Category Archives: Google

Not missing the USA

I miss my family a ton. I miss old friends, camping, shake shack and long motorcycle rides along the Cali coast to nowhere. I really miss those things.

But what is going in America is scary. Trump, the FCC and the takeover of large unchecked tech giants is not a great future.

If you don’t already read Redef – you should start. Great daily curation of awesome web reads and the best part – the Rant from Jason Hirschhorn the Curator.

I love his work. I am hoping him and the Prof get together some time for a the Prof’s video series.

Dell Education Chromebook

Been wanting to get my son a laptop since I don’t think an iPad makes the best machine given the lack of keyboard and I wanted something cheaper for obvious reasons.

The school does a lot of stuff with Google so figured a Chromebook makes the most sense.

I use Wirecutter normally to hone in on things but unfortunately Wriecutter is totally made for the USA – something I am hoping they could get better at under NYT. Example would be showing links that work for the region you are in or highlighting stuff that ships globally.

Fortunately for the Dell Education Chromebook – Amazon will ship it to Singaore.

Use my link though – for obvious reasons. 😉

Dell Chromebook 13 3380 6TXJ4 13.3-Inch Traditional Laptop (Black)

Will let u know how it goes.

World Domination 

This past week was busy with switch, slush, venturecon, VC-PE summit and then walkabout. I hit or spoke or cheered them all on. I love 💕 being in Singapore and it was awesome to witness everyone from around the world coming out to support the city/state that continues to punch well above the weight class that everyone thinks it might be in.

I won’t lie – I am Singapore fanboy. 

When I read stories like this about America, startup slump, I am thankful to be in Asia and specifically at the center of SEA. Pro startup with a government mindful of the challenges ahead but super supportive of tech and the role it will play in future societies.

I worry about America but remain hopeful.

Overall I continue to be concerned about the role of the huge tech companies in our lives and their impact on startups and capitalism.

I can’t wait to read The Four.

And on this subject his weekly newsletter is very timely :: https://www.l2inc.com/daily-insights/no-mercy-no-malice/the-worm-has-turned

The biggest opportunity for the Four

The Four could pull off one of the greatest moments in business, addressing a huge social issue while disrupting an enormous, wildly profitable sector that hasn’t innovated in decades. One or more of the Four should launch a tuition-free university that blends offline and online learning, and charges firms to recruit. Student debt and corporate profits are at an all-time high, meaning we need to flip the model — charge firms, not students, for education.

Apple is also well suited to do this as its brand has roots in education. I estimate the economic value of credentialing is, if taken as a market, likely the largest industry in business with 80%+ gross margins. There would be several ways to create $100B+ in shareholder value and catalyze desperately needed competition. We (universities) have stuck out our chins and deserve fists of stone. Feeding like insecure vampires on the scarcity of our product (dopamine surges through our brains at faculty meetings as we revel in how impossible it is for kids to get into our programs), and praying on the hopes and dreams of families. Education used to be the upward lubricant and a social good. It’s now just one of those things.

Other than each other, there is only one thing between the Four and $1T in market value: the perception of poor citizenship. The small-ball strategies of tax avoidance, obfuscation, and the idolatry of youth and the dollar, may turn big tech into smaller tech.

Thoughts to ponder for sure.

I hope one of the companies steps up and challenges the perception of the role they could play and make America proud.

Thinking about AI

It is easy to go deep in the weeds or try to think about the complicated ways that AI can help make life easier.

I have an Alexa at home and apart from telling me bus arrival times, giving me the morning news update or making it easy for the kids to play some songs on Spotify, I don’t use it much. I do think voice and the home will offer a chance for AI to shine but we are not there yet.

I see the subtle things Apple does with iOS and some of their apps and it helps but nothing earth shattering yet. AI is slowly creeping into all things – like it or not.

As a VC I am trying to think of the many ways AI might permeate normal life and find companies to invest in. I will highlight one way that AI is helping me manage my calendar, yes this is a SeedPlus portfolio company, but wanto talk about the broader implications on AI or machines learning and my calendar.

I have been using Evie solidly for over a year and at first it was more novelty than anything but even in the early stages I liked moving the booking of a meeting off to someone else. I assume this is how people feel about their admin but I have never had a human admin. Of course Evie would always reply and ask me more questions, she was learning, but now those questions don’t come to me as much cause she is evolving and getting smarter.

Our team uses it and scheduling a meeting is simply one email. Find a slot. Book. If outsiders are involved than Evie will talk to them but save me from the back and forth of it all.

Generally I book meetings faster this way and use less of my time in doing so. I can tell Evie my preferences and over time she is even inferring some of them. It’s not perfect yet though. I would like Evie to be able to distinguish between time blocked for outside meettings and time blocked for inside meetings. Example – I would block time for people on my team to book but if they don’t use that time then it is still my time, it would not get booked bny outsiders. I would also like Evie to allow me to cap my overall meeting time – example might be setting a high water mark for how much of a week goes to meetings and if she hits that mark she would alert me as such. I know some of this is managed by time blocking but I also might book some of my own meetings but the thought is that Evie would know once I hit my mark and let me deal with it.

I know there is some chatter on the ‘net about how these personal calendar bots are impersonal. Meaning I should talk to the person and manually book it but I don’t see the issue to be honest. I think Evie is faster than my own calendar management and this means I get people booked faster and they don’t have to hear me find a time or discuss it, Evie just offers up the soonest available time. Meaning I still feel that by using Evie my time is better managed and people get the best of me. Maybe others don’t feel this way but to me this is the beauty of a personal AI bot, my own powers are augemted via technology.

This is what I want to see more of. Example I just had to fill out an India Visa form and it would be great if Apple or Google could pre-fill out the form for me and save a bunch of time. I can honestly think of other things I wish “computers” were doing for me – all in the same category of “augmenting me” so that I get more done in the same span of time. Of course this same “augmentation” could mean that some people are put out of work or are needed less – I am not sure how to defend against that but I know that if much of the world is augmented that overall productivity will go up which everyone benefits from.

However this does lead me to think that society will have issues with grappling how to deal with some folks out of work while others are benefiting. The world has always had this issue though and I think about it a lot when I look at my young kids.

For the time being though I will continue to enjoy the benefits of calendar and meeting automation.

🙂

 

 

Uber’s month from hell!

And now the investors are piling on :: https://shift.newco.co/an-open-letter-to-the-uber-board-and-investors-2dc0c48c3a7#.wro1quz15

#deleteUber

Then the latest on all the sexual harassment

Adding the recode link :: http://www.recode.net/2017/2/23/14717432/waymo-otto-uber-anthony-levandowski-lawsuit

And now :: https://medium.com/waymo/a-note-on-our-lawsuit-against-otto-and-uber-86f4f98902a1#.j81e8os6u

We found that six weeks before his resignation this former employee, Anthony Levandowski, downloaded over 14,000 highly confidential and proprietary design files for Waymo’s various hardware systems, including designs of Waymo’s LiDAR and circuit board. To gain access to Waymo’s design server, Mr. Levandowski searched for and installed specialized software onto his company-issued laptop. Once inside, he downloaded 9.7 GB of Waymo’s highly confidential files and trade secrets, including blueprints, design files and testing documentation. Then he connected an external drive to the laptop. Mr. Levandowski then wiped and reformatted the laptop in an attempt to erase forensic fingerprints.

Wow. Not even a professional hijacking. Just straight up stealing and trying to cover it up.

Guessing Alphabet has plenty of cash and an axe to grind. Seems to me it’s time for the CEO to step down and let an adult run the company before it is too late.