Arch Mission Foundation’s Nova Spivack: “Humanity's billion-year backup”Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Nova Spivack, founder of the Arch Mission Foundation, to talk about the lunar library (3:10), how is started in 2015 (6:40), doing a test mission with Elon Musk (7:55), packing 30m pages of data into a CD (9:25), safekeeping the keys to civilisation (13:10), storing special data in “vaults” (15:30), why he’s doing it (17:45), looking for billionaire benefactors (20:10), settling the moon (23:25), getting funding from the Charney family (25:20), what happens if the landing is successful (26:30), the fears driving the project (28:20), private enterprise in space (30:00), keeping the project private (31:05), and creating a permanent record for an impermanent time (36:30).
UC Berkeley's Alison Gopnik: "Babies are the ultimate supercomputers"Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent brings on Dr Alison Gopnik, a developmental psychologist, to talk about why babies could be the key to artificial intelligence (3:45), the limits to current systems (5:40), infants as supercomputers (8:00), the power of experimentation (10:15), how young brains learn (12:50), coding curiosity (16:15), how the tech industry has come around to kids (17:35), recreating the human brain (20:30), what electricity can tell us about AI regulation (23:00), whether we should be worried (25:35), why we’re just starting to understand the brain (33:20), why we should expect unexpected outcomes (34:35), nerd machismo (37:15), and why babies can teach engineers to improve the world (39:50)
Humu's Laszlo Bock: "Nudge, nudge"Danny In The Valley add
Humu’s Laszlo Bock: “Nudges”
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Laszlo Bock, founder of Humu, to talk about the fish that inspired him (3:00), coming to America as a refugee (4:15), why he chose human resources (5:05), becoming Google’s first head of people operations (6:20), why “open plan” offices are terrible (8:30), trusting people (11:15), experimenting on Google’s workforce (14:30), dealing with Google’s elitism (16:50), building a tool to find better workers (20:25), Google’s lack of diversity (23:30), whether diversity matters (25:45), using AI to make people feel “psychologically safe” (28:15), personalising motivation (31:45), how money isn't the best motivator (33:45), whether companies are willing to buy in to “people analytics” (35:05), and the crisis at Google (36:40).
Dr Phyllis Gardner, Stanford professor and Theranos critic: "I'll only really feel good if she's convicted"Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent brings on Dr Phyllis Gardner, the Standord medical professor who came across Elizabeth Holmes before she started Theranos and then worked behind the scenes to expose her, to talk about her background at Stanford (4:00), and in industry (5:00), meeting a young Elizabeth Holmes (6:55), rejecting her first idea (8:10), using her “charm” to accumulate prominent men (10:30), how Gardner got drawn in to the group of Theranos doubters (12:45), meeting John Carreyrou, The Wall Street Journal reporter who uncovered the scandal (16:50), how Holmes was appointed to Harvard’s Medical Board of Fellows (17:40), feeling lonely as a Theranos sceptic (21:45), the whistleblowers (23:00), why “fake it till you make it” doesn’t work in medicine (24:30), hurting the cause of women in business (25:45), Theranos’ legal attack dog (28:10), Holmes’ new company (30:00), the human costs of the fraud (31:55), the employees who quit (35:45), and why more women did not speak (38:20).
Troy Carter: "There was no Plan B"Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’s tech correspondent brings on Troy Carter, Lady Gaga’s former manager and music executive, to talk about the importance of radio (3:40), why streaming is still evolving (6:10), the death of the album (7:20), showing up at Spotify (9:50), the music industry’s history of screwing artists (13:50), why artists are less desperate than they used to be (15:20), growing up as an aspiring rapper in West Philadelphia (21:40), doorstepping Will Smith and DJ Jazzy Jeff (24:30), dropping out and failing (26:50), promoting Wu-Tang Clan in Philadelphia (28:55), working at Bad Boy when Tupac Shakur got shot (30:30), becoming Eve’s manager (32:40), what works in music (33:40), negotiating with Taylor Swift (36:55), becoming Lady Gaga’s manager (39:30), how they used social media to build a following (42:10), becoming a tech investor (40:55), how the techlash has created opportunity (43:40), investing early in Uber (47:55), the merging of culture and tech (49:10), whether we should worry about algorithm-led art (51:40), how the music industry will change (55:40), his worst day of work (58:40), and managing Prince’s estate (1:01:00).
Jon Vlassopulos: "We're all nano-influencers"Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent brings on Jon Vlassopulos to talk about the early days of digital music (3:30), investing in Napster (4:55), when ringtones were big business (10:20), getting into television with Deal or No Deal (16:15), Facebook’s interactive TV show (20:45), why lists are a good way to consume content (24:30), the problem with chronological feeds (27:00), how he plans to monetize lists (30:20), where journalists fit in this world (32:10),turning everyone into a curator (36:45), DJing in Beijing (39:45), creating community online (43:15), people as brands (48:00), and the future of the "interest graph" (49:15).
BeeFlow's Matias Viel: "Bionic Bees"Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Matias Viel, founder of Beeflow, to talk about why bees are a big deal (3:05), why they need him (4:50), the almond industry (7:20), the booming bee rental business (9:55), making bees bionic (12:20), training them to pollinate the right plants (15:05), starting out in Argentina (18:50), ending up at IndieBio in San Francisco (23:00), using insects to increase crop yields (25:30), the potential risks involved in bee biotech (27:20), the decline in bee populations (30:20), getting farmers to buy in (32:35), trying to grow the company (35:05), and the coming revolution in agriculture (38:05).
Renee DiResta: "Information gone haywire"Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Renee Diresta, expert in online propaganda, to talk about the 2016 election as the web’s Lehman Brothers moment (3:45), why Facebook got rid of human curators (4:45), the problem with Facebook groups and the anti-vaccination movement (8:40), amoral algorithms (13:40), the war for time and attention (18:25), the “likes” black market (21:25), how Amazon gets gamed (23:00), how trying to get her son into preschool got her in to propaganda research(26:45), how conspiracy theories spread (31:30), why tech giants claim to be platforms, not media companies (34:40), Google’s “your money or your life” search function (37:45), why “host not promote” is a better alternative (38:45), the fixes for misinformation (39:50), her work on ISIS’ online strategy (43:20), the slippery slope argument (47:35), and why she is optimistic (52:05).
Patreon's Jack Conte: “People used to pay for things”Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent brings on Jack Conte, founder of Patreon, to talk about busking as a business model (2:10), the web’s weird love triangle (4:40), sending $500m to creators this year (5:05), how platforms work (9:00), what kind of stuff is successful on Patreon (11:30), like gaming (14:40), people looking for their tribe online (16:35), getting money from the Kushner family (18:10), how he started (19:45), launching a company (23:10), needing to raise more venture capital (25:10), how he polices the platform (26:55), the problem with the word “influencer” (29:10), how micropayments could change the way the internet works (32:35), why he doesn’t call them “fan clubs” (34:10), the changing nature of the web (37:40), the predictability of donations (39:30), and the rise of the creators (41:25).
Academia.edu's Richard Price: "The end of the paywall"Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Richard Price, founder of Academia.edu, yo talk about how academic publishing works today (4:00), doing to publishing what Napster did to music (6:15) starting out with banana cakes (7:20), raising his first round of money (11:45), going from 50 sign-ups-a-day to 72m users (12:30), getting to 20m research papers uploaded (14:15), taking on a centuries-old business model (15:45), the importance of prestige (19:55), quality control (21:05), the last bastion in publishing untouched by the Internet (25:30), and bankrolling free access with a core of subscribers (28:15). PLUS: Jeffery Mackie-Mason, head librarian at the University of California, comes on to talk about his showdown with Elsevier over the publisher’s “extortionary” prices (32:10), how subscription rates have soared (35:05), unleashing scientific progress (37:15), playing hardball (39:00), how publishing giants have defended their turf (40:45), reaching a tipping point (42:45), the publishers beginning to break ranks (46:10), and the key to the traditional players’ power (47:15).
Uber's Mark Moore: "Don't call them flying cars"Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Mark Moore, head of engineering at Uber Elevate, to talk about flying cars (2:05), starting out at NASA (2:35), why air taxis are inevitable (4:05), why were are in a “Wright Brothers era” of air taxis (6:50), planning to launch in five years (8:05), the gridlock problem (10:35), going pilotless (12:15), taking air taxis to the mass market (15:25), seeding a manufacturing boom (17:20), the pilot shortage (18:20), why our skies are about to get very crowded (20:45), how much it will cost (23:25), and why air taxis could convince us to give up our cars (25:25).
Five questions with... Benedict EvansDanny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz to answer five big tech questions. 1. The smartphone era is over, now what? (1:50), 2. What is the state of artificial intelligence and machine learning, and should we be worried? (5:50), 3: What does good regulation of tech look like? (20:10), 4. What does the Consumer Electronics Show tell us about the next frontier in tech? (29:35), 5. Have driverless cars sputtered? (36:45)
Credit Karma's Nichole Mustard: "Self-driving finance"Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent brings on Nichole Mustard, co-founder of fintech unicorn Credit Karma, to talk about credit scores as a means to an end (2:20), the evolution of the credit score (4:45) how she ended up starting Credit Karma in 2007 (10:40), studying zoology at uni (12:35), buying a one-way ticket to California (13:35), working at Pizza Hut (14:50), leaving pizza for financial planning (16:30), starting Credit Karma on the cusp of the financial crisis (18:20), and the opportunity created by the Great Recession (24:25), building trust but also collecting bounties (26:50), the virtualisation of finance (29:50), how personal finance will become more like self-driving clike (32:50), the road to a stock-market float (37:05), and her worst day of work (41:15),
DoNotPay's Josh Browder: "Your very own robot lawyer”Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Josh Browder, the 22-year-old founder of robot lawyer Donotpay, to talk about the end of the legal profession as we know it (2:25), getting 10,000 Uber refunds (4:35), how parking tickets led to him starting a company (6:10), and getting $15m in parking tickets overturned (8:55), expanding his bot's capabilities (11:50), his deep disdain for lawyers (13:15), his family’s rebel history (14:15), eliminating the need for lawyers (17:25), the inevitability of automation (20:35), the weaknesses of artificial intelligence (22:10), targeting vested interests (25:00), his new privacy bot in Europe (26:50), creating a business around a free core service (27:45), the most endangered white-collar jobs (30:55), the ethics of AI (31:55), the tech backlash (34:00), and the possibility of generalised AI (36:55),
Y Combinator's Michael Seibel: "Stupidity or genius"Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent brings on Michael Seibel, chief executive of Y Combinator, the storied Silicon Valley startup bootcamp, to talk about why chaotic markets are good for startups (3:50), how he ended up at YC (6:20), the importance of clarity (7:50), why it’s both easier and harder than ever to launch a company (9:10), the power of the big guys (11:35), the need for regulation (13:45), what has changed since he arrived to Silicon Valley in 2006 (18:05), why bigger is better for YC’s model (20:30), peak accelerator (24:05), getting pitched his own idea (26:10), tackling the diversity challenge (27:30), tech’s number one problem (30:10), how startups are like the NBA (34:30), stupidity vs genius (37:00), how Facebook and Google are cautionary tales (39:30), competing against Big Tech’s money (42:45), artificial intelligence (46:40), and whether scooters are overhyped (49:20)
Pioneer's Daniel Gross: “Everything big starts small”Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’s tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Daniel Gross, founder of Pioneer, to talk about growing up as an Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem (2:40), applying to Y Combinator (3:40), escaping Army duty (5:40), having his first startup crash right before Demo Day (7:10), building a new product in 48 hours (8:55), selling to Apple (10:20), finding the next generation of geniuses (11:15), creating a “digital Ivy League” (13:10), using a leaderboard (14:55), how he gets the word out (16:25), the gamification of finding genius (20:00), why money is not the most important factor (23:10), how to win the Pioneer game (23:55), the importance of accountability (27:30), why he brings people to Silicon Valley (29:00), addressing the tech industry’s “sameness” problem (31:50), using video game mechanics to aid productivity (38:40), fighting the dumbing down of tech (42:40), and the intimidating “bigness” of big ideas (45:40).
Chargepoint's Pat Romano: "Hiding in plain sight"Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Pat Romano, chief executive of Chargepoint, the world’s largest electric car charging company, to talk about the rise of the electric car (3:00), its genesis of the company 10 years ago (5:30), the importance of Elon Musk (11:20), California’s electric car policy as a model for the world (13:00), getting over charging's engineering hurdles (15:50), the end of the internal combustion engine (19:40), the cost of an (electric) fill-up (24:15), the problem with different plugs (28:55), the danger of an oil price drop (30:20), how self-driving technology will revolutionise transport (33:45), how to please the petrolheads (35:35), a dangerous and messy transition (37:40), how Chargepoint makes money (41:15), and the “fleetification” of cars (43:00).
Five Questions with... Tim DraperDanny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times' tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Tim Draper, co-founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, to answer five big questions. Question 1: Why does he hold $140m in bitcoin? (3:05), Question 2: Why he wants to split up California (12:40), Question 3: Why does he still believe in Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes (25:1), Question 4: What was his worst miss, biggest hit and weirdest pitch? (30:40), Question 5: Is money ruining Silicon Valley? (44:25).
IndieBio’s Arvind Gupta: “Recoding life”Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Arvind Gupta, founder of IndeBio, to talk about why he founded his laboratory-venture capital hybrid (4:00), putting all the world’s knowledge into a test tube (4:30), the synthetic biology revolution (7:45), starting as an options trader (9:35), then moving to IDEO (11:00), how IndieBio works (13:00), base-jumping on the side (14:25), how jumping off buildings is like investing (16:30), why faster science means a revolution is coming (20:25), the future of food (22:15), designing super-humans (24:30), his bet to cure cancer (27:10), making bionic bees (28:40), creating a brain - computer interface for stroke victims (31:05), pes as guinea pigs for human therapies (33:10), finding companies (34:40), and what he is most excited about (36:00).
Houseparty’s Ben Rubin and Sima Sistani: “An epidemic of loneliness”Danny In The Valley add
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Ben Rubin and Sima Sistani, founders of video chat app Houseparty, to talk about trying and failing multiple times (3:00), why live streaming didn’t work (5:50), telling investors that their company was a bust - three months after raising $14m (8:50), focussing on the 99% (10:45), how Sima and Ben teamed up (14:15), building an alternative to “performative” social media (17:35), Sima’s background in banking (21:00), countering the loneliness epidemic (22:40), launching Houseparty (26:00), reengineering the app after it took off (29:30), raising $50m from Sequoia Capital (32:10), on everyone copying everyone in Silicon Valley (33:10), how Houseparty works (37:30), how both being immigrants influenced how they built the product (39:05), on not having a plan to make money (46:10), and their worst days of work (47:30).