Showing posts from June, 2019

Valley Nordic Podcast Episode 9: The Business Of Venture Capital

In this episode, Arne and I go deeper into the business of venture investing. How do venture firms raise money, how do the venture capitalists make money, how do they make investment decisions? We also talk about how the venture investing business has changed over the last three decades and what are the differences between Nordic and Silicon Valley approach to venture investing.  Useful links: Norwegian  VC in Silicon Valley  How does Silicon Valley work?  Subscribe to the podcast  here . And, see the notes from the previous episode  here . 

Traffic Lights And Brain

For over a year, walking around in Palo Alto, CA, I have noticed that there has been a change in how traffic lights work.  Generally, the signals for motor vehicles and pedestrians work in sync i.e. when light turns green, the walk sign comes on at the same time. Sometime ago, the "walk" sign for the pedestrians started coming up before the light turned green. . Traffic light in Palo Alto I wonder why the city would do that. Knowing Palo Alto, it must have something to do with pedestrian safety or priority. While driving, I noticed that when the traffic light changes for the pedestrians to walk and the light for the cars remains red, my first reaction is to take the foot off the break. It takes a few microseconds to realize the light is still red. This might be dangerous for the drivers.  Does the brain notice changes in the environment first before realizing what the change is? Or, is it just social conditioning that the brain is used to seeing a patt

Valley Nordic Episode 8: Facebook Libra, Barriers To Entry, SLACK

In this episode, Arne and I talk about the new Facebook cryptocurrency, Libra. Answer an audience question on what are barriers to entry for WeWork, Zoom, Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft. We end with discussing SLACK - direct IPO, business model, valuation, future prospects.  Useful links: Facebook Libra  Slack S1  SDR Subscribe to the podcast  here . And, see the notes from the previous episode  here . 

Valley Nordic Episode 7: Decision Making For Startups

In this episode, Arne and I talk about decision making under uncertainty and ambiguity. How it requires a different way of thinking which is different than the linear thinking we grow up with. Startups and innovation are prime examples of working with uncertainty. Our conversation discusses an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist perspectives on seven heuristics that I have learned on decision making under high risk. The podcast is based on a Forbes article I wrote.  Useful links:  1. Forbes article on decision making for startups  2. Forbes article on how silicon valley works 3. New England Complex Systems Institute   Subscribe to the podcast  here . And, see the notes from the previous episode  here . 

Inwards vs. Outwards

An inward looking individual performs better outwards. An inward looking group performs worse outwards. 

Valley Nordic Episode 6: StitchFix, Marketing, Blockchain, and Autonomous Systems

In this episode, Arne and I talk about StitchFix  - business model, valuation, and challenges. Then we move on to marketing - basics, common mistakes startups make, and a debate on branding. We end with hot or not i.e. tech trends in silicon valley - Blockchain and Autonomous Systems.  Useful links:  1. Advertising  2. Why do we buy things? Subscribe to the podcast  here . And, see the notes from the previous episode  here . 

Science and Ethics

At TED 2019 in Vancouver, I facilitated a dinner conversation on science and ethics. A few years ago, I attended a class on bioethics  at Stanford and that came handy at the dinner table.  Following are my observations from the dinner: I started the conversation by asking everyone to solve the trolley problem  which is a thought experiment in ethics. Surprisingly, some participants refused to answer the trolley problem question because there is no good answer and that is the whole point. Ethics are hard.  Then, I asked the participants to define science and explain why they thought it was important to society. Everybody had a different idea about what science is and some were offended by the second part of the question i.e. why is science important. They could not explain it because "it is obvious". Source: Wikipedia After we had agreed on what science is and what ethics are, we had a very interesting and wide ranging discussion on CRISPR , gene edit

Silicon Valley: Evil Or Redeemable?

At TED 2019 in Vancouver, I participated in a debate titled, "Silicon Valley: evil or redeemable". My position was that Silicon Valley is redeemable. I used the following arguments to defend my position:  1. The idea of Silicon Valley being "evil" mainly comes from social media's role in elections, user privacy violations, and publication of inappropriate materials. These issues are limited to three companies - Facebook, Google (YouTube), and Twitter. Silicon Valley is much bigger than that.  2. Silicon Valley creates tools which can be used for good or bad. Should the creator of the tools be held responsible for all the bad done with the tools?  3. In the year 2000, 700M people had access to the Internet. Today, over 3.2B people have access to the Internet i.e. around half the world has access to unlimited knowledge. It has happened mainly because of Silicon Valley.  4. Silicon Valley is fifth largest economy in the world, ~$2.7T, 

3Cs Of America

Convenience, comfort, and competition are the three pillars of the American society.