Upstarts in Old Industries (notes from 10/15 - 10/21)

I went to Tahoe last weekend with some of the family. It was a blast! My dad's cousin had a few cool spots that we visited in the Sierras that had a bunch of trails and creeks/snow run-off flowing. Setting up a picnic there was a blast. I mention this, though, because he often comes that way to fish on his own. This day, however, was a bit easier than others. Why? Well, as we arrived, there was a family exiting - upon seeing my cousin's pole, the father promptly exclaimed "Rough day - the kids and I tried and didn't get any to bite".As we neared the creek, you could see the fish in mini schools. You could have brought a net and caught some fish by accident. Certainly the lumbering, aging trout. [Yes, I see that's technically not a "bite" but the father could have easily said "caught".] Undeterred, my cousin dropped the first few casts. Fish on!Sometimes, the oldest industries and things most entrenched are the best ones. And not because they run efficiently, but likely because they're running efficiently enough to stay. These can be ripe for innovation - optimizing, digitizing and cleaning to make them run smoother. The big feeder fish who have been a bit comfortable in a deeper part of a creek instead of flowing with the rest.Pablos Holman of Singularity U and Intellectual Ventures had a recording of his live stream from the recent DataScienceGo conference go live. He talked about some of our stagnant fish above / low-hanging fruit where we should be using data in more impactful ways.


Michael Ovitz stopped by the a16z podcast episode and discussed his bold entry into the entertainment / creatives industry when he founded CAA. They talked about the barrier to entry and large moat that could be traversed.


Wharton XM radio had on Shanna Tellerman who talked about what sort of insights she had as she took AR/VR to the interior design space with her company Modsy. You can do the 'virtual browse' to see how pieces may fit a room or fit each other. Then, using that data, could make a room and drive customer interactions for more sales. Again, a space that wasn't going anywhere - people have to inhabit places - and they prefer to make it their own.Hope you enjoy. My brief notes from the week are listed below on those segments and a few others:

Week of October 15, 2018

  • Pablos Holman of Singular U / Intellectual Ventures Webcast / Livestream at DataScienceGo Conference
  • Finding the proper problems to build solutions for
  • Hindrance of some in the US (the 99% of America are in the top 14% globally)
  • Malaria outbreak and data forecasting, for instance - deployment of proper vaccination schedules, nets, etc… Madagascar video
  • Uranium nuclear reactors as 0.3% efficient - nuclear waste in Kentucky, if efficiently used, could power 1000 years including growth Building nuclear reactors for uranium waste
  • Silicon dioxide in tube with Helium balloons as option C or more to improve solar ray reflections
  • Machine vision as diagnostics (humans in cervical cancer detection - ~50%)… 95%+ accurate with machine
  • Vaccinations in Africa delivered in styrofoam coolers, building cooler for long travel and safe keeping
  • AI as tool for humans choosing what to do with it - building a future that we want
  • New Upstarts in an Old Industry, (a16z podcast - 9/25/18)
  • Michael Ovitz founded Hollywood talent agency with Ben, Hanne Tidnam Firms had been well established with the greats and was trying to create a new, successful talent agency
  • Fundamentally reconceived the idea of an agent and what they are - going back to tradition of service Couple with the talent back in the driver's seat
  • Control was from 4 American studios, 5 book publishers, a scattered amount in Europe
  • Had a giant barrier to entry for new people compared to now
  • They decided to do a very deep, guidance and direct service
  • CAA was a different, systematic network - agencies took clients Built in advice (marketing, technical, business)
  • "We don't know the answer, but let us get back to you" was new initially in the space
  • Changed leverage from clients to talent
  • The Fox, Disney and other big guys in the space in 30s-50s were blunt, bold and doers
  • Admired these people who did what they said
  • Jurassic Park (no big movie stars - dinosaurs in present day) - gave it to Speilberg who read it in 12 hours and said I want to do it Called other studios and writers who were annoyed because they had never gotten the chance to look at it
  • Enjoyed to know the end result as he was building pictures/screenplay/books/records Foundation, then framework and getting the roof up (his house analogy)
  • Difference between SV and LA valleys - LA didn't want anything to do with mistakes Tech and valley always wanted to know, so they could avoid them
  • Shaun Francis, author of Eat, Move, Think and Founder/CEO of MEDCAN (Work & Life, WhartonXM)
  • Thought process, actual eating, moving and being active
  • Noted that when asked about his habits, he mentioned the eating and moving (but was prompted for the thinking) Possibly much harder to be aware/cognizant, at least in a vocal way
  • Paul Harrington, PhD, professor in School of Ed and Director for Center for Labor Markets & Policy
  • Drexel studies, new report on "Skills and Earnings in the Full-Time Labor Market"
  • Report has more details on the detachment between college graduate rates and skill efficiencies
  • If bachelor's degree wasn't obtained, there was little difference found between earnings of college attendees and high school graduates Conversely, skills weren't determined by levels of education - though the skills gaps often widened
  • *Note to self to go back and listen to the episode again*
  • Founder of Modsy, Shanna Tellerman (Wharton XM)
  • 3D-based start-up acquired by Autodesk in 2010 and was with Google Ventures
  • Interior design solution for 3D capture and computer vision tools to enable seeing interior design with VR
  • Norwest Ventures was very helpful
  • When looking at the data of purchase history and tendencies, Shanna saw people were more likely to purchase more when people have option to see pieces go together Compared to a couch that sticks around for 8-10 years and nobody buys another Tech enables you to buy lamps, tables, accessories to go with everything else in the room
  • Hunterwalk's blog by Hunter on Homebrew
  • Hiring and who he wants to join the team and culture