Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Robots Eat Your Lunch? Not if You Dine WIth Them....as Your Slave!

Why The Robot Conversation is all Wrong!
The problem with discussions about AI and robots is they talk about replacing your current job. While that may be true, the real issue is what jobs they enable?

The future is not so much about improving the past - important as that is - as about discovering new possibilities since that's where the growth is. 

While robots sound scary and exotic, we actually do have a past era where we had robots - of a sort.

We can learn plenty about human behavior from that.

Robots Eat Your Lunch?

A lot of the talk is about robots eating our lunch and how we will need to offer a Guaranteed Minimum Wage to all these sorry people who will be displaced. The past however, tells us a different story.

While I agree that we need a safety net for the victims of disruption, I think the idea of giving people money for nothing is corrosive and self-destroying.

I think there is a better way. A much better way.

Enslave Them!
Oddly enough the idea comes from a book I read about the slave trade in Barbados where sugar, slavery and the first wave of "new money" came to England. In fact, you could say that sugar and slavery was the dotcom billionaire bonanza of 1644. There are schools, libraries and mansions in London and Oxford that come from this slave/sugar money.

The book I am referring to is Sugar in the Blood by Andrea Stuart, a stunning read! 

Roll Your Own Robot
The slavery model is more relevant than the industrialization specter because a coming generation of low-cost robots will be more affordable than industrial machinery in the same way slaves were in their time. Displaced workers should have the option to use that money to buy a robot or invest in robot workers, just as the early colonizers of Barbados were able to do with slaves.

(I also think we owe the desecendents of slaves, reparations - not a check necessarily, but something like a Marshall Plan for Africa and the Inner City. That is another story of course, and I am only stating this for the record so the PC mob doesn’t crucify me for using the abominable slave phenomenon as my guide.)

What makes the slave trade so interesting is that once upon a time, there were all kinds of slaves and mostly white. They generally came in the form of indentured workers and even then, the term itself derives from word, Slav. These workiers weren’t well treated but the demands of general work weren't that critical and so it was a faintly humane labor system. Barbados used these people, sometimes Irish or often the poor and criminal from Britain, as general laborers and tobacco workers.

Robots Are Nothing Until They Mean Money
It was only when the islands discovered sugar that slavery really took off and Africa became the biggest player in the system. Sugar was incredibly hard work and pale Europeans were completely unsuited for it. Sugar is also addictive in its way and the demand for it exploded woldwide.

Suddenly, there was a need for cane labor and within a few decades, hundreds of thousands of sorry Africans were abducted and brought to the tiny island of Barbados where they were generally worked to death within about 3 - 5 years.

Just as important, semi-civilized Brits quickly and seamlessly devolved into monsters who managed their slaves with terror and barbarous ruthlessness. The Nazis might actually have been kinder to the Jews than these landowners were to their slaves. This was tolerated for about 200 years because there was just no better way to make sugar. Even freed slaves who could afford it, were likely to own slaves!

Slave Geeks
There was even a kind of slaveowner geekiness - planters made it a point to have slaves do ever possible form of menial work for them - including dressing, washing and holding their chamber pots for them.

What matters with our robots however, is that, until you have a real need, predictions are just fluff that will disappear the moment a real need - and a market - appears.

So Last War
People who talk about robots eating our lunch and so on are really discussing the last war. It is like saying in 1899, that the automobile will make it easy for famers to get to church on Sunday and go shopping, when the real advance was mechanized farming with gas-driven engines.

Likewise, robots that displace drivers or mid-level clerks aren’t the real story. The real story is transportation experts using robots to do stuff they never dreamed of in the past. Instead of driving a taxi why not manage a fleet of 10 robot transporters. These will ferry people all day long to work and shopping. They will carry partygoers to their soirees and drunks back to their homes at night.

Similarly, clerks can let robots do their clerical work while their people skills are suddenly in higher demand.

Most of all, we are going to find higher level things to do once we populate our workplace with enslaved robots. We will burn them out. They will need programming, fixing and replacement - all human work.

The Displaced Know The True Value 
Most of all, they will be best managed and most usefully employed by people who actually know the business they were displaced from - only now, they can do more thanks to their high tech slaves.

So much of the "give people something for nothing" school underestimates the value and creativity of working people. They are not idiots, they will know what to do with robots - given the chance. Taking the socialist view of just giving away money just doesn’t tap this kind of human motivation.

Where, Oh Where Did The Digital Divide Go?
Think about it this way. Do you remember the so-called digital divide? That was when poor people just couldn't afford computers and that only rich people could enjoy its benefits. So what happened to it?

The Internet.

Once the Internet came along, supposedly poor people found computers. They made money online. The did stuff or got stuff for free. With increased demand, the price of computing dropped drastically and even wound being cheaper than TVs.

Now, imagine if society had given poor people money for NOT having computers. That would have been ridiculous and indeed most would have used the momey - if they didn’t squander it - on buying a computer anyway, justso they could take advantage of the internet.

The New Slavery
So the real question is not what to give displaced workers but what would they do if they owned a slave/robot?

I believe they would consume these robots just like their ancestors did with slaves and then invent new businesses that can harvest great uses from them.

Putting It To Work Now
If we were smart, we would begin the contest of ideas now - what would future workers do if they were their own slave?

That folks, is the real future of robots.


© Alan Brody, 2017














           


Monday, January 30, 2017

Winners from Boston January 2017

Our January event introduced us to some exciting new companies – and a conflict.

We had two top contenders but because one of them was connected with some of the judges we had to hold back and declare Ooomf the winner. So Special runner-up title for GreenSight Agronomics.

Winner:

Oomf Inc.

Gavin  Gray 617-797-0049    gavin@theoomf.com  
Enabling the sharing economy – one thing at a time.                                                                        
Comment: While the sharing economy is raging - from the likes of bikesharing and ridesharing, this software integrations system enables the safe sharing of anything starting with battery packs at campuses. Company shows positive revenue.

GreenSight Agronomics
James Peverill CEO  james@greensightag.com 339-237-1291
GreenSight is developing the second generation of commercial drone platform to help optimize water usage, pesticide, antifungal, and fertilizer treatments while maximize the performance of golf turf or crop.. We combine autonomy, advanced sensors, and data analytics to deliver land managers actionable alerts enabling them to make large reductions in water, pesticide, and fertilizer usage.   We are already the leader in turf remote sensing, saving golf courses over $1B annually by reducing their water consumption. Our system is also being adopted by top agricultural chemical companies to improve their data gathering during the $3B in field trials they perform to develop and certify new treatments.  
Comment: This revenue-producing company introduces a powerful new business angles for drones and agricultural management. Patent protection on the sensors.

The Dinner Daily, Inc  
Laurin  Mills    laurin@thedinnerdaily.com     978-501-3567
The Dinner Daily is changing the way busy families get dinner done by offering a simple solution that actually lowers grocery bills.  Our unique "menus based on your local grocery store specials" is now offered in 48 states across 36 major grocery chains.
Comment: A very useful app that allows shoppers to automatically build menus and buy the groceries according to the weekly deals.
                                                                                                                       
Perfectosoft
Maxim Reutov
We help merchants to optimize payment processing by providing a universal payment platform. We are Airbnb in payment processing – we connect payment providers worldwide to increase payment reliability, flexibility and to save on payment processing fees. We also connect tokenization providers, provide global wallet and offer simple 1 day integration.
Comment: This is a business plan that has grown significantly under the feedback from the Startupalooza investors.

Schwozny, Inc  
Joel Schwartz  joel@schwozny.com    617-719-5717
Schwozny provides services for data analytics and management for pharmaceutical companies outsourcing experimentation to multiple contract research organizations. Schwozny provides clients low cost access to powerful tools that will increase the information content to provide decision making data and ensure visibility with potential industrial partners. Schwozny will store, organize and analyze all your data.
Comment: While the name may not quite say it this is a potentially much-needed service for the rising biotech and healthcare development industry with a long, sticky customer revenue source.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

What Trump America Will Look Like - From Someone Who Predicted His Succes in 2011


Trump World: The American Pivot?

As a commentator who predicted Trump’s success as far back as 2011 here’s what the future looks like through the crystal ball I used.

Overall, it’s a lot better than most liberals expect although they may not like it for a while and it may never return to the way it is. We may have pivoted out of the monolithic 2 Party State and the classic Labor vs. Corporation conflict.

We are pivoting towards political coalitions and an opportunity economy with more freelancers than salary people and money may actually recede as the primary form of wealth because otherwise, robots would outearn us.

First, consider the reason, I predicted Trump would do well – although honestly, I never expected him to win, especially in light of his many errors and transgressions.

But the message I first heard 5 years ago is what triumphed.

This is what I heard in 2011 and what I think is likely to transpire in 2017.

The first thing about Trump is that he spoke like a world class businessman and not a glorified attorney trying to negotiate legalisms. We forget that most politicians are lawyers, they think like them and they talk like them. That is not necessarily a bad thing but it is nothing like how real people operate and it does not in any way prepare them for true leadership. Trump therefore sounded like a total breath of fresh air t many and made all politicians seems suspect. Suddenly the classic politician’s words, “we must do more” sounded like pure bunkum.

The bottom line is that he tapped a sense among many traditional Americans and older folk that we just don’t carry the same weight in the world that we used to. Regardless of what you think of Hillary Clinton, when her and the DNC’s self-serving activities were revealed, most Democrats sloughed it off, but the bedrock red states dug their heels in with mounting ferocity. While Democrats thought Trump was ignorant and erratic, the “people of the heartland” were just glad to hear someone bring up the issues that seemed so wrong and yet so accepted but the media and political elite. When Democrats called Trump unqualified they saw what “qualified” people were generally up to and it was mostly looking out for themselves. When Hillary labeled them deplorable – as indeed many on both sides were – she reminded them of what a typical discussion with a liberal tended to be: everything you wanted to discuss was off the table and you were a dog/pig/racist/scumbag just for bringing it up. The rioting and occasional Trump voter bashing of the two-fisted and foot-kicking type certainly reinforces that.

The other driving force was  the Obama issue and how, in a strange way, he ushered in the Trump era. Since I voted for Obama, I can say this with open heart: people liked him but they became worried as he backpedaled on American exceptionalism. That was a good thing at first, in the wake of the disastrous Iraq and to a lesser extent, Afghanistan experience. After Bush, it seemed like everyone hated us, so surely a brown man with an Islamic name, no real racial animus and a Harvard pedigree would be the ideal candidate to make the world love us again. Europe agreed and immediately offered Obama the Nobel Peace Prize.

But reality had a different take on it.

The Islamic World didn’t quite agree, which is mighty interesting. In Egypt they thought it meant he wouldn’t support Mubarack and so they felt free to overthrow him only to bring in the Moslem Brotherhood. In Syria, Assad knew we wouldn’t intervene. ISIS saw weakness borne of an apostate who looked Moslem but chose Christian. But regardless, Obama had no real vision about America as the 21st Century Superpower, just America as a power, with a lower case p. Obama was Superman hung up his cloak and just wanting to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, scratch golfer and pickup basketball player if that’s OK with you all. And sure, he’ll have a beer and some fish tacos with you any time he can.

Trump, by contrast was more than happy to play the comical superhero and the elite press made sure we never forgot that. But what they also forgot is that the public long ago forgave comics for being comical. They go to ComicCon. They mostly go to movies based on comic book heroes. So all that pooh-poohing only worked on their elite followers and not on the “people of the heartland”. When most of the media veered from reportage to plain anti-Trump propaganda, the heartland folks noticed while the Clinton/Media followers didn’t, hence the surprise.

The Birth of the Media Candidate
Most people think that JFK ushered in the era of the media-friendly candidate. Indeed, JFK’s imagery is so powerful that no matter how much dirt they have dug up on him, it has not changed our attitudes a whit. He is somehow sainted. The same could be said about Bill Clinton.

Obama took this to a whole other level because he was actually born as President as a kind of an American Moses story: a stranded outsider who became an insider due to thealignment of various stars. The easiest way to see this is to compare him to Jesse Jackson who fell off the map after he uttered the most Biblical of threats, to castrate Obama (how many people remember that?)

Obama was born when Bill Cosby showed America just how cool, intelligent and loving a sophisticated black father could be. He happened to be advised by a African-American, Harvard educated psychiatrist. What came to be revealed about the Cos after the fact will be about as harmful as what was revealed about JFK. His image remains and over time we’ll just get over the bad stuff.

Obama’s leadership role was paved by the nest great African figure, Nelson Mandela. Truly our first African Saint. All that had to happen was for America’s equivalent of the Paharoah’s daughter, Oprah Winfrey, to notice, nurture and then anoint Obama and we had our next President.

While many Republicans and most racists freaked out, Obama didn’t turn out be half bad. He was highly likeable, funny, cool as heck and took us all out to dinner a lot on America’s credit card.

And therein lay the problem. People of the heartland were the ones to realize that we had run out of credit and they were paying the interest by shipping their jobs to foreign lands or become the victims of one kind of regulation or another. Since the media elites were doing just fine they didn’t hear them at all. That is why DC is now home to some of the richest zip codes in the nation. DC produces almost nothing other than regulations and hot air. So when the WikiLeaks double-dealing info came out, there was just no spinning their way out of it. The Clinton foundation may have helped the poor but only while helping themselves and their cronies even more. When you can’t name a substantial accomplishment of Secretary of State Clinton, which is fine for her supporters but then you find  out because she was busier making deals for her foundation, husband, friends and possibly the DNC, the people of the heartland got the picture. Throw in the private servers and all the stonewalling and you get the idea that the political class works for itself and not the people. But the coastal elites weren’t too concerned.

When Trump came along with just enough f-you money to say exactly what he wanted to, blue collar folks warmed up to him. The fact that he doesn’t drink, smoke or drug but has a philandering side, thereby putting him on a par with JFK, Clinton etc. you can see how they just might forgive even if they didn’t like it. At least they know what his vice is. Everyone else was able to hide theirs for some amount to time.

More importantly, Trump too, was born in the media. Most of it was self-driven and at always deliciously controversial. Mark Burnett turned out to be his Oprah by anointing him the “Master” in the Apprentice. To everyone’s surprise – including the NY Times – we liked what we saw. He appeared strangely judicious and he even got to show off his finest assets: his progeny. Anyone who watched the show had to ask themself, how bad can this guy be to have kids like that. Privileged but still grounded and seemingly hard-working. Hmmmm.

The bottom line about Trump’s win is exactly what makes any Social Media campaigns work. You don’t have to have the most fans, you just need a critical mass of the most avid fans. They will come out, they will evangelize and they will go on to the last mile. His rivals who just took their following for granted did none of that and so most followers didn’t even bother to show up. In viral terms, Hillary’s supporters were not carriers. Trump’s supporters were quietly rabid and the media did a great job of inadvertently keeping their blood at boiling temperature.

Trump was a kind of gutter superhero, a Tony Stark with his own jet, suit of armor and cloak of nonsense. People bought it and paid for the biggest tub of popcorn to watch it….

Winning by Losing
Every time Trump picked another fight he seemed to lose another constituency. Yet, he appears to have done better math than most of us. Annoying the right people is a great way of bolstering your supporters. What really surprised people was that he got a higher number of votes from African Americans, Hispanics and Muslims than Mitt Romney. Likewise, driving away all those Republican insiders, the notorious scolds that all progressives hate, helped him too. He won over a lot Sanders Democrats because of that.
Luckily for Trump, the numbers added up in the right places, but only by a hair…..

Into the Future

The Death of Party Politics
What all of this portends is that political parties are not trustworthy and the voters will start to demand direct politics rather than political loyalty.  They will vote for people cliques and coalitions and will learn to benefit by playing them off against each other.. Parties will become more like federations than strict orders. This election set that off, the internet will bring it to fruition. The bigger picture is that the rationale for parties – big business vs. labor is going way. The organizations no longer represent the majority of working Americans and so the battle is no longer center stage. Just as importantly, as we move to more of a freelance economy this will become the silent majority that neither party represents.

That is why Trump’s party crashing looked pretty good to a lot of people trying to make it on their own.


Unleashing the “Dirty Giant”: Why Bankruptcies and Vileness May Have Helped
Trump’s crudeness and bankruptcy-dodging is not necessarily a bad thing. The country is on its way to bankruptcy and we have been way too nice to people who really aren’t nice themselves. Yet, to the powers like the media, business and the political elite that was just fine since they generally profited from those people. Sending our factories overseas, fostering the debt, taking money from foreign interests and acting as if America was some kind of high-minded priesthood suited them just fine. But not the struggling nobodies in the hinterland.

In that light, someone like Trump, a scrappy guy who knows how to dodge bills and is willing take on some sacred cows is not necessarily a bad thing.

What a lot of people forget is that America has become something like a waxed factory-farmed orange – plenty of vivid colory on the surface but empty of flavor on the inside. As we lost our industrial heartland, the great service and financial jobs moved to the coasts, where the political parties and media reside. So yes, the elites have it good and world looks great to the coastal populations but the inlands are hollowing out financially.

This was not a big deal when oil was trading at $100 a barrel. That kept many people employed and flowed enough money through the heartland that they didn’t mind factories slipping off to China or Mexico. They didn’t mind corporate inversions or Apple tax shenanigans in Ireland.

However, at $30 a barrel that has gone away. Yet the Democrats still don’t want us to export oil or more significantly, natural gas. As for coal, it is all but dead. Simply unleashing these energy sources can change the world balance of power. The US can offer to replace Russia as the lead supplier of natural gas to Europe and pull the plug out of their advancing power.

Exporting gasoline means that the middle east may undercut us but they are no longer a monopoly. We can now threaten to leave the key oil sites unprotected creating fear in the Persian Gulf. Yet the Saudis have done nothing to resolve the Syrian Crisis, they accommodate no refugees and have no apparent skin in the game. The same applies to the Palestinian issue. While they may not be the only ones to resolve, no solution will occur without Saudi’s full support. No one seems to have persuaded them to get on board. Oddly enough, Obama’s accommodation with Iran may have paved the road for Saudi involvement in all of the above, including an alliance with Israel in the face of Iranian expansion.

Trump understands that, by selling energy and fighting for America’s place in a new energy world, the US can sway major powers, stem the tide of energy imports and bring in major revenue. The country gets dirtier but we get to keep our homes. Some of the same can be said about infrastructure improvements but paradoxically, better roads make it easier for imports to reach our markets than for exports to leave. But at least for a decade or so, there will be plenty of work to be had but only if the unions are cowed. You can’t build a lot of stuff if you are forced to pay three or four times the standard labor rate to get anything done.

Yet that is what unions have mostly done for the past 60 years and they are likely to continue. However, this time it could be different.

We are about to seriously compete with robots and are about to enter the jobless world.

Jobless America – The Structural Change the Trump Addresses Whether He Likes it or Not
The fact is, we are undergoing a major structural change as the knowledge economy kicks into the super-knowledge economy and middle level jobs disappear. Only the highest and the lowest remain. The rest of us will serve or be on our own.

Here are a few data points to consider.

Self Driving Trucks
About 8.5 million people drive trucks and it is one of the few ways a working person can make a middle-class living. You can live almost anywhere and so many famers stay alive by driving on the side. But in any case, it supports about 19 million American though the industries like rest stops, hotels, repair shops and so on.

Self-driving trucks will destroy about 80% of those jobs.

Robot Factories, Stores, Construction and Farms
As labor flexes it muscles again, robots will strive to become cost-effective. Unlike low cost labor from Central America they will not have to scale any walls or file for any papers. They will sweep through factories than can manufacture that way, they will take you orders at MacDonalds, they will do the work of many construction laborers and white collar workers alike and they will run many farms – especially ones that are close to their markets.

Trump may not have any solutions to this but he does have what no other politician has, no obligations to either corporate or labor interests. He is free to act in the best interests of the country and not his constituency. A new class of blue collar digital literates will take over. They will know how to program, manipulate and otherwise hack robots and other machines. They will form their own idea of unions and the current parties will see their bases shift.

Dealouts? The End of Stringless Handouts
If there is one thing we now about Donald Trump, he does nothing for nothing and he always seeks some type of payback for offenses to him. This does not necessarily make him uncharitable but it does reveal his mindset: every entitlement will come with some type of payback. He will try to give opportunity instead of cash. This is not necessarily a bad thing either but it is very different from what we do now and there will be plenty of push back.

One thing is clear, Trump doesn’t believe in a free lunch and there are lots of ways of putting people to work. This will become a big issue as automation and artificial intelligence takes over more and more rote jobs.

What Trump believes is that people who get something for nothing are at the heart of inner city despair. But can he generate enough opportunity? New kinds of public service and even renumeration may fill that gap. Not everything should be measure in money and as long our basic needs are taken care of, money is by no means everything……

Trump the Dictator?
You may not love Trump’s idea of democracy but unlike most dictators who are extremely fixed in their thinking, Trump is nothing if not changeable. If he becomes a Hitler it will be like the screwball one played by Dick Shawn in the Producers. And if he is an anti-Semite he is one strange version who makes his Jewish son-in-law chief of staff and his kosher-keeping daughter his advisor.

The Next Four Years? Back to the Future, but Still the Future.
In some ways, Trump is reviving an older America when it had swagger and could say fairly arrogant stuff without seeming too ridiculous. Watch any movie from the 40’s and something will make you cringe. It would be the doctor smoking a cigarette while taking your pulse or a comment about broads. Most of all people were fairly free to be who were, warts and all. Now, we haven’t learned to evolve as much as we have learned to conceal our real selves. Not a true evolution. Trump’s funky openness may turn out to be a better impetus to growth than political correctness.

On the other hand, America may have become more racially and political diverse in a way that cannot be bridged.

It’s a huge challenge but given the comparison between Trump and Romney, being tough and outspoken is more impressive to people who are supposed to hate you than being kindly and mealy-mouthed. Trump is likely to keep playing that card and generally winning more than he loses. Likewise, the comparison between Jackson – the angry redux of a tragic racial history vs. Obama, the optimistic straddler of races and history but without the baggage, makes it clear what works.

You can be tough, politically incorrect and worse. You just can’t bring out historical baggage and you’d better come up with ideas, opportunities, jobs and solutions in droves.

The electoral college seems to think Trump can do that.















Monday, October 24, 2016

Great Moonshine Cruise on Oct. 20!

Thanks to all of you who came out for the amazing Cruise-a-Palooza - unbelievable weather, great band and great music by Robyn Adele Anderson. Can't wait for the next one in spring!
Post your pics and vids from Thursday's cruise.

video

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Hottest Tech in Stamford: Language Learning

You wouldn't expect Stamford to be the home of better language learning, but it was Language Zen that won the August 10th pitch.

What was so special about Language Zen.

The multilinguists who made LZ followed the language hacking techniques of polyglots (learn that!) and developed a mobile teaching system with a small but healthy revenue base.

They will be appearing a the next Private Equity Forum in NY.

Full Results

Language ZenMicah  Greenberg, CEO micah@languagezen.com              Language Zen is a web app that uses proprietary machine learning technology to be the most quantifiably effective way to learn a new language (2.2X faster than Rosetta Stone and 3.4X faster than college courses to be exact). We let users learn from music, explore their personal interests and data-mine spoken conversation for relevant content. Language Zen is currently booking $12,000/month in consumer revenues with a 3.5 month payback period and low churn.

Comment:  Savvy startup group tackling a slightly crowded market in a clear new way.                                                          

Mother's Milk Is Best, Inc
Elizabeth Schinkel, Founder brina5@hotmail.com 970-556-4780Pure, concentrated human milk promotes optimal growth and contains immune  boosting bioactive nutrients that serve a profound role in the survival and health of a premature newborn. Our solution is simple: using mature technology we remove water from mother’s milk without damage from heat or pressure; thereby reducing the volume while increasing the benefits of the mother’s milk. It provides the nutrition needed in the lower volume a baby can handle and is inexpensive. This system is unique; It alone allows a mother to tailor her own milk’s nutrient concentration for her baby as needed to promote growth.

Comment: Very unusual pitch for this group but show s promise. Heartfelt but needs a little more business edge.  

Pearl's Premium Inc.     
Jackson Madnick, President,  jackson@PearlsPremium.com, (508) 653-0800Ultra Low Maintenance Grass that needs mowing only once every 4-6 weeks, needs 1/4 the water of other grass and stays green year round without chemicals, now in over 400,000 lawns in all 50 states

Comment:  The grass really looks greener here. Needs a marketing boost.   

CLENCH Sports
Jim Calisi, Founder & president, jim.calisi@clenchsports.com  (860) 538-4713          At CLENCH, we make custom-fitted sports mouthguards. And using the latest advancements in digital dentistry and 3D printing, CLENCH is offering athletes an affordable alternative to traditional, store-bought mouthguards (aka Boil-&-Bites).

 Comment: Great pitch, promising market looking for a barrier to entry.....

Judges at Work

Judith Benardete from Private Group Networks
Alex Jordan, BookU
Devin Dixon, Sprout Connections







 

 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Can Smart Tech Save Policing?

A few years ago I saw a presentation by Verint, the company that listens in on phone calls with customer reps.

According to them, they they can evaluate the tone of the conversation as well as key words.

If the tone reaches a certain threshold or if certain key words pop up they can predict with apparent certainty loss of the customer.

So when will the police cams get AI and start picking up on he interaction.

There are obviously two sides to this issue and it would help to have an impartial real time evaluation.

Is this the future of Robocop?

What do you think?

Monday, July 11, 2016

June Report: Great Startups Begin WIth a Seed - literally.......

Startupalooza returned as an iBreakfast and attracted one of the largest number of presenters we have seen in years!

We also got a reminder about how great ideas spread.....as seeds. One of the great books on the spread of ideas, Crossing the Chasm was based on the spread of new seeds.....and that's who won in June!


The Winner:

Pearls Premium Ultra Low Maintenance Lawn Seed
Jackson Madnick, President      jackson@premium.com           (508) 653-0800Ultra low maintenance lawn seed (grass) that you mow only once a month, rather than every week, needs 1/4 the water compared to other grass, stays green year round without chemicals and sequesters 4 x the carbon compared to other grass to help lessen climate change.

Commentary:
An innovative, useful solution for millions of lawn owners. Obviously this existing product hit some kind of wall that investors found to be a workable challenge.

What is most interesting is that while it took tech to develop, it is a non-tech product. Yet seeds are also the product that inspired one of the most useful texts in the tech world: Crossing the Chasm. That book explains how new ideas - particularly in tech - make their way navigating from early adopters to the mass market. It was all based on the case study of new seed adoption in the 19th Century.

Talk about going full circle. Or just going to seed!

The First Runner up was:

The Wealth Factory      Angel   Rich     CEO     angelrich27@gmail.com         2024605627Commentary: The gamifactiation of financial educaton for the young with major corporate backers and some great name dropping (i.e. the First Lady) plus a solid pitch made this a close contender.

The Second Runners Up were:

HotelsByDay        
Yannis  Moati   CEO     yannis@hotelsbyday.com  2123630120         
HotelsByDay allows customers to book hotel rooms for half a day, to refresh, rest, interview, prepare for a meeting. 
Check-in AM, Check-out PM - Simple! Our company is reinventing the Hotel stay!  Imagine getting into a city at 8am, and have a meeting at 1pm. What do you do with those hours in-between? During those hours, thousands of hotel rooms are sitting empty and millions of people are wandering aimlessly.  There is a massive gap in the market.  And that is why we created HotelsByDay. Through our apps and website, HotelsByDay allows customers to book DayRooms.

Commentary: A new spin on an old, once disreputable idea was credibly and extremely well delivered. A great execution play that could have been the winner if there were defensible IP. (Best wisecrack of the day, Trump could be an investor: "Making Times Square Great Again!")

MeVee        
Kristen Fletcher           CCO     kristen@fletchpr.com            6313983456
MeVee is the social media live streaming platform that allows users to go live, monetize, and share everywhere. Explore MeVee to discover interesting, funny, and premium content. You can also live stream privately with a friend or a group. The Wall Street Journal writes that, “MeVee was designed intentionally to be different from other live streaming apps” while The New York Times says that MeVee is “causing a stir.”

Commentary:
A great solution for the personal video age - one submission to all platforms and direct rev share. Would have been a shoo-in if the advertiser/monetization aspect were more evolved and the IP protectable.

Special Mention
NangioTx   
Vivek    Kumar CEO/Co-Founder         vak1000@gmail.com            678 613 1386
NangioTx was founded in 2015 to provide safe and effective ways to regenerate blood vessels for the treatment of peripheral artery disease.

Commentary: While the judges agreed this may be the most promising and certainly life-changing product in this crowded list, as a biotech product, this was in a special case. It has to navigate FDA approvals and needs startup money in the millions. Nevertheless, the ability to safely regenerate real blood vessels is extremely interesting and the company will pass on to our specialized healthcare startup partners at Health 2.0, MedStartr and MidAtlantic Biotech Angels.