Why do so many-government led efforts to build the next “Silicon Valley” in one geography or another fail? Is it misguided to even try? In this segment of the pod a trio of guests — AnnaLee Saxenian, Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Information; VC and author Brad Feld; and entrepreneur and author Christopher Schroeder — tackle the question of how innovation ecosystems grow. The discussion delves into the peculiarities of the Valley, and how innovation is being spurred differently (or stifled) in places like Iran, China, Syria, and Russia.
Soylent’s mission is to use cutting-edge science and engineering to create nutritious food that is convenient and affordable to everyone in the world. We hope that Soylent will one day be a staple in every home — as ubiquitous as milk and flour.
When people today want food that is convenient and affordable they often resort to fast food or sugary snacks. We believe future generations won’t have to trade off between nutrition, convenience, and affordability. They’ll view fast food and sugary snacks as relics of the past — the same way many of us view smoking and other bygone unhealthy habits.
Today, Soylent is taking an important step in that direction with the announcement of Soylent 2.0, a new formula that provides 20% of recommended daily nutrients in a convenient, ready-t0-drink bottle. MORE
What all those people pay for data, and how they charge their phones, may be a challenge, but the smartphone itself is close to a universal product for humanity — the first the tech industry has ever had.
That in turn means that the smartphone supply chain is replacing the PC supply chain as a key driver of the tech industry… All of this also means that the companies and places that set the agenda in tech have changed. MORE
We sat down with four jet-lagged high school hackers from Nigeria, Brazil, and India — representing some of the finalists in this year’s Technovation coding competition in San Francisco — to hear about the mobile apps they created, the culture of coding in their home countries, and what’s coming next for their nascent software empires. MORE
Tech culture is very fond of persistence, stubbornness, perseverance, and the idea that you should never give up. We’re surrounded by stories of visionaries who were told they’d never succeed and went on to change the world. But sometimes, you should put selection bias aside and, yes, give up. This applies to big companies perhaps even more than for startups. Big companies have entire strategy teams devoted to working out what to do next and how to do it, and budgets to hire strategy consulting firms for millions of dollars to produce hundred-page decks with more strategies and ways to achieve them. Such people have little interest in saying ‘give up — it won’t work’ (perhaps because that might mean you don’t need a strategy team anymore).
Microsoft today, I think, is a case study in knowing when you should indeed give up, and what you should do after that. As (hopefully) we all now understand, mobile is replacing the PC as the dominant computing platform. Smartphones sell in much larger numbers, have a much larger user base and are already close to taking a larger share of internet use than the PC in leading markets. PCs aren’t going away any time soon, any more than faxes or mainframes did, but they are the past, not the future. MORE
“Learn to code,” they say. But most working professionals don’t have the time to do that. They know that software is becoming more central to their business, and they’d love to learn how to code, but they can’t spare months or years to self-educate in computer science. They just need an easier on-ramp to their internal database to do things like comparing projected revenue to actual revenue in order to close out this month’s financials. Enter Blockspring. MORE
It’s not just the likes of Google, Facebook, and Amazon that lean on a massive and growing corpus of data, today every company is a data-driven company. In this world, access to data — and how you manage it — is what matters, says Ash Ashutosh, founder and CEO of Actifio.
In this segment of the pod, we get in the weeds with Ashutosh and a16z’s Peter Levine on how this data-driven world is changing the technology infrastructure that is the engine behind it, and the companies that use it. MORE