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145 William Davidow: “Civilization is Going Through Its Third Phase Change”

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Release Date: 09/10/2020

156:  Is “Working Backwards” the Most Important Business Book Ever?  Lessons from Amazon show art 156: Is “Working Backwards” the Most Important Business Book Ever? Lessons from Amazon

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

In their new book “WORKING BACKWARDS: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon” (St. Martin’s Press, February 9, 2021.) Bill Carr and Colin Bryar share Amazon’s secrets.   They had a front row seat for most of Amazon's history, and they are sharing what they learned in their new book. Not only is Amazon one of the most valuable companies in the world, it has succeeded across a stunning array of categories from web services to movies.  So it’s hyperbolic, but possible to make the case that this is the most important business book….ever. “Like being in the...

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155 Amy Nauiokas: The CEO of Anthemis Group’s Journey from the Peace Corps to Managing Nearly $1 Billion show art 155 Amy Nauiokas: The CEO of Anthemis Group’s Journey from the Peace Corps to Managing Nearly $1 Billion

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Amy Nauiokas is Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Anthemis, a leading digital financial services investment firm.  Anthemis manages nearly $1 billion.  Amy is also Founder and Chair of Archer Gray, a media production and content company. Straightforward for a venture capitalist, right?  Except maybe for the TV/Movie company she also runs.  But wait – she’s also a liberal arts major who joined the Peace Corps out of college.  In this episode we discuss how she made her way from the Peace Corps to leading one of the biggest fintech venture capital firms. We...

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154 Vern Howard:  Hallo's CEO is NOT Your Deliveryman show art 154 Vern Howard: Hallo's CEO is NOT Your Deliveryman

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Vern Howard’s story is remarkable.  Vern was a math prodigy who left high school early, when he tested into Virginia Commonwealth University to study Computer Science and Math.  He paid his way through school by teaching math and serving as a janitor on campus. He went on to sell men’s suits, which taught him the art of selling.  After joining Capital One – whose signing bonus he used to rebuild an Alpha Romeo – he built Capital One’s first mobile banking application.  He also built out the Application Security Team at Capital One before, naturally, becoming a...

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153 -- 2020 Thank You-cast Extravaganza! show art 153 -- 2020 Thank You-cast Extravaganza!

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

An episode in which I thank each of the 2020 guests.  A podcast first (probably).  I briefly recall – fondly – a bit of each of the 2020 episodes. Is it interesting?  I think so.  Can I do it in one take?  Turns out, yes.  Enjoy, and thank you for listening. Marco Zappacosta, Thumbtack Founder Keller Fitzsimmons, “Lost in Startuplandia” Author Jeff Macpherson, Tiki Bar TV Creator Brianne Kimmel, worklife Founder Paul-Henri Ferrand, Brex COO Matt Hulett, Rosetta Stone CEO Mike Stutz, Television Producer Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle Senior...

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152 Stacey Bishop of Scale Venture Partners On Ascending the Venture Ladder and the Rise of 152 Stacey Bishop of Scale Venture Partners On Ascending the Venture Ladder and the Rise of "All Raise"

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Stacey Bishop is a partner at Scale Venture Partners where she invests in “business applications driving the Intelligent Connected World”. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of companies like Abstract, Airspace, Demandbase, Extole, Lever, and Textio. Stacey is a founding member of All Raise – an organization frequently mentioned on Something Ventured. She is also an advisor to The University Growth Fund Stacey got her MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from The University of Michigan. In this episode we discuss her path to becoming a partner at a prominent Silicon...

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151 Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts on “Kings of Crypto” and the Rise of Coinbase show art 151 Fortune’s Jeff John Roberts on “Kings of Crypto” and the Rise of Coinbase

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

In 2013, Fortune’s Jeff Roberts visited "Satoshi Square" in New York.  It was the name of the location where a group of crypto anarchists and Wall Street traders bought and sold Bitcoin in the open air. Since that day, Jeff became fascinated with Bitcoin and new forms of money. That fascination led him to write the new book “Kings of Crypto:  One Startup's Quest to Take Cryptocurrency Out of Silicon Valley and Onto Wall Street”. Said Fortune Senior Writer Robert Hackett: "'Kings of Crypto' tells the story of a ragtag band of rebels who saw the future of finance before anyone...

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150 Hooman Radfar:  The Rise of the ‘Business-of-One’ show art 150 Hooman Radfar: The Rise of the ‘Business-of-One’

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Hooman Radfar is co-founder and CEO of Collective, an online back-office platform designed for freelancers, consultants and other ‘businesses-of-one’. He is also a Venture Partner at Expa, a San Francisco-based start-up venture firm and studio where he was a founding partner (along with Uber Co-Founder Garrett Camp). Previously, he was co-founder and CEO of AddThis.  AddThis was acquired by Oracle in 2016. Recently, Hooman took the somewhat rare step of leaving a perfectly good venture capital job to start a company. In this episode, he describes why the idea he is pursuing felt so...

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149 Fabrice Grinda:  4 Incredible Stories from the OLX and FJ Labs Co-Founder show art 149 Fabrice Grinda: 4 Incredible Stories from the OLX and FJ Labs Co-Founder

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Fabrice Grinda is a wildly successful entrepreneur and investor.  In this episode he recounts in detail 4 stories that any entrepreneur – any person, really – will find fascinating. The first is the story of building one of Europe’s first marketplaces before eBay got there – and what happens when you turn down $100 million for your company. The second is the story of Zingy, and what it’s like to grind without capital and miss payroll 27 times, before ultimately succeeding. Third, Fabrice talks about building OLX, the global trading platform, after Craig Newmark refused his offer...

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148  Jaclyn Hester:  Foundry Group’s New Partner!  show art 148 Jaclyn Hester: Foundry Group’s New Partner!

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Jaclyn Hester has just become a Partner at Foundry Group.  So first, “Congratulations, Jaclyn”. Jaclyn joined Foundry Group – the Boulder-based tech company and venture fund investor -- after a few years at big law firms.  As a lawyer, she worked on everything from startup formation and financing to large M&A processes. During graduate school at CU Boulder, she caught the entrepreneurship bug and immersed herself in the local startup community, serving as the Executive Director of Startup Colorado. She has also built a startup with her husband, Anders.   Their...

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147 Sarah Leary: Nextdoor’s Co-founder Becomes a VC show art 147 Sarah Leary: Nextdoor’s Co-founder Becomes a VC

Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

There are only so many iconic social networks in the world – and Nextdoor is one of them.  While perhaps not as fast-growing as Facebook or even LinkedIn, Nextdoor has steadily become the hub for neighborhoods around the world. Sarah Leary founded Nextdoor, along with Nirav Tolia, Prakash Janakiraman, and David Wiesen. In this episode, Sarah tells the story of getting Nextdoor off the ground.  She talks about the painstaking work they did to figure out how to build a healthy community around a neighborhood, before they were ready to scale. We talk about the impact COVID-19 had on...

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More Episodes

William Davidow is a Silicon Valley pioneer, former Intel VP, and renowned venture capitalist.  He is author of the new book, with tech journalist Michael Malone, THE AUTONOMOUS REVOLUTION: Reclaiming the Future We’ve Sold to Machines (Berrett-Koehler, February 18, 2020).  It’s a provocative look at how to safeguard humanity from our autonomous future and how to harness its benefits.

According to Davidow and Malone, for the third time in the history of humanity civilization is undergoing phase change.  The first was the Agricultural Revolution, the second the Industrial Revolution, and we are now in the midst of the Autonomous Revolution.

Some ideas discussed:

  • How to adapt society to our new era and transform our relationship with intelligent machines the authors propose in the new book

  • Creating tiered personal information “safety deposit boxes” over which users would have complete control to protect internet privacy;
  • Imposing a tax on sending emails, time spent on social networks, and gaming;
  • Programs that automatically block phone use while we’re driving;
  • Regulation that puts limits on Artificial Intelligence;
  • Proactive investment in the infrastructure of the future to offset inevitable job loss.

 

More on William Davidow: 

William Davidow is a Silicon Valley pioneer who ran the microprocessor division at Intel at the dawn of the chip revolution and was later senior vice president of marketing and sales. Prior to Intel Corp., Bill worked in various managerial positions at Hewlett Packard and General Electric. He cofounded Mohr Davidow Ventures, one of the Valley's premier venture capital firms, in 1985. Bill serves on the boards of California Institute of Technology and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy. He is the author of three books and the coauthor of two, including The Virtual Corporation, which sold more than 100,000 copies.

 

Episode Exerpts:

On the Evolution of Technology Innovation

“When I was at Intel, you know, we used to get up and feel like we were putting on our Superman shirts and going out and changing the world. And what we were doing was automating existing processes: In other words, we made a stoplight run better or we made a typewriter into a word processor.

But if you looked at it, there was still a factory or there was still a stoplight. We didn't change the structure of things. And what is different today is that our technologies are changing the social and economic structure of things.”

The Problem of Virtual Worlds like Facebook

“We have real problem that people are choosing to live in a virtual world. It turns out that you evolved in a physical world, YOU controlled the physical world. A tree was not created to be firewood. You managed the world and made the tree firewood.   The physical world had no purpose and you were running the physical world. But when you go to a virtual world, a virtual world DOES have a purpose. And the purpose of the virtual world is to control your behavior. you you're down to two senses, both of which are impaired. “

On the Accelerating Pace of Job Destruction

We keep finding new work for people to do, so we keep creating opportunities, I think today the challenge is that we may not be able to create the opportunities fast enough. I mean, these technologies have such broad impact. Netflix put Blockbuster Video out of business, when Blockbuster Video had nine thousand stores and 60,000 employees. And Netflix, I think, had one thousand employees. And those are the kinds of things will continue to happen. It’s going to turn everything upside down. I believe in a free market, but free markets have their flaws. They do not allocate wealth based on social contribution, they allocate wealth based on your ability to make money. In the future we may be living in a society where we're going to have to find ways to compensate people based on their social contribution as opposed to whether they're just a great high speed trader. “

Kent Lindstrom (host):          https://kentlindstrom.com

William Davidow:                  https://www.davidow.com

Something Ventured:           https://somethingventured.us