My Talk At LeWeb Yesterday

I'm back in the states this morning and up early (jet lag). The main purpose of my trip was to give a talk at LeWeb, which I did yesterday morning. Loic asked me to talk about the next ten years and what is going to happen. That's a big ask and so I dodged it a bit and instead talked about the framework we use to try to predict the future. I talked about three big trends (networks, unbundling, and smartphones) and four areas to watch (bitcoin, wellness, data leakage, and trust/identity). The talk is 25 minutes with a brief Q&A with Loic at the end.

#mobile#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. Julien

    What would be amazing is that someone gathered all your ‘what’s going to happen in XXX years’ as I’m sure you’ve done many. I am not interested in comparing these talks with what eventually happened, but I’m interested in seeing how you’re thinking evolved about the future.

    1. fredwilson

      might be possible with search and tags. it is all out there

    2. Matt A. Myers

      You can only do this by engaging with the content, e.g. reading AVC, and absorbing everything. Playing catch-up will be nearly impossible.

  2. Etienne Gaillard

    Extremely inspiring talk. Very much aligned on ID management disruption ahead, but this seem like a complex disruption to get funding for.If tech is widely available and required system is clear (“ID is the last IT concept that did not got distributed : it will” is the pitch), business case is so disruptive it is extremely hard to find a hosting structure to fund the building of it : being radical this topic is a “no-go” for any establish company.For sure the answer is “build your own company” but the investment required is quite high (dealing with security & trust) : so how the hell do you cross this chasm when you have a brain but not deep pockets ?

    1. fredwilson

      someone needs to be the Satoshi of identity and trustthis is a protocol first, industry second type play i think

      1. jason wright

        we still don’t know who nakamoto is, and the bitcoin hash was created by the nsa.

        1. fredwilson

          you and the kid should hang out. i would love to see what would come of that collaboration!

          1. jason wright

            never drive drunk.speaking of the future, what’s needed is peer-to-peer hardware with impregnable crypto. mobile devices that act as senders, receivers, repeaters, and servers. the centralized architectures of cell phone and server center networks aid the erosion of democratic values.’in satoshi we trust’?

          2. Cam MacRae

            And who shall we have manufacture this hardware? Certainly not the Chinese or the seppos, neither of whom can keep their houses in order. Definitely not the Koreans. Nor the Japanese. So…

          3. Timothy Meade

            Maybe you could build it in a chip with a full interrogable net? Could you verify that an FPGA has not been compromised just by studying it as a black box? Could evolving the hardware in-situ work or would it just incorporate the compromised bit into the evolved solution? I mean, if they evolved circuit had a novel interface (such as inverse logic on some of the pins) how could an adversary leak key material?

          4. LE

            Part of social engineering is misdirection similar to magic. Keeping that concept in mind, what the parent comment is saying “bitcoin hash was created by the NSA” is within the realm of possibilities.

      2. Etienne Gaillard

        mmm. 100% on the protocol play, but I’m not sure bitcoin comparison holds : it is a currency to trade an asset that was not exploited in pre existing system (idle time of computers). It was an “un-exploited” territory, a green field, whereas ID is very much exploited : ID is very much a concept corporation are ready to fight for and not a hanging fruit.… it will be disrupted, though, but it needs a constructed, and well executed system to be built (as google disrupted early internet “directories” with search, disrupting “centralized taxonomies”, with a “distributed one”).What’s most exiting about it is that it is first and foremost a need for final consumers (rather than for corporations).

        1. fredwilson

          great thoughts. maybe you can make this happen.

          1. Etienne Gaillard

            yep. need to converting thinking into execution.

          2. Matt A. Myers

            That’s always the issue.. find me the money and I’ll change the world; I’m sure most everyone has the same mantra.It’s silly we don’t more fluidly provide the resources to people who want to change things in a big way, isn’t it?

          3. Etienne Gaillard

            I’m sure you’re smart enough to change things of that scale without any sponsor, but I must confess I did not figured how to do that yet (I mean having a daily job on the side).My point is this business being at the core of any business, no business on earth today will sponsor work on required transformation… Hence my genuine question about “who” will make this change.I’m hearing your “just do it” message. fair enough. I wish I was as smart/rich as you not to have to think about sponsoring, but unfortunately…

          4. Matt A. Myers

            Your own business can sponsor it. That’s what I am doing anyhow. The first stage of business plans aren’t at a sustainable point yet though.Rich? Not sure where you got that assumption from – maybe it’s the big smile I have in my profile picture – from a time I allowed myself a break, used AirMiles to fly to visit Europe and visit a friend in Paris, stayed with him and his girlfriend for free – AirMiles collected from putting business costs on CCs first over the years.Smart? I work and live the issues I am dealing with because the world in its current state pisses me off, and I live in this world – I want to be engaged with it and not passive – and so that makes the world more and more vivid, the more engaged I become. This leads me to evolving my ideas, my thinking, how I see the big picture and the problems that exist. I work that into a plan. So everything I’ve learned is simply through living, engaging and problem solving. I suppose this is a smart process, though other areas of life I really don’t think I could be considered smart in – though I really really hope I become better in those areas, otherwise life will not be as fun and enjoyable as I need it to be.The only richness I have, the unlimited resource I have, is my mind – and that is the tool I’ve been expanding and growing – my little thought-empire – and with that comes a road map I have been evolving for 3+ years now.Change takes a long time.That’s why many investors want to invest in people who have been working on problems a long time, because they’re likely to have thought through a lot more of it – and be more nuanced, have a deeper understanding.Just do it, don’t blame others, be kind, practice non-violence (towards others and yourself). Write down your thoughts, evolve your thinking, create a plan.Do all that and you’ll be further than you were without doing all that.It takes time to write, it takes time to engage, it takes time to learn.It takes time to create and iterate on a plan.It takes patience or managing impatience.It takes time to move all of the pieces forward.It’s a life-long chess game.And there are many more rules to learn – and you’re playing everyone at once.

          5. Etienne Gaillard

            thx for the advice. did a few step on my on track, I guess your recommandation is not to anticipate too much and focus on my next step rather than a too forward looking objective : got too much excited by mr wilson.

          6. Matt A. Myers

            Excitement is part of the yin / yang cycle. You can’t get much done living in excitement, though you need to feel excitement and joy every once in a while to keep yourself going and motivated.Work is busy, busyness is stressful on the body.Yoga is great for reducing stress and maintaining a lower stress level, so then you can get more done.

          7. Matt A. Myers

            Some good, exciting conversations happen here – or at minimum get my mind going on topics. I take breaks from AVC sometimes because of this.

          8. Matt A. Myers

            And welcome to AVC. 🙂

        2. Matt A. Myers

          Money isn’t something that corporations fight for? Confused.Money is first-most for people/consumers, not corporations, too; Though they fight for it to maintain and perpetuate the systems they’ve gained control of.

      3. William Mougayar

        why did OpenID fail to take off in your opinion?

        1. awaldstein

          Good one.Interesting idea without much populist juice behind it. A part of it was communications failure.

        2. Drew Meyers

          no strong hook?

        3. Matt Zagaja

          I think the whole thing is so confusing. I have logins at Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Yahoo, Google, etc. and they can all be used as identity on other sites. So then when I go to other sites I have to remember which one of my IDs I used to login or if I made my own. It’s easier to make my own (though I find on mobile I’ll just choose Facebook).My 1Password database has 318 login items stored in it. If my cookies get cleared or I wipe my PC it takes weeks to get back into all the various systems. If I setup a new service it takes like 30 minutes to link them to FB, Twitter, Google, etc.The current state of ID is a gross mess. Normal people will not stand for it the way I do.

          1. William Mougayar

            You’re correct.. I recall being frustrated using it.

      4. Matt A. Myers

        Someone needs to be willing to believe in it enough or have the free time and resources to do it. Maybe just needs someone to guide the process for whomever to work on it. Though adoption is always the difficult part. I think the path and road map I have figured out is a better/best way to go about it. We’ll see in time.

      5. Matt Zagaja

        I think it’s Apple. TouchID is the trojan horse. Just waiting for it to open.

    2. Timothy Meade

      I want to see where Google takes this:…That could truly disrupt Microsoft by obviating the AD servers and Exchange systems and all of the rest of the infrastructure that Microsoft gets companies to buy into just to exchange Word documents.QuickOffice might have been Google’s most important acquisition since at least Android. (Motorola might just turn out to be a wash, the experiment with a cheaper smartphone actually worth owning is quite interesting.) But this means that Google needs to disrupt the corporate reliance on Office and the Office formats.Maybe it’s time for Google to acquire a company building a corporate communication product (like Yammer or Basecamp) and most importantly, keep the team intact.Although and alliance between Google and Apple seems unlikely at this point, I think a collaboration to establish the new Pages/iWork file formats as an open standard could prove interesting, if it allowed Google to build them into QuickOffice. They should also integrate web-backed forms, Google’s online scripting framework which has been sorely ignored. (I noticed a couple of repos in the USV Github dealing with it.)Back as they were introducing Windows 2000, Microsoft made a big deal about the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and how it was so much better than Unix, they rightfully focused on the centralized management of Windows which is top notch. Now with mobile devices we are seeing the same needs for remote management of employee data. But, as RIM found out, this doesn’t really require software running on hardware running behind the firewall, all of that can be outsourced.Microsoft still relies on an IP update of a protocol built for OS/2 and Lan Manager, and built around the idea of computer workgroups and servers, all of which can be replaced with a massive datastore like Google which allows the administrator to access a web interface and configure the directory and permissions for each user in the company.As Google builds Chrome up into an OS (typing on my beloved Samsung Chromebook now), with independent windows that can open QuickOffice documents using NaCL and PNaCL (and possibly pepper.js/asm.js on other browsers), the value of Windows within an organization will decrease.Another point, Google is a little overzealous in keeping competing services off of Chromebook, there is no Dropbox client for instance but Google Drive is accessible from the Save As dialog. Companies that have significant investment in using Dropbox or other services might be locked out of using ChromeOS.

    3. Matt A. Myers

      You start a company doing something else, make a bunch of money, and then use that money to start it – that’s how Elon Musk started Tesla and SpaceX got started, and the only way they ever would have happened.Else you figure out a path to getting there, finding and previous steps and building on top of those. At least that is what I am doing with trying to solve much bigger global problems – which tie into the physical and political systems of the world.

  3. Patrick Mulder

    Those 3 “pillars” are very interesting 1. networks not hierarchies / 2. everything is going to be unbundled / 3. you are a node on that network – I wonder what you think about the role of open-source software technologies in that aspect. What companies, in your view, do a great job with open-source software?

    1. fredwilson

      i think the world of software is moving more and more to open sourcethere are so many companies that do a good job with open source that i would not know where to start

      1. LE

        A traveling open source roadshow of business software solutions and apps would go over pretty well in the small business community. Actually even a paid app, saas, whatever road show would go over well. You get a bunch of businessman to sit in a 1/2 day seminar and you tell them all the stuff they can do that they don’t know about.Most of the solutions that are discussed by people in the know are totally off the radar with the small business market until they get big enough to be on the radar. This market isn’t looking for free but it is looking for solutions.

    2. Timothy Meade

      As in building it or applying it to their own goals? Open source and free software provide great tools and building blocks. Have there been successful startups that have been focused around building their own software and releasing it under and open source or free software license? Obviously Red Hat but there a bit past the startup phase.

      1. Patrick Mulder

        Good distinction – well, since open-source is driven by network collaboration, as well as “unbundling” classical monolithic software architectures, I was wondering how/what businesses profit from this mega trend – I am thinking on e.g. github (built on git), but maybe there are other software tools helping business to emerge

        1. Patrick Mulder

          just thinking, shopify is another example built around ActiveMerchant an open-source payment provider:

          1. Roman Sladeczek

            it’s the other way round – Active Merchant is an extraction from the e-commerce system Shopify, which is open source. Shopify itself is not open source. But there are another solutions around, e.g. Spree – – a complete open source e-commerce solution also built with Ruby on Rails.Asking myself, if it makes sense to open source business models?

        2. ShanaC

          The api business as a service in general is that model

  4. Brandon Burns

    “The technologies are important, but we don’t like to invest in mobile, or big data, or machine learning, or those kinds of things. We think about them, they matter to us, but we really think about things from a behavioral or societal point of view.”I have to laugh juuuuust a little bit. The “put what you do before the channel in which you do it” argument has been somewhat of a calling card of mine on AVC, often offered up as a counter to an opposite point of view. And, well, there it is in this video. Lol.

    1. fredwilson

      i steal liberally from this community 🙂

      1. Brandon Burns

        The stealing is mutual. 🙂

        1. Cezary Pietrzak

          Ah, you’ve come around, @fredwilson:disqus! People / behaviors / motivations are always the foundation of a good technology. And even technologies developed independly must be grounded in consumer insights to take off.

          1. Brandon Burns

            You should drop by more often, Cezary. 🙂

      2. Timothy Meade

        Ah the brain trust? @sigmaalgebra has taught us a lot about the power of math and the (IP-like) value of algorithms. I feel like it’s the synthesis of custom logic built on top of ML over all of the datasources and events from everyday life captured at the highest resolutions possible that will yield the next breakthroughs and make the greatest impact on our lives. Think medicine derived from the anonymous analysis of all of our medical histories. (And that’s more of a government, human, legal problem to solve now than pure computation which we mostly know how to do.)We have the older/wiser advice of @JLM and the Big Red Car, taking military tactics, ideals, legacies and traditions and applying them to business.@wmouygar opened up the power of gleaning our social communication graph for real insight and engagement and is now working on empowering the next generation of startups in Canada (and providing some fascinating material for people learning the ropes in the form of videos including the recent one with on of your partners.)Not to leave anyone out, but I have learned a great deal from all of you here and I’m sure even the conversation starting (and idea priming) nature of this forum has inspired Fred to help entrepreneurs capture the next wave of social connection.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Some people have made the argumentthat we already know the best possibleapproach to intelligence — stochasticoptimal control. But the ‘catch’ is itwould require way, WAY too much data to get it going.Similarly for ‘machine learning’ and, really,nearly all applied math applied withouta human ‘in the loop’. Why? What’s thecrucial value of a human? A human canunderstand the system and, thus, havegood insight into what data is relevantand what is not. So, in effect, instatistical language, a human can enormously reduce the number of ‘degrees of freedom’ in the statisticsor ‘machine learning’ and, thus, getmuch more accurate results with muchless data.E.g., for what Fred mentioned aboutDx, my guess would be that the machine learning will eventually dookay for simple situations but flop once need several passes throughthe loop of (A) do exams/tests to getdata, (B) analyze data, (C) decide onwhat more data/tests are needed.

      3. Drew Meyers

        I think we all steal liberally from AVC

    2. ShanaC

      That is because by themselves, mobile, machine learning big data, what have you are just things.

  5. Dave W Baldwin

    The OS is current topic, like who is going to do the big disruption moving us toward 2020 then to 2030, say Google or WolframAlpha.For example, Google doing another promo regarding a territory they plan to disrupt/control:…I find interesting the strategy. Between the lines is gaining control across the vehicles (phone, tab, mainframe, television, automobile…) where Google can see if there is interest in having a system of microphones and so on.I’ll throw this one in because I love it when Kurzweil speaks as an extension of Drexler:… Oh yeah, he’s a part of Google….

  6. Dave W Baldwin

    The HumanDX is a good one! Joining Education to Data/ML in Medical is looking forward!

  7. Ciaran

    I’m basing this on a review of the talk I read elsewhere so am obviously making some assumptions but have two thoughts:1 – Twitter as modern newspaper – yes, but. The most popular links on twitter come from professional media sources. Despite all the ‘earthquake’ broke on Twitter examples, it acts more (IMO) like a newsagent than a newspaper. Equally, most of the most popular videos/sources on YouTube are legacy media. Doesn’t mean it will always be like that, but let’s not crown UGC just yet (I think web has just enabled old media to dominate in different ways, albeit with smaller share of ad rev)2 – unbundling in entertainment – this is simply less of an issue outside US where cable penetration is lower. And for similar reasons as above, the scale needed to create truly great content is unlikely to allow the old model to disappear completely.That said, fascinating stuff. Not sure I’ll be asking for my salary in bitcoins quite yet though

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      You make a very good point. So the next (current) step is to take control of the entertainment vehicle, like the tele away from the current top of the pyramid and place it in the hands of the consumer. If the bigger population can send to the tele from the web, it will open opportunity to disrupt what is showing on the television (or wall).

      1. Ciaran

        Question: why do we assume I should want to? Why do we think that will be better? Personally I’d rather have less consumer control of content as it tends to veer towards lowest common denominator. Best content often comes from public service or subscription – if everything is from the crowd, you’ll end up with Americas Funniest Home Vines

        1. Dave W Baldwin

          My earlier attempt at reply didn’t happen….Understand your viewpoint, but remember it is a choice. Kinda like my not agreeing totally with Fred regarding Twitter being the media replacing the old news… many of those tweets are on a America’s Funniest Home Video level.

          1. Ciaran

            Fair point. I guess my reply was more aimed at the general Valley digerati who seem to believe that disruption is worthy in and of itself, no matter what it is that is being disrupted. Like quality.

  8. awaldstein

    Good one Fred.You think of investing like I think of marketing and market making. All ground in human behaviors and societal intersections.

  9. Andrew Kennedy

    Great talk.

  10. Karim Helal

    Great talk Fred, thanks for sharing! One of the things that I noticed from your talk is that you seem to invest globally, not just in US-based companies. How does this fit in your overall strategy (i.e. do you try to diversify geographically as much as you do for you investments or is this just a by-product of finding good ideas)?

  11. ShanaC

    Does anyone beyond me find the question, well, weird?10 years time everything will be both different and the same. It isn’t like we’re all going to wear fundamentally different clothing or eat fundamentally different food (egg replacement company and soylent not withstanding)10 years ago I was gettting the first version of a “push notification” – SMSs from the daily candy. Now the notifications are more sophisticated, but they are still there…

    1. Dave W Baldwin

      In a way, but think about clothing. The fundamentals will be the same, but the choice, manufacture and delivery will be totally different.Since we are basically doing the “doubling” of ability at about an annual rate (12-14 months), that means 10 years is a lot of progress.Production of garment, as in food, will be done “inside out” where a person will not have to go to the store to shop for that one item currently on shelf. The knowledge of sales will be more in line of offering on that vehicle (communicative device) something that looks great at that moment to the person and it will be manufactured at a low end run price point.

      1. ShanaC

        We’re guessing about that. Clothing is actually really difficult. Most of the manufacturing process has not changed in about 100+ years. The difference is that it is Bangladesh rather than the Lower East Side.

        1. Cynthia Schames

          Actually, the process HAS changed, but most manufacturers haven’t gotten on the bandwagon. We have the technology, but traditional apparel makers are stuck in their old ways of doing things: paper order forms, carbon paper (!!!), 6 month lead times, manual processes everywhere you look.At AbbeyPost, we’re utilizing advanced technologies to entirely disrupt the apparel manufacturing process.1. 3D body imaging to determine a shopper’s actual”size”. We are doing away with numerical, standardized sizes–which was a construct of the government, in fact, to help make it cheaper to provide nurses uniforms in the war. In 10 years, when someone asks a woman what size she is, the answer shouldn’t be a number. It should be, “I’m ME size, and so are my clothes”. We are using this 3D tech right now, today, to create made to measure apparel for the mass market. 2. Real time manufacturing. The idea of making thousands of identical garments in “standard” sizes (which don’t actually fit ANYONE, due to the broken “fit model” paradigm) is outmoded and wasteful. Real time manufacturing or “just in time” manufacturing is the future. We’re building the Dell of apparel. But we will try hard not to fuck it up. 2. Algorithmic patterning. We take those measurements and dump them into a CAD program where we algorithmically alter each pattern block to create a unique pattern for each user. 3. Digital Printing. We’re using digital printers both for pattern production and (in the future) for creation of fabric. 4. Laser cutting. Laser cutters for fabric are vastly more precise, efficient and fast than manual cutters. They reduce waste, and ensure much higher QA. 5. Laser guided production checks. We’re considering using sophisticated 3rd party software tools that use lasers to actually determine whether the fabric is being fed correctly into the sewing machines, etc.So: you are correct when you say the process hasn’t changed in 100 years, but that’s not because it’s not possible. It’s because the industry at large is a dinosaur. We have the technology, and now we have people who care about this. The process IS changing. We’re changing it.

  12. Greg Meredith

    “networks not hierarchies…” many find both safety and success in hierarchy. The skills needed to thrive in a networked world are radically different than those of the hierarchy. Curious about the implications for formal degree programs–will the stamp of approval / degree mean more or less in a networked world?

  13. Gabe

    Great talk Fred! Thank you

  14. Matt A. Myers

    Fred should host a game show. Just need to come up with some clever ideas..

  15. markslater

    you really have become quite the speaker in your vintage! 😉 Great stuff as always – i particularly like your viewpoint on bitcoin as the transactional protocol of the networked world – very very powerful stuff here that you hypothesize about and it cant come a moment to soon when we think about how the banking world of today.

  16. William Mougayar

    In my opinion, this was the best talk I’ve heard you deliver (from a strategic content point of view). You almost laid out a USV 2.0 investment thesis, or at least a strong evolution of the current one.My 2 favorite points were:- “we’re all a node on the network”, and- “health and wellness are the opposite of healthcare; it’s what keeps you out of the healthcare system”

    1. Jack Lelane

      if you need an app for health and wellness, your life is screwed up.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Or you’re unhealthy and stuck in unhealthy patterns, and don’t have the real-life support available to you – or you don’t know how to access it or are so locked up you don’t know how or your life circumstances keep you in certain negative cycles.

      2. William Mougayar

        how old are you?Are you aware that a large % of people over 45 will have at least 1 chronic illness?You may be health or food savvy, but a lot of people are not.

        1. Brandon Burns

          “how old are you?”bwahahahahahaha

          1. William Mougayar

            Many young people don’t have a good sense of healthcare issues, because they are mostly healthy. Older people have a better appreciation of that. That comment appeared as if it was coming from a young person who has never seen older people struggle with health issues, whether chronic or acute.

        2. awaldstein

          I agree with you.But this is not just about apps it is about a cultural shift in awareness and access to food information, starting with labeling, clarification of certification,access to information and the beginnings of moving nutritional into the medical mainstream.Huge area just at the food and nutrition level.

          1. LE

            Labeling is a major improvement in being able to stay healthy. I question though how many people actually read the labels before making food purchasing decisions. Would think there are a fair amount of people for which food is a drug basically and the more buzz the better. And you get more buzz out of “bad” stuff than you do from steamed broccoli (which with a little “mrs dash” and a little butter is pretty good actually).I don’t need to watch calories at all for example but I always factor in the calories of a Starbucks drink. When I have a free drink they always double ask me “are you sure you don’t want the Venti it’s the same price!!”. To which I reply that I drink what I drink the price isn’t why I choose the “tall” (and sometimes the “short”).And don’t even get me started on buffets and free food. Even doctors are all seduced when a drug rep offers a free meal at a nice restaurant to try and push their products. (Source: my wife)

          2. awaldstein

            I start with getting the info available and transparent.Obviously this is a passion of mine–been on the stump for 5 years for visibility into the ingredients and processes of wine, now with my Luli exposure moving into the foods I buy and consume.You know that most doctors are not required to take any courses in nutrition at the majority of medical schools of course. Unbelievable actually.

          3. LE

            “Unbelievable actually.”Doctors aren’t really educators they are problem solvers. Think “triage”. Here is a problem now fix it.Not only that but patients being “AMA” (against medical advice) is a big issue from what I’m told. The fact that a Physician has knowledge and tells the patient (who often won’t even take medicine) isn’t an assurance that they will listen.So it’s not like a Physician is going to make a big impact with after learning about nutrition. And of course you have to keep up with what you learn in medical school, keep current. and the time for that could very well detract from something that is of more importance.

          4. awaldstein

            If your doctors are only treating symptoms, they are kind of useless.Holistic from your physician to your trainer, is not hype it is reality in the hands of the experts. Exercise, nutrition and controlling stress are part of this.if you doctors are not approaching it this way, change them is my advice.

          5. LE

            With reimbursements down there is no way, and it would be no easy task, to get a general practitioner or internist to go this route. At least in any significant numbers.Most of what you would call “good” doctors (that patients like for one reason or another and trust) are already booked and not taking on many new if any patients. And many won’t even accept certain insurance. Some are forming and going into large hospital owned groups (either non profit or profit). They are on salary. The profit is getting squeezed out of this system as it is.I looked at setting my wife up in a medical practice (had the office location (which I bought) and even a retiring doctor) and the numbers simply didn’t make sense compared to what she can get paid by being affiliated with a hospital group. So she went that route.Not to say you won’t find doctors doing what you are saying or that it is not good (you have obviously). But you have to be aware of the realities of medical care in this day and age. Just like there are doctors that will locate in the middle of nowhere and do all sorts of things (even house calls). That’s an outlier.If your doctors are only treating symptoms, they are kind of useless.Hard to believe you really mean that. Most people go to the doctor when they have symptoms and/or for a yearly physical or to monitor some particular health situation. So I’m unclear on how you think that that is useless. Or that they don’t provide value. If anything whatever is going on in medicine is working well enough that people can abuse their body and overeat because the meds are doing so well to keep them alive. Do you really think that the doctors are not telling people that if they eat better and/or exercise they can lower their blood pressure? And be healthier. They are. Do you think the overweight people buying big gulps have just simply missed the memo that it’s bad for them to have all that sugar? They haven’t.Nutrition is a completely separate subject. My cousin is a nutritionist and does that for a living. (Not close so I don’t know much about it but I know he is paid by people for advice in that area.)

          6. awaldstein

            My experience is just not the same LE.

          7. ShanaC

            Then I need a better Doctor

          8. awaldstein

            The more you learn about this, the more demanding your get and, in my experience, the better you find.Start by demanding what you know you need from what the doctors you have. It will become clear whether they are workable or not.

          9. ShanaC

            I’m actually looking for a new primary care person, as I’m aging out of my family doctor. Anyone got recommendations

          10. William Mougayar

            Yup. Health, wellness and nutrition are one of those things that should be taught or learnt earlier in life.

          11. JackLelane

            If you need an app to tell you to eat and drink fruits and vegetables, your life is screwed up.

          12. Cynthia Schames

            If you troll with a slight variation on the same comment 10X, your life is screwed up 😉

      3. LE

        There are many reasons that someone might feel they need an app for health and wellness. Just like there are many people that need a personal trainer or can only get motivated to do exercise in groups or at the gym. Or run with someone else.My personal uninformed opinion (other than what I know from being on AVC and seeing Fred in pictures and hearing his schedule) is that he runs himself a bit to ragged with his schedule and possible stress. Just a guess. He’s said he gets enough sleep.

      4. Matt Zagaja

        I think this is so wrong on two fronts. I did not think that a fitbit or anything like that would make a difference in my life but when I upgraded to the iPhone 5s it had the M7 motion co-processor already built-in. It is amazing to see how little I move on a “normal” day and the difference when I choose to either go out and socialize with friends or am on vacation in a city where walking is the norm. Now I try to pick activities where I move more.Secondarily many athletes need highly regimented meal and exercise programs to reach their maximum potential. It’s cheaper to offload the brainwork to an app then to hire a coach.Finally plenty of the apps are helpful from an educational viewpoint. I use iMuscle on my iPhone to give me new exercises to strengthen certain muscles that seem to be weak .

        1. Jack Lelane

          if you need an app to tell you that you are sedentary, your life is screwed up.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            It’s hard to break patterns / habits, reminders just to point things out can break the cycle, and get you back on track.

          2. ShanaC

            It’s the how much number. If you can’t measure it you will have a hard time fixing it. And most people satisfice when it comes to measuring. Phones make it easier

      5. William Mougayar

        This should help:Funding on the rise for digital health startups focused on aging…

    2. LE

      And genetics of course.

  17. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Wow, the Europeans are heavy into production value! It looks like you’re on the “Sonny & Cher” show!

    1. LE

      People had a lot less to do back when Sonny and Cher were on TV. The golden age. And the audience was captive with limited choices.

  18. future

    amazing speech Fred, one question besides the book from carlota perez, what are your top 3-5 books on technology and investing that has greatest impact on developing high level holistic view of tech/society/economics etc, I would love to develop skills for more longterm thinking about technology and society.

  19. Matt A. Myers

    P.S. Fred needs an epic introduction song to put as an intro to all of his videos.. Or maybe just make it so when you visit you must play it to login…..

    1. LE

      Pre-roll before Fred speaks is 50 seconds. What a total waste. Would love to know who thinks that a good thing with a web video. An intro roll should be no longer than the nightly news. That’s about 9 or 10 seconds. Source: me

      1. Matt A. Myers

        A pre-roll! That’s what that’s called.. thank you!LeWeb is just trying to play epic. Serves their purpose of a lead up, even if it’s annoying..

      2. sigmaalgebra

        Maybe it’s because they are French?

  20. JamesHRH

    I did not have time to watch entire video. Love the themes.I have a quibble that is significant: the emergence of networks is not to replace hierarchies, they are to complement or compete with them or to reshape them into flatter pyramids.Responsibility is not assigned to a network. Its assigned to a person. Many of the people who desire a large amount of responsibility also desire a high degree of control.They like the pyramid, even a flat one.

    1. Emil Sotirov

      Networks are like many pyramids connected. Imagine a network graph with heights given to each node proportional to the number of connections of that node. Looks like a wide mountain area.What you say then is that connecting the pyramids will tend to flatten them. Probably true.

  21. takingpitches

    Bureaucratic hierarchies obscure talent in many industries.Shake those hierarchies and you re-energize all sorts of hidden of talent and “redistribute” billions of dollars.

  22. paramendra

    I just noticed, there is no AVC mobile app. Get going!

  23. pointsnfigures

    Shocked. Shocked that you can’t predict ten years into the future. Heh. Should have asked a politician

  24. Matt A. Myers

    I love how they pandown to Fred’s abdomen when he starts talking about weight watchers..

  25. Jessie Arora

    Love how much is packed into this succinct talk. I think there are many parallels between all the conversation here about the role of doctors to the role of teachers (particularly for k12 public education.) So much expectation is placed on these professionals to compensate for bad decisions and severe challenges at the family/community level. These public systems (healthcare, education) were not designed to bare the load being placed on them now and then we blame the individual actors. Changes/unbundling is happening… it’s just painfully slow for these massive systems.

  26. sigmaalgebra

    In his talk, Fred looked perceptive and bright,surprisingly so considering how in some other wayshe looked tired.Still, for his talk, for most of the contents Ididn’t ‘get it’.Desktop vs mobile?For me, my desktop computer is my main tool in mypersonal and business life, and there is no way asmart phone can replace more than a tiny fraction ofwhat I get from my desktop.And to me, what a smart phone offers that my desktopdoes not is of little or no interest.I have a tough time believing that USV does all itscomputing just on smart phones!For Fred’s “behavioral and societal point of view”,fine. That looks mostly like just putting the realworld problem to be solved first. Right: In suchbusiness, the technology is just a tool, an enabler,often a very powerful one, but not the problem to besolved for the users/customers.For Fred’s three big macro trends, (1) transitionfrom bureaucratic hierarchies to technology drivennetworks, (2) unbundling, and (3) due to smartphones we are all nodes on the network, that’s somegood high level insight and identification andformulation of a lot that is going on.Still, for picking projects, I fail to see muchvalue in those three macro trends: For a givenproject, that it is one or more of these macrotrends is not very significant for the project,especially given, as will usually be the case, themany additional details of the project. Or, ifunderstand the project, then observing that it is inone of the macro trends does not say significantlymore. Or, I have to doubt that a project would getfunded based on its fit within a macro trend withoutadditional details. That is, I have to believe thatit is still crucial to look at the details.

    1. Richard

      VC is a lot like tracking a fly ball in baseball. The great ones pick up the ball early, at the crack of the bat or even before the ball reaches the batter. Rookies are late to the ball, often letting the ball “play them” for a base hit.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Maybe Fred & Co. like the three trendsso that they can get “deep domain knowledge”in those three trends and, then, greatlycut down the deal flow they have to lookat carefully. My guess would be that thetrends are so broad that knowledge aboutthe trends, in the effort to acquire ‘deepdomain knowledge’ would be 10 mileswide, 1 inch deep, and not very directlyrelevant to picking actual projects.I’m skeptical of a journal editor in chief,NSF, NIH, or DARPA problem sponsortrying to think in useful detail about whatproject proposals they would like to see.Instead, that thinking is for the head ofthe proposed project; then the problemsponsors can read and learn. Evenfor a project for research for a Ph.D.:In my case, my advisors started to understandmy research once I had a draft or afterI had a clean, typed copy ready to submit.Or for Jobs conception of an iPhone: Howthe heck could he have ‘sold’ that conceptionto anyone else before they could seethe success of the product in the marketor at least the product serial number 1?What Silicon Valley VCs with their effortsat deep domain knowledge would haveanticipated what Jobs conceived ofand build? My guess is none: Theycould have been working ‘in the mobilespace’ since smoke signals and stillnot anticipated what Jobs did.

    2. Matt Zagaja

      I know an increasing number of people for whom their smartphone is their primary and only computing device. They have a computer at work but that’s for work. At home the iPhone or Android is good enough. Or they’re using a tablet + phone.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        I can believe that, but I’d hate to haveto do that, for either business orpersonal. But I can see why whatyou say is true: A PC with WindowsXP or 7 is a total pain in the backside to build, manage, administer,etc. Ballmer didn’t care about that;Jobs did.

  27. CThomps

    Instead of a forced choice between PC and mobile phone, I feel like perhaps an even better question/challenge to the audience for forced tradeoffs would have been “in X years, if I said you could have a PC, mobile phone, or an unknown wearable device (i.e. Glass or better), which would you bet on now if you were locked into one and could not change?”

  28. Valerie Welte

    On a related note,…

  29. uravan

    Fred as usual you give them enough but without ‘the sauce’ -you have developed your own haiku – so some thoughts : 1:if you have a customer you have a business 2. when you see the ‘Indians ‘ its too late 3. plagiarizing Heisenberg : ‘when you look at something you change it’what i am interested in is the degree to which Enterprises can ‘learn’ and ‘adapt’to the network effect…as you stated in your talk Financial Services including Insurance are v.resistant to adaption – there are however ‘Trojan horse’s’ that have potential to allow the incumbents to re-invent themselves even if they have to eat some or all of their children – thank you for blog and a belated Hag Sameach

  30. Denis Bulichenko

    The great talk. Enjoyed it very much at LeWeb. Very useful for entrepreneurs I think.

  31. LGBlueSky

    You should put this on a podcast so people can download and listen. I want to listen to it but have to walk to work now….

  32. Charlene

    Excellent and refreshing talk Fred! My favourite subject was the unbundling.

  33. MFishbein

    I found this talk extremely interesting. Thanks Fred. The two areas you discussed that I think are most exciting are unbundling of education and mobile in emerging markets. I typed up my notes from the talk as a blog post in case anyone wants them:

  34. Michael Petruzzo

    Really great talk! I hadn’t ever heard of “data pollution” or thought about it’s implications before this – would love to know if there’s something you read or some data you saw that pushed this up the priority list at USV?

  35. Niv Dror

    Brilliant talk Fred! I put together some notes… That way people who don’t have the time to watch the whole thing can quickly glance through. Also, it’s seems to be a particularly useful method of linking back to the content with other blogs/articles – and this talk is packed with extremely valuable content.Enjoy :-)…

  36. John Clippinger

    I totally agree and this is something that we have been working on at Harvard Law Lab. MIT Media Lab – Human Dynamics Group, and now ID3 ( It is an open source platform ( Open Mustard Seed) and is architected to be edge based distributed, user controlled, scaleable, self-governing, with support for digital currencies. It will be demonstrated at Davos. Take a look.

  37. Matteo Cassese

    @fredwilson:disqus what is the name of the Berlin health startup you mentioned in the presentation?

  38. Jeremy Campbell

    Excellent talk Fred, love that you and your partners only stay within your power zone! Love your transparency, any entrepreneur that wants to pitch you should have a very good idea if their area is a focus for USV, and that should save you’s time filtering potential deals to look at.I enjoyed seeing you speak live when you were in Toronto a few years ago, and I try to watch all of your big appearances as you make your rounds around the world. Keep it up Fred!

  39. RJ Johnston

    Enormously informative and helpful to know where a leader in VC investment is focusing their efforts. Thanks Fred!!

  40. MelkiSch

    When asked the question: “If you had to choose, would you keep your smartphone or your laptop?” 2/3 would say smartphones according to this poll.

  41. Susannah Fox

    DataFox published a very good summary of the talk if you don’t have time to watch the video (or need a refresher):…I track technology adoption and health/wellness trends, so I zeroed in on those points. Fred is spot on when he talks about the huge potential for tracking our own health — 7 in 10 U.S. adults do so now (source: Pew Research Center). The hitch is that half do so “in their heads,” one-third with paper and pencil, one-fifth using any kind of tech. Most people are not yet convinced that an app or device will help them.I also agree that networks are going to revolutionize health (if not health care, eventually) but I’m personally more interested in peer-to-peer networks among patients and caregivers (esp. parents of kids with rare diseases) than those developing networks for clinicians. In this, I’m following the swarm — the many, many people who are connecting online to get answers, or even better, to improve their questions. HumanDx should consider adding expert patients to their roster of “experts.”

  42. Loic Le Meur

    Thanks so much again for joining us and delivering this great talk Fred and happy new year!

    1. fredwilson

      my pleasure Loic

  43. Matt A. Myers

    Must be it makes change happen too quickly and the status quo is fantastic – so who’d want it all to change so fast..

  44. Nick Ambrose

    It’s Obama’s fault

  45. Matt A. Myers