Showing posts with label Jeff Bezos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jeff Bezos. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 05, 2022

5: Bezos

joining a16z crypto

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Asteroid Belt And Earth On The Way To Mars

Spending a year in weightless space is a nightmare for the human body. But the push for Mars might have benefits closer to home. And robotic travel will harvest the asteroid belt. A few hundred years ago spices were scarce and literally gold. The asteroid belt could turn gold into a commodity.

Delhi to Tokyo in 30 minutes, says Elon Musk. That translates to anywhere to anywhere on earth in 30 minutes. That is more alluring for human tourism (and commerce) than zooming vertically to the boundaries of from where all you see is pitch black before you come back.

But if you move information well enough, fast enough, in large enough quantities, securely enough, and from every point to every other point on earth, human beings perhaps can get by on less travel in the first place. The vision of 4,000 satellites carrying the bulk of internet traffic is sound. And it beats going to Mars. Such a spacenet would be indispensable for the Internet Of Things with its hundreds of billions of sensors, its top use being to keep the earthly ecosystem at its optimum best. Human safety and security would be a whole new paradigm.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Touch Of Asperger's

“Rather than reasoning by analogy, you boil things down to the most fundamental truths you can imagine and you reason up from there,” Musk has said. “This is a good way to figure out if something really makes sense or if it’s just what everybody else is doing.” ....... To be great, you can’t think like everybody else, and you probably won’t fit in to the herd. As a child Musk was bullied and beaten so badly that as an adult he struggled to breathe through his nose and needed corrective surgery........ John Doerr, a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins, who was an early investor in Google, Amazon and Netscape, has said that great entrepreneurs tend to have “absolutely no social life.” Great innovators, like those with Asperger’s, just don’t fit in...... Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been described as “a robot,” and having “a touch of the Asperger’s,” according to a former colleague. There are stories of a young Zuckerberg having awkward meetings, such as with Twitter’s co-founders. ...... One of Facebook’s first investors, Reid Hoffman, has said his first impression of Zuckerberg was how quiet he was. Zuckerberg said maybe 15 or 20 sentences in an hour-long meeting. ...... “What I most remember was scratching my head going, ‘Huh why is he being quiet?’ It turns out he was being quiet because he’s thinking a lot,” Hoffman said ... “He’s perfectly fine with, ‘Hey if there ends up being five seconds of silence, it’s five seconds of silence, I’m thinking.” ...... Zuckerberg’s willingness to defy social norms has paid off with an uncanny ability to position Facebook to thrive. It’s now worth $228 billion. ... He dared to spend over $25 billion acquiring companies without little or revenue — WhatsApp, Instagram and Oculus. ...... When Zuckerberg spent $1 billion on Instagram, which had never made a cent, many saw it as a crazy move. Now by one estimate Instagram is now worth $35 billion. ......... He wears a gray T-shirt every day, saying he wants to focus his decision-making energy on Facebook not fashion. .... Four of the six PayPal co-founders built bombs in high school. ..... While lots of “normal” people played with Legos, Google co-founder Larry Page built a functioning inkjet printer out of them in college. ...... “Think different,” happened to be Apple’s slogan, which its co-founder Steve Jobs embodied in his youth as he wandered India and experimented with LSD. ...... “If you have autism or if you have a mild form of it you might be kind of less interested in following the crowd and conforming to social norms. And you can think more independently,” Baron-Cohen said. “They want to know are we doing these things because it’s the most efficient way, it’s the best way of doing it or the cheapest way. They want some kind of logic.” ........ Obsessiveness, another trait of those with Asperger’s, also pays off when building a tech company...... Microsoft’s co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen were comfortable coding software for hours on end as young programmers...... “Some of the more prudish people would say ‘Go home and take a shower.’ We were just hard-core, writing code,” as Gates told ........ Asperger’s Syndrome is much more prevalent in boys than girls.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Raising Money For A Tech Startup

Image representing Jeff Bezos as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase
(written for Vishwa Sandesh)

Raising money for a tech startup is a Silicon Valley thing, by now done all over the world. You have a great idea, a basic product, and you go raise money. Jeff Bezos of jotted down his idea on a paper napkin. Based on that he raised money.

Google is a great company. But if you had bought Google shares when it went public at $80 per share, your money would have grown only 10 times when those shares hit $800. That is great but not mind boggling amazing.

Probably the best investment of any is coming into the first round of a tech startup that is going to be wildly successful. The first person to put in $100,000 into Google saw that money become a billion and a half in about eight years. The first person to put $500,000 into Facebook saw that money become two billion in six years.

But there are many more mid-level successes that don’t make it to the mainstream press. Numerous tech companies get bought out at valuations ranging from 10 million to a billion dollars. And then there are tech companies that churn out revenues month after month many small businesses don’t manage to.

New York City by now is number two after San Francisco on the tech scene. Used to be Boston, not anymore, although it was great for me to get to meet Rudra Pandey in person this past Friday in his office. Pandey is the richest Nepali in North America. I felt like he was just getting started. Sitting across a table from him feels like sitting next to a bullet train. He is all ready to go. Before Pandey the honor of being the richest Nepali in North America went to Aditya Jha out of Toronto who shares the same home district in Nepal as me: Mahottari. Jha also got his money through the sale of a software firm.

The big companies like Google and Facebook and Apple might all be in the traditional Silicon Valley closer to San Jose, but the center of gravity moved to San Francisco years ago, apparently the pull of the urban lifestyle was too great.

So if you could build a Stanford on Roosevelt Island, as is in the works, there is no way San Francisco could beat New York City on the urban thing. To borrow a phrase from Saddam Hussein who would talk in terms of “the mother of all battles,” NYC is the mother of all things urban. And guess where the biggest venture capital firms in Silicon Valley raise their money from! From the pension funds in New York!

New York City has a decent movie industry and a decent tech scene. But the tech scene is all set to ramp up, although the top venture capitalist in NYC, Fred Wilson, likes to say the city is “decades” behind Silicon Valley in terms of the tech ecosystem thing.

But depends on what it is you are trying to do. If your app is people centric, if your app is big city centric, NYC just might be the place.

Software is going to play a big role in Nepal’s economic transformation, no doubt, and that is why fund-raising in the Nepali community is important. You are trying to contribute to the culture. The thought has to percolate.

Long Island City could be a great place for office space. Several trains stop there. It is right next to Roosevelt Island, where the tech university will be located. It is not in Manhattan, so the rent is cheaper. But it is right next to Manhattan, sure has the Manhattan view. And it is but 10 minutes on the train to Jackson Heights, where all the Desi food is.

Fundraising is about the sense of possibility, of what could happen. A tech startup is of a different magnitude than tech consulting. With tech consulting you are building stuff for other people, for your clients. Often times the project can be small. With a tech startup you are creating wealth.

I remember when FourSquare presented for the first time on stage at the NY Tech MeetUp. I did not “get it.” I thought the check in thing was the weirdest thing. But a few months later I got it, I got it why it was the next Twitter. I got to know the founders of Venmo a few years ago before they had raised any money. Well, they sold the company last year for $26 million. Rumor has it FourSquare’s Indian Co-Founder Naveen walked away with 80 million dollars.

The city’s tech ecosystem sure is building up.

I once met this guy who had sold his company to Google for a billion and a half. When it was my turn to shake his hand, I asked him a question. I said, you got money, why are you still raising money from VCs for your next startup? He said, two reasons. One, VCs giving money is market validation that maybe my idea is a good one. Two, VCs bring way more than money to the table. They bring their knowledge, their contacts.

One hopes the new crowd-funding possibilities will open up the field a bit. But there is no beating the first round, also known as the friends and family round. That is informal. And the founder can bring in anyone. In future rounds, that luxury is no more. Only licensed investors come in.
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Monday, September 10, 2012

Dorsey, The Closest Thing To Next Jobs

A lot of people secretly hope to be the next Steve Jobs, or not so secretly. I have met quite a few early stage entrepreneurs whose idea of being Steve Jobs like is to exhibit really nasty behavior. It is like when I was in Nepal I thought crime was the only thing that happened in New York City. It does happen, but in my years here, thankfully, I have yet to witness one. Steve Jobs actually treated his team really, really well. The flares aside.

Sean Parker is too much of a visionary Chairperson, perhaps not enough of a CEO. Steve Jobs was CEO, period. His was a daily executing grind. Jeff Bezos belongs to the same generation as Jobs almost, and besides he has been with the same company the entire time. That is like Larry Ellison without his divorces.

Jack Dorsey is CEO. He has had his unhappy ouster from the company he founded. There is the drama, even the intensity. And he might still take Twitter to its promised, unrealized heights.

“I Never Wanted To Be An Entrepreneur” Says Jack Dorsey
”Twitter was not started because we had a good idea. It was started out of a failure. And that can happen today” .... Twitter is estimated to have around 500 million users — although not all of them active. Square has over 100 million active users.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012


Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase
Amazon is a sturdy property. Jeff Bezos some have talked as the next Steve Jobs. But 12 years ago it would have been very hard to imagine the two companies would ever cross paths. The two have inexorable moved toward each other's turfs.

Apple-Amazon War Heats Up
Amazon's Kindle App was recently the fifth-most downloaded free iPad app of all time, according to Apple. And Amazon sells a substantial number of iPods and iPhones on its namesake website. ..... Apple and Amazon have a common and key weapon: unparalleled data about their customers, particularly their credit-card numbers.
Will Amazon build a smartphone? How can it not? Amazon should perform a similar price trick as did with the Kindle Fire. That would be an instant differentiator.

But this is not two dimensional chess. It can be argued this is four dimensional chess. Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook. Each has or will have a smartphone. We live in the age of mobile.
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