want?
      • Have the founders thought about enough to make each other learn something new?
    • Obvious business expenses vs controllable business expenses – spending investor money and when to vary / change these
      • Founders can break up and it often isn’t ideal – YC makes sure to pay founders and payroll
    • Founders should be able to report a lot
      • How much $ in bank? Runway? Growth rate? Burn rate?
    • Most impressive interviews are ones that founders can articulate answers to questions because they’re so matched with their mission

Betaworks, Kamal Pt 2 and Automation Innovation (Notes Jan 28 – Feb 3, ’19) February 19, 2019

Posted by Anthony in Altucher, Automation, education, experience, Founders, global, questions, social, Uncategorized.
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After the short post and notes from the prior week, this one was chock full of Strictly VC episodes. I also caught a bunch of Wharton XM on innovation in automation and various questions as to its applications in novel ways (and old industries).

The first up was a fascinating innovation in agriculture discussion with a professor working at UC Davis. Oenology has so many levels to it, from climatology, viticulture to how and when to harvest along with the chemistry. Innovation using automation and AI should be able to capture a lot of value in the whole chain, all the way to the distribution and end consumers. Reduction of variability was the big takeaway here. I do wish there were more weekend days to explore wine to fully immerse, but alas, we have 2 or 3.

Kamal finished his talk with Harry Stebbings on 20min VC to discuss the future of VC and how he sees the best business done. Hands-on, smaller funds believed to be better and to work on solving the problems that keep founders up at night. Those are most exciting.

James Bell, Kia Motors’ Director of Corp. Communication and Social Media, discussed his takes on autonomous vehicles over the next 5+ years and how they’re likely to be constrained to cities. Probably reduced speeds ~25-40mph and that even if they show up, it’ll be a challenge to get adaptation on the vehicle side as well as humans adjusting. Complete network of autonomous would be easy – humans add the variability that throws wrenches into the equation.

Then, we had Chad Fowler and Matt Hartman (Director of Betaworks). Peruse the notes below to see how those went

  • Innovation in Agriculture (UC Davis professor) – Work of Tomorrow

    • Talked about automation on acreage for vineyards
    • 33% variability in vines across many acres, AI can reduce variability which allows for better management
      • Migrant patterns changed of laborers, pricing for pickers up to $42+/hr avg
      • Tough to get teams of 32+1 team lead consistently
    • Automation / machine pickers are ~5 year break-even, $18k in cost initially per acre and can drop after
  • Kamal Ravikant Part 2 (20min VC 078)
    • Future of VC
      • Competing for talent, entrepreneurs – AngelList, etc
      • Value add more in the recent time – they didn’t do anything before
      • Give the entrepreneur the power – not just another company of the portfolio
      • Smaller funds that will do better: Vast VC in NY, Kent Goldman (board observer at his old co), Syndicates, Ferriss, Jason Calacanis, one-off funds over bigger VC’s, Rick Morini
    • Shares deals with many of his friends that he’s talked to and approached (entrepreneurship)
      • Questions include understanding the product, team, burn rate, distribution
    • Fundamentally solving a problem (keeps you up at night)
    • Book of the biggest influence – The Alchemist, The Little Prince, Hemingway, Great Work of Your Life – Cope
    • He’d play more because he spends too much time writing / working
      • Altucher as the Oprah of the internet – (Told Stebbings to avoid college and build one in Guam)
    • Inspiring leader – Elon Musk (putting his own money on the line), Naval (his brother) and putting steps to build it – power, AngelList
    • Most recent investment – Bolt – uncapped, Dan Sharp founder, payments (something he wanted to solve)
      • Interviewing each other – did it to guarantee value add
      • Can’t invest into social good or impact because it doesn’t return all the time (to pitch to his LPs)
    • Lost a lot of his money in the old company after he burned it all
      • Level of responsibility for his LPs – not wasting, has a fiduciary responsibility for building the company
  • Chad Fowler, CTO at Wunderlist (20min VC FF016)

    • App of the year, writer
      • From the founder – ‘simplicity, design’
      • Removed everything that they could, what else could they take out
      • Why business software is broken? – self-defeating, fear-based negotiation tactics that they need it
        • Ask for everything you could possibly ever want (and if the vendor can’t say yes, then you drive down price)
    • Tech (into video games) from music (forming and writing – ‘on hold’ for 20 yrs)
      • Same mindset for tech as music – we don’t enter music for a job – you do it because you want to bring something special
    • At LivingSocial in DC, InfoEther (his co) was a talent acquisition, became a VP of Eng and took over role of CTO
      • Approached by friends in Berlin shortly after that
    • Living in Berlin / Europe – completely disconnected in the 90s but no longer in 2010s
      • Still cultural issues that may be disadvantaged – bit more behind, conservative
      • He mentions he loves the cultural and international aspect of Berlin (US, as well) but cheaper
    • He believed that the piece of software is done – the client product is done – simplicity guardians
      • Wonderlist should be the glue that recognizes or allows input for everything across your life
    • Most requested features: folders
    • Same general operations once acquired by Microsoft – operating in Berlin still, staying with the teams, etc…
    • Fav book: E-myth Revisited – why small businesses fail, strategic/systems from own career thru running company
    • At GE, started a development center in Bengalore – new, cultural uncomfortable place taught him a ton
  • James Bell, Director, Corp Comm & Social Media at Kia Motors America (Launch Pad, WhartonXM)
    • If he had to put a number on autonomous – caveat: cities or districts, maybe 5-6 years
      • Slower, 25-40 mph congestion reduced but autonomous allowed – no humans
    • Humans add the element of randomness & variability that change autonomous cars 
      • How’s a car going to treat the randomness of a human in the road or other humans
      • How will people react to cars without drivers (videos of seat-outfitted drivers at crosswalks)
    • Talked about buying the first hybrid early on and how many questions he got in general
      • Likened that feeling to what it may have been like after cars showed up post-horse/buggy
      • Inflection points of becoming ubiquitous
  • Matt Hartman, Betaworks Weeks, Director of Seed Investments (20min VC 078)

    • Prior to Betaworks, he was co-founder of ReferBoost
    • Went to b-school, worked at Hot Potato, consumer social network acquired by Facebook
      • Went back to school and started a real estate platform
    • Betaworks – consumer internet companies with Bitly, Dots, giphy
      • 100+ people on 10 different companies, outside financing and get a bigger space if they’re building
      • Employee is under Betaworks until companies – can do seed stage, as well
    • Why seed investment side? Building, shaping and figuring out the network approach
      • Loves working on different things for different companies in the day-to-day
      • Twitter becomes much more about news vs Facebook for friends – iterations and bilateral
      • Snapchat is 1:1 but 1:many, lower friction vs Instagram that keeps it there (not 1 hour or 24 hours)
      • Habit forming activity
    • Conversations on ProductHunt were normal conversations among product designers – network structure enabled community growth
    • Meercat – one of the best product launches he’d seen (though they didn’t invest)
      • Product was well done and more tightly integrated than Periscope, really good time
      • Meercat is not great in real-time – comments / questions won’t work great for video compared to others
    • Instapaper – Betaworks co – was going through articles in audio form
      • Was consuming 6 hours of reading just in his day-to-day with lunch, walks, commute
        • Found time in listening channel
      • Native audio ads already has straightforward monetization structure
      • Multitasking can be pretty useful for being conversions in listening
    • For deal-sourcing, he gets them through coworkers’ network (people at Betaworks)
      • ProductHunt has been one that initiates deals
    • Productivity tool Drafts? – input box for notes (opens API to do add anything macro-related)
    • DigDeeper (Instapaper) – notes from twitter compiled
    • Ryan Leslie’s Disruptive Multimedia (always available via twitter/phone)

Acting on Ideas + Kamal Part 1 (Notes from Jan 21 – 27, 2019) February 12, 2019

Posted by Anthony in Automation, experience, Founders, global, questions, social, Uncategorized.
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Changing the world (re: starting a company you believe solves a fundamental problem) requires, at the minimum, action. Nobody has an idea and can sleep through the execution of those ideas. You must act. This is what separates the ‘risk-takers’ from the ‘risk-averse’. Action.

Kamal mentioned that he came to Silicon Valley in the mid-1990s and promptly ran with a start-up, only to barely break even. Hadn’t gotten ahead right away. Took work, lots of it. Fundamentally, providing value to your customers will give you insight as to how to sell to your customers and gain more traction. Zohar at Wibbitz did this as well – knowing the journalism side and being a habitual creator since middle school, he was able to adapt new technology to advance articles into video content – a must for the most recent trends in media consumption.

Jason at Marqeta looked to ease the convoluted payments space between many of the big name card companies and the vendors that want to connect to give access to as many customers as possible. I know these are short but I hope it provides reasons to download or listen to the podcast episodes! Let me know in the comments below.

  • Zohar Dayan, Wibbitz founder (Wharton XM)

    • Video creation using automation – storytellers and changing the way we make video
      • Making it easier for articles to have videos – sports, journalism, etc
    • Personal opinion of mine – video content is a huge boon for ads (and we’ve seen a portion of this in audio ads – i.e. podcasts)
  • Marqeta CEO, Jason Gardner (@jmgards) (Bay Area Ventures, WhartonXM)
    • Developer API that’s friendly for commerce innovation
      • What, where and how purchases are authorized for companies
  • Kamal Ravikant (@kamalravikant) Part 1 (20min VC 077)
    • Author of Love Yourself as if Your Life Depends on It
    • Moved to SV in mid-90s, joined Healthy-on and could just run with it at the time
      • Said he broke even, essentially
    • Did start-ups, went to angel fund, and went back to start-ups
    • Product and traction: need customers / users and to build these numbers
      • Approached customer acquisition and online marketing guys – Facebook/online, etc…
      • Cheap, self-built fund (wanted to bring on guys that would help the companies invested into)
      • Had no track record on his own leading into his initial fund
    • Some investors are best done when they are ‘dumb’ money (give and let build)
      • Open entrepreneurs to actually build what they’re trying to build and be there for help / need something
    • Talked about friend who runs largest pole dancing studio in country who said she has a husband that’s a physician who wants to start
      • Does a bunch of conferences and work that keeps him busy – doesn’t jump
        • Kamal just said he needs to start and make the mistakes
      • Don’t do something that you think market is hot – better be doing something you care about
      • Best ones are ideas + action – have to make it real, get customers or mock ups

CEOs and Building the Co (Notes from Jan 14 – 20, 2019) February 6, 2019

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What a week so far!! h2o World conference in SF had some fantastically informative keynotes and presentations – from animal conservancy to cancer genomics to financial services fraud analysis and expansion of various platforms and end-to-end tools – had it all in AI and ML. Can’t forget the diversity and ethics segment, either, that seem to be much more prevalent in the current environment of data privacy and what’s biased, ethical or innately problematic.

In my notes from a few weeks ago for this post, I didn’t make a ton of time to listen, but of the couple that I did, we have some more detail! Each of them are founders/partners and have learned and shared a deluge of information on starting, building and scaling companies. Right up what I would love to build here, soon. Just have to act, of course.

  • Aaron Harris (@harris), Partner at Ycomb (20min VC 076)

    • Start-up school podcast
    • Left college and thought he wanted to be a CEO of Citibank or something – took him 6 months to realize he didn’t want to be there, 5 months to get out
      • Spent time at a hedge fund next, learning how public markets and how companies are put together
      • Wanted to build something for people, not just LPs – technology most interesting (cross-sections, networks)
    • TutorSpree with Josh Adams in summer of 2010, had another cofounder, joined YC and was funded by Sequoia
      • Was reliant on SEO until Google algorithm changed and killed the company vision for what they wanted
      • Approached by YC after as he figured this out
    • “No” as the start of a conversation, unless rude, obviously.
      • Ask good questions or iterate and you’ll see progress.
    • 10% growth target question – he said it’s the result of having the right product and market
      • Don’t invent growth, need to get the fit – (1% a week vs a startup scale)
    • Expansion of what type of companies – biotech, aerospace, nuclear power, etc…
    • “Diving Bell and the Butterfly” favorite book by finding meaning despite physical limitations
    • Works often in fintech, so he wants to find initiatives in the P&C side
      • Overhyped sector – maybe photo-sharing
  • Eric Glyman (@eglyman), CEO and co-founder at Paribus (20min VC FF015)

    • Scans inbox for receipts and automatically saves the money
    • Went to Harvard – prior had worked at Express observing people purchase a constant stream of clothes that were always discounted
      • After, he went to work in restructuring where they went through finances and legal contracts for where things went wrong
        • Saw meanest people going back and forth over contracts to enforce / read them
    • Purchased something one day and the next day was $100 less. After a little work, he could get the $ back
      • Sales always happening, tried to test hypotheses for simple/scalable offering of business
        • Credit card statement or receipt scans were too much work
    • Spent a year, test things – what’s the right thing to make a jump?
      • For Paribus, had to figure out where you bought an item from, how to get items back, how you could $ back
    • Didn’t get into YC right away / first time. Had 100x the second time, real traction.
      • “We do this. This is how it is.” – clarity of what they’re doing
      • Interview was rapid fire and intense. His co-founder took a cup after and crushed it.
    • Grew 1000% in a month but then got stuck on how to grow the business the next month
      • Paribus required a lot of trust, as well as ensuring that it will actually work
      • Grew the most from a friend or publications – can they get others to write about them, can you get a friend / referral?
        • 15% shared with others (2 methods for it initially – wanted to make it immediate)
        • Hesitation was 25% – conversations were always about that, but they changed the referral for a 2-sided 5% off – 50% shared after
    • I, Robot favorite book – progressive over time
    • Gave his typical day at YC (at end of episode)
    • Favorite blog – selling before making, Noah Kagan
  • Charles Chang, CEO of Lubn Inc (Launch Pad, Wharton XM)

    • Autonomous property management solutions platform (CES winner)
      • 4G/LTE lockbox with visual authentication feature, takes photo and sends to manager’s phone
      • Property managers can unlock via the lock’s app (all of this sounds an awful lot like what others have?)
    • Lubn Dashboard, ‘proprietary web application’ to track multiple properties, individual security profiles for guests, and record data with guests’ movements
      • The dashboard sounded more interesting with scheduling and notification to 3rd party services (say, guests leaving and app auto-sends to cleaners)

Measuring Money Metrics (Notes from Jan 7 – 13, 2019) January 29, 2019

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Our notes this week won’t include a long drawn out intro. And I’m going to skimp on the pictures – may edit it when I come back. However, I do want to say that my initial thoughts on the segments included in the notes from this week were very different than normal. A CMO who spoke of different metrics than what I’ve typically heard as well as launching a platform for debt securities and DPO vs IPO or otherwise – hopefully something we’d see more of in the current market environment.

I did want to get this out Tuesday, though, instead of Thursday. So, hopefully everyone will look further into the segments!

  • John Leeman, CMO of FreshDirect (Measured Thoughts, Wharton XM)
    • Talked about how sometimes the CACC can be higher for some methods (direct mail vs online) but ROI better
      • Focuses on getting the right customers and marketing to them
    • M in CMO as “magician” or “metrics”, where they have to connect to the customers
    • Online, product recommendations are solicits and he tries to focus on allowing the customers to tell them what they want
      • Purchase a hot dog, do they want ketchup vs notification when something sold out comes back (or is on sale)
      • Birthday cake would prompt a notification for the next year
  • Book: Riding High – Ruth Zukerman on leaving Soulcycle
  • John Katovich, SVX.US co-founder (Dollars & Change, WhartonXM)
    • SVX.US launching platform with $11.5 million TechSoup offering
      • Shape an investment via Direct Public Offering (DPO)

Connect civil society organizations and changemakers to resources to implement new tech

  • TechSoup DPO had 3 tiers of debt securities – first time SEC qualified a nonprofit to raise funds through Reg A+/Tier2
    • Engage any type of investor, communities-driven
  • Book author: Fearless Organization, Amy Edmondson
  • Corpsumer, Carreen Winters MWWPR (Marketing Matters, WhartonXM)
    • Branding and how customers stick to loyalty or not with certain corporation
      • Starbucks as repeated example
    • 78% would leave a corp for wrong things but 33% look into it

New Year, New Reflection! (Notes from Dec. 31 – Jan 6, 2019) January 24, 2019

Posted by Anthony in Automation, experience, finance, global, questions, social, training, Uncategorized, WomenInWork.
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This was a bit of a chaotic work week in that nobody wanted to work and if they were trying to get back into a groove, it was the cause of a chaotic schedule. Enter a consultant’s toughest week to manage, at least mine.

Since this covered the New Year’s festivities, I suppose I’ll share some goals for 2019.

1. Finish a minimum of 5 of my daily showers for the week with > 1 min of cold-as-it-will-get water
I used to do this each morning ahead of work when I had to be in the office by 6:00am and left the house ahead of 5. Definitely woke up me up and wasn’t as painful as most expect. Then you’re used to it, and a warm shower feels wonder (not even hot).
2. Complete a book every other week.
I finished Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Now on to All the Lights We Cannot See. I may purchase The Border for after that, but I do have a few other books I could go with. I do think reading provides me a great end to my night and keeps me reflecting, while learning.
3. Following Jason Helmes (@anymanfitness) plan for working out and diet (mainly this). Simple, straightforward, familiar (did 5×5 a few years ago) but really, it’s the diet. Minimizing carbs on the days off and carbs can equal fat on the days that you do work out. Doable – I’m in 2+ weeks and feel great on 2 meals a day (had been doing this, outside of the holidays, for ~4+ months).
4. Make it to at least 1 networking event every month.
Between Smartly MBA networking stuff or FinTech and my data groups, this is totally doable. The “tough” part is wanting to get out to the South Bay or the city SF for the events on weekdays. It’s written and on the internet, though, so this is accountability!

Those are what I’ve decided thus far – we’ll see how they complete (follow along the books on my book page Books List!). Cold showers – maybe I’ll do a quick app / tracker thing for that. I skipped Sunday / Monday this week but was back today. Work outs, I’ll post the Google Doc (past few weeks have been de-loading). I also have pictures, but I’ll have to decide on releasing that. Networking part? TBD – probably list people I met / talked to on Twitter.

Intelligent application is the theme for today! Even in the notes from my segments.

  • Alexi Robichaux (@arobichaux), BetterUp CEO (Work of Tomorrow?)

    • Seeking a better, more “meaning” work and life. 
    • professional development wasn’t the core – it was instead, personal, internal development that keyed growth
    • High stress, anxiety and depression leads to hours of lost productivity in workplaces – despite increased awareness
  • Jonathan Matus, Founder CEO of ZenDrive (WhartonXM)

    • Using smartphones to make driving smarter
    • Wasn’t sure how to do it initially, really wanted his co-founder Pankaj as the smartest/technical person (worked before)
      • He didn’t realize (and lucked out) that the culture of who he wanted to join was as important
      • Hadn’t thought of that
  • Rachel Drori, Daily Harvest Founder (Launch Pad, Wharton XM)

    • Being a mom and wanted to find an easy way to easy, convenient way to use the freezer
    • Farm-frozen, organic fruit and superfoods with one-step, no-mess recipes.
    • Issue with other delivery services – may not use everything, goes bad – time as constraint
    • Still low-maintenance, but premium product

Push Ahead with Technology – Robots, Retail, Blockchain (Notes from Dec 17 – 23) January 10, 2019

Posted by Anthony in Automation, Blockchain, experience, finance, social, Uncategorized.
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First week back for most people. Hope it hasn’t been too chaotic. Schedule-wise, I was expecting craziness but it seems that everyone’s trying to adjust, so changes have been aplenty. Somewhat with a theme of resolutions and just personal improvement as I had time to mull and reflect, I had retreated a few months ago from my book-goal. So, that’s begun again, starting with Meditations by Marcus Aurelius, offered at Project Gutenberg.


Then, I heard this morning, though I forget which segment it was, that there is a woman who writes weekly blogs for progress of weekly/monthly goals. That’s quite the inspiration! I’m not against resolutions, but the segment host / guest made great points in that they can fail often due to not being measurable (‘be happier’, ‘lose weight’ – measurable, but not succinct enough, ‘walk more’). So, accountability and something where you can SEE/REFLECT on how you’re doing is more actionable.

In light of that, I am going to make an effort to go back to ending my showers with 1min cold water (this morning: 1 for 1), read more (thru 3 books/chapters of Meditations), and attend at least 1 meet-up for the month (Smartly had one today but I’m going to attend next week’s in SF).

  • Scott Peters, SAM and Robotic Construction (Wharton XM)

    • CEO of Construction Robotics, talked about his SAM (semi-automated mason) that can lay 350-400 bricks an hour
      • No fatigue, just operation and planning goes into it
      • Ideal for commercial scenarios – large, long walls – set-up time
    • Specs for robotic-enabled to see if there’s a cost saving, time saving or profit margin for company
      • Work with customers to make sure it is feasible and makes sense
  • Doug Bewsher (@dougino), Author at Leadspace (Wharton XM)
    • Didn’t start as a journalist / author – was a CEO brought in for expertise for his marketing skills
      • Prior CMO Salesforce, CMO Skype, co-led McKinsey’s CRM practice
  • Caitlin Long (@caitlinlong_), former Morgan Stanley MD (Wharton XM)
    • Focusing on state-level support in the digital assets industry in Wyoming
    • Blockchain friendly bank – focused on that type of risk (more risk, so banks don’t want to enable)
    • Asset- and debt-based business and discussing blockchain as something different altogether
  • Stephen Sadove – former Saks 5th, Mastercard Senior Adviser
    • Data from holiday says that the Sunday before Christmas is the most busiest day of the year (ahead of Black Friday / Cyber Monday)
    • Shoppers in many aspects are increasing, except for say, electronics and big box retailers
    • Across the wave, and sections (“cozy” items)
      • Stores take advantage and share on the success


Across the Board! Digitization, Health, Systems, and Strategy (Notes from Dec. 10 to 16) January 3, 2019

Posted by Anthony in Automation, experience, finance, global, medicine, Politics, questions, social, WomenInWork.
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Happy New Year’s, everyone! Hope people had a safe, relaxing and fun holiday. I also hope it provided some time to pause, reflect and wondering for what has happened and what may come in the next year.

I’ll preface my notes by informing you that they are short snippets, as you’ll observe. This was not necessarily by design, but necessity. I listened to a higher number than I should have in this week, as I needed to procrastinate – for what, you may ask? – for my MBA Final exam. Knowing how much drop-off in any online programs there is, I was hesitant in sharing this with others. Hate to tell someone you started something and then pause it, right? I sit here, now after receiving my Smartly Institute email saying I’ve completed the program and should receive the MBA Degree shortly!


For those curious about the online program, reach out! Or maybe I’ll sure the exit survey that I am supposed to complete here.

Getting to my notes / snippets of what I listened to during that week, check below! I do think I’ll go back and listen to a couple of the segments fully because I found them very interesting. Whether it was strategy for Hasbro and eSports’ future or the author of Loneliest Generation or the Brightseed founder – some very interesting research and data being collected and reported on for whatever tickles your fancy. Whatever you may in interested in, there are plenty of overlaps. Know this.

  • Hasbro/Wizards strategy for esports, how DnD came about, Magic, (Work of Tomorrow, Wharton XM)
    • Magic was a request on finding a game between DnD games – revolutionized with trading card game
  • HBR article – business models for healthcare: https://hbr.org/2018/11/3-business-models-that-could-bring-million-dollar-cures-to-everyone
    • Business model needs to be reinvented if we’re to have million dollar treatments/cures
      • Ensure that insurance co’s are willing to cover expensive therapy – provide outcome-based results
      • Economics tend to be difficult if consumers are switching every 2 – 3 years with employer switches
    • HealthCoin securitizing improvements in health that can be passed from one stakeholder to another
      • Generates credit like a bond, can sell later to recoup cost
    • Annuity-based model for diseases/costly procedures, collect dividends after monthly premium investments
  • Million Dollar Women, Julia Pimsleur, (Women @ Work, WhartonXM)

    • Changing mindset, upping skillset, expanding network
      • Trying to get them to think bigger and get rid of imposter syndrome
      • Develop their 8 pillars
      • Network by talking 1 on 1 with established mentors in the program
  • Mene founder (Wharton XM)

    • Talking about the gold standard – Reagan’s temporary mission, haven’t come off
      • Inflation has been resigned to just sticking with the faux environment we’re in now – printing money
      • If gold wasn’t a store of value, it wouldn’t have risen from $30 – $1200+
  • Cotopaxi Founder, Davis Smith (Wharton XM)
    • Why SLC? He and his wife were deciding between Seattle and Salt Lake City – she chose SLC (having grown up in Seattle)
    • Created tribe / community of supporters
      • In Korea, someone shouted across the way Cotopaxi – to which he informed them he was the founder
      • Validation for what he had been working to create (although network effect bigger than anticipated)
    • Owning the omni-channels and why he chose D2C (virtual presence a la Warby Parker, Away, etc…)
      • Online and then a retail presence to own their own brand, before moving out to partner with places that help them reach others
      • Had to sell via Amazon as well to own that channel (otherwise someone would definitely be selling on that channel)
      • Partner with REI and other retailers in order to gain visible traction with places that had strong digital presence
        • Not the full catalog, but a few of the higher margin SKUs
      • Talked about how Vans originally rolled out to skaters/surf shops – top of pyramid before moving down to Zumies (frequented by those)
        • After a long while, they’re finally selling in JC Penny’s and others like it (well-established brand first)
    • Vertical digitalization above and then has a very lean business on the other side (outsources much of the fillers, suppliers, distribution)
      • He knows what he knows and then learns from those he works for – lets them do their thing
  • Author of Future Politics, Jamie Susskind (Wharton XM)

    • Why do we insist on allowing politicians to not be knowledgeable in digital age
    • Odd that these are legislators attempting to update the digital companies
    • Should be obvious that we ask the people creating regulation should be involved in the technology that they’re attempting to design around (apparently our votes say otherwise)




  • Loneliest Generation author (not wsj one)
    • Costs an estimate $7bn, more than arthritis or high blood pressure combined
  • Brightseed founder, (Wharton XM, Thurs Dec 13)
    • Search engine with thousands of plants to identify empirical evidence of eastern medicine
      • Which plant consumption triggers improved physical / health properties?
      • Headed to market with one that improves liver toxin fat breakdown
    • Cheaper aspect because they’re plants compared to new drugs which can take hundreds of millions of 7+ years
    • Features of plants aligning with human function

Tech Trends for Business (Notes from Dec. 3 – 9, 2018) December 28, 2018

Posted by Anthony in education, experience, finance, global, medicine, questions, social, Uncategorized.
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Okay, a busy week! Hope everyone had a great Christmas, safe and won all your family games. Earlier in the month, I listened to a couple 20min VC’ episodes that focused on tech trends (episodes from 2016). Looking back, healthcare is still being worked on, and we have definitely expanded into Europe being a larger hub for startups and tech origination.

Then, there remain questions of how we will replace or fundamentally alter the processes that seem ubiquitous such as transaction methods and recording as well as the old rules of portfolio formation.

I hope you guys enjoy some of the notes and feel free to explore further depths on your own!

  • Michael Treskow, Morgan Stanley IB former, VC at Accel Partners (20min VC 073)
    • Investment environment of London vs SF – tons of entrepreneurs in both
    • All else being equal – all experience (prior founder experience) is typically good
      • Gets bug for creating his own thing but then is quickly reminded of how difficult and time-consuming it is
    • He said he looks for market size and ability to attract is what draws him in
      • Obsession for the topic / market / expertise
    • Wunderlist (made in Berlin) for productivity tool.
    • European tech hub: didn’t think there’d just be one – mentions Madrid, Nordics, Tel Aviv and the excitement of all
    • Blog – Term Sheet, big name others


  • Bob Kocher (@bobkocher), Partner at Venrock (20min VC 074)
    • Focuses on healthcare IT, Alidaide / Jif / GrandRounds / DrOnDemand
    • Consultant at Stanford and Harvard Med – served in Obama Administration, prior at McKinsey
    • 20% of economy is healthcare, aligning incentives and getting people to use it is the main challenge
    • Main changes as byproducts of recent: amazing glut of new information, changes to incentives
      • Healthcare was textbook information asymmetry (getting 90% of doctors/hospitals on board with payment models and data coordination)
      • Consolidation on the providers side which has killed competition and innovation, increased prices
    • Way that care is delivered is one of the biggest challenges – matching right person to the right doctor leads to better outcomes
      • No matter how expert a doctor is, they can’t know everything
    • He didn’t believe that regulators are a big challenge because they’re looking to help the right cases
      • Imagination and scoping solutions to be massive
    • Find joy in what you do every day – skipping the ‘do a job for x years before getting into a job that you like’
      • Trying to make healthcare better each day, if possible
      • The System by 1983 Clinton failure
  • Technological Trends with Fred Wilson, Union Square Ventures & Chris Dixon, Crypto GP at a16z (a16z from Sep 24, 2018)
    • Cars as software / hardware (talking of Elon’s OTA push for services) when Ford broke down often the innovation was a bunch of service centers
    • Google Maps as the app for ALL car service providers (default interface for dispatch of any medium – cars, bikes, scooters)
      • Wants this to happen for functionality
    • Google made advertising was the monetization of internet usage (explorer, outlook, etc…)
      • Thinks crypto would be the similar disrupter (look at movies from the 1990s)
      • Dotbomb game that turned into nearly ALL the current unicorns – needed bigger broadband
      • Youtube needed social sharing and broadband – existed as destination previously, eyeballs/stickiness that prevented wide distribution
    • Cloud infrastructure still pushing innovation, developer experience (10+ years)
      • Cloud as 3 player game – Microsoft, Amazon, Google and enterprise customers
    • He said 90% of developers and start-ups are on AWS and eventually can move to others
      • In enterprise, you have biggest winner as 3x as second, then 3x as 3rd, etc…
      • More room for players, but people treat it as first-movers or incumbents are the toughest
    • Making it possible for everyone to invest in high growth opportunities in capital growth – ICO is complex
      • Allow early adopters to be early investors with tokens – combining them (Tech & Money)
      • In tech, substitutes aren’t the big battles – it’s the combination of experience, ads appearing (hot dog vs hamburgers or buns)
      • Commerce vs ecommerce (IRL commerce, transition period) – emotes, digital motes and resources, domain names
    • Esports as more innovative – real sports will go by the wayside of vinyl, horse riding, etc…
      • Similar to crypto goods and internet domains
      • Shifting digital scarcity (songs aren’t scarce because you can share them – experience is)
      • Business model innovation
    • Internet move initially was moving media / goods to the internet (newspaper, songs)
      • What’s the NEXT move? Bitcoin – mining/release over time, for instance compared to porting
      • Numerai playing with staking (Skin in the Game – Taleb) – crypto-tokens make it easy to do.
        • Governance, on-chain


  • Carey Lai (@laicarey), Managing Director with Conductive Ventures (Wharton XM)
    • Talked about funding and proper allocations
  • Connecting the Dots author, John Chambers – former Cisco (Leadership in Action / Wharton)
    • 25 years with Cisco, leaders, culture – have to make mistakes with risks
    • Top 3 takeaways included taking risks, know your culture and know your strengths
    • One of the best leaders in talking was the Israeli leader, Shimon Peres, former Pres
    • Kissinger’s quote

Investing Profiles and How Businesses Adapt to Digital Age December 20, 2018

Posted by Anthony in Automation, education, experience, finance, medicine, questions, Uncategorized, WomenInWork.
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Producing valuations over the past couple years has allowed me an easy opportunity to keep up to date with an ever-changing sector – fintech. To see what has been done on the finance side with data as more and more is collected is fascinating. I think it’s great that more people are curating ideas on how it may be best for like-minded people to invest responsibly. Individuals, not just institutions, pensions and private practices should be comfortable in the process and be able to see how they want to be invested.

Happy holidays everyone and travel safe!

On to the notes:


  • CSO of OpenInvest, Josh Levin (@joshlevin11) (Bay Area Ventures)
    • Talked about trying to find exactly what people want in funds
      • Example was green + gender focus (he said they don’t exist together, or they’d be expensive)
      • Gender focus does a lot of Oil + Energy (specifically oil, where women are on boards more often than other sectors)
        • Green energy might be another profile
    • People are increasingly wanting to be aware of what companies are doing and how they’re invested into these companies
  • Book – Go Long: Why Long-Term Thinking is Your Best Short-Term Strategy, Rodney Zemmel segment (Wharton XM)
    • Check
  • Grant Geiger, EIR Healthcare (Wharton XM)

    • Started at Siemens Healthcare, eventually developed the first modular hospital room
    • Hospital of the future – rooms that can be converted as needed for patients
  • EQUILEAP founder, Diana van Maasdijk (Wharton XM)

    • Nonprofit foundation for accelerating gender equality in workplace
      • Focused on the ETF/Fund (but failed at statistics aspect of the fund – $2bn market cap ~3000 companies
      • Scored them on various equality / csr requirements, then back-tested
      • Said they outperformed (but didn’t note the survivorship bias)
  • Forbes Marketing, Director CMO, Stephen Diorio
    • How did Forbes continue to market?
  • Integrated Beverage Group CEO Ari Walker (Wharton XM)

    • Former owner of Baroness Wines, grew to largest independent alcohol distributor in CO
    • Focused on innovative process in wine and spirits (engineering the flavors based on input from sommeliers and makers)
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