Video Of The Week: Albert Wenger's DLD Talk

My partner Albert gave a great talk at DLD. It’s short (15mins) and I would highly recommend everyone give it a watch this weekend.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    More questions than answers, but he does set a good picture of the context we’re in, to help us answer these questions. My take-away is that we are entering the stage of the “effect of the information age”, i.e. the eventual lasting outcome of the information age has yet to totally unravel.The other question on my mind is – are future solutions dependent on more technology, less technology, or better policy, user habits, beliefs and practices? It’s not that simple, especially that we see entrenched and polarized views on almost everything.

    1. Jeffrey Hartmann

      I personally think we are right on the cusp of the real impact of the “Information Age” or “The Second Machine Age”. We are just getting to the point where the exponential growth of machine capabilities is rapidly creating things beyond our imagination.There is a story of the creation of Chess in 6th century in India. The inventor of the game presented his game to the emperor, and he was so impressed at the game that the ask the inventor to name a reward for creating such a beautiful and complex game. The inventor said all he desired was some rice to feed my family. He suggested they use the chessboard to determine how much rice he would be given. He suggested that they place one grain of rice on the first square, two on the second, four on the third, so that each square receives twice as many grains as the previous.The numbers eventually become staggering by the 64th square he would have 2^63 (something like eighteen quintillion grains of rice.) A pile of rice so large it would be way bigger than Mount Everest.In 2000, Kurzweil made an observation about this story, on the first half of the chessboard all the numbers, while becoming large are well within our imagination. After 32 squares we are at 4 billion, its only on the second half of the chessboard that things start to really accelerate.If you count the times since 1958 that we have been doubling the capabilities of computers every 18 months, we reached this second half of the chessboard in 2006. Very rapidly we have gone from computers that couldn’t sense their environment, were thought to never be able to handle the complex task of driving, or that couldn’t decipher our speech with any success. Now we have the Kinect which has basically solved the problem of computers being able to ‘see’ and map their environment, the Google car which is driving well in real world conditions, and phones that can hear our speech. As we move into this second half of the chessboard things are just going to improve at an amazing speed.I personally think the fact that this exponential increase in the capabilities of machines actually will work to our advantage. The time from where machines reach parity with the capabilities of the average human worker and when they greatly surpass their capabilities will be very short. I think this will force us into a world of abdunance, even if we are kicking and screaming. According to some recent research, 47% of all jobs are at high risk of being automated in the next one or two decades. While these jobs won’t all disappear or be completely automated, we will need substaintially less people to do them. One thing that will really going to be very interesting to see, is how people like Radiologists will feel about automation that makes them 2x more efficient. Very soon we will see technology start to automate jobs we thought were safe, and at a rapid pace.As we start seeing this rapid deployment of automation, the only sane thing that I think can happen is for countries to tax the machines. If we make sure we don’t try and recapture all the gains from automation we will have both the incentive to deploy automation and a new revenue stream so we can continue to have a functioning market economy. We can then use this new revenue to having something like a basic income guarentee funded by the machines.

      1. albert

        That’s an excellent summary of the “second half of the chessboard” argument. It is more than just computers though. We have lots of other complementary innovations as well and I mention several of them in my talk (most of those are showing exponential behavior as well).

  2. Cynthia Schames

    Agreed, @wmoug:disqus, more questions than answers.I really love the way Albert thinks about things. Whoda thunk that USV’s entire focus on network effect could be neatly analogized in horses + agriculture?

    1. William Mougayar

      Yup. The network effect evolves

  3. awaldstein

    I enjoyed this although not a fan of ‘information age’ as a moniker.Two quick thoughts:-Change has happened almost entirely from the bottom up to date,powered by the democratization of expression. Some top down change is going to have to happen to catapult broader impact.-I’m on the other side of William’s point below I think. I don’t think we are seeing the result of information, but rather the beginning of figuring out how to collect it in actionable ways that truly impact the physical world. The majority of social gesture data is useless mostly and new ways of gathering actionable data are the real crossover piece that is in front of us.

    1. William Mougayar

      My understanding of what Albert was saying is we haven’t seen yet the total effects of the Information Age, and I agree. It’s not just social and bottoms-up expression explosion. It’s more than that.Marshall McLuhan once said “The Future of the Future is the Present”. We always return to our roots, beliefs, principles and habits. They are the foundation. Technology is an artifact of our life, at the end of the day.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Albert was saying that the robots will makea few rich people and put a lot of people out ofwork and, thus, make many poor people, that there might be ugly situations and even wars, but eventually there will be big gains. He islikely thinking of some income redistributionarrangement to ‘humanize’ the big changesand wants those so as not to feel too guiltyabout being a VC funding the big changes.

        1. albert

          I was saying that’s what will happen in the near term but in the long term it will make us all better off. I don’t feel guilty about any of the investments that we make as I believe in the long term benefits. What we need is a debate about what we want society to look like as these new capabilities become more widespread. Not having the debate and not addressing the problems will result in an ugly transition.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            Now, now, Albert, since you do see the prospectsof “an ugly transition”, you have no ‘guilt” from yourrole in helping cause the “transition”? I’m doing allI can to cause such ‘transitions’ and feel some guilt.Maybe at least you are like Bill and Melinda: Theywant to help the poor people even though Microsoftdid next to nothing to make them poor. But in additionyour work, and if I am successful, mine, will helpresult in some more poor people. Saying that society should have a “debate” is correct, butit would be unusual for a very successful and thoughtful person not to feel some ‘guilt’. Gee,Western Civilization has been awash in ‘guilt’for 2000 years! Welcome to the world of guilt,along with the rest of us ‘sinners’!

          2. albert

            I will leave that one to you and anybody else who wants to feel guilty.

    2. David Semeria

      Very well put Arnold!

    3. sigmaalgebra

      We need an example of gathering data and doingsomething ‘actionable’ with it:(1) Astronomy. Since some of the ancients “watchedtheir flocks by night”, didn’t have city lights orsmog to interfere with their views of the night sky,and lived in areas with few clouds, nearly eachnight all their lives they got terrific views of thenight sky. So, they gathered astronomical data.But making that data ‘actionable’ was more work:Likely one of the first uses was calendar making,e.g., knowing when to plant and when the rains orfloods would come. So, set up some rocks in acircle and each morning and night see at which rockthe path of the sun crossed. Might also put a polein the ground and trace the shadow of the sun nearmidday and, thus, find ‘noon’.Also track the phases of the moon and, thus, knowabout the tides and when some animals would breed.Over many years could track where major starscrossed the horizon at morning and night and, thus,track the precession of the equinoxes (the two timeseach year when the length of daylight and nighttimeare each right at 12 hours). “Precession”? At thetime of the equinoxes, the background stars slowlyrotate about a huge sphere. Basically at, say, thefirst day of spring, the pattern of stars in thenight sky slowly rotates as the orbit of eartharound the sun moves with respect to the galaxy.So, for an accurate specification of the equinoxes,and for accurate calendar making, need to know aboutthe precession of the equinoxes. Good calendarmaking is quite actionable.Soon the North Star helped navigators know theirlatitude — quite actionable, even life saving.Knowing longitude was harder!(2) People have long collected data on the weather,lots of data, ‘big data’, but turning that data intoreasonably ‘actionable’ weather forecasting took muchmore work. Yes, we are still struggling with thefundamental Navier-Stokes equations, a case of theClay Mathematics $1 million prize competition and arecent topic in the news about math.Even with all the data we have collected on weather,we still don’t have anything at all solid about whatburning a ton of coal will do to the climate overthe next day, week, year, or century. Data? Yes.”Actionable”? No, not yet; much more work will beneeded.(3) We collect lots of data on the economy but stilldidn’t take seriously the crash of 2008 until 2008and too late to avoid it. Data? Yes. “Actionable?”No.(4) We collect lots of data on users on theInternet, but “actionable” for good ad targeting?Not nearly as good as we could want.(5) The NSA collected ‘big data’ but, still, didn’tsee the Boston Bomber ahead of time. Lots of databut not very “actionable”.(6) Sometime ago a guy wondered if the roulettewheel in a casino was fair. He collected lots ofdata, then he invented the chi-squared statisticalhypothesis test and provided overwhelmingly strongevidence that the wheel was not fair. The dataalone was not “actionable”, but the analysis of itwas.(7) Something from data and Newton? Okay,Lagrangian points, a perfect (stable) place to put aspace telescope!Net, what’s important is not just the data but whatthe heck we do with it. Right: Some of the mostpowerful things we can do with the data to getsomething “actionable” is some applied math. Sorry,Silicon Valley, what’s needed is not just Hadoop butsome applied math!Not many people understand this point or theassociated applied math clearly? Yes, a problem theflip side of which is an opportunity.

    4. Andrew Hoydich

      Why do you think top-down change has to happen in order to catapult broader impact?The more I think about it the less I understand what you’re trying to say with that thought.

      1. Josh Blandy

        The way I would frame the point is that the model of governance we have today has evolved to measure and manage the performance of the Industrial Age “system”, which in Albert’s talk he refers to as an age where scarcity is a primary value driver. When the behaviour of the system starts to change in ways the governance system is not designed to cope with then the system becomes unbalanced. If the governance system is not adjusted to support the evolving behaviour the system to achieve a new state of equilibrium, (“Information Age” abundance), it is at risk of failure.

        1. Andrew Hoydich

          I’m not sure I agree. You argue that @awaldstein:disqus is saying that the ‘top’ needs to adjust and change themselves in order to better meet the needs of the equilibrium. I argue that he’s suggesting instead of the ‘bottom’ being the driving force of change, the ‘top’ needs to drive this force this time.”Top-Down” change implies the starting point of change, not where the change should necessarily happen. Top-down change is a revolutionary force that is birthed at the top of society’s hierarchy and is the epicenter from which the change propagates from.”Top-down” change is a changing force that is driven to the bottom by the top whereas “bottom-up” change is a changing force that is driven to the top by the bottom.

  4. WA

    Guns Germs Steel & Data

    1. fredwilson


    2. spinningpl8s

      Why the West [Coast] Rules — for now

      1. WA

        Why I’m bi-coastal.

  5. jason wright

    that is a very sparse the car as an object of collective utility rather than an object of personal desire. makes perfect sense, but the manufacturers will need to get with this new network message, and their advertisers will need to change their tune.I’m waiting for the first city on this small planet to announce that it is eradicating cars that are not electric/ solar powered from its streets. I believe that Freiburg (Baden-Württemberg) has a suburb where cars are completely banned. The horse may make a return. Society could turn full circle in some respects. It is not always linear ‘progress’. As individuals we do not change so much over time from one epoch to the next.

    1. LE

      The horse may make a return.Horses drop shit on the street. So nimby.

      1. jason wright

        dogs too, and i can’t even ride one.

  6. Richard

    Albert was spot on in looking for ^2+ effects. Nanotechnology is a upcoming technology that has a cubed power on its effects. Why? The surface area of a material increase ^3 as it decreases in size. Put a Mellon in a bowl and then put small lemons that same bowl. The total surface area of the Lemnons is the cubed root of the Mellon.

    1. sigmaalgebra


  7. BillMcNeely

    Really enjoyed the talk made the train ride enjoyable.

  8. Jeremy Robinson

    Thank you for posting. The talk was a useful overview. Left out of his talk were social factors- associated with the earlier role of religion enjoining people to be stewards of land and wealth towards the greater good. The promise of abundance appears to be headed for violent disruption as most of our actions continue to deny the scarcity of resources we’re facing and the rate we’re consuming the earth’s resources. Discussions of privacy and patents will be but an ironic postscript to our history if we’re unable to reverse our depletion and overuse we call “progress”.

  9. Guillermo Ramos

    Congrats to Albert! Nice talkMy understanding from the talk is that the digital abundance allows physical abundance. We are currently at the very beggining of that huge change that will be (is) exponential. As in any inflection point, there will be huge opportunities and threats, so entrepreneurs should give an answer to both.I think Albert is just telling us where we are now and invites all of us to give answers to a nice&soft transition towards a new era

    1. albert

      That’s the idea. I don’t have the answers (nor do I think does anyone else at this moment) but we sure need to come up with them!

  10. JLM

    .The greatest driver of both the past and the future is………………..FREEDOM.Freedom to unlock the potential of all humans within a framework and environment of personal, collective and governing freedom.The Founding Fathers had it right “…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness…” when viewed through a lens of history has been what has unleashed the power of personal freedom as evidenced in, say, entrepreneurship.Almost every problem in the US today has at its roots freedom and the justice that is created by trying to treat all free persons fairly and equitably.On the other side, almost every ill in society today is the dark side of the mirror of freedom or the ill treatment of free people.Freedom and war — the deprivation of freedom by force in many instances — have done more to shape the past and future than horses.JLM.

  11. @mikeriddell62

    I’ve just wasted 15 mins of my day. Patronising twaddle.

  12. stefano zorzi

    The very big difference is that the number of horses is decided by men but who decides the number of men? I doubt that the 7/8 of men that are not needed (using the same proportion) will simply stay calm and disappear

    1. albert

      Exactly. Which is why we are facing a much more serious problem.

  13. DanielHorowitz

    Great talk. The future is good, but the transition is going to be very bumpy.

  14. Yaniv Tal

    Holy shit. I’ve been saying this for about a year but I always assumed it would take a lot of work to get a VC to take notice. Working on a big startup right now but it’s incredibly exciting to see a VC firm taking this long view and expressing solidarity with the transition to an abundance economy. It is indeed coming!

  15. awaldstein

    One of my favorite topics Charlie.The rise and success of the artisanal maker movement globally has been the intersection of three things (at least in wine): 1. A rejection of technology as a driver of how to decide what product to produce; 2) A highly aware craftsperson who understands through knowledge what to question and rethink; and 3) and most important, the effects of communications platforms to find large niche size populations to support unique tastes and commerce platforms to augment delivery and sales.

  16. LE

    we are when it comes to quality of life–great example of closed loop, self-sustaining systems (grow hay, feed horses and mules, use the manure to nurture the soil), without damaging others through their actions, like many of us do with non-electric cars, coal-based power, etc.Societies like that don’t work at world size scale. But they have a nice brainwashing going on there (just like with any religious extreme orthodox jews are another example although money is certainly important there).By the way who provides for all the security for those communities? The rest of us doing things the advanced way. Or for health advances?They are backward to me. I like things that make life better and easier.By the way all that extremism (Judaism included) is for the benefit of the elders and their survival and what’s good for them. [1] So they want to keep the kids from marrying out of the religion and ideally keep them close to home so they can take care of the elders when they grow old.[1] Have you ever driven through the catskills in NY and seen the religious jews walking on the side of the road in 100o heat on a saturday in the summer time draped in long black clothing?

  17. SubstrateUndertow

    “I can attest that the Amish are in some ways more advanced than we are when it comes to quality of life”HERE IS AN EXAMPLE:Glyphosate (RoundUp) Herbicide EffectsOver 200 Million pounds a year used in the US alone.Deemed safe out of the gate with little scientific analysis because its bio-pathway for killing weeds does not operate in humans.Oh wait !It turns out that bio-pathway does work to kill off the eco-system of bacterium in the soil required to support plat grow.Oh wait!It also works on the gut microbiota of humans which we now know to be a major endocrinological and immune-system organ in its own right. It turns out there are 100x more microbiota cells in our guts than there are in the rest of our human bodies. Disturbances in that gut flora have now been conclusively linked to most major diseases.(cancer, heart disease, diabetes, autism, depression etc.)The EPA is now increasing limits on allowable glyphosate in food crops from 200 ppm to 6,000 ppmSo when we finally are forced to recognize the long term cumulative externalized costs associated with healthcare and personal illness maybe the Amish close system of agricultural cost/benefit will start to look like a credibly affordable scaling option ?Dr. Huber about Glyphosate and your 100 trillion friends: Jeroen Raes at TEDxBrussels W. O’Toole, PhD – Gut microbiota in health, disease and agingThis video is a real educational eye opener!

  18. Guest

    downvoted. nice.

  19. Cynthia Schames

    Now this is turning into my kind of talk. We are in the middle of a transition in our business model at AbbeyPost. We’re actually using cutting-edge technology (stuff like browser-based 3D body scans, digital apparel patterning & grading in CAD, and mechanized fabric cutting) in order to produce on-demand, custom made-to-measure apparel so that individuals can express themselves through their wardrobe.We’re combining these innovations with mass customization driven by the consumer, then using real-time manufacturing. BUT the key to our ultimate success, I believe, will be old-school artisanal craftsmanship. We’re sticking with manual stitching done by real, skilled human hands, to offer a level of finish and quality not possible in mass-produced dreck.The great part about this approach is that the technology advances make it possible for us to democratize “couture”, which up to this point has always been exclusively the province of the very rich.

  20. awaldstein

    Democratizing couture is an interesting idea and a complex message to simplify into a brand.But it resonates.

  21. William Mougayar

    Wow. That’s cool. Do you ship the data offshore for production or is it done locally by a combination of human-machine?

  22. fredwilson

    I’m with you on this Larry. It is interesting to visit the orthodox parts of Jerusalem and you see a society that is protected by the Israeli society but does little to contribute to it (unless you are a religious person)

  23. SubstrateUndertow

    “But they have a nice brainwashing going on there”Brainwashing:is when those OTHERS pass on their preferred memesEducation:is when WE pass on our preferred memesor put another way:everyone’s reality tunnel appears optimal when viewed from the inside looking outIt is the symbiotically triangulated sublation between our many reality tunnels that has repeatedly elevates all our working memes to the next higher level of more effectively integrated closed-system. STEP AND REPEAT!or in McLuhan terms:Their memes might look like obsolete cultural-baggage but are in fact cultural/meme insurance policies. We can rumage through that cultural-baggage to retrieve and extend/scale into new solutions.

  24. LE

    About 120 years ago that was world scale, if you discount the crude electricity.But it’s not 120 years ago. So I don’t really understand what you are saying here.And your comment about brainwashing–that’s simply demeaning. .Brainwashing is a very effective method to achieve conformance with both individuals and groups.For example at an early age I brainwashed my kids that my parents were important. Every time my parents arrived I acted excited that they were there. My kids picked up on that (deliberate by the way) emotion [1] and ended up getting excited on their own each time my parents arrived. When I use brainwashing it isn’t always in a negative way (although it can be). I was brainwashed as a kid to work hard and to respect people that were educated and worked hard. I was also brainwashed that money was important for survival and control. And guess what, it is? You know why there are so many jews that are doctors? Because their parents brainwash them at an early age that it’s a great career and drop little hints (unknowingly by the way) along the way. You know what my mom said when I was growing up about the postman? She said “that’s all he wanted out of life”. Or the garbage truck drivers. You get the point. We are all brainwashed in some way by either our environment or our parents.”They aren’t averse to healthcare.”Wasn’t saying that they were. I was saying that if we didn’t have personal computers and gasoline powered vehicles healthcare wouldn’t be as far advanced for your father to be able to help the Amish. My wife drives to the hospital to treat patients in a 4 wheel drive vehicle. Not on a horse. The hospital is 25 minutes by car. Back in the day cars had two wheel drive and the engine was in the front not over the wheels. So that’s an advance right there that helps with healthcare.I’m just using it as one example of where simplicity leads to a better quality of lifeYou can’t strip out a few parts you like and not look at the total picture of what that entire lifestyle is though. I mean I would like to do many things as a career perhaps (say make movies) but I can’t get away from the fact that I also need to make money to survive.As far as “free to leave” how many end up doing that? If they are effectively brainwashed into that way of life my guess is that it’s a pretty small number.[1] Same reason junior likes sports by the way. Because dad likes sports (or they have a friend or peer group at an early age that likes sports). I dated a girl with an eating disorder once. She liked food because her father, an angry man, only became happy around food. So she also lit up around food.

  25. awaldstein

    I agree generally on the hasidic community but I shy at taking it to far.One of my best buddies from college, hippy entrepreneur in the early tech world, Peter Max’s biz manager for a long time, converted, joined a hasidic sect in Florida and reconnected with me.As I tell him to his face, he is so the radical fringe, Yet he’s challenged my preconceptions as I find him beside crazy smart, open, generous, with serious ecological and artistic pursuits, and certainly aloof from society but expecting nothing for free from it.He may be the exception, but it’s proved a seriously challenging in a positive way friendship.

  26. fredwilson

    I read it as critical but not bigoted

  27. LE

    Your understanding of the word brainwashing is odd to me.From “thee” dictionary: [1]http://www.merriam-webster….2: persuasion by propaganda or salesmanshipPropaganda of course is:: ideas or statements that are often false or exaggerated and that are spread in order to help a cause, a political leader, a government, etc.False or exaggerated can encompass many things. My indication of happiness when my parents arrived was definitely exaggerated. By repetition it rubbed off on my kids.More on brainwashing:http://science.howstuffwork…While most psychologists believe that brainwashing is possible under the right conditions, some see it as improbable or at least as a less severe form of influence than the media portrays it to be. Some definitions of brainwashing require the presence of the threat of physical harm, and under these definitions most extremist cults do not practice true brainwashing since they typically do not physically abuse recruits. Other definitions rely on “nonphysical coercion and control” as an equally effective means of asserting influence. This is a subject that is both art and science. Consequently my actual usage of it and understanding of it is not a stretch at all.[1] Not that I don’t reserve the right to make a word what I want. After all this is the internet. But in this case I don’t have to.

  28. LE

    Everything was organic prior to the 40’s. (very little use of chemicals). Which meant chemicals stayed off our plates, our of our waterways, and out of the ecosystem in general. That, to me, is a betterway, where advances have largely been destructive.I agree that it was better. But then you get the rotten apples and market pressures changing things. Then everyone and their uncle follows suit with the same behavior. Why? Because they have to. Or they will perish in the business world.You remember in the Springsteen song “hard to be a saint in the city” which contained the lyrics”It’s so hard to be a saint when you’re just a boy out on the street”So that’s the equivalent of when I say “you can only be as honest as your competition”.Once your competitors draw first blood the pressure of the marketplace (and stockholders) will force you to do the same thing or lose out to them (I’m sure there are outlier examples of where this isn’t the case.)McDonalds would like to and has offered healthy meals. But the market is not interested in that en masse.Not a food economist but I also question whether we could have the quantity of food we need to feed as many people as we have without some of the things that you mention as being bad for us. Also don’t forget how it brings the cost of the food down.Some people, with large families, are buying slabs of real crap at Costco and Sam’s Club to feed their family of 7 people on very low wages. Have you ever seen the stuff that people buy? Do you think they have enough money to buy at Whole Foods?

  29. LE

    converted, joined a hasidic sect in Florida and reconnected with me.Hmm. My life experience says that when someone does something like that it is a pretty good marker that there are problems in their life. Nobody is all firing on all cylinders (and “happy”) and then wakes up one morning and says “Hey I think I want to join a cult”.I would also expect that there was a fair amount of drug use going on in his life at some point.

  30. LE

    Yeah I’m pretty sure we can. The entire food economy is skewed because of 1) subsidies 2) the high-fructose corn syrup market 3) growing for cattle feed for the beef industry. Using land to grow to create sugar for processed crap is a poor use of it.Let’s assume for a second that all of the above statements are correct.There is a degree of difficulty and interrelationships between players (who stand to gain and lose) that is almost certainly insurmountable in scale and complexity. Remember how long it took to unravel big tobacco? Not the same as saying that we shouldn’t try and/or move in a better direction.But I think you underestimate getting all the participants to actually agree and go along with something that is not in their best interest.So, to use a sport analogy, what they will do is simply run the clock out and drag their feet.Because they are humans acting in their own self interest. Don’t we all most of us do that?So the bottom line is you can have all the great ideas in the world that you want but if you don’t take into account real life those goals are meaningless.How exactly do you propose to get all the players involved on the same page with what you propose exactly?By the way is the good news is that anyone who works hard and earns a living and enough money can buy the better food if they choose to do so.

  31. awaldstein

    The certs are a drastic exercise in compromise.Going through the Organic one now. Process tangle and expensive.Also doing Made in NY which not surprisingly has some really cultural support behind.The Non-GMO group I like. Still a process, still a cert but has a level of approachability to it and a sense of community standing together.

  32. awaldstein

    Smacks of intolerance and prejudice–and in this case just wrong.

  33. LE

    Hmm. Well as anyone can tell I’m not running a popularity contest (nor for public office). As far as “intolerance and prejudice” quite possibly true. You left out the word “stereotyping” by the way.Assuming that when you say “just wrong” you are saying that there was not heavy drug use (or any significant drug use) and that the individual was happy with things in life and some dissatisfaction (or illness) didn’t cause them to all the sudden wake up and decide to join a sect (and convert). Which by any stretch would be outlier behavior.Btw I don’t have to be right 100% of the time and take into account corner cases. I try to simply make a judgement based on past experience, knowledge and interactions with the world. Which has worked for me. So perhaps if this person falls into the 10% (arbitrary) that I am wrong on (and I don’t know that is the case) I still feel pretty comfortable being judgmental (in this particular circumstance which is a comment on a blog).If I was a judge deciding a case (or a lawmaker) I would put a bit more effort into coming to my particular conclusions. But I don’t have to.

  34. awaldstein

    Everyone to their own beliefs LE for certain but note that the line between casual prejudice and bigotry can be thin.And prejudice and bigotry are not unpopular characteristics they are despicable.

  35. LE

    I think it’s a stretch to take what I have said and think that it rises to this level:Bigotry is the state of mind of a bigot: someone who, as a result of their prejudices, treats or views other people with fear, distrust, hatred, contempt, or intolerance on the basis of a person’s opinion, ethnicity, race, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, or other characteristicsBy the way separately honesty is generally considered to be an admirable trait. Except of course when you say something in a situation where lying is more appropriate “that dress looks great on you!!!”.

  36. LE

    Stories are always a Rorschach test for what people think. If you want to know what people really think (as I have said) tell them a story don’t ask them a question. And see their reaction.My dad used to say that if he told the same exact business story to two different neighbors one would think he’s a crook and the other would think that he’s really smart.

  37. awaldstein

    Overt honesty about self prejudice over others religious or cultural beliefs is hardly something to be lauded LE.

  38. Cynthia Schames

    Thanks @ccrystle:disqus that area is actually high on my list for expansion capacity in the future. Since we’re vertically integrating (and launch April 1) we’ve already got a small factory up and running in Atlanta. Skilled labor there too and even lower costs. @wmoug:disqus this answers your Q as well 🙂 Offshore would have been too slow to turnaround, and surprisingly, the additional shipping costs and hassles nearly outweigh the cost savings. Also, our customers surprised me by claiming to be willing to pay a slight premium for Made in America.

  39. Cynthia Schames

    Thank you @awaldstein:disqus! You’re right that it’s a complex message to distill. Right now, the messaging is around customers deserving a wardrobe that fits them, not the other way around. Women definitely “get it” instantly, whether consumers, investors, partners, or randos.One challenge I’m facing is that most men (who are, as we all know, the bulk of investors) don’t get it. Meanwhile, J Hilburn, Bonobos, Blank Label cumulatively have raised over $100M to make custom mens shirts–which are already technically “made to measure” anyway, since that’s how dudes buy shirts in the first place at every price point.

  40. awaldstein

    Fashion is an ancient industry though and while it is not mine, there must be a lot of seed put into it all the time.There are a ton of successful women entrepreneurs in our area. Founders of Organic Avenue, Blue Print Cleanse, Soul Cycle, Lucky Duck–all substantial success stories, all non tech, all women, all local.Seems like there is a channel here for dollars–no?