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Disorganized Trying to Organize (Notes from Feb 3 – Feb 9, 2020) August 4, 2020

Posted by Anthony in Acquisitions, Automation, Blockchain, Coronavirus, Daily fantasy football, Digital, experience, finance, Founders, global, Healthcare, Leadership, NBA, questions, social, sports, Strategy, Streaming, Uncategorized, WomenInWork.
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Productivity tools have been all the rage. Those familiar with adoption of new technology or tools in an office setting bigger than 20 people have likely been through what’s described as the J curve for adoption, popularized by Erik Brynjolfsson and Daniel Rock in their paper (see: https://economics.stanford.edu/sites/g/files/sbiybj9386/f/brynrocksyv_j-curve_final.pdf) of September 2018 on general purpose technologies. There is a slope downward to start for the adoption because the productivity decrease and difficulty in trying to set it up often leads to a loss. Over time and the consistent use, it can go away and lead to the productivity gains we sought in the first place.

Well, I’m in that too many tools, too many valleys section. Bundle and use a tool that tries to do it all? Or unbundle and use multiple tools. If you are trying to optimize notes for one platform and it doesn’t work for your other platforms (mobile/to-go/car), is it optimal? Is 90% great if you miss on the 10% you don’t have a good solution for? I’m not sure. I’m hopeful that audio can work easily – may even jump into Otter.ai for transcription there.

A family friend of ours was so obsessed with keeping track of all his clothes, colors and features that he took it upon himself to build a database of his closet. Upon telling someone else, I recall a similar story for someone who went further and did bar codes on their clothes. You spend so much time obsessing over something you’d love organization over until that organizing takes up the time you were hoping to save. We could take this further and draw similar analogies to corporate, big companies compared to start-ups in growth as an early employee – always something to be done, may not be optimizing the work, just attempting to get something out compared to optimization runs for something that worked until it breaks. Exciting work on either end but ultimately, there’s a line you must draw.

There are tons of benefits to organization for notes, processes, documentation in that someone could come in at any point and figure out what connects to what. There’s a context. I think YourStacks is doing something like this for personal / professional use of tools and games and everything one comes into contact. There have been corporate / enterprise stack technology sites that break down webpage technology or company technologies. Then there are transparent people / companies who document it both privately and publicly for others to see. We try what we think may improve but it’s tough to know where to start.

There’s a lesson to be learned here in starting, trying to going from there. Some of us want to try to optimize all the tools or one tool to its fullest before moving forward. How good is good? Or not good enough? At what point do you pass to the next or add another tool? How many tools are too many? And will we get a bundling or unbundling of different aspects? I’m hopeful we get voice tools that enable bundling for all sorts of this. Currently, I’ve yet to find the solution. Let me know what your set is!

  • Dr. Tara Smith, Professor of Epidemiology at Kent State University College of PH, Erik Moses (Wharton Moneyball 2/5/20)
    • Hockey – East and West split of conferences currently, top 4 teams in the East and defending champs Blues in the West are 5th
      • More or less deterministic (coin flips previously) – 50% as max from a conference if coin flips
    • Mookie Betts as trying to get 10 year, $40 mil per because he’s so young
    • Joined in August 2013 after being at Univ of Iowa in Emerging Infectious Diseases
  • Chetan Puttagunta, GP at Benchmark Capital (Invest like the Best 1/28/20)
    • Investing in early-stage, MongoDB, Elastic, Mulesoft and advice for POS in enterprise software building Canvas
    • MongoDB – 2012 and had experience building consumer apps from 2007-08 trying to build tech that was pretty limited
      • Felt like an advantage between large companies with proprietary data and tools compared to DIY
      • Met Elliott (MongoDB founder, from DoubleClick) – would ask best devs to work with Mongo and they responded “Don’t need”
      • DB expert – MySQL can work with everything but would miss the class of devs that wanted without planning for scale, app may not work
      • DB could handle scale, millions of users, transactional data by 2015-16, right place right time
      • Oracle as building a great database business and moved into application tier with their apps built on their db
        • CRM, HCM (Peoplesoft) to serve application – 1977 to true leader in databases in 80s, relational
      • Other timing – 1992, for instance, and it would not have worked. Cloud has been so open to these techs.
      • Cockroach for globally scalable, relational db – TimeScale for time-series IoT model, for instance after cloud enabled it
        • Specific use cases have more specifically-tailored results
      • Initiating and potential TAM Salesforce estimates from the start compared to now, where it’s much larger now than suspected
    • Now, enterprise software permeates into companies all over for IoT and consumer tech
      • Caterpillar, Pharma, Financial Services, Shipping companies are all buyers
      • Diva built a CRM system for healthcare vertical on general CRM, Salesforce – multibillion dollar company
      • Client facing software is very important – system that will be helpful and customers will tackle that and tell you directly
    • People come to work and complete a specific job or task – not to work or be an expert with your software
      • New tool into a workflow, only certain amount of walls to learn the software before leaving
      • Go slow to go fast – if you’re building a software solution in the start, build for 5-10 important users
        • Address the needs of those customers – generally applicable to the market (not just the single customer)
        • Won’t become an outside services or dev shop if you deliver services to the general customer
      • Workday and Viva early days – 50% of revenue were services since they entered enterprises (large installation of PeopleSoft)
        • On-prem CRM for Viva – lots of handholding, data migration and such
    • Duffel (Global Distribution System) for airlines selling to consumers
      • Convoluted system to sell and the flows is astounding – entrepreneurs in payments looking to innovate in these instances
      • Found airlines and approached them to “Shouldn’t it work like this?” to get your first partners/customers
      • Patient capital of “go slow to go fast” to super efficient business – spreadsheet vs software
        • Example at Greg Shaw – Mulesoft – burned $8mln from $100mln to 200mln in revenue and burned $4mln from 2-300mln
          • Inside Salesforce, they’ve grown top-line revenues further
    • Unlikely that someone else is building what you’re building
      • 2004 – Salesforce selling CRM, main competitor was Seibel – Salesforce had ACV of $4k and 15 licenses at a time vs Seibel $100k/1k
        • Go after the larger competitors when you have thousands of customers and users ecstatic about your product
      • Won’t run into competitors directly, just objections to your own system, since it’s incomplete
        • Valuing you against their internal/custom solution – take time to create product maturity before prematurely scaling
    • If you’re not missing as an investor, you aren’t taking enough shots
      • 1x your capital if you miss compared to if you pass, miss on 10x or 100x
      • At Benchmark, they’re making 5-10 investments per year, so it’s 1-2 per partner
    • Recruiting and sales – candidates have to feel very good as they go through the proces
      • Only way to scale the software business is to hire the best people to make the software
    • Hard to stand out in SF as an enterprise software integration problem (Mulesoft)
      • Competing with FAANG in a limited labor market, have to be able to recruit amazing talent
      • For start-ups, they have 2 advantages: really exciting for them to embrace remote talent (global market)
        • Running a remote company at scale has very little to do with the tools, and more so with the work culture that’s friendly
        • Everyone meets remotely on video, even in same room
        • Writing a lot of documentation, transparency about thinking in the wikis docs so anyone can catch up
      • Offline ad inventory is very efficient – account-based enterprise software ads at airports – targeting top of funnels
      • How do you transmit a culture that was highly efficient in 10 person to 20 or 100 or 1000 and further, if you’re doing 100% each year
        • 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 haven’t been there for more than 1 year, 2 years, 3, etc..
    • Most portable of early stage investing – Bill Gurley’s blog on CAC and LTV
      • Going down unit economic traps are widely applicable to all tech businesses, consumer, enterprise, etc
        • Can’t drive spreadsheet growth with CAC/inorganic growth for LTV numbers
      • Product engagement – customers in consumer and enterprise
    • Benchmark as 5 equal partners at the firm, no juniors or others
      • Don’t have a NEXT topic that they have to move on to because of this, so open-ended discussions can go very deep
        • Wide networks so they can get useful people to talk
      • Probably not a question that they can’t answer
  • Adam Draper, Founder & CEO of Boost VC (20min VC 2/24/16)
    • Seed stage accelerator, blockchain and VR
    • Before Boost, angel invested in 20+ co’s, including Coinbase, Plangrid, Practice Fusion
      • Geography – heart of SV and ecosystem of entrepreneurs, recently adding V/R to build
    • Founder of Xpert Financial after UCLA graduation, helping later stage companies raise capital in private markets
      • Made every mistake – funding, hiring, firing, product
      • Helped early-stage companies build product and raise capital, including for a friend – wanted to mentor in bulk
        • As a family, helping people get to where they want to go
    • Meeting a lot of people while raising money and helping – took him 12 months to raise his fund
      • $6.6mln after reaching out to 3k, 350 meetings and closed ~35 – basically rule of 10
    • Had 52 investments in blockchain accelerator (had about ~120 companies) among currency/contracts-based work
      • Been in industry for 3 years, seeing mature products and higher quality
    • Mentioned MuggleNet as his favorite blog and TechCrunch
    • JoyStream by a solo founder, trying to merge BitTorrent / BTC
  • Coronavirus (a16z 16min on the News #21, 1/29/20)
    • Judy Savitskaya – 2019-nCoV – 10-20% common cold vs epidemic ones would be severity
    • Sequencing this virus has been incredibly quick (within 2 weeks of genome) whereas it’s taken longer in past
      • If someone in SF said they had a cold at a general clinic, they could decide if it’s this or not
      • Figuring out treatments and protocols based on genome and live medicine
    • Spike proteins used to enter into lung cells didn’t look as bad as SARS, so they thought it was fine
      • Turns out that it’s actually very similar to the protein
    • Nobody really knows – animal sources of viruses (evolving away from human hosts, time in animals)
      • R0 – number of people you’d expect to get sick for every one person that has it
      • Breaking down variables in R0 – how well does virus transmit itself (easy in air, for instance)
        • Is it good at infecting cells? What’s the population like? (Chinese New Year and traveling often)
      • If virus is not that deadly, additional time in the host that can get infected (individually, if deadly and fast, population better)
    • Increase in genomic medicine – Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations gave out 3 grants to pharma co’s totaling $12.5mln
      • 12-16 weeks time to develop new drugs based on the new sequence
  • Epic Battles in Healthcare, FICO Changes (a16z 16min on the News #22, 2/6/20)
    • FinTech GP’s Angela Strange and Anish Acharya
    • Starting with what is a FICO score – 5 factors: payment history, credit utilization, length of history, new credit, credit mix
      • FICO 2, 3, and 10 now as FICO comes out with reweighting
        • 1 trillion in credit card debt now, so people refi from 25% to 12% loans, but it doesn’t change user spending habits
        • Better job of incorporating debt over a long period of time
      • Designed in 1950s to create a proxy for willingness to pay, originally – now, it’s mostly lenders that have their own algorithms
      • Good lenders will use FICO as a factor but they have their own robust models
    • Hacks such as adding kids as authorized users
    • Old time, 50-100 years credit decisions made on generations, kids play ball with bankers, etc
      • Bank of Italy (now Bank of America), would make loans to Italian immigrants that other banks wouldn’t lend to
      • 2 drivers – willingness and ability to pay
    • International vs US – in US, most decisions decided on score/report, not alternative data
      • In international countries, great way to bootstrap a lending business as a proxy for consumer
      • Difficult to introduce alternative data in the US , cash flow streams for instance
    • Epic’s CEO (EHR information on data) letter sent – with Julie Yoo bio GP
      • Rule that’s been around for 1 year in context of a longer standing law
        • Opening healthcare records from ONC (Office of National Coordinator for CMS), gov agencies overseeing healthcare spend
      • 21st Century CURES Act – Upton and Waldon – means by which we implement the act (healthcare costs will rise, care will suffer)
        • Contending with nonprofit orgs with slim margins
      • Uniquely stored in healthcare data is the doctors’ context (and dialogue) – for what reason would you need the context vs “code”
      • Connecting data between APIs and interoperability – major concept
    • Clause in rule about screenshot sharing – contractual obligations not to share screenshots
      • In trying to see a workflow in a system to connect yours efficiently – one of Julie’s customers at EHR company got hand-slapped for sharing
    • Annual meeting with OMB and ONC for driving sharing and interoperability – Epic wasn’t there – everyone else, systems, plans, incumbents, big tech, EHRc
      • HHS secretary was saying that scare tactics won’t affect what they’re looking for
  • Introduction to ARK’s Big Ideas 2020 (FYI 1/13/20)
    • James Wang interviewing Cathie Wood, CEO/CIO at ARK Invest
      • Building on other years – DL, EV, 3D printing, autonomous ride hailing, automation, genome sequencing, digital wallets and Bitcoin
    • New ones – streaming media, aerial drones and biotech R&D efficiency
    • Streaming media – changing behavior patterns should catapult the industry, roughly $80-90bn, projecting $400bn+ in next 4 years
      • Most people couldn’t understand why she was buying Amazon at $5bn cap at her old firm (when no profits)
        • Believed about their revenues would increase CAGR at 25% for 20 years, deep value play (exp growth wasn’t understood)
      • Terrible sales out of box retailers – want to survive and go to online
      • Gaming could consume media, so is value in content or platforms (say, Tencent showing the way, maybe) – larger than box office now
        • Every time music has come out, it has cannibalized the other, older parts as replacement
        • Gaming was different – expansive, explosive market as stacking (mobile only added to consoles and others)
    • Aerial drones – early side of S curve still – released a paper in 2014 suggesting that if FAA would allow Amazon to deliver parcels over 10 mi
      • Amazon, at that time, could have done it profitably for just $1 per parcel for 5 lb package, for instance
      • Food delivery now, air taxis / passenger drones and given battery tech, could save 20k lives associated with heart attacks – drone faster than ambulance
        • Projecting $275bn food delivery (3mi Delivery for cars is about $4.85 – $5) – drones could do it for $.20, profitably
    • Biotech R&D Efficiency as converging Nextgen sequencing, AI, CRISPR editing
      • Impact on pharma and biotech sector
      • Fewer trial failures with DNA sequencing and companion diagnostics for trials, time to market decrease
        • Human trials, CRISPR is curing things such as Beta-_ and sickle cell (2 people)
      • Value-based pricing could be installment payments, for every year you live – reduction of trials and drugs to market, higher pricing utility
        • Margin structure could follow more of 1980s and 90s (mid20-30s) – innovations were exhausted from there, but now should be innovative
      • CRISPR and gene therapies are delivering great results, cures and evidence of these
        • AI and software side with mundane, life science has supported SaaS company in Viva – extremely motivated for productivity structure
        • Most AI companies doing R&D drug discovery are early, M&A ripe – tech in Alpha Go search problems, for instance
      • Analysts can’t just be healthcare, have to be technology as well – permeating every sector
    • Over past year, innovation has been highly valued in private space – too few opportunities with too much capital
      • Private is valued much higher – seeing some disappointments, public markets should be ripe (P/E ratio is not ideal)
      • 5 year opportunities, not 1-2 timeline and finding out how much growth they’re going to deliver

How to Motivate Yourself to Build (Notes from Jan. 27 to Feb. 2, 2020) July 22, 2020

Posted by Anthony in cannabis, DFS, Digital, Draftkings, education, experience, FanDuel, global, Leadership, medicine, NFL, social, sports, Strategy, Time, training, WomenInWork.
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Nope, I’m asking. Not telling. It’s constantly a challenge.

Let’s see. A will to win. Certain things provide you a much clearer picture of an end goal. In life or careers, there is often always a next step for those that are driven. I know many people that have said it’s not a linear path, and therefore you see steps/ladders that may be uneven. It’s hard to take that into consideration to pursue action, then, especially if you’re back at square one. It must be some secondary motivator that keeps us looking forward.

I have an idea page of things I want to pursue. Talking about potential pursuits may be a first step. Talking with others, another. Writing them down allows a concrete step toward accountability. Then, what’s next? Talk to potential customers, people in the space, people that could be of interest. Design something, wireframe or code out a rough sketch. Maybe it’s something to see how much of a concrete idea it is. Ideas sometimes just need another opinion to spur passion – whatever can provide the spark to go further.

With a next step in a career, an idea written out for the next step can be a good thing. Approaching mentors or potential mentors or bosses (strategically) may be that step of accountability. The more people involved, the more likely that path could be disrupted as incentives to provide clear steps wane. The earlier you find that out, the better. It’s unfortunate but situations and circumstances can change on a whim for anyone, so it compounds with involvement of others. I’ve seen that time and time again with friends.

Now, I hope I didn’t discourage with that last paragraph. That wasn’t my intention. So, here’s some good news – work has become increasingly global with the progression of the internet / web, more so this year. There are more people online sharing, collaborating, open to discussion with minimal work except seeking the communities out. Tools are better organized and more broadly applied to help, and more people are generally sharing their experience for us to pattern match or adjust. Action is the step. Or asking what the action may be. Take it together.

  • Coach Paul Alexander, Josh Hermsmeyer (Wharton Moneyball 1/22/20)
    • If you pit OL vs DL – OL is more reliable, similar to pitcher vs batter and pitcher wins
    • Beane in Moneyball – didn’t have money to spend so he wanted to get shots at college players since they were less random
      • PFF using survival curves (as time) for measuring lines (from PFF data scientist Timo Riske)
    • 16 of 17 INTs for Mahomes has been < 5 rushers
    • Coach – more hand-oriented now in passing game than leg-driving or shoulders for the evolution of run blocking
    • Josh – turned his attention to music and predicting the first song for halftime show
      • Prop from last year – how long will the national anthem last?
        • Over time, singer spent on song increased (ARIMA model) and he looked at male and female but female was longer at end
        • Gladys ended up going over
      • Billboard is predicting JLo’s most popular song – 20% as Let’s Get Loud or On The Floor (books, too)
        • Acts don’t often start with the most popular song, they end it
        • Setlist.fm as going through common starts
      • Game plan to push as many in the box with the numbers advantage, force Jimmy G to beat them
    • Some quantitative coaching models at PFF and other places
      • Mostert as the 2nd fastest athlete in NFL at the line, behind only Lamar Jackson, by mph
    • Helpful to sit behind someone as QB? (Jimmy, Rodgers, Mahomes) but counters as Peyton (thrown in), Steve Young
      • Qb as living embodiment of the system, not necessarily ‘system qb’
      • When do we get a handle on a QB?
    • Owners as billionaires that earned money in a different industry and hope to be able to transition to teams
      • Experience may or may not come – putting right people in there, getting lucky with all of the processes
      • Little edges, enough chances and them adding up together to finally have success while living through the ups and downs
  • Ian Levy, Michael Hill (Wharton Moneyball 1/29/20)
    • Super Bowl week, Kobe Bryant death – Shaq statement and Kendrick Perkins clamoring for hatchet to be buried with Kdurant
    • MJ’s 3 and 2 years off and then another 3 – only had Scottie as the overlap of players
      • Kobe – 2 rings but 3 straight finals with Pau, sans Shaq, Lebron – taking some poor players and winning rings
      • Teams and styles that have changed to give credit to the great ones
    • Sac down 17 points with 2min 49 sec – broke a streak of 8,378 straight games of losses
  • Dr. Shaili Jain, Prof of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, PTSD Treatment, author of “Unspeakable Mind” (Wharton XM, Future of Everything)
    • Father was a war vet & born in India, Shaili grew up in England and what she ever knew
    • Muted emotions, insidious infiltration of how people work, play and create beyond mind and brain
      • Infiltrates organs, independent risk factors for heart disease, cancer
    • Too many factors, 1/3 genetic (not on marker-level, though) to determine PTSD levels or exposure
      • Dose matters – more deployments = more likely, and cumulative effects
    • Average clinicians outside of VA have a tough time to diagnose & treat whereas vets and exposed know where they can see it
      • Adherence is much lower in people with PTSD and this is massively under-recognized
    • Last thing people want to do is talk to therapists – avoided trauma or be cut off, isolated
      • Health problems often make them lose control
    • Hippocampus is smaller in those with PTSD (not sure if it’s cause or effect), amygdala (part of brain that controls danger)
      • Lot of work done in epigenetics, learned behaviors and environment (followed moms that were pregnant during 9/11, escaped)
        • Work done by Rachel at Mt Sinai to follow their children based on biomarkers – PTSD in them/child
    • Her take – future is in prevention on three levels – primary, secondary and tertiary
      • Primary: prevent the traumas and crimes
        • Lots of people were starting programs that FELT like it worked w/o evidence or metrics for them
          • How do you train women to defend themselves effectively? If you have it, you can scale and replicate. Still need $
      • Secondary: before and after trauma – “Golden Hours” – can you intervene to prevent onset of PTSD?
        • Showing up in ER, instead of waiting for weeks/months/years when they show up to a therapist
        • Group out of Atlanta’s Emory University in the ER that did RCTs to show those that got prolonged exposure medicine improved
          • Cortisol recipients had less PTSD compared to those that didn’t – brain can heal quickly, comparatively
      • Tertiary: integrated care – 10 years prior, she ditched her other-campus psychiatry office to primary care
        • People show up in primary care, not often in specialty offices, attack head on
    • Treatment – first line, standard therapy would be talk therapy (prolonged exposure, EMDR – eye movement desensitization & reprocessing)
      • Focus on dismantling trauma, discussing the event
      • Biggest body of evidence for this being successful as first-line treatment, discussion capability without emotional/physical stress
        • Exposure exercises – measurable body response
      • Meds as second-line treatment (prozac and friends)

Best Ways to Push People to Create (Notes from Jan 13 to Jan 19, 2020) June 30, 2020

Posted by Anthony in Automation, Blockchain, Data Science, Digital, education, experience, finance, Founders, Gaming, global, Hiring, Leadership, marketing, medicine, NBA, social, sports, storytelling, Strategy, Time, TV, Uncategorized, WomenInWork.
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So, my title is a bit misleading because I don’t have the answer. It’s a bit annoying. I have many friends and family members that will cite an interest in making something, or even more generally, wanting something to be made. I try to encourage if there’s even an interest of a consistency in what they’re looking to do. It’s worth sharing if they enjoy it. Encouragement isn’t the part that’s lacking. There’s an accountability or fear of not having the time be worth it.

To me, that’s a bit of a weakness. Sure, you can be scared that it won’t be monetarily advantageous to do it – but that’s the part where your own curious/enjoyment makes up for it. If you’re interested, you may be more likely to generally share and stay consistent than if you’re not. Immediate gratification doesn’t go hand-in-hand with consistency, though. And then the starting point usually has a bit of work. All of this adds up to psyching oneself out before ever starting. All the while, we continue scrolling to the next thing, wondering aloud how nice it seems to be sharing something that we’re moderately interested in.

  • Peter Guber, Dodgers/Warriors co-owner (KindredCast – WhartonXM)
    • Lion Tree CEO Aria Borkhov with Chairman/CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, 4 sports teams
    • Hollywood productions for 5 Best Picture nominations (Rain Man winner), Midnight Express, Flash Dance, Batman, Soulsurfer
      • “Tell to Win” best-selling author
    • Also owner of Team Liquid and LA FC, professor at UCLA Anderson, Media
    • Recorded at the end of WS 2018 – never before having World Series Game 7 at Dodgers stadium
    • Can’t just make hits – ups-and-downs are part of the journey, can’t fail will make it so you don’t have success
    • Missed out on Dodgers originally when McCourt was buying from FOX, but asked to put up money at last hour, so he backed out
      • Magic brought him in 9 years later and he was more familiar since he owned the AAA team in Oklahoma City
      • Culture providing leadership and top-down, being managing partner
      • Bring best talent, resourcefulness, undervalued performance from someone as surprises, having a long and short-game
        • If short-term doesn’t work, the long-term rarely is cared for
    • Caring fully for his team – listen to the audience and imagine their experience is theirs and creating relationships
      • Crucial since you can’t get another audience every time – music, movies, sports
      • Brand affinity as breeding success – crucial that word-of-mouth is more powerful than a 30second clip anywhere
        • Looks at it like bond / what the product means for people
      • Audiences expect experiences (how do they feel, what’s the benefit, life) – customers/consumers are looking to spend only / wallets
    • Media – Game 6 had 2nd best since 2009 for viewership
      • How do you get technology into media? Twitter paid $10mln with football, Amazon paid $50mln, Facebook with MLB
      • Linear broadcasting – audience getting every media at once, same way – can’t act on it (analog to digital)
        • Know the individual audience, can talk to friends/you directly – interface with social group, react and a participant
        • Cultivate participation – don’t know about all people generally but now, know the particulars
      • Digital natives – always growing, never had cords – companies need both linear and digital sense
      • Dancing with the enemy – like to kill the other, one is an ally/adversary at different times
      • Can’t take an analog advertisement and plunk it on to digital – won’t be the same
      • When he was in China doing business, he had to go through an interpreter – didn’t have the same feeling/attitude
      • Each sport has unique challenges (and movies) – movie-going has turned into “going to a movie”
        • Driving away from habituation (movie on Fridays) vs (“Let’s go to A movie”)
    • Narrative of baseball – can look at different things, fantasy, play-by-play and story
      • Basketball is rapid so you have to address down-time in a different format – paces are more important (digital can help)
      • Gambling will introduce a new evolution – betting on emotions, last-pitch, blowouts will be important still
    • Esports – Team Liquid in SC2, LoL, HotS, Overwatch, Halo, CoD, DotA
      • True digital native and a culture change – lifestyle connection is different
      • Became invested in technology after joining Sony and his unique way – his life is connection of artists and audiences
        • How do you create value and multiply value?
        • Consumption with esports as 3 things – expansion, underserving market, global, participatory (could play along)
        • Esports as the music for 18-25 now, lights up their heart (“shut off that music”), engagement attraction
      • Have to understand the language, special – challenge to make money
    • Escape velocity for colleges and training, scholarships – getting older
      • Only got into esports Mark Merrill (Riot Games) came to leadership course and was talking about League of Legends, lit him up
    • Advertising planning, consumer information, still very early
      • 1 to 1 engagement is the biggest difference – 1 to many probably outdated or less effective
    • Made a long bet on VR – 5 years ago – they’re the director – mediators give you the meaning
      • Technology as existing for PoC for phone call where you could turn the fight or a game on
    • Fav movie: Godfather 2, Witness — Fav person: Fidel Castro when Peter was doing a show on diving
      • Unbelievably interesting (Castro)
    • Reading: Sapiens (rec for Undoing Project), Thinking Fast & Slow
  • Amy Abernethy (@DrAbernethyFDA), Principal Commissioner of FDA, Vijay Pande, GP on Bio Fund at a16z (a16z Podcast 1/14/20)
    • Food, Drugs, and Tech – 100 Years of Public Health
    • 113 years ago formed out of 100 laws – hygiene issues as science-based agency
      • Safe and effective medical products to be used with your patients
    • Have to come up with flexible mechanisms to avoid and take risks when appropriate
      • Risk-based scientific decision-making, review and expectation of certain risk in products
      • Hepatic failure, may take a person’s life, urgency of problem with number of people of impact, public perception/expectation
      • De-risk: try to ensure pre-conditions are met, toxicity, consistent expectations around clinical effectiveness
    • How does FDA (mentions possible show for crises a la CSI: FDA) deal and think of crises?
      • Medical products could have any crises issues (animals, vapes, food, drugs, biologics, devices, cosmetics)
        • Distribution of potential crises are very real – opioid crisis as slowly creeping up – as information accumulates, problem ID
      • Agency – action plan for several parts on what FDA responsible for
        • What can they do to reduce problem? Reduce patient tablets accessible to, for instance.
          • Can increase methods for access for patient-informed labeling.
        • New treatments for pain and solving problem otherwise
    • 20% of international GDP regulation under FDA and 15% of food imported so needs to be safely labeled, available in country
      • Investigate trucks across border that aren’t available over borders
      • PREDICT program – 10 years old rules engine where they are most likely to have unsafe food
    • Drug shortages – have intervened ahead of 160 drugs for shortages there along with the opposite – what happens if there is one
      • Food-borne illnesses to avert problems and they have these discussions in the morning
    • Kits off Amazon for CRISPR – dog glow in the dark, for instance
      • CAR-T as T-cells to re-engineer to supercharge and put back into patient
    • Improving software products that help the world of controls
      • How does FDA think about data privacy and ownership?
        • Practically, proprietary information and confidential. Drug surveillance that might be more publicly available.
      • In CIO role, she wants a Chief Privacy Role – when brought up, data even in HIPAA may be re-identifiable
    • Platform trials – enabling features within 21st century cures
    • Some company/investigators not wanting to subject only product into clinical evidence framework to figure out – especially only shot on goal
      • Taking a while to determine this
      • Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 – contemplation of new payment delivery models, Institute of Medicine research for digital infra in 2007
      • 2008 – GFCrisis for stimulus bill to get the High Tech Act for full-scale distribution of Elec Health Records in 2009
      • Nov 2016 – 21st Century Cures got pulled from shelf as they tried to figure out which was bipartisan opinions
    • Food – FDA part, genetic engineer and synthetic biology – talking with USDA to draw the lines here
      • With new innovations, do we need to change regulatory paradigm?
      • How do we ensure consumers know what’s going on? Labels / consistent language (ex: almond milk)
    • Smarter Food Safety – possibility for each food to have a full supply chain that we can check on (whether app-enabled, blockchain)
    • For future of FDA – far more processes automated using the glut of more data
  • Seth Walder (@sethwalder), ESPN Sports Analytics Writer; Alexandra Mandrycky, Dir of Hockey Admin for Seattle (Wharton Moneyball, 1/15/20)
    • Plus minus for receivers, how the NFL will do statistics
      • Different than hockey +/- but far more team-involved
    • Talking an Analytics Coverage for the CFP Championship – what is advantageous, expected, etc
      • Good sports information – bettors can make it as they will – actionable or not
    • Daily Wager show – betting and sports and new statistics
      • “Sacks created”, for instance – Zendarius Smith, lead league with 20+ and we’re double-teamed the most often
    • Sherman as only targeted 14%, very low for outside corner (one side only – right side)
    • Quantitative Analyst, Danny Chu for second person on the hockey side
  • Cynthia Medina, Founder & CEO of WAGER (Women at Work, WhartonXM)
    • Pay equity discussion – safe space for transparent talks
    • 15 years as exec recruiter, talent consultant, leadership coach and technical recruiting
      • International relations and policy expert for DoHS, Treasury, JPM
      • Served in Peace Corps as well, and founded Cheeky Monkey (women who don’t want to network)
    • Thinking in 3-5 year intervals for Jones C Mitchell – personal level for Cynthia, though
      • Short windows of time, managed by feel – not vision
      • She has 29 aunts/uncles (parents of 15, 14) – curiosity for her but not overall something she was chasing
      • 0 had gone to college, first in family to graduate, get a passport, live abroad
    • Lots of layaway for Kmart (waiting 6-9 months), also used to visit Puerto Rico every summer with family – layaway, also
      • Friend group established college as a norm – chose Georgetown since her uncle liked the basketball team
      • She had no sense of the power structure in the US – information and what she was learning
        • Pushes people to apply to hard universities – to be able to make change
    • After college – didn’t have a job – got an internship, needed to know she could do it without help
      • Finance area for GAP HQ, could do it (had stayed on a couch initially when she went to SF)
      • Then, decided what she wanted – went to Peace Corp and was the “chicken girl” in Nicaragua
        • Taught how to make a business with microlending loans ($100)
    • After Peace Corps – big picture idea for what’s next? Same person – senior year teacher who told her to apply for GU
      • Applies to Harvard – needed a big push – elevating yourself on your own, focus on international affairs
      • Friend at the time was in the area for 9/11 – saw / felt things on 9/11, so 9/12 she went to NY and been with her husband since
      • Felt like she’d done enough for herself, now wanted to serve again – worked for NYPD CT unit, Treasury – anti-terrorist financing
        • Latin American policy expert for the anti-terrorist work
      • She was in DC, husband in NY at the time
    • Started a family – husband had to go to SF for his job, 1 child (3-6months but turns out to be 2 years)
      • Everyone else was happy, now time to do what she wanted
      • Wanted flexibility, good at basics, people – razor-like skills on interview process (first for free, then charge)
      • Told what she was doing, advertised it, did her LinkedIn
    • Driven by wanting other people to feel content. Having lots of conversations with people who aren’t doing it correctly
      • Asking for right amount, not asking for what they should get
      • Let’s keep good people by being radically transparent – telling husband that she wished all salaries for two days were public
        • Husband, a manager, gave reasons against it (creates more work for managers) – jealousy and infrastructure
      • She BCCed 500 friends – sent email to pair people for salary conversations (1:1) in industry
        • Send LinkedIn and tell her how much everyone made – nothing happened for 12 hours
          • Men, often, would say it’s too personal / we’re good / exec-level where info would be adversely used
          • “My wife doesn’t even know how much I make”
      • Example for 2 people who are now friends of hers – exec woman, exec man – he was making $100/hr more
        • She didn’t want to know how much he was making (he offered)
        • Big data problem – once you know, you have to do something and that’s often where people will fall off
        • Creating database, sheets and sharing this – nothing to do with action / companies doing different things
    • With more data, what did she discover and finding the needs?
      • Certain industries, large pay gaps – media, marketing, certain places
        • conversation / article at Google – same levels, women > men but because they were staying longer at levels
      • Making the same in cases but women felt like they didn’t have the same respect / something they weren’t getting
        • Baggage conversations still – persistent imposter syndrome, even when paid well, still work to be done
          • Ability to self-advocate is always around – empowerment to demand space
      • Does workshops out/in companies – compensation with employees in large companies (inc. tech)
      • Example: new shift to tech company – not CEO but 2nd in command or “I’m young”
        • Often hear “well my husband makes more than enough so I don’t need to push”
        • “Money is not as important to me” – don’t see it as failing, afraid, embarrassed to say they want more, know I’m great
      • People will justify when CEOs or execs leave, company wants to bring in diversity hire and pay 60% – women go in to find
    • Have to ask what you want? If you want to be a manager but haven’t managed anyone.
      • Is there an ability or opportunity for you where you want to be?
      • If you don’t know what you want – someone will put you where they need you.
        • Haven’t made a decision. If it matters for $125k to do these 4 things, need to make actions to get there.
      • She likes helping people negotiate when they don’t have to – “have to” in short timeframe – next job is when you get promoted
      • Networking as you build relationships before you need them – started Cheeky Monkey because of motivation and clients
  • Elroy Dimson, Emeritus Professor at London Business School, chairman at Centre for Endowment Asset Management at Cambridge (Meb Faber #100, 3/19/18)
    • Author of Triumph of the Optimists – producing the indexes, small cap 100 in London
    • 10 countries, a century of data, including the UK for returns
      • Found lots of researchers had general interest in more financial returns historically and added them to the book #2 (2000 years Millennium Book #2)
      • Optimists were those that invested in common shares over bonds/T-bills in companies, which is why they named it thus
    • Found out that about 80% of industries that existed at start of century disappeared, and 2/3 of those that exist today didn’t exist then
    • Bond market in 1900 existed of some bonds with short maturity like 6-8 years, or in London, had perpetual bonds
      • Composition of mutual fund then vs now – always changing, industries decline and come up
      • Very few survive over the long term – perfectly viable investment strategy as changing
    • Countries that were utterly important – assets survived but ownership changed completely (1917 – Russia and 1940s – China)
      • Making the World Index, history for each country, assets going to zero and Index as the same
    • Idea that economic growth, GDP growth and stock market returns – discovered a negative relationship between them
    • Thinking about valuations – market caps (Japan in 1980s as biggest, US as 50% now)
      • Market cap-weighting as only consistent one
      • Interest rates in 21st century have been way down, real interest rates TIPS / inflation-linked bond of 4%
        • Average now is negative .5 %, promising $1 now, < $1 back later. Gordon model – value of a financial security = D / (r – g)
      • Focus is on real interest rates, nominal is adjusted by inflations in each country (which can be different)
        • Real interest rates were lower in 1970s (minus 10% when inflation was 25%+ and yields were 10-15%)
        • Negative real interest rates are about 1/3 of their 2000+ country years (118+ years, 20+ countries)
          • What’s different/rare now – low real interest rates with low inflation and low nominal interest rates
    • Want to bring currency back – most is driven by relative inflation compared to the US – long term it protects you, short term, hurts
    • Tilting away from market cap-weighting, seeing other factors that may or may not make sense
      • Factors measure exposure to attributes of companies (relative size, growth, otherwise)
      • Some factors have a reward – growth companies do well (no premium), value companies instead that show reward
        • Rewards for exposure to particular factors (in hindsight, clear) may not sustain into the future
        • Smart beta, Five Factor model, liquid common stock vs illiquid maybe (mutual fund wanting liquidity may take lower return)
    • For his book’s update, added a new chapter for Global Investment Returns Yearbook
      • Looking at durable, tangible assets – real estate is smaller (domestic aggregate real estate is smaller)
        • Expected return on housing – between financial return for long-term bonds and equities
          • Expected volatility is also in between those
    • His grandmother had a wine shop, he’s done studies on investment returns for 1900 on, postage stamps, wine, etc
      • Best wine as Claret, First Growth Bordeaux, Premier Cru
    • Best investment – his education, PhD at LBS and then Cambridge

What Do You Want to Happen (Notes Jan 6 – Jan 12, 2020) June 22, 2020

Posted by Anthony in Automation, Data Science, Digital, experience, finance, Founders, global, Hiring, Leadership, marketing, medicine, Politics, storytelling, Strategy, Time, Uncategorized, WomenInWork.
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It’s amazing how quickly the weeks go by in this pandemic time. Wherever you’re reading, I hope the lack of patience of the general public to rush outside was limited because in the bay area over the last 2 weekends, it’s the opposite. A rush of public places opening up brought all of the public in droves. Streets are crowded again and the freeways were packed through the weekend.

I posted earlier today about continuing to see webinars/conferences that are occurring remotely. This does increase access. But as far as engagement, I’m afraid for many, the reason for past attendance of the big conferences was the networking / interacting face-to-face. Also, there’s a staying power of people being in person. In reflecting on many of my own conferences, there’s the coffee chats each morning, the lunches of discussions, happy hours or dinners thereafter. These cannot be replicated in the virtual world to the same effect for many. It’s likely split – the increase of attendance by anyone anywhere is certainly a boon to the industry – wider spread of important and fundamental ideas/people is probably worth the loss. However, it’s a bit unfortunate in the spirit of the big conferences.

I’d be fascinated to see sponsorship groups, facility and hospitality adjustments to the different trend. DataScience Go was this weekend, which has had both remote events and annual treks to San Diego over the past ~5 years with excellent people. I’ve made quite a bit of virtual and real friendships from these events, and hope to be able to in the future. They had a solid platform with an Expo virtual room, “main stage”, as well as sponsored chats and hackathons. I do think that this was a good step in providing the opportunity to do many of the things we look for in reality – better could be the illusion of a real-world conference, maybe in augmented / virtual reality where you’re controlling an avatar and attending in a piece – 5 years maybe? Likely 10 for the areas that would need to catch up tech-wise. I’m hopeful.

Hope you enjoy the following notes – Naveed has progressed many companies forward that inspire future technology or movements into new spaces, Pauline Brown discussed LVMH and luxury retails control over items of want instead of need, as well as Cesar Kuriyama’s obsession with TED talks, building and design of 1 Second Everyday.

  • Naveen Jain, entrepreneur of 7 co’s  (Launch Pad, Wharton XM)
    • Founder of Moon Express, Viome, InfoSpace
    • As we get older, part of aging to be human and why we should be sick
      • Yes – lifestyle diseases compared to being healthy (being sick as a choice, as well)
    • What is gut bacteria? Wrong – humans have more foreign cells than human cells from parents
      • Genes from parents are 22k protein-producing genes vs 40 tn microbes in the gut (viruses, bacteria, etc)
      • Those 40tn microbes/organisms produce 2 to 20 million genes (at best, 1% human)
    • Tuning your body and food testing repeatedly – can change every 3 months
    • Parkinson’s and microbiome, obesity, autoimmune, etc
    • Why is healthcare making money when there is a disease?
      • Nobody is making money – incentives don’t agree. Same with educatio.
    • Moon Express – high degradation, low gravity, and figuring out an interplanetary society
      • Wrong question – “How to grow food on planet?” to “What do we need to keep people alive on the moon?”
        • Energy may come from radiation, photosynthesis, nitrogen/hydrogen or something else
      • Too many people look at the symptoms of the problem compared to the root
      • Based out of Cape Canaveral, FL and has around ~35 people, Viome is 150 (Seattle)
      • Only company allowed to leave Earth orbit
    • Entrepreneurs will be the next super powers – first time in history where individuals are capable
    • Starting as passing the test in programming without knowing or having seen a computer
      • Phone interview and apparently aced it (byte vs bit – big and small) – before being sent from India to New Jersey
      • Never seen a non-white person there and he was an alien
      • Working on MS DOS 1.0 – wanted to get back to India and go back
    • Moved to SV after applying for an interview with Convergent Technologies
      • Faxed his resume – half a dozen companies
      • After a few years, he decided he wouldn’t be the best programmer – first microprocessors at Intel
      • Moved up to Microsoft in Seattle after a few startups, then OS 2 (“half the operating system”) as a program manager
    • Wanted to start InfoSpace because he saw that there would be a paradigm shift
      • Good at understanding what is coming up next – fundamental for companies doing business
      • Couldn’t see how MS could grasp how to see it in the construct of the company – too much to lose if it succeeds
      • Friday evening he decided he was done, resigned Microsoft – went home to his wife and she chewed him out [pregnant]
    • As an entrepreneur, most people want to focus on where tech is vs where it will be
      • 2.5 years he took the company public, in 1999 – bigger than Boeing and others
      • Best you can do as you become an expert – can improve product by 10-15% but can’t do 10-100x better
        • Must fundamentally challenge the foundation of the question
    • For Moon Express – asked “why do people eat food?”, for healthcare not “What organisms in your gut?” but instead “what do the organisms produce?”
      • Come up with most disruptive idea that can help a billion people and multi-100 billion company
      • Ex: lack of fresh water, can solve it – help 1 billion – if you come up with filter and desalination, can feel really good
        • Why do we have shortage of fresh water? Agriculture – solve the root cause. Aquaponic, hydroponic, aeroponic to get more water.
        • Ask next: Where does agriculture water get used for? Majority is used to feed the cattle. Can do plenty of fresh water.
          • Take stem cell from cow – just grow muscle tissues, not eyes and otherwise.
    • If you’re successful with what you’re doing – is it going to actually help millions live their life?
      • Am I passionate or truly obsessed about it? “Passion is for losers” – if you don’t jump out of bed, you’re doing something wrong.
      • What are you willing to die for? And live for it.
      • If I had everything in my life, what would I do? And you can go get it.
  • Domains 1: The .com King with Rick Schwartz (StartUp Podcast 8/31/17)
    • May 1993 could call up ATT and get (800) numbers as ‘vanity’ numbers
    • 1-800-makeout as a recording call chatline – owns the number and rents it out
      • He had $1/mo for 150 of the phone numbers, got a nice check for $7700
    • Domain name .coms after the phone numbers – December 26, 1995 – lipservice.com first
      • Used it to advertise his numbers after he pestered his brother for registering the domain names
    • Friend called him saying dick.com was available – got $200 in the first night
      • Domain collectors started secondary market – he bought porno.com for $42k
      • He offered $10k, 15k, up to 42k after kid had done $5k originally
    • Sold porno . Com for $9mil after collecting around $20 mil on the site with only “Enter Here” and selling it temporarily
    • Seat at tables of all kinds of domains – path dependency for .com (different is a bigger deal)
      • He has hotproduct, candy, ass, shoes
    • Tried to buy Gimlet.com originally – $43k at start, then $76k (or $5k down and $1k for 48 mos)
      • Owner of the registry was called and he knew the value
      • Since, they still own Gimlet.fm, .audio, .media
  • Domains 2: Sex dot com with Gary Kremen (StartUp Podcast 9/7/17)
    • 1994 Stanford MBA and undergrad in engineer, internet seemed a good place for classified ads
      • Registered domains for all the places – housing, match, sex, jobs (.com)
      • Gets investors for Match.com and brings all domains to the company except for the primary one
      • Had a falling out with the investors and he left the company, plus the domains
    • Got a call from a friend in the industry who said he didn’t own the site – Stephen Cohen
      • Cohen had claimed he had received the domain via a letter from Kremen’s old address
        • Lots of issues with letter from typos and idea that a letter saying Online Classifieds (Kremen’s company) didn’t have internet
      • Legal defamation and suit back and forth
    • Cohen would make up stuff to tie up proceedings of dropping the case while legal fees signed up
      • Friends got tired of hearing it from Gary, except Cohen who would call him (Cohen believed that Gary had stolen it from him)
      • Gary was broke – lawsuits cost him a ton and started drug spiraling out of his mind
      • In 2001, won the suit as federal judge ruled in his favor – $40mn made and $25mn to damages for Gary
      • Dozens of companies offshore and money in his wife’s name – fled to Mexico before ruling and stayed
        • Gary went after Network Solutions (one who accepted forged letter) in 2002 and ruled in his favor in 2003
        • Digital property as domain and traced from this single lawsuit
    • He was owed a ton of money – 20% was his offer for information on his reward
    • Gary was able to collect Steve’s house (used to drive him crazy) in Rancho Sante Fe on 9k sq ft
      • Had ripped out all the wires, drawers, and it was a dump – Steve’s mansion cost a fortune with maintenance
      • Tries to reinvent himself as a porn entrepreneur – trying to play the part
      • Gets an offer to sell sex.com and he closes it – can’t let go though without getting the $65mn
    • Gary invited Tim, lawyer, over in 2005 – brought on as tracking down what Steve had
      • 3 primary attorneys, 1 in Mexico, private investigator – 5 months and $200k in legal time
        • Look for assets in other parts of the world, Estonia, Norway, Bahamas, Caymans, etc
      • In 2005, Steve is arrested in Mexico and given to Border Patrol and sent to jail in San Diego
        • Pony up or don’t leave – refused to reveal money for more than a year, also deposed by Gary’s lawyers
    • Steve is released and sent back to Mexico – they have tabs on him for new businesses
    • Gary collected $14mn for the domain, house for $4mn and settlement from Network Solutions (~$12mn)
      • Steve lives on the beach and never paid a penny, while also living comfortably
  • Pauline Brown, former Chairman of North America for LVMH (Wharton XM, Marketing Matters)
    • Recent author of Aesthetic Intelligence: How to Boost It and Use It in Biz and Beyond
    • Steve Jobs had the clarity of a vision for the design
      • Aesthetic empathy as the emotional effect on people in design – not just judged by strength of processor
      • Have to start at the organizational level, not individual – if it’s not prioritized and embraced, it won’t continue
      • Low on EQ, his genius extended to the silhouettes, textures, materials – generally lifting the senses
    • Radio show called Taste Makers on Starz channel, English undergrad at Dartmouth before Wharton MBA
      • First job after Wharton – consulting in 1995 to Leveraged buyouts and private equity, at Bain
      • Moved to Estee Lauder shortly after they had gone public – Head of Strategy (one of two)
        • Strategy to move from home-grown brand with same models (US dept store-driven)
          • Move to different distributions, geographic roots and strategically acquire – M&A movement
      • 1999 splash for Sephora (from France) – had mass vs class – clear differences between the two
    • LVMH has roughly 70 individual brands – almost all stems from Europe but US is largest market
      • Her role was the regional leader in a large market – take what could’ve been complex business to insight in others
        • Mobility of talent and other areas of underleveraged points
    • Between the 2 companies, $15bn (EL) and $40 bn (LVMH) produce 0 products that people actually NEED
      • If people were asked what they expected to see on the Paris Fashion Runway, it’d look nothing like what shows up
    • If you ask what a favorite restaurant is – you expect that the food is good
      • Won’t tell you that the lighting is so good, or the acoustics are so great, or utensils
        • She used the different glasses for wine as an example of what may draw the experience
      • With Apple Store – lighting of stores, choice of textiles/absence, windows as all glass
      • Navigation to the restaurant itself – CX
    • Awareness / Taste – differences for music, taste, style and career aspects
      • We numb our senses to get through the day – she does workshops to get back into senses
      • Chairs that force poor posture, fluorescent lighting (toxicity), buzzing or background sounds and awareness of others
    • Second step – interpretation, after awareness
      • How do you feel about the senses? Why do you feel that way? Some things are good, some things are unpleasant.
        • Rock music can be energizing to one, others may react negatively
    • Third Step – articulation (Steve Jobs)
      • Masterful at articulating with precision and command what felt good to him so thousands could execute on it
      • Hiring on a designer for their home, most people are too vague, imprecise or sloppy in communicating
    • Fourth – curation
      • Presenting at a store, menu coming together – CEO, presenting a story and visual accompaniment
      • Editorial command
        • Hosting a dinner and you want to make a great meal with 10 favorite ingredients, may not go together
      • Coco Chanel – elegance is refusal
    • Course of creativity at Wharton – some best results on creativity to inspire is with constraints
    • Rarely do the most successful people have the best style – once you have the means, you don’t really care
      • Easier to make decisions on constraints occasionally – cited some students that perform better there
  • Bruce Mehlman, founder at Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas (Behind the Markets 1/10/20)
    • One of biggest things – Chinese media co can come to US but not the reverse
      • Fundamental for way China governs, see very little chance for a resolution
    • Taiwan elections coming up – current president get re-elected (pro-independence camp)
      • Market in Taiwan was higher than S&P over the past year, will get elected priced in
      • Running against her – from Traditional Taiwan Party (original that left China in 1949) – considered non-establishment
        • Lost steam as we near elections – China would prefer him as pro-China, one-China/two-systems
    • Bruce’s opinion: size of China’s market and economic power is worrisome
      • Believed greater engagement of rest of world would lead to liberalizing and reform in China
        • Have seen rise of Western-type companies, technologically
      • We don’t see greater political freedom or cooperative economics by companies
        • National champions groomed to dominate across the world, rise of new power integrating without others
      • Graham Allison, prof of Harvard went back through history back to Sparta and Athens where rising power confronted existing power
        • 12 of 16 were war, 4 of 16 peacefully
    • 1 child policy result of demographic challenges – lead to massive aging workforce to retiree where they don’t have a safety net
      • Decelerating growth and pressure on Communist party – 2 choices: fault others abroad or become an integrated, trusted global partner
    • Perceiving an era of heightened disruption, financial collapse and angry at income equality
      • Couple that with technology, historic immigration and country changing faster than expected – then throw in politics
      • Gilded Age description of 1880-1900 parallels the current (income inequality, immigration with electricity, auto, railroad)
    • When system was built, it was 15 workers to 1 retiree, 5-10 years of retirement
      • Now, 2.5 workers to 1 retiree and 1/3+ of your life in retirement, along with not having full career path
      • More businesses started in the Carter administration weekly than now in the Trump admin
      • May need to reimagine policies and regulation for innovating
      • Rising prices may not be the only measure
        • How do we expand the winner circle? Superstar Economy by McKinsey
          • Right skills, edu, sector, city – never had more opportunity to be successful and command share of spoils
          • If most people don’t have this opportunity, they’ll vote for change/populace
    • Splinter-net – Bruce thinks we’re there and it gets worse
      • Core: goals of 3 regions are radically different – regionalized internet with these rules
      • Europe: protect people and very regulatory toward tech platforms (leaders in privacy, AI regulations)
      • US: empowering people, free speech (platforms with protection for users’ saying), tons of startups but maybe not protective
      • China: control, social credit scores, access to information and anonymity – successful in AI, TenCent, Alipay, Alibaba
      • Privacy of EU regulation – allowed Google and Facebook to grow market share because others can’t comply or afford
  • Danielle Cohn, VP of Entrepreneurial Engagement and head of LIFT Labs at Comcast (Wharton XM)
    • Further research
  • Cesar Kuriyama, creator of 1SE (Indie Hackers #141, 1/2/20)
    • Bootstrapping an app to millions through persistence
    • He’s been doing it for 8.5 years, each day
    • Background in visual effects and animation, agencies/advertising at the start of his career post-art school
      • Lots of media, thought he was CS – wanted to be an animator
      • Took some time in advertising to realize that he was executing others’ ideas, not his own, so became disenfranchised
    • Saw TED Talk of Stefan Sagmeister, also an alum of Pratt school in Brooklyn – Power of Time Off
      • Every 7 years, closes down his studio and does a retirement for a year – can do different things when young than old
      • Cesar would do 100 hour weeks on deadlines
      • Memory trigger as 1 second – not quite a photograph, still bonus of sound and wanted easy to rewatch
      • Can ALWAYS relive 6 minutes (1 year)
    • Day to day life was “being creative” in lieu of a brand or project
      • 1 second everyday was to keep a journal where he wouldn’t stop after 3 days – video
      • Courtland did 6 months to take to himself – drained half his bank account and had to figure it out
    • Cesar came up with the idea – didn’t intend to squander a year off – how does he make a living on something he’s passionate toward?
      • First 6 months – not sure what he wanted to do, directed a music video in the past and in spare time
      • Techie, but wasn’t sure how to build the app – asked everyone for questions / programs / dev shops
        • This was 2012 – $100k dev shops where they said it was difficult
      • iOS dev meetups and blend in – make friends that way
        • He went to agency party that friend had invited him to – sat next to a developer at a shop
          • Was at their office (had just started after they quit their finance jobs – wanted to get biz) and met up
          • Wanted to make sure they could do it – he brought credibility, TED talk and their video – they could do $20k
          • He didn’t have $20k, he’ll launch the KickStarter to get the funding BUT he didn’t want to do it without a prototype
          • They agreed – launched in months and it worked – most backers ever, lot of press, 11k backers
        • January 2013 launch and 2 weeks after the ending of the KickStarter
    • He would watch the TED Talk of the Day everyday – Facebook posted about the first TED auditions
      • He needed to do it so he wouldn’t regret it later – counselor when he was in high school said to “Live to regret things you do, not didn’t”
      • 1 minute – 60 sec video, included 30 seconds of his 1second everyday – they chose him and 17 others to speak at an event in NYC
      • Broadcasting his idea to everyone – not caring about those that steal or hack together a clone / idea
    • Execution is what matters and he paid enough attention and love into it
    • Built app, wanted it to exist and be on the app store – make enough money passively that he can use it to supplement other work
      • Terrible business decision – app was $1, 8k pledges were $1 – rest weren’t
      • $5 would have KickStarter backer section of 3-4k names in the credits of the app
        • Tried to create higher pledges for not a lot of work
      • At time, limited to 100 beta testers and he filled them quickly (or unlimited now)
      • 50k downloads first day – support ticket per second – it was him full-time and dev shop part-time
    • First 2 years – “would finish the app” – don’t finish tech, always an update or feature
    • Liked comics growing up; interned at Marvel in college
      • Tweeted, was eventually in movie Chef because Jon Favreau enjoyed the app
      • He tweeted it off in the morning and Jon looked at his profile with the app, TED talk
        • All from because Jon said something nice about showing up to Iron Man 3 (after producing/directing IM1+2)
    • Immediate awareness of business – can’t do it himself, first couple of years – endless emails
      • Couldn’t answer support tickets because of time it took to fix the things they were about
      • Coming from art and different space, without business – not tech or Silicon Valley
    • Going to Tim Ferriss book signing at an Apple store – waited it out until 10 people were left
      • Don’t raise money, figure out a way to build without investors, a prototype (how he landed on KickStarter)
      • First year of tech ecosystem – privy to VC-land
        • Charging was weird, no tech developer/CTO was red flag, video wasn’t native yet
    • Not everyone meant to start a company, be an entrepreneur – scratch the itch, though
      • Consumes a lot, now very little excuses to start (30% of ideas estimate as without coding)
      • Moving from #17 in app store, #3, #1 in 2018 (then first week) – paid app – New Year’s was always big time
        • Made it free at start of that year with subscription tier
        • Revenue 2x (2018 – $2mn, 2017 – $1mn, etc)
    • Decided to raise without venture – Bryce Roberts, Indie.vc, Earnest Capital after recognizing need for more devs
      • 13 in September and hired 7 more alone there – company retreat
      • Joel from Buffer also invested – wanted to emulate
    • If role of social media is to incentivize more scrolling so that they can show you more ads (engagement as metric)
      • He wants to bring max value for least amount of time – exactly what you wanted to consume in 5 minutes (vs 45)
      • Being acquired isn’t particularly a goal – private life for 7+ years for some
        • Notifications to turn them on – don’t need to know these instantly (1se does 1 a day / batch)
      • Created a habit for 1 second video – fix for friends/family and that’s it – Instagram as highlights
        • He has his 1SE video – would look to be meaningless if you watch others’, potentially
        • Ex: Apple email from “Best of 2019” that he posted a video recording
      • Social media as this generation’s fast food – probably worse for us than we believe
        • Maybe his will be 50 million people and not multiple billion
    • Who does he need to pay to not get targeted by ads? – Hopes for a better decade ahead
    • Find Venn diagram of what you’re capable of doing – if anything lingering in your head, have to start it
      • No limit to resources online – how to eat an elephant “one bite at a time” 2 years after he did the first TED talk
      • “Divide divide divide” – he grew up ashamed he couldn’t ride a bike because he was embarrassed
        • Ate at him all the time and jealous of bikers in NY – how does he start?
        • Needed a bike – (got a foldable one), could do a straight line, then went to just do that and brakes in bike lane
        • Would make a turn, another turn and within a year – he was that prick going between cars, as fast, thru red

Failures as Public (Notes from December 30, 2019 to Jan 5, 2020) June 9, 2020

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In the book “The Rise and Fall of Nations”, Ruchir Sharma goes through the emerging and developing countries that have shown patterns in growth or stagnation. How do we see that they failed? How did they succeed? Was it spending as a percentage of GDP? Is it the change in political party? Infrastructure? Social services? So many factors are at play for a nation. And any that have risen have also seen falls. It’s the natural business cycle that we see happen in macro all the way to micro. Why do I bring this up?

Because it happens to the smallest business units like startups, as well as individuals. We can’t help it. Some of us hide the falls, others wear it on our sleeves, open. I think there’s a combination of good for both. I will say that more reviews such as Top 10 Startup Failures of 2019 can be interesting case studies.

Maybe it’s not the companies themselves doing the reflection, but instead outsiders. This is a review exercise that can be useful for any individual to provide thoughtful reasoning. Granted, there were likely other, unseen circumstances that created a downfall but the exercise still works to recognize a large event like that. If more people see that through a lens, we would expect some growth overall. That content creation drives more people to start their own things. And that can only be good.

On to the notes!

  • Seth Juarez (@sethjuarez), Microsoft cloud advocate (Data Skeptic 12/15/19)
    microsoft_empower_business_web4

    • ML: don’t want to write an algorithm because it’s too messy but use data to extract knowledge, use ML
    • “I don’t know how to do ML, so call an API” vs “I know how to do TF, PyTorch, Deep Learning-custom stuff”
      • Build in control things
    • Unstructured data into folder, word doc, picture, extract knowledge into an intelligent way (any set of files)
      • Making more intelligent Indexing with Skills
      • When a doc is indexed, an Indexer cracks open doc (text, images, metadata)
        • Skillset aggregates series of skills in step order to go through them (ex: sentiment of text, added to tree)
      • Very similar to an ETL but customized
    • Predictions inside PowerBI, for instance – ML on rows of data to show this
      • Azure ML ModelInsights – vary features and see how it affects the predictions
      • Hoping bad ML models don’t affect or bias other models
    • Video Indexer – upload video, take text out, show when different people start talking (pictures in a row, for instance)
      • Sequence of audio and pictures – can get sentiment with text
      • When you create an indexer, you marry it together with data storage (where files are) and the SkillSet
    • Skill-builders as Excel-jockeys – his interview with a Rotterdam woman Faelina and getting innovation there
    • His question: Ethics in AI – models building and make sure there is fairness in their generation
    • Azure Cognitive Search links
  • Greg Zuckerman (@gzuckerman), WSJ writer, author of The Man Who Solved the Market (Resolve’s Gestalt University 12/23/19)
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    • How asset management has changed after Renaissance book, how relationships have evolved since releasing
    • Was fascinated by buy-side investors, bewildered by trade ideas but over time, become cynical
      • 2 and 20 aren’t providing unique, much value
    • When you don’t have outside LP’s, you can do other things that you can’t otherwise
    • Trend following in clusters of stocks, not necessarily a single stock – baskets against each other
      • Unique methodology into one equities model
    • When you talk to Simons and others in the firm early, you’d think they’d be quants but not the case
      • Still human – family office still will look at the office anyhow
    • 30 pages of NDA, had issues when he was starting the book
    • Everything they have is pattern investing and trading, so this is a problem eventually changing
      • Sophisticated or others that have money in market, but happening gradually
  • Dr. Rhonda Patrick (@foundmyfitness), scientist (Kevin Rose Show, 1/1/20)
    fmf-og-image

    • Discussing Omega3, metformin, sulforaphane research
    • Published paper on phospholipid form of omega3 supplementation, DHA – found in marine sources
      • Interest in getting it to the brain – DHA that is bound to albumane
        • DHA-free fatty acid transported blood-brain by passive transfusion
        • Blood-brain barrier erodes as you age
    • Brain glucose levels as important for Alzheimer’s disease
    • Fish contain 1 – 1.5% of DHA in phospholipid form, whereas fish roe contain 70-75% (including flying fish)
    • More from a gram of fish oil (she takes 3g) and eating fish/salmon roe – Nordic Pure3 for Rhonda Patrick
      • High dose EPA can have issues with blood thin
    • Epithelia cancers vs blood cancers (in mice)
      • Much of metformin studies are based on Type 2 diabetics – lived longer after metformin with age controls
      • Physical exercise and metformin were not synergistic
    • Activation of pulsing metformin – half-life
      • Exercise activates and lasts 48 hours, metformin does 36 hours after last dose
    • During fasting, NAD levels increase
    • 36 hour monk fast
  • Roy Bahat (@roybahat), Head of Bloomberg Beta (20min VC 10/18/19)
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      • NYC / Valley with portfolio companies in Kobalt, Textio, Rigetti Computing, Flexport
      • Former co-founder at Ouya, new kind of games console raising over $33mn
    • “Messy career” where he ran a nonprofit in government in nyc, fortune 500 media company, started the company and now investor

    • This day – October 18 – started a third fund, same build as the prior 2 – $75mn, same thing and sticking to strategy
      • Fund size is fund strategy
        • In terms of valuations – company valuation as marker of VCs rating company, but that’s a mistake
        • Want to own as much of the few winners
        • Competitive lanes issue – every time you write a check, you lose out on other companies in the space in a category
    • Egg toss of trust – model to be careful, customer calls at the end
      • VCs that ask to talk to customers immediately – slow them down, could be out of order
      • When he met Ryan Peterson at Flexport, he was still a board member at his hardware company and could try it out
        • Flexport reached out easily and offered to help him with his freight of hardware and team member made connection to CEO
    • As companies become successful and grow quickly, expectations keep raising
    • Fear from 6 years ago was if the VC was founder-friendly – not going to screw you
      • Greylock led a Series A for a friend’s company because Reid Hoffman had said Greylock wouldn’t screw you
      • Most people now are behaving to nudge the company’s upward – at Bloomberg Beta, company is the customer
    • Investment decision making – speed of investment decision
      • They try to avoid asking about other VC’s in the process (but want to know if there are timing issues)
      • Their offers are encouraged to be shopped – lots of funds moving down to write checks
      • Concerned about Seqoia, NEA, other funds? Frustrated because they’ve lost a few but have won a few.
        • Had a founder called them after 2 years prior – shouldn’t have taken that money to convince you – nothing
        • Founder mentioned he could do the raise and turn to others and they’d know who it was
    • Dependent variable – valuation (not the independent variable as most think)
      • Fund has strategy, do you want to invest? Check size – determined by fund size.
      • Strategy is to know the ownership target. 10-25% (Valuation as a function of fund size and check sizes with the ownership target)
    • Ownership to build over time – bigger check – they own what they want to own the day they invest
      • He wants to be on the team the day they want to be on the team
      • Generally, if new investors are there, pro rata and investment is hot
      • First check – anyone can say yes – good accountability, avoid groupthink
      • Following checks – unanimous to follow on
    • Greater fool dynamic – if actions reveal that you prey on greater fools at later times
      • Viable strategy in the current market, but maybe not going forward
    • Boards at the earliest stages – pretty useless but has sit in Series B’s
    • Favorite book: Waters Shut Down, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea by Daniel Dennit, Ain’t No Making It – how to develop empathy
    • Founder secondaries – fan of this, most personal and important underdiscussed aspects of a company
      • Will drive the decisions of a company because the founder is distracted – many valuable reasons
    • Thinks the heroes that are set up in the technology industry now have too much power – mainly as a result of money success
    • Mistakenly believed that starting a company and investing in a company are similar
      • Completely different roles – wanted to focus on one of these
    • Scout programs – Bloomberg Beta has Open Angels – giving money to individual investors is awesome
      • Angels, dollar for dollar, are more valuable in the ecosystem – issues can be lack of transparency (money comes from X)
    • Most recent investment – founder named Max Sinkhov – business help close businesses on home purchases
      • Title insurance States Title – validation that the owner in fact owns the home – super big before a website
  • Arvid Kahl (@arvidkahl), founders of Feedback Panda (The Indie Hackers Podcast, #140 12/16/19)
    announcementpanda-400x400-1

    • Him and girlfriend are founders of Feedback Panda, 2 years to $55k MRR and sold it
    • Commuted from Hamburg and Berlin 3 times a week – 2.5 hours each way, 15+ a week
      • Connection was poor so he read and listened to podcasts – automating and taking yourself out of the business
      • Built to Sell book and podcasts – SaaS as online teacher feedback
    • An agency keeps you as a freelancer, essentially – so try to make it so that it doesn’t have to be you
    • All advice being anecdotal – truth can be applicable to every business, just a matter of you selecting it
    • Started with the docparser and mailparser founder podcast with Indie Hackers (sold to Fortress Capital, also)
      • Found it interesting that there would be people to acquire the type of company
      • Received an email from them
    • Documentation of prcoesses, business processes and building – make it easy to transition into them
      • Connection from beginning and met Kevin recently
    • He started a blog after vacation, thebootstrappedfounder.com
      • Started out Feedback Panda – he was a software developer part-time, she was an opera singer & teaching English to Chinese
        • Feedback writing process took forever – 20 students ~5 min for next lesson and what was taught
        • Built her own system and templates to reduce the extra 2+ hours automatically
      • Knew what the market was because it was her exact same issue. If they could fix the problem, it’d be all over.
    • $10/mo would save hours and made one Facebook post as advertising, then word-of-mouth
      • Allowed them to communicate and have discussions – teaching online blog posts
      • VIPanda – interesting person from user base and interview them
      • Engaging enough, relatable content for their strategy – she’d already been in her groups before she got to the part
    • Teachers as very underpaid and overworked – good spot for business opportunity but not great for employment
    • How to run – he said he probably should have hired for customer service – always did it from the beginning
      • Live chat and messages, would build up an article if others saw the issue again
      • Time when volume happens will be interrupting because there’s new stuff going on while features were coding
      • Forced him to do as much automation as he could build from the software stack
        • Deployment, failure errors, alerting and restarting system
        • Elixir Phoenix, Docker containers and on Kubernetes with ViewJS and other API / browser extension
      • If something broke, it’d come back up – errors automatically reported, etc
    • He didn’t know how to hire, so he didn’t do it
      • Did an 11 hour video series for his next developer so he could send the link and felt great for it
    • Adding a yearly plan near the start was productive – $110 where people would commit to something for a year
      • After a year, noticed they added a lot of features – had a cloud template sharing system
      • Machine learning for pronoun translation, snippets with text extender and manipulation
      • Product was much better – charge more – grandfathered all existing customers to $10 before $15/mo
    • Hooked by Nir Eyal – instrumental – trigger, action, reward, investment – putting own template to share
  • Keith Devlin (@profkeithdevlin), “Math Guy” at NPR Weekend Edition, Stanford Mathematician (School’s In on Wharton XM, 9/1/18)
    • Math throughout the week and your life day-to-day
    • Using Tupperware dish – missing the size repeatedly, for instance
    • In Alaska, teaching algebra to students – remembers having to teach the quadratic equation repeatedly and lengthily
      • Math as a discipline, potentially
    • Math Guy license plate – content of math has changed throughout history, but not necessarily how we’ve done it
      • Save for 2 exceptions that are the printing press and then computing
      • Changes throughout history as connection with ancient Greeks, geometry, and in response to how society grows
        • 18-19th century – chemistry and physics drives, 20th and 21st century – biology and math through commerce, society
    • Cell phones as answering 95% of undergraduate exam questions in fractions of a second, execution of procedure that can be coded
      • Faster, better, quicker for as many variables as you want, just from your phone
      • Shouldn’t test these things anymore but how to do them and when to use them
    • People should have a general sense of numbers sense – different people have levels of it
      • Tips, for instance – example of doubling tax and then taxi cabs or restaurants starting at 20/25/30% since min ppl will enter own
      • Don’t need to learn to execute – won’t get the right degree of understanding without doing it
        • Teach not for execution, but for understanding now – bunch of high school students reverse engineering UPS/FedEx algorithms
        • Had to understand little things to figure out what would go on – Nueva school
    • If you start with technology to interest them, they’re already engaged – good teacher can ask interesting questions given the motivation
      • We shouldn’t have to ask Why’s and How’s and What’s
    • Research in 1990s watching adults after buying things and seeing things
      • If they have to do it mathematically, can get to near 98% quickly
        • if you take it out of the context but the same types of problems, it goes to 37%
        • Children doing licorice (to count 10s) won’t work once you remove it from the context
      • Embodiment of math in video games (Kevin’s been working on it) – reward in it to achieve the reward which pulls away from content
        • Small number that do it right – find a way to represent it that’s natural (in process, for instance – thinking process is math)
        • Slides he shows audiences with the same problem and same situation – one side is math symbols, other is game designed
    • He got a grant for games where the problem adjusts for the game and shows the manipulation of the symbolic representations
      • Intuitive quantitative symbols – working on online course for teachers/parents
      • Introduce problems (from movies, for instance) where you have to begin with writing a paper

Organizing the Mind, Studying (Notes from Dec 9 to Dec 15, 2019) May 6, 2020

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As I try to stay organized overall, and especially in our current environment, it does seem that I have hit a snag in where/how to curate all information. I’ve attempted to settle on Roam to do notes since it keeps bi-directional links and essentially enables a personal wiki. However, this is awesome once we get to enough notes/details/lists. It’s a pain in the ass until then because it’s just not set up.

Until I get to the point where I can export all of what I want and stylistically group it, it will be a very large work-in-progress. Why? Well, I started to list a few things of what I like to keep track of. Here’s a few off the top of my head:

  • Notes from Podcasts/Webinars that I usually keep in OneNote (top include 20min VC, FinTech Insider, a16z, Wharton Moneyball, The Indie Hackers podcast, among others)
  • Book notes that are either in OneNote if they’re older or, if in my Kindle, potentially on Readwise/Overdrive
  • Daily/weekly updates including investment research via Crunchbase, lay of the land from a16z, Futurism interesting stories, StockTwits Daily Rip, Makerpad/Product Hunt updates, as well as Beta List products
  • Newsletters and Trends – Morgan’s Blogging, Nat Eliason’s Medley and other notes, Justin Gage’s Technicality, Trends report from The Hustle, Polina Marinova’s The Profile
  • Then there are the finance and investment articles that go to my RSS feed (OfDollarsandData, Ritholz, Datanami, Tomas Tungaz updates, plenty of others
  • Last but not least – bookmarked websites, Twitter likes/bookmarks that I just don’t get a chance to go back to, GitHub starred pages, anything shared in Slack or LinkedIn groups

How the hell do I organize all of that? Well, we’re trying and I’ll update you on where we land. All I know is that I should curate it down to my favorites or just try to learn less. Who wants to do that, though?

Week of December 9, 2019

  • Yaron Kniajer, Jared Kash, Cofounders of Sababa Ventures (Wharton XM)
    e5dc4c91-dbf9-4506-887e-d4b757be70bc

    • Discussing how safe and nice Tel-Aviv is
      • Rising of AI and tech in Israel ecosystem
    • Bridging the gap between entrepreneurs and investors
    • Talkspace – mental health app from Israeli creator
    • 18 million in revenue to New York, knowing the market and opening doors
    • Host, Randi, is a GP
  • David Sinclair (@davidasinclair), Prof in Genetics and Aging at HMS (Kevin Rose Show, 10/30/19)
    • Cofounder of 7 biotech co’s, co-editor of Aging journal, boardmember and 25+ patents
    • Book – Lifespan most recently Book link
    • Genes in yeast cells for aging while 29 entering Harvard finding red wine part
      • Media swinging from “wow we’ll live forever” to the opposite
      • Mice had a healthy longevity even if obese on wine part (caloric restriction without)
    • Sirtris Pharma – 2004 started and focusing on activators of Sirtuins – GSK purchased in 2008 for $720mln
      • 2010 people at Pfizer and Amgen published saying their research was wrong
      • 1 amino acid and 1 protein in living mouse as not living longer for resveratrol
      • Scientific debate limiting patients, potentially (needs to be taken with fat / drug-like molecules at GSK)
        • Patent life is 20 years and he doesn’t have the extra $20mln to get the clinical trials going again
    • For his book, we age similarly to yeast cells aging – loss of information (1 is genetic and other is, fragile, analog)
      • Backup copy of information for aging / cells came in 2018
    • Claude Shannon as one of his heroes – backup copy, need an observer and the rest of backup (when he did computer science/internet)
      • Remembering in 1999 that he woke up in middle of night to write out the theory of aging
      • Gene therapy doesn’t work in the eye – compared to a clock for memory of time, cog, removing hands or resetting
    • Nanoworld and subatomic in DNA – if secret is there, Methane compared to subatomic
    • Going as fast and safely to get it to humans – eye regeneration for a few cases
      • Nerve crush (spinal damage), glycoma in mice and restore vision, 1 year old blind mice with gene therapy can see
    • NAD and InsideTracker for genetic results and following the mixture / output
    • Nuances to how CGM and monitors react to individual foods (brown rice vs others, for instance)
    • NR, NMN and NAD checking for longevity and how to raise NAD
      • All cells need NAD to grow – if you put them up to levels of younger, you likely won’t cause cancer
      • Guesses for couple hundred thousand people on NMN supplements and nobody has died, to date
    • Pulsing and hormesis – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
      • Information on trees where older ones will send a notice to younger ones that a danger is coming
    • His father as 80 and healthiest in a while – post-stroke, heart attack and had heart disease
      • Taking metformin, NMN, resveratrol for a bit now
      • 500mg metformin with resveratrol and yogurt (stomach gets upset a bit) in morning – may have some in evening
      • 1g a day of resveratrol – 150mg typical (he mentioned knowing 14 years of research on animals, toxicity and human trials)
        • Min dose from animals at 250mg typically – liver enzymes are fine
  • Ryan Caldbeck (@ryan_caldbeck), founder & CEO of CircleUp (20min VC 2/11/16)
    icon-facebook

    • Online investing platform that allows to invest in consumer companies
    • Previously, worked in consumer product and retail-focused p/e at TSG Consumer Partners and Encore Consumer Capital
      • Hundreds of investment firms that love consumer retail and its returns, love cash-flow characteristics, only after $10-15mln revenue
      • 3.5x average in ~4 years for younger companies – not enough money in that space
    • Crowdfunding as group of people coming together to fund something (debt, equity, product, donations)
      • Separate as an investing platform so the investors should thrive
    • Title 3 of JOBS Act – if company raises capital there from non-accredited investors, the hoops you have to go through aren’t worth it
      • Less cost to going with accredited investors without benefit – Title 3 will require the yearly book opening
        • Majority of companies don’t need the significant amount of users 100-200 to make a dent in what they’re looking for
      • Would have to prove to a company before taking on the cost – more likely that companies will fail at accredited investors and go to unaccredited
        • Maybe a tech raises up for the inefficiencies to solve this, but not so far
    • Lack of institutional capital in the sector of crowdfunding – for Ryan, explosion of institutional on the platform
      • Average in 2012 was $12k individual accredited to 2015 where the check was $100k into one deal and half is institutional
        • Similar to LendingClub growth as individuals to ind, then family offices, small funds and larger funds
    • Seed round was with Maveron and Clayton Christenson after ~60 some investors that passed (hard to get them excited)
      • Union Square had said they would never invest in online equity investing platform and changed view for Series A – marketplaces solve need
      • Series B was 30 days from start to invest and series C was easier
    • When someone else doesn’t believe in him, he further believes in himself – energizes him (when teammates believe in him and opponents don’t – at his best)
      • Very small details for most meetings that are still vivid for him – uses as fuel
  • Arielle Zuckerberg (@ariellezuck), Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers (20min VC 2/14/16)
    kpcb

    • Joined in 2015 and focuses on early stage investment in digital practice
    • Started as PM after CS and Philosophy at Claremont McKenna
      • Wildfire Interactive acquired by Google in 2012 where she then worked on social ads
      • then went to small startup called Humin for 2 years and started angel investing
    • A lot of investments since you chase after 1 company that likely returns the portfolio
      • How to evaluate the team, market, differentiated product, terms of valuation
    • Being a great listener – give them feedback and they would come back every time with a better pitch
      • First few months of venture – personal challenge for thinking of people based on their intellectual capital
        • How can they be helpful? Will this person be helpful toward portfolio? Will this person be a potential founder?
        • Struggles with this as she’s becoming more transactional. Didn’t experience it as an angel investor.
    • While interviewing for firms, many people offered to give her introductions (warm, mostly)
      • Small handful of interviews – conversational in nature, questions on background – what motivates her and how she’d fit
      • Taking Tyler’s class gave her energy for VC
    • Google, AI and CV – AI as a service – ubiquitous as in the cloud
      • Many industries being productized for first time – likes blockchain and smart contracts
    • Goals: Source a deal for Kleiner within a year that will have invested where world is better place/impactful
      • Inspire more women to be in VC and female founders – although talked about finding and talking with many women in VC
    • NYE: blog more for 2016, had concrete resolutions for doing a pull-up and moonwalk – did at firm holiday event
    • Favorite book: The Symposium by Plato
    • Respecting founders who have a belief that others don’t really have – ex: Evan Spiegel as phones being more a camera than anything else
      • John Doerr and Mary Meeker
    • Best part of VC – talking to amazing people and hearing other opinions (as youngest of 4 siblings)
      • Introduction of creative conflict, vision for where future is going
    • Firm’s recent investment – team execution is crazy, tons of time with customers, great listeners, improved deck 20% each time
  • Barry McCarthy, CFO of Spotify (former CFO of Netflix), Stacey Cunningham, Pres of NYSE (a16z 12/10/19)
    netflix-300x170-1

    • Direct Listings, Myths and Facts – architecting the direct listing as it currently stands and how they talked to the SEC
    • The Street interpreting compared to guidance and what to expect – analysts wanted to BEAT guidance instead of get something close
    • Pricing inequities – price discovery in direct listings compared to offerings
      • Large portfolio (AUM) has IPO immaterial – first day pop is meaningless and they have limited ownership in IPO but not direct listing
      • Institutional investors can dump the truck for direct listings for how they want
    • Lock-ups are artificial constraints
    • DMMs and financial advisors exist anyhow – still need s1 and filing/investor days involve same people
  • Michael Salfino, Ben Baldwin (Wharton Moneyball 12/11/19)

If You’re Not Sure, Ask (Notes from Nov 25 – Dec 1, 2019) March 26, 2020

Posted by Anthony in Automation, Digital, education, experience, finance, Founders, global, Hiring, Leadership, marketing, medicine, social, sports, Strategy, Uncategorized, WomenInWork.
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Hopefully everyone is staying safe in this current environment of CoVid19. A wild start to the year and March, especially. Seems prescient to identify those of this week of notes, especially with Domm at Fast trying to make things easier/painless in checkouts for ecommerce, Iman at Incredible Health trying to gain power for nurses and the healthcare workers on the front lines, as well as the investment questions we should be asking with Rob Carver and Meb Faber.

Before jumping in, though, I just wanted to reiterate something I’d heard in a few times across forums/channels and communities I participate in – just ask if you have a question or hesitating! It’ll be worth it – or you’ll be in the same position you’re in now. Social interaction and discussion will be key in how we come out better than where we started. I implore you – ASK. Anyone. Hope you enjoy!

  • Domm (@domm) Holland, founder and CEO of Fast (20min VC 11/15/19)
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    • Raised seed round from Jan Hammer at Index, Susa, Kleiner Perkins, Global Founders and angels (Inc Harry)
    • Director at Tap Tins and CEO/Founder at Tows
    • Introduced at 15, started programming and in Australia when it wasn’t cool, building was what he enjoyed
      • Had a large startup in Australia for a bit
      • Wife/him were in the hospital looking after son/daughter and he was home with the wife’s grandmother when she couldn’t order
        • Forgot her password and wouldn’t take credit card because of arbitrary string – pw-less solution, auth as simple solution
        • Put it on ProductHunt and it was #2 for the day
      • Doesn’t make sense that customers can’t move between businesses with their authentication
    • Ran out of money in a legal battle with Tows – $17mln that government decided to not pay
    • Many people don’t want to solve the problem – they do band-aid fixes, complex solutions
      • Build network of independent contractors of tow trucks
    • He just looks at what he’s doing as solving problems, solutions – Stripe gave businesses the infrastructure to process credit card payments
      • Built critical infrastructure that others didn’t have – similar to authentication, Shopify, etc
    • Everyone has been building payment, authentication, registration forms all first-party and customer tokens
      • Alternative business models and sharing data conflicts with their independence
    • Deciding to be SF-based – he only has certain hours in a day, but limited output and larger market and tech companies
      • People in SF value equity far more since Australia has issues with company stock and issuing options
      • 50, 100, 150 bp in SF to make it worthwhile
    • Had done an angel round of $600k Australian, ~$400k to continue product development and areas he didn’t have expertise in
      • Put out job ad for remote role thinking they’d get 1 or 2, had a fantastic applicant from Nigeria for talent
      • Money was so much less than what was budgeted – average earnings, paying 50% above market and fantastic employee
        • So much so, they have 10 employees there – Nigeria with 190 million people, remote and solid advocates
      • Managing engineers in person/remote are similar anyhow – adjusts his time zone to them, checks in to each daily
      • Structured time for functional areas and 15min calls to go over work regularly
    • His differentiator is speed, time – act promptly, efficiently and doing things early by operating in that manner
      • Walks 3-4 miles through Tenderloin in SF to make sure he sees inaction as a reminder
    • Thirst for knowledge – difficult to not come across new things (Twitter as a tool for exposure to people, tools)
  • Frank Fiume (@frankfiume), Founder and CEO of i9 Sports (Wharton XM)
    • Talking about burnout – body’s anticipation of requiring a form of change
      • Entrepreneur burnout – results not meeting expectations for an extended period of time
    • Using behavior tests to filter out the people who may be too similar once you’re looking to hire for expansion
      • He made mistake of hiring people he liked and matched with, as opposed to those that he needed
  • Meb Faber (@mebfaber), founder of Cambria Investments on The Road Less Traveled (Resolve’s Gestalt University, ep.05 6/27/19)
    image1

    • Discussing with Adam about his bs meter – how crazy it is to be overweight US equities
    • Canada is worse – 86% of advisors
    • Global allocation and strategy – always keeping files on board for ETF, not sure when they are needed or will be used
    • Launching 2006 with trend following paper and opening ETFs as broadly better managed strategy/fee structure
      • Agnostic – just wants to offer best client experience, strategy
      • Holding for long periods as how the strategy should be assessed, not weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly
        • Managers tough to judge on this long time frame
    • Being on call with asset managers where they ask what the best funds are – why? So to avoid them?
    • Currently, tax efficient in emerging small/medium cap for long-term 15+ years
    • Market cap as terrible way to weight portfolio – as you select highest cap-weighted company, they don’t often stay there
  • Jon & Justin, cofounders of Transistor.fm (Build Your SaaS – bootstrapping in 2019, 11/26/19)
    transistor_social

    • Building and looking at Transistor.fm and other podcasts
    • Dropping the revenue numbers on Baremetrics – not just competitors, but eventually there won’t be 50% mom growth
  • Mythology Manager (Marketing Matters)
    • Marvel and having a different marketing aspect for big films and otherwise
    • Different projects and input for actors/characters
  • Rob Carver (@investingidiocy), Systematic Money, author (ReSolve’s Gestalt U ep. 03, 5/9/19)
    • Discussing different risk metrics – hard to predict or calculate Sharpe ratios so he assumes they’re the same, often
      • Sharpe as primary vs secondary metric – meta-factor
    • Construction of portfolio as time frame and strategy – used to start with $100k (first book), most recent book with $500 capital
    • Performing out of sample vs in sample – binary strategy vs weighting
    • If you don’t select a strategy, you’re biased against it – “Three Judases”
      • Properly keeping strategies in the files/repo to backcheck (if you get rid of some that you’ve used and got out of, others can’t replicate)
      • Proper weighting would be signals that activate / de-activate strategies, maybe keeping the ones above a threshold
    • Private equity and private assets discussions – what’s optimum? 1, 2, 10, 50, 100? Take on risks for this, should be rewarded appropriately.
      • Is it 5, 10% of portfolio? Size matters and type of assets. Mentions GE as having a bunch of minor bets on the private side with more liquidity.’
  • Beth Hendler-Grunt, President and Founder at Next Great Step (Career Change, Wharton XM)
    ngs_logoc2ae_tag-rgb_100

    • College attendees going after internships early – not just through career fairs
      • Not everything career-wise is linear, can be creative
    • Portfolio & value add – “What happens if you didn’t return tomorrow, next week, etc…?”
  • Iman Abuzeid (@imanabuzeid), CEO and founder Incredible Health (a16z 11/28/19)
    1_kmyfqswiaz2vja0ziuvbvw

    • Nursing Today, From the Bedside and Beyond
    • 2018 Biggest industry in terms of number of workers – clinical workers are 60% nurses – 3million of them
      • Regulated in California where the ratio is 5 patients to 1 nurse
      • Beyond 12 hour shift, 2.5x more likely to make medication errors – documentation as well
    • Shortage of faculty, nurses and all cities – also pays well, compensation-wise (California $100k, SF $140k, LA $120k)
      • Magnate certified is hospitals with majority of nurses bachelors recipients
      • When overstaffed, higher cost of overtime to contractors and less patients (in a thin margin business of hospitals, ~3%)
    • Talent / HR teams as inefficiency across the board – haven’t changed since ’90s
      • Tech tools don’t work for specialization/unique cases – job platforms are just ziprecruiter, indeed, LinkedIn but not matching certs/degrees
      • If you’re trying to fill oncology nurse, CEO and sales – one horizontal platform vs vertical platform
    • Most healthcare workers aren’t on LI, search and discovery is hard and fields aren’t specific enough, InMail response is < 10%
      • Narrow vertical, one job description and complexity is enormous – takes level of focus and optimization to add value to healthcare system/nurses
      • Incredible Health: Employers apply to talent, automated screening of certs/licenses/experience/skills with tech, custom matching
    • Hospital/health systems are able to fill positions in < 30 days when average is 90+ days – topline benefit
      • Churning nurses costs more on patients, complex environments for matching, high-stakes in retention (moreso than others)
      • 20% turnover with tight labor market – overworked, burnt out, better staffed, commute times, 90% women, higher pay
      • Hired in 11 days – have their act together and higher employee engagement
    • Hospital recruiters have a 7 day countdown for interview requests, scarcity for competitive nurses
      • Only platform that nurses get to make their profile and sit back after for interviews

Back from Vacation (Notes from Nov 11 to 17, 2019) February 11, 2020

Posted by Anthony in Automation, Blockchain, cannabis, Digital, education, experience, finance, Founders, global, gym, Leadership, marketing, NFL, NLP, questions, social, Strategy, training, Uncategorized, WomenInWork.
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It had been a long while – 9? months since taking more than 1 day off extra and closer to 20 months since I’d had a week off in a row. I visited the Big Island in Hawaii and stayed primarily on the west side of the island. Gorgeous weather and awesome beaches will bring me back, hopefully shortly.

I want to write a bit further about the escape, but I also want to get these notes out, so I’ll write further in later this week – Thursday.

Enjoy these notes on some of the fascinating people of Eniac Ventures, other investors, founder of EasyPoint, ReSolve quant, research professors, former professional football player and a Nascar driver.

  • Hadley Harris (@Hadley), Founding GP at Eniac Ventures (20min VC 2/3/16)
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    • First mobile venture, Soundcloud, Airbnb, Vungel
    • 2x entrepreneur in mobile – Vlingo (acq by Nuance for $225mln) and Thumb (acq by Wipulse)
      • Was one of first employees and execs running marketing and bd while working with product
    • Worked at Samsung and Charles Rivers Ventures
    • Studied engi & math as undergrad @ Penn, joined MSFT & Samsung
      • His 2 really good friends at Penn and him came together for Eniac in 2009
      • Mobile – next place for computing – cleantech was hot at that time, as well
    • SF was 50%, NY as 25% and the rest was elsewhere – won’t lead but will do a pro rata and be key in fundraising for next
    • Living & breathing the co – coming to right valuation, inevitable for down or flat rounds
    • 18-24 months from seed to series A or pre-seed to seed – funds becoming more institutionalized
      • Leading rounds for Eniac at $1.2 – $2mln
    • Favorite book: Freakanomics, read it in one sitting
    • Tools: gmail, relayedIQ for deal tracking, as todo list, also
    • Don Valentine – godfather of VC, great investors but great entrepreneurs and fund raisers
    • Favorite blog: Nuzzel – curation of reposts
    • Underhyped: mobile enterprise; Overhyped industry: big fan and he does work in social, but lot to weed through
    • Most recent investment: Phhhoto – knew the founders, they’d known each other for a while, great design and numbers – self-funded
  • Zach Resnick (@trumpetisawesom), founding EasyPoint (IndieHackers #130, 10/28/19)
    easypoint2

    • Iterating your way to founder-product fit, currently at 10 people, 5 full-time, $600k ytd with 15% yoy organic growth
    • Traveled, worked and lived abroad in Jerusalem before school, infected with wanderlust
      • CC churning and manufactured spending while he was learning at school in Ohio – VISA gift cards to $1k
    • Banking often makes more money on the chance that you’ll become a customer for other areas of business (mortgage, checking account, brokerage, etc)
    • Started when he was 19 – would give advice to parents/family/friends on the year before getting an hourly rate for paying customer as consultant
      • Enjoyed his help, he liked helping others – he was getting $1k/mo from hourly before going up
      • Consulting clients – he was helping optimize for business or vacation trip for the points
    • Started Land Happier to solve a problem of having everything in one place
      • Cultural norms, transportation, 6 other things for information in a fun and compelling app product (MVP on app store)
      • Wasn’t solving a problem that nobody has, but nobody would pay for – product/founder fit wasn’t there, either
    • What he wants – enjoys negotiating, strategic thinking, interesting conversations and sales moreso than product focused than customer focused
    • While working on Land, he productized his consulting – generally was helping family friends that were parents’ age
      • Amount of effort he was putting in compared to the value wasn’t the same – not high enough
      • Started to focus on small business or medium enterprise owners to put spending on the right cards and get 6 figures on spend return
      • Focused on people he knew through referrals, points optimization plans for small owners – acquisition and spending for more value
    • Early stage owners – hey, this isn’t free
    • Playing poker for relatively high stakes – teaching important principles, statistics, risk management and psychology
    • Consulting to productized consulting service – had a family friend with small business who would see a $50k in increased return on spend
      • He could do a quick analysis and understand business more, try to get a customized points optimization plan for points
      • Small business owners are leaving 1.5%, maybe 2.5% on the table – using points better for things you already want to do
    • Providing value but people didn’t know what it is or weren’t hurting – show them math for 5 figures within a year saving
      • Guarantee: if you sign up points optimization plan, if he doesn’t get you double what his fee is within first year, he gives money back and $10k
      • Making people aware of the problem was going to be a lot of work – never really got off the ground for outbound
        • Was just a way to make money, not necessarily grow it really fast – customers’ needs
    • Concierge service now (v3 EasyPoint) focusing on business and first-class international long-haul service
      • Over whatsapp and telegram groups – makes a flight request and they get back to them 24/7
      • They use miles and points that they buy from clients and then use those to book for others
      • Brokers buying all kinds of points and miles – so the arbitrage there contained issues with ToS and such
        • They’re buying transferable points like Chase / AMEX directly to frequent flier accounts
    • Working for someone else – interned with The Points Guy and when he was looking at doing it, he posted on the Facebook group
      • Cameron, now their COO, was very good – would he want to have his hires over for dinner?
      • Team of 10 now: Cameron manages concierge, growth marketing (5 on team, looking for Asia now)
        • Part-time business development consultants, full-time that have been searching
      • Revenues and loans for growth/cash flow, venture debt and possibly equity raise
    • Concierge service with product-market fit and being focused – enterprise value of $100mln probably but not billions
      • Not much needs to be tweaked for core product – fund raise would be for a different product
        • Help consumers decide on if they want to use their points or cash when booking – trying to automate this for concierge/back-end
        • Chrome extension and booking engine to use or not – this may be billion dollar opportunity
  • Andrew Butler, ReSolve’s Head of Quant Research (Gestalt University, 10/2/19)
    podcasts-thumbnail-300x300-1

    • Machine learning in markets: Silver bullet or Pandora’s box
      • Unsupervised, supervised and reinforcement learning differences in application or finance
    • Student of mathematics, physics in undergrad, keen on not memorizing a lot of stuff – enjoyed the applied side
      • Oil reservoir simulators that modeled tidal flow in Bay of Fundy, wind turbines in giant field for optimization
      • Next step was working on a sub problem of simulators – complex, computationally expensive and trying to optimize NPV in 60d oil field
        • Navigating the nonlinear, nonconvex solutions – how to make a reasonable model approximation by sampling sparse reps of simulator
    • How would simulator/emulator apply to financial world in momentum and moving averages
      • Sample distribution would fit well to out-of-sample distributions in physical world but finance wouldn’t – nonstationary
      • Caused him to use simpler models, momentum models (and transformations) and ensembles of simple factor models
        • Mean-variance optimization, error maximizing, in-sample won’t perform well out of sample
    • Wanted formal training in financial engineering, so went and got a MFE
    • Practitioner compared to theorist – after a conference talk, his construct was mean-variance was same as regression
      • Subspace reduction and regularization as identical terms for mean-variance
    • Machine Learning as 3 subspaces
      • Unsupervised learning -> clustering and dimensionality reduction
        • Targeted marketing, customer segmentation and in finance: signal processing, optimization or portfolio construction
        • Trying to uncover relationships/groupings/clusters contained within a dataset
      • If total error is dominated by bias, it’s likely overly simplistic – X as model complexity and Y as Total Error (Bias / Variance)
        • Increase complexity, bias term can decrease, increasing the variance (instability/overfitting)
  • Kelly Peeler (@kellypeeler), founder / CEO NextGenVest (20min VC FF#034, 2/5/16)
    nextgenvest_ai_serieslogo_blue

    • College Money mentor, empowering students to live full lives, history of financial crisis for motivation to start
      • Went over to Iraq, started and enabled some companies to build there in 2012
    • Went to JPMC after graduating to make some money before starting NGV for students
    • Financial organization to financial efficiency – going from Mint (organizing money for a user’s financial lives)
      • Now people need efficiency – time priority, optimizing time through automation and personalization
        • Leverage trust to improve time in the background (automation and not wanting to have to look)
    • High school trust and students have nobody they can trust for guidance – 8% trust banks and financial institutions
      • If you can build a product/service, on your way to building trust
        • Save users time, money, customized experience
    • Serving their customers with SMS and Snapchat – smarter push notifications for the right service in the right way
      • Couldn’t customize communication inside an app, so they did channels that they chose
    • NGV clubs at high schools across country – new high schools brought in, engagement and grassroots
    • First product that they brought on was for the financial literacy test that 17 states need
    • Favorite book: The Thank You Economy – best people outhustle to get more customers
    • As visual person, can focus on 1-3 things at a time – preps in the evening, large index cards
    • Adam Nash at Wealthfront – build trust with dynamics of product and the culture of company
    • Spent too much time at focusing her weaknesses but has tried to get better on that side
  • Sam Yagan (@samyagan), Starting OkCupid, Sparknotes (Wharton XM, Marketing Matters)
    • Turning down consulting job for OkCupid start – told he was crazy but wanted to take the chance
      • Free model and how do you value customers but competitors were Match and eHarmony
      • Had to get enough people on all sides of the market and then could use the data to help
    • Internet wasn’t designed to take an expert’s ideas and just use those – bigger than that
      • “You know what you want.” We’ll pull it out and figure it out.
      • Google comparison – index all the pages and figure those out to place on first page
      • Creating a platform to ask all the questions and focus on them
    • Sold Sparknotes in 11 months, took OKCupid 8 years (sold to Match, was there for a year)
      • Got the job running the company for another 3.5 years as Match CEO and created Tinder
  • Rob Gronkowski (@robgronkowski), All-Pro tight end (The Corp, 10/1/19)
    • A-Rod investing into Rob’s brother’s, Chris, company Ice Shaker
      • Were able to put money in, along with Mark Cuban, when they were on Shark Tank (all brothers)
      • Rob, upon retiring, bought Arod out of his shares in the business with Chris
    • Fitplan – Arod gave Rob a discount on the shares in Ice Shaker and he just wanted Rob to look through his company
      • Rob invested with Arod – parents were in business (gym equipment for retail/commercial for 28+ years)
    • Kraft being an owner for the team and being around the game – interested in everything
      • Rare to see owners in the locker room and talking with players – many players say they’ve never seen others
      • Brady, Kraft and Belichick as being the greatest people and diagnosing problems/plays and adjusting
    • Rob wants to travel – done a lot in the US
      • Traveling a week from that day to Israel with CEO Barry of CBDMedic there
    • Being reckless as single Gronk in the NFL (loves Camille now, though)
  • Horst Simon (@hdsimon), Chief Research Officer at LBNL (Curious Investor 9/3/19)
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    • Difference between ML and programming – validity of an email, for instance
      • Computer looks for “@” and domain name, iterative of if-then’s, marking valid or invalid
      • ML – give details of valid and invalid email addresses and have the computer figure it out with a statistical model for rules
        • Relationship between information
      • ML more as being able to see if something is a cat in a picture – hard to program that
    • Helped establish the Berkeley supercomputing center – big role all across the world now to complement theory by simulations
    • More data than ever before, 90% of digital data created in last 2 years – more in 2018 than all of human history
      • Finance can’t generate more data like autonomous cars, for instance (100 cars means 100 more data points)
      • Markets/economics are dynamic – return predictions of signal:noise approaches zero
        • Driven by economic features of markets – competitive, profit-seeking traders that act on it
      • HFT as real barriers to entry so they’re less efficient and more predictable, potentially
      • Quantitative traders don’t use raw data – they use transformations such as log of equity, cross-sectional rank of book to market ratio
        • Neural network tries to find what the best transformations are (X -> Y and explore all the connections)
    • Bonds example: predict if issuer will default or not with firm information using random forest
  • Rajiv Shah (@rajcs4), Data Scientist @ Data Robot, Adjunct Prof UChicago (DataSkeptic, 10/22/19)
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    • Started engineering, studied philosophy and law, PhD in Comms before doing research as academic
      • Worked at State Farm and Caterpillar before going to Data Robot
    • Deep learning applications in motion data like NBA player data, motion tracking arms and legs (PoseNET, for instance)
      • Nature paper published that used deep learning to study after-shock patterns for earthquakes
    • Going through paper – simple starting point or baseline model was skipped – how much value is really added, then?
      • Looking at the 6-layer problem – approach wasn’t unexpected when using keras to add layers
      • Results generated: AUC of 0.85 compared to naïve benchmark of simple, physical model – AUC of 0.58
      • When he reproduced it, test set results were higher than training set – yellow or red flag for model
    • Group partitioning – 130 earthquakes happening right after each other, near each other and related
      • Make sure the information for an earthquake/customer doesn’t get split between training / test sites to avoid leakage
      • Basic grounding of fundamentals for setting up initial training data, partition based on time to avoid that, as well
    • As community, ensure that there are best practices and guidelines – reproducibility as a large problem lately
      • How to police boundaries for the general field – influence of institutions in publishing (for this, Harvard/Google/Nature mag researchers)
      • Good from them: the data and model for the code was freely available and he could do it on his laptop / notebooks
      • Academics from the earthquake field reached out to him with some qualms and he’s partnered with them for a blog on efforts
    • Interpretability focus trade-off with accuracy – that he’ll speak on at Open DS Conf
      • Lots of tools for explaining models with transparency now, though
  • Julia Landauer (@julialandauer), NASCAR driver (Stanford Pathfinders, Wharton XM)
    • Being on Survivor (suggested by a friend while Soph in college), racecar driver
      • Picking Stanford because of so many people that were awesome / ambitious
      • Mentioning Andrew Luck saying that this was why he chose it – people wouldn’t particularly care
    • Driving at such a young age and in Manhattan – not getting a license there until 18 on campus
    • Having to pitch and learn how to pitch at a young age for sponsorships, running a team and the cost, even at minors – $500k+
    • Some 12 female drivers and being competitive

Find Your Own Value (Notes from Nov 4 to Nov 10, 2019) January 21, 2020

Posted by Anthony in Blockchain, Digital, education, experience, finance, Founders, global, Hiring, Leadership, marketing, questions, social, Strategy, Uncategorized, WomenInWork.
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One of my favorite pieces and follows on Twitter of the last 3 months has been Tyler Tringas, founder of Earnest Capital. He came to realize that there existed a massive opportunity to fund companies that may not require or need the VC model of capital infusion – just a starter amount to do testing, easiest when people look to make sales and revenues early (maybe not the model for certain industries – marketplaces/user-dependent network effects not-withstanding).

Wild for micro and seed funding, when companies have yet to establish a true product-market fit or business model each time, typically stick with one financing style. I wonder how much innovation has been restricted by the funding style. There are advantages and disadvantages for each of those. But I’ve yet to come across more than 2-3 VC’s (out of 1000s) that do multiple and have a separation / adjustment. Makes sense from the LPs sense, but not necessarily if you want the companies to be SOMEHOW getting to a growth/scale that fits.

Less Annoying CRM Tyler King was cognizant about the capital and efficiency standpoint in business – everyone that doesn’t create value seemed expendable. Those that did will make it. I find that an important takeaway and general attitude toward either doing your own thing or being a part of a bigger company.

Hopefully each of these excite everyone enough to check the fantastic people/content out further!

  • Tyler Tringas (@tylertringas), founder of Earnest Capital (Indiehackers #131, 11/1/19)image02

    • Funding for entrepreneurs, founders, outside of the ecosystem – profitable and sustainable
      • Not competing with other options – just found a large group of bootstrappers that aligns with the goals
      • RBF doesn’t work for some
    • Green field space in the past – no competitors and could gobble the market – big risk early but if it’s worked, it can be massive
      • Launching and building became cheaper and more niche for diversifying the opportunities – limiting VC scale
      • When he sold his first business, he handed over his Stripe account, Github and Roku
    • Software companies – no retail shop meant your option was “raise money” = “raise venture capital”
      • If you were doing a bakery or something, you had a plethora of options
    • 5 years ago, he was one of the loudest critics and blogger
      • If he was bootstrapping, can you work backwards and what would you have wanted to work with
        • Is it actually a fit for you
      • No board seat, mentors for long-term
    • Raise money when you believe the money will unlock value in the business
    • Had Storemapper – where he figured out what he wanted to do next
      • Derek Sivers – Tarzan move – need the second vine before letting go of the first vine
      • Pivoted to finance to do finance models behind wind/solar farms
      • Then to micro SaaS Indiehacker before noticing people struggled to get businesses off the ground early (his $50k cc debt)
    • His basic bet is that it’s not an iron law of physics that 90% will fail
      • His fund will fail if it is an iron law – and his investors are aware of this
      • He believes the VC model is circular in that if you require growth is 11% a month for 12+ months, more likely to become unicorn
        • But if they don’t hit that, then they’re failing
    • Really interested in niche markets for a piece of software that serves a market – eg Hostify, Endcrawl post-production credits, etc
  • Tyler King (@lessannoyingcrm), cofounder of Less Annoying CRM (Indie Hackers #128, 10/21/19)
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    • Bouncing between companies after college, had joined a startup that grew after Series A, only to be acquired
      • Everyone was fired except for 5 cheapest employees (including him)
    • Marketing channels not working – word of mouth, sometimes paid ads, Google AdWords or Facebook
    • Customer support – competitive advantage as going slow, not being held to revenue standards
      • Can focus on customer service and product features
  • Maren Bannon (@maren_bannon), cofounder & Partner at Jane VC (50inTech Podcast #11)
    https3a2f2fblogs-images.forbes.com2fcarisommer2ffiles2f20182f102fjane-vc-logo-text

    • Cold-pitching VC – for cold emails, take time to research the investor and explain why they’d be interested
      • Adjacent industries, past role in competitive area, resonating project
    • Nailing the one-liner / 10 second offering in a sentence
    • Bullet points, succinct including certain things
      • Traction for user/revenue/notable customers
      • Advocates, angels with industry expertise
    • Why you? Brief description for the ideal team.
    • Include an ask – why are you contacting? Advice, seed round, etc…
    • Include right materials (letter can be brief, but more info attached or deck or 1-pager)
  • Ok Boomer, Microtransactions (16min on the News by a16z #13, 11/3/19)
    • NYT Taylor Lorenz – (perennially behind others but gets credit for the writing of it)
    • Taking on a meme, protest for what’s rigged – Gen Z affected by Boomers “hurting us”
      • How memes can turn into clothing, sales for songs, be further monetized
      • Social media generating social phenomenon and transactions and merchandise
        • V1 was ad-based, then quasi-based for sponsored ads (protein powers and such), direct transactions for monetizations
        • Can get demand and feedback for multiple types of merchandise before launching and sending out efficiently
    • In China, commerce is already in the app – button after 2nd loop you can complete purchase inside the app
      • Close the loop on-platform in China
    • Marketplace on games for platform – supporting size/scales that fraudsters can open up accounts and quickly find monetization structure
      • Build false economy and cash out quickly – advanced fraudsters for automation, maybe with virtual trades and purchases
      • If it’s $10k, they’re wrong – probably multiple millions, if not more
  • AI in B2B (a16z 10/23/19)
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    • Oleg Rogynskyy from People.AI, for sales and marketing
    • Very few users that give you private, anonymized data is much harder to make them comfortable with this data
      • How valuable is the promise you’re making to customers vs the cost to achieve it
    • For entrepreneurs: if there is human activity that generates data for how they do it that isn’t being captured, there’s a ripe opportunity
      • Shipping containers, wind farm, location of Uber driver – reliable data, aggregate and figure out what may be the next best action would be
        • Significant growth and acceleration for these actions once network effects apply
      • More sensors, edge computing, salespeople, drivers in network – more data collected and more patterns you can see
        • Smarter the graph becomes, better the predictions may be allowed to become – then, more money and lures in other network participants
      • Wind farm operators: know it will break after it breaks but someone in comes in that was there collecting data ahead of you, they are up still
        • Competitor automates process, you can go to same vendor and catch up but if you miss AI, you can’t catch up
      • Oleg mentions that he thinks AI is zero-sum and that the Fortune 500 will look very different in 10 years
    • All customers benefit from generalized data – first customers have to do a lot more than others
      • People writing contracts: only sell to me, but customers would be relics
    • When the data model changes, systems of records die – Andreesen
      • Hierarchical first, then on SQL, then cloud SQL and Salesforce
        • Next gen data model should be graph – federated shared graph model – instead of you pulling data and searching, it will push to you
        • Personalized actionable insights – pushed through the channel you’re most likely to engage with – maximum focus
      • Level of intent for the user should be known – don’t have to expose the complexity but you can be shown and execute that
    • Difference between autopilot and co-pilot
      • As human, something mundane or repetitive – automating the functions to make it more efficient use of your neurons
      • Augmenting ability to make decisions – racecar that may know what’s around the curve, making us super-productive – more human
    • Needs to be 10x on the platform vs off the platform if you’re afraid of the set-up
    • Sales & Marketers specifically
      • Shifting how they work – day-to-day: 1/3 of time on manual data entry, 1/3 on prospecting (classic problem), 1/3 on face-to-face doing selling
        • First should be gone, 2nd should be done with help on ML and AI for value-add prospecting and automate outreach
        • Face-to-face: Machines can’t replace this but may be able to help out
      • Training on the end point – best way to sell, unbundling learning management system
    • Wants to do bottoms-up but currently top-down – through standard procurement channels
      • Users will demand data-hungry approaches and solutions – apps that built AI on user data but not merging with enterprise data
        • Have easier time for value adding in these cases because you just want data to increase (single player can do single player)
    • Biggest surprises: inside sales for Oleg starting in 2006 pounding phones, went out and did a software change before downturn
      • Learned timing matters at that time.
      • Then started Symantria – sentiment analysis API in 2011, size of market matters – 20-30 companies needed it (80% of market)
      • Remembered that he was put into a conference room with COO (head of sales), cleaned Salesforce and within a month it was in ruin again
      • Couldn’t understand sales team when he took over, why it wasn’t ramping up quickly, losing deals, hiring more people but productivity was fine
        • Supposed to have data in CRM but never had it
  • Martin Mignot, Investor at Index Ventures (20min VC 2/1/16)index-ventures-768x469-1

    • Investments including Deliveroo, Blablahcar, Algolia, SwiftKey, others
    • Worked on 50 transactions like CodeAcademy, FlipBoard, Soundcloud
    • UBS Investment Bank on TMT team and co-founded beauty subscription company called Boudoir Prive (acquired by BirchBox)
      • Comes from entrepreneur family and action/doer and the creative
      • VC seemed to be between acting and thinking part of the job as he’s followed it for 10-12 years
    • Split on idea of career VC without operating experience
    • 3 ways to look and slice companies: at Index, they have thematic and geographical approach since they need to have ppl on ground in Europe
      • Stage-focused: seed / growth
      • Thematic: fintech, adtech
      • Geographical: Germany, France, London, Amsterdam and building the network there with angels, seed funds
    • 6 hour drive test or drunk test with founders – no formal founder test to determine invest-ability
      • Are they able to attract and hire the people they need
      • Trying to decide if the risk is worth reward – not beholding themselves to a valuation cap if they believe
    • Favorite book: I have America Surrounded by Tim Leary
    • Investor who has shaped his theses is Fred Wilson – being right, companies and sharing insight, communicating as USV and himself
  • Elaine Beak, consulting and HBS (Career Talk, Wharton XM)

    • She wasn’t too scared but whenever she had problems, the solutions would arise
      • For others, the security blanket is the scariest for most people when she tries to help them on decisions or convincing them
    • Writes her books in 2 weeks each – written and published 80+
    • Word of mouth, should have 6 months saved up, and have 50 people that you can contact for saying you’re going out on your own
    • Following own rules:
      • Billing clients the same day that you finish a project.
      • Clients may have 30 day billing window, so if you waited 2 weeks, they’ll forget or not be as appreciative.
    • Don’t discount, add to the service instead – charge more
      • Bad reputation for discounting.
    • Go for the big fish – large companies but the time to get smaller companies is the same for larger. Repeat business is there
      • Repeat business and more of a budget to continue work.
    • Learn to say no. Non-paid speaking engagements should be limited.
    • Manage your time well – make sure it pays off.
      • Find ways to automate things – invoices, payroll, accounting, responses to common questions
        • Make a standard paragraph or find an app/template once you have these
    • Project will end but not relationship – stay until the end and do a good job for the client.
    • Incorporating, LLC for sure

Wrapping Up the Year (Notes from Oct 21 – 27, 2019) January 6, 2020

Posted by Anthony in Automation, Blockchain, Digital, experience, finance, Founders, global, Hiring, marketing, questions, social, Uncategorized, WomenInWork.
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Happy New Year’s, everyone! Hopefully the holidays treated everyone well. Mine were fairly quiet, filled with quite a bit of driving back and forth with family, though. Good mix and even the added bonus of getting in extended reading time, which I loved – and a good plug for the last podcast episode I had listened to in this set since Ellie Wheeler’s most recent investment at the time was Blinkist – an app summarizing nonfiction books.

Somewhat quick since the majority of the week was spent listening to Alex & Gimlet’s story continue on the StartUp podcast and how he thought about (and questioned others about starting) his podcasting company. From partnership splitting, to fundraising, to naming and branching out. Fascinating early, early stage process and how each day is a struggle of what to do. I saw someone (yes, I forget who) mentioned recently that startup founders/CEOs basically have an infinite to-do list and what makes or breaks the company is determining the order that will most benefit the development forward. Yes. And yes, it’s hard.

Recording that and releasing it was quite the project that probably helped launch the company in general as he promised to get there. Even more fun now that it’s been 5 years since the release and they’ve (check the logo) sold to Spotify. Podcasting still has a ways to go, I feel. In my opinion, audio and the video/reality experience will continue to merge as we go through the next 5-10 years. Few weeks ago, a friend helped try to hack together a form of visual note-taking app (say, pictures every 30 seconds turned to searchable text) – results weren’t great but next iteration would be possible with Snaptacles? Keep you posted. Having to organize everything using Notes / OneNote / Evernote / Notion / Docs / Apple Memo and bookmarks in your favorite browser – chaotic as hell. Shouldn’t be this hard to share relevant and recent readings/listenings. I bring it up because Alex in StartUp podcast discussed in that first episode the vision of how information can be shared. Those that learn and share can greatly accelerate action/excitement and get the flywheel moving if there was a tool (maybe 2) to facilitate this. I’m hopeful for this future – 5G and improvements there could enable the computing power for constant snippets?

The future holds the answers. Happy New Year!

  • Gimlet 2: Is Podcasting the Future or the Past? (StartUp Podcast 9/5/14)
    gimlet-and-spotify

    • Working on his pitching before headed back to California to pitch Chris’ partner
    • Matt had worked at CAA before joining Chris, he’d ran an in-house venture fund to team up with Hollywood talent, get other investors
      • Website FunnyOrDie with Ferrell and McKay to launch it
    • Launching 3 new shows, 100k per episodes
      • Asks “Are you in or out?” – but he says that he wants to spend more time
      • Normally, would give him 3 reasons why he wasn’t interested, but he’s interested in the pedigree to launch into the space
        • Access to build brands and content (really, really hard) – is this entrepreneur the best at what they’re going to build?
      • Question about audience numbers – thinks he can build a larger audience (Landlord was 80mln for FunnyOrDie), even though podcasts aren’t
      • Not a lot of innovation here – is this really the best platform (podcasting) for the shows? App-based ecosystem instead?
        • Aggregator site or podcast – can’t tweet out a moment (clip), can’t figure out which friends are/have listened (can’t)
        • pictures on phone while on podcast, celebrities what they’re listening to – Instagram of audio
    • Audio shows or vs podcasting – name sucks, new way – wife mentions pitching tech guys and getting feedback on tech platform for bigger
      • Scale for him is the largest he can’t envision, and that all seems to be small for Chris and Matt
  • Crypto Regulations, ATM fees (a16z 16 Minutes on the News #12, 10/20/19)
    ah-logo-sm

    • Managing Partner, Scott Cooper, author of Secrets of Sand Hill Road
    • ICOs as regulation, thing may not even exist – SEC fined the company with the ICO – if building blockchain and raise money from public before
      • Can’t sell security unless registered with SEC
      • Howie – did someone give you money? Did someone expect a profit/return? Did the profit come from the efforts of others?
    • When we invest in start-up companies, exemption by accredited investors or register by SEC because no exemption
    • Bill Hineman at SEC talked about mutability for security turning into non-security
      • ERC-20 token was frozen/suspended for Block 1 – eventually received EOS tokens, that persists today
      • Settlement with SEC didn’t impact EOS tokens to trade on the market – in theory, EOS wasn’t a security at the time – efforts for others
    • First time Cooper had seen settlement that SEC distinguished a security in the initial part ERC before turning not a security by EOS
      • No bright-line for what the line is that draws centralization/decentralization
    • ATM fees being the highest they’ve ever been $4.95 – growth of median income up 20% since 1995, healthcare 40%, education 80%, housing 50%
      • Overdraft fees as highest as well – $35bn lost there
      • Legacy banks as tons of fixed costs and infrastructure and people vs startups that can go to market and get the building blocks necessary
        • Anti-money laundering and KYC attention, also
  • Gimlet 3: How to Divide an Imaginary Pie (StartUp Podcast 9/17/14)
    a44614ef903df9d1c336bdc0438fac78

    • Needing a business partner, potentially – wife helping him get to that point
    • Micah Rosenbloom pitching – thing 1 – liked the idea, thing 2 – bet on 2 or 3 people, Finding a business partner – MBA grads, founder dating type and website
      • Settled on his partner Matt Leber, MIT Sloan grad, BCG consultant due for a soon promotion – sneaked around, knew the business side
    • Agreeing on the clarity of the business partnership – going through legal/lawyers to agree on principle for the split of equity
      • People who he talked to mentioned 90-10 split, no more than 15%
      • Matt had mentioned 47% initially, gave an input to ask what he thought was important
        • Matt asks “What is important to you?” – some examples: important to be in charge, be CEO, his company, own 80%+
      • He’s worried about being a sucker, a rube, he got ripped off – though he thought 47% was too high “He’s key to success of company”
        • Wants that to be reflected in the cap table – “Matt is not”, Matt can’t imagine doing it for 10% – he’d treat it as a job
        • Didn’t come to terms with each other, had to go back to their wives
        • Extremely surprised at the number, adding – maybe he was seen as a consultant initially and it persisted – maybe anchored
        • Positional bargaining vs average of 15 and 45%
      • Everyone could come up with their answer – as long as it was fair to each
        • Thought the split should be 60/40 – founder’s agreement at the restaurant – needed to make it worth something, together
  • Gimlet 4: Startups are a Risky Business (StartUp Podcast 9/23/14)
    • Discussing podcast with Matt Mazio – should be able to message back and forth, create new connections / friends, microtransactions, crowdfunding
    • Going back to Micah for a second meeting – brought Alex Davidoff
      • Questioned the number of people (millions vs tens or hundreds – 40mln current was the answer)
      • Hard to be a hotel and Kayak – hard for whatever you do – content vs tech
      • Questioning the CAC and LTV for customers – wanted more than theories but answers for acquisition model
        • Venture scale is $100mln+ scale, opportunity
        • Costs X to produce a show, Y% are hits, Z amount of value to listeners, listeners pay and blended AC is W
        • How to scale because he knows what it looks like – wanted to de-risk the investment – credible theory of venture size
    • Micah had been encouraging and excited to give him intros to other venture capitalists
    • Chicago Board of Trade from school, some colleagues started an investment firm – Mike
      • Podcast newbies – never – bonded over one venture because he’d listened to Howard Stern – great interviewer / new content
      • Definitely different than what they’d focused on
    • Investing partners on one – focused on numbers, other on user growth, different reasons
      • Former financial guy who’d explained to him a toxic asset – $50k was a fan, solid enough business
      • Media innovation fund – perhaps a revenue model for other journalism forms
      • Andrew Mason, Founder/CEO of Groupon ($100mln from there) – started a new company called Detour – guided audio tours
        • Needed content for the tours but had the tech side to build it – had his own project (podcast network)
        • Agreed to invest $100k – exploitative, can learn things, investment in himself to keep close, good at what he does, ppl
        • Hadn’t thought about monetary reason, higher likelihood for profitable business but lower likelihood for 100x
          • If not successful, because he didn’t want it enough – “Have a kid now, it’s an insane amount of work”
    • Went to bank together and had $385k in the checking account – wanted $1.5mln for runway
      • Planning to still launch 3 shows, office space, 18 months runway
    • The name: APC – no, unilaterally – including wife and partner
  • Gimlet 5: How to Name Your Company (StartUp Podcast 10/13/14)
    • Transparency and the name: APC – no, including wife and partner
    • Tried a ton of different options before going to Lexicon naming help
      • We can’t pay but we’ll have it on the air for the podcast
    • Major Gimlet, gimlet eye, gimlet drinks – Matt bought the domain
  • Matt Charney (@mattcharney), Editor at RecruitingDaily (In the Workplace, Wharton XM)
    screen-shot-2014-06-22-at-2.46.49-pm

    • Went over digital numbers for the workplace – IoT as different than Digital Transformation
      • Digital transformation is a $60bn annual cost to consultants – max cash, short on ROIC
    • Mentioning that the top ATS in hiring is still top now – since 1996
  • Gimlet 6: How to Value Your Startup (StartUp Podcast 10/25/14)
    • Valuing your company as a starter for valuation cap, how much of the company
    • Valuation cap set at $10mn with his lawyer – completely arbitrary
      • AngelList had average valuations for a startup in NY at the time between $3-5mn, other media companies had been $10mn
    • Talking to Matt Mazio to check in – had a cofounder now, lots of meetings and having discussions with people
      • Price for pre-launch, content and no real tech – at least 2x what it was
      • Mazio in $100k with Chris Sacca, wasn’t worth arguing the price for $100k
        • $10mn cap would’ve needed a 10x to go to $100mn
  • Gimlet 7: How Listeners Become Owners (StartUp Podcast 11/8/14)
    • Fully funded after going $200k in crowdfunding, getting the Tumblr founder Marco to put in $50k and additional $150k
    • Building the sound booth studio randomly
    • JOBS Act allowing the larger pool of American people to invest in startups, talking to AlphaWorks CEO Erin (had been there 4 days in NYC)
      • AlphaWorks – actual ownership stake, investor
        • Relationship with listeners was the biggest thing for the company – $5k
      • Wire from Sacca was late because original amount went to the wrong account, business in Gardenia somewhere
        • Local police weren’t convinced that receiving someone else’s money was a crime ($33k lost)
    • Having worked for 6 months, quite early and then leaving at 6pm each night
      • Parenting strain now – can’t help even though he did pull more than his weight before
    • Consumer Federation of America – actually, sort of, trying to protect the people
      • Regular people will get hosed is what they said – is it the business of government to look out for what’s best?
  • Ellie Wheeler (@ellie), Partner at Greycroft Partners (20min VC 1/27/16)
    greycroft-logo1

    • Next-gen commerce, consumer mobile, SaaS solutions and investments in BaubleBar, Flashpoint Intel, Eloquii, Plain Vanilla Games

      • Was in a similar position at Lowercase Capital with Chris Sacca
    • No “if you do this, you’ll get into venture” – hers was pre-med, medical school and dropped out before end of first semester
      • Started at Summit Partner – Growth Capital P/E in Boston w/o Excel skills
      • Wanted to understand more in context so she went to Cisco, moved to SF – C/D, M&A, Strategy on Enterprise Software
        • webEx and video conferencing, unified comms
      • Crash happened – $30bn on balance sheet and seeing everything for stunting M&A and tech
    • Business school after Cisco
    • Mobile commerce as off by consultants/analysts by orders of magnitude – conversion rates were still very low
      • Email to mobile as conversion driver – d2c, into funnel and into terrible experience
      • Web or app experiences
    • Wearables – more integrated, into the fabric, athletic gear
    • The Power of One as favorite book, Alan Patricof as the founder of Greycroft
      • Outlook app, Twitter (as blog), Todo list (Evernote, but she uses note cards)
    • Recent investment is Blinkist, mobile summary for key nonfiction books
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