The next edition of Wisdom 2.0 starts this Friday. Tickets are sold out but I highly recommend the video content that will come out of it (livestreaming will be made available). It is great to see Silicon Valley pundits to finally feel comfortable thinking out loud about "soft skills" such as compassion. Next steps would be to integrate "how to be happy" and "how to build real relationships" classes or modules into the general high school curriculum.
From Slashdot this morning:
The Mercury News reports that Nolan Bushnell, who ran video game pioneer Atari in the early 1970s, says he always saw something special in Steve Jobs, and that Atari's refusal to be corralled by the status quo was one of the reasons Jobs went to work there in 1974 as an unkempt, contemptuous 19-year-old. 'The truth is that very few companies would hire Steve, even today,' says Bushnell. 'Why? Because he was an outlier. To most potential employers, he'd just seem like a jerk in bad clothing.'
While at Atari, Bushnell broke the corporate mold, creating a template that is now common through much of Silicon Valley. He allowed employees to turn Atari's lobby into a cross between a video game arcade and the Amazon jungle. He started holding keg parties and hiring live bands to play for his employees after work. He encouraged workers to nap during their shifts, reasoning that a short rest would stimulate more creativity when they were awake. He also promised a summer sabbatical every seven years.
Bushnell's newly released book, Finding The Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Hire, Keep and Nurture Creative Talent , serves as a primer on how to ensure a company doesn't turn into a mind-numbing bureaucracy that smothers existing employees and scares off rule-bending innovators such as Jobs. The basics: Make work fun; weed out the naysayers; celebrate failure, and then learn from it; allow employees to take short naps during the day; and don't shy away from hiring talented people just because they look sloppy or lack college credentials.
Bushnell is convinced that there are all sorts of creative and unconventional people out there working at companies today. The problem is that corporate managers don't recognize them. Or when they do, they push them to conform rather than create.
'Some of the best projects to ever come out of Atari or Chuck E. Cheese's were from high school dropouts, college dropouts,' says Bushnell, 'One guy had been in jail.'
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's investment arm, Vulcan Capital, expands his footprint into Silicon Valley
As Seattle ranked a few weeks ago into the Top 10 cities for Young Entrepreneurs and #2 in the Top 10 cities for Female Entrepreneurs, Paul Allen's investment arm, Vulcan Capital, is about to open an office in Palo Alto.
According to SiliconValley.com:
Allen, 60, co-founded the world's largest software company with Bill Gates in 1975, but left in 1983 after a bout with cancer. The riches he amassed through his large stake in the company, plus successful investments in sports and real estate, have made him the world's 53rd richest person, according to Forbes magazine.
A pioneer in the early development of PC software and Microsoft's technical leader for its first eight years, Allen has been a prolific tech investor since the mid 1980s, starting several companies and founding a tech incubator called Interval Research.
He has put money into hundreds of enterprises in the past 30 years, including large stakes in AOL, Ticketmaster, film studio DreamWorks SKG and cable firm Charter Communications . His record has been checkered, making money on AOL and DreamWorks SKG, but losing billions of dollars on the bankruptcy of Charter.
Newer tech investments include online real-estate agent Redfin, shopping adviser Decide.com and smartphone audio software maker Audience Inc.
The new office in Palo Alto Advertisement will focus on emerging Internet, software and technology companies, including middle and late-stage venture capital and pre-IPO deals, Paul Ghaffari, Vulcan Capital's chief investment officer, told Reuters.
"We are going to expand our footprint in broad tech investments, we'd like to get more resources, people on the ground there (Silicon Valley)," said Ghaffari. "We have a real appetite to put new ideas in the portfolio."
This morning update from Geekwire mentions Vulcan Capital named Abhishek Agrawal to lead the office:
Vulcan says in a news release: “Vulcan Capital’s expansion into Silicon Valley reinforces its decades-long commitment to technology-related companies, which make up a significant portion of its investment portfolio. This new office will focus on making investments in the $10-million to $100-million range in internet and technology companies, including mid- to late- stage venture capital, growth equity, recaps, buyouts and strategic public market block investments. Vulcan Capital will have an office in downtown Palo Alto and is planning to hire a full team to work under Mr. Agrawal in upcoming months.”
Excited to finally be there...
6 finalists & a terrific program!
And a room full of supportive secret angels...
1:30 Keynote - Phil Gordon - Going All In: 5 Lessons for Startup and Poker Success
2:30 Session 1 - Pitch 1 - Corengi
2:50 Session 1 - Pitch 2 - Exo Labs
3:10 Session 1 - Pitch 3 - Redpoint International
4:00 Session 2 - Pitch 4 - Suncrest Farms
4:20 Session 2 - Pitch 5 - Writer.ly
4:40 Session 2 - Pitch 6 - Talk to the Manager
5:00 Speaker - Wade T. Brooks
6:00 Announce the Winners
6:15 Networking and Social
Fledge, the "conscious company" incubator, is hosting its Demo Day, and I was kindly asked to "MC" the festivities tonight.
Feel free to watch the live show here starting @ 6pm PT / 9pm ET (or 3am Paris time ;-P).
These companies have been refining their ideas and polishing their plans.
Tonight, come be inspired by their visions and plans, presented live, on stage, at the Playhouse/Intiman Theater at the Seattle Center as part of the Seattle Next 50′s celebration of commerce and innovation.
Presentations will be followed by dinner and drinks, networking, and an opportunity to meet the people at the fledglings, as well as the “conscious” community members of Seattle.
These are 2 major news packed in one sentense, not only for the world of business but also for women in general...
So let us break it down...
1) Marissa Mayer quit Google to become Yahoo's next CEO and new hope, according to Uncrunched's Michael Arrington.
2) Yahoo's board knew she was pregnant when they hired her, as told by Mayer to Fortune.
Even though, it should be normal to have female CEOs managing companies, while staying feminine and balancing a family life, there are indeed not enough such business role models portrayed in the media, and this is unfortunately even more the case outside of the US.
The Atlantic reminds of a 1992 speech and concludes:
Yahoo, to its credit, has made a role model of Mayer. What will be really nice, though, is when someone like Mayer won't have to be a role model. What will be really, really fantastic is when someone like Mayer can be just a pregnant CEO -- rather than, you know, A Pregnant CEO.
As a prelude to her new book, Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, psychologist Sherry Turkle is back at TED, where she spoke for the first time in 1996, to elighten us about the impact of technology on our relationships...
This is definitely a welcome piece! For the past few years, I have indeed advocated on the importance of paying closer attention to the 'social' technology we continuously produce and innovate upon. Ensuring the continuous development of our emotional intelligence is as important as feeding our hunger for higher IQ, now more than ever...
Instead of building tools that are supposed to be an extension of our humanity, we have instead become an extension of the technology itself and turned ourselves into APIs, unable to fully function without the cloud.
Crackberry behaviors have long been adopted outside of the professional arena, feeding the fear of having real non-controlled person-to-person conversations (gateway to intimacy, oulala!). We are already contemplating machine-based companionship for our elderly days...
How many people are telling you "I would rather text than talk"?
When Turkle asked people "What's wrong with having a conversation?", the answer was "I'll tell what's wrong with having a conversation! It takes place in real time, and you can't control what you're gonna say"...
"Texting, email, posting, all of these things let us present the self as we want to be".
"Human relationships are rich, and they're messy, and they're demanding. And we clean them up with technology... over time we seem to stop caring...".
I would love to hear your thoughts, especially from my friends building the next Facebook or the ones who cringe when I dare to pick up the phone to call them... ;-)
More seriously, is teaching the next generation how to be occasionally alone and disconnected from the cloud really the best way to deal with this technology-enhanced shift?
Published in Galaxy magazine in February of 1952, below are Heinlein's predictions for the year 2000:
So let's have a few free-swinging predictions about the future. Some will be wrong - but cautious predictions are sure to be wrong.
1. Interplanetary travel is waiting at your front door -- C.O.D. It's yours when you pay for it.
2. Contraception and control of disease is revising relations between the sexes to an extent that will change our entire social and economic structure.
3. The most important military fact of this century is that there is no way to repel an attack from outer space.
4. It is utterly impossible that the United States will start a "preventive war." We will fight when attacked, either directly or in a territory we have guaranteed to defend.
5. In fifteen years the housing shortage will be solved by a "breakthrough" into new technologies which will make every house now standing as obsolete as privies.
6. We'll all be getting a little hungry by and by.
7. The cult of the phony in art will disappear. So-called "modern art" will be discussed only by psychiatrists.
8. Freud will be classed as a pre-scientific, intuitive pioneer and psychoanalysis will be replaced by a growing, changing "operational psychology" based on measurement and prediction.
9. Cancer, the common cold, and tooth decay will all be conquered; the revolutionary new problem in medical research will be to accomplish "regeneration," i.e., to enable a man to grow a new leg, rather than fit him with an artificial limb.
10. By the end of this century mankind will have explored this solar system, and the first ship intended to reach the nearest star will be a-building.
11. Your personal telephone will be small enough to carry in your handbag. Your house telephone will record messages, answer simple inquiries, and transmit vision.
12. Intelligent life will be found on Mars.
13. A thousand miles an hour at a cent a mile will be commonplace; short hauls will be made in evacuated subways at extreme speed.
14. A major objective of applied physics will be to control gravity.
15. We will not achieve a "World State" in the predictable future. Nevertheless, Communism will vanish from this planet.
16. Increasing mobility will disenfranchise a majority of the population. About 1990 a constitutional amendment will do away with state lines while retaining the semblance.
17. All aircraft will be controlled by a giant radar net run on a continent-wide basis by a multiple electronic "brain."
18. Fish and yeast will become our principal sources of proteins. Beef will be a luxury; lamb and mutton will disappear.
19. Mankind will not destroy itself, nor will "Civilization" be destroyed.
Here are things we won't get soon, if ever:
-- Travel through time
-- Travel faster than the speed of light
-- "Radio" transmission of matter.
-- Manlike robots with manlike reactions
-- Laboratory creation of life
-- Real understanding of what "thought" is and how it is related to matter.
-- Scientific proof of personal survival after death.
-- Nor a permanent end to war.
A couple of quotes to conclude these 60-year-old predictions:
- Political debaters could benefit from: "I never learned from a man who agreed with me."
- And a reminder for VCs, Angel investors, doctors and whoever contemplates a dead-end: "Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done."