Video Of The Week: A Recent Talk I Did At Google NYC


Comments (Archived):

  1. Manvender

    Great interview..Loved your perspectives. Thumbs up to the interviewer too.The interviewer asks some really good questions especially like why did you choose to stay back in NYC?

  2. Ted Casper

    Sorry I didn’t find that interesting, Manvendar. It never is interesting setting up ones blog, taking about their own portfolio and inserting videos of their own speeches. In history, this would be like blowing ones own trumpets.

    1. jason wright

      he funds other people building stuff, but he’s a frustrated engineer. he needs to build something for himself, his blog.

  3. Vineeth Kariappa

    You could have told the interviewer to read your blog ! But, for a faster version, was quite good.

  4. Nidhi Mevada

    Now I am craving to meet you!

  5. jason wright

    i would stick a pair of fake ears on a robot and then ask the kids to tell the robot what to do. learn to speak robot.

  6. Mike Zamansky

    Fred – thanks for the shoutout – always appreciated. Don’t agree with me on everything though??? But I’ms such a mild mannered, pleasant, agreeable fellow 🙂

    1. fredwilson

      if everyone agreed on everything, we would not have discussions. the comments at AVC are a perfect example of that

    2. creative group

      Mike:would like to thank you for your vision and dedication with not only educating our youth but seeing a greater need via computer science.If the article in the New York Times by Jennifer Miller (Teachers Vision) of March 29, 2013 accurately described the events we will side withinclusiveness. The point of requiring entrance of the highest level of math proficiency shouldn’t be used with public resources unless it is a charter school. We really think your vision isn’t dead on arrival or wrong but needs to be refocused on raising private funding initially and then creating a charter school for technology and computer science. Our frustration with public school teachers is that their amazing vision is extinguished if the idea and vision can’t be supported within the confines of the public school system. It is like the losing the state coveted pension to pursue a goal stops if not done via the public school (reaching here, may not be the case with you personally). Mike (or anyone who personally knows him) reread and take an objective view and see if this vision can be revived via a chapter school, private school avenue. Don’t allow a true vision to die. Mike will be the new Principal at this school. You have your seed contributors right in this space. Rethink the unimaginable.

  7. creative group

    Fred:appreciate the contribution you have made to New York and specifically theunderprivileged in the education system.Nurtured in Harlem it is gratifying to see you go to work on problems others whohave been given so much but fall shorton understanding the responsibility thatcomes with those blessings.Being born on third base for many had built in privileges that will be denied. The hard work the average person born into working class families require hard work and dedication. There is no one reading, writing, studying and then applying what they learned. So the acknowledgment for all the hard work and great upbringing has shaped a great human being.Hope others will be encouraged to duplicate your contributions to theircommunities.

  8. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Isn’t it amazing to be saying that NYC is more livable than Silicon Valley? I got outta there just in time.Tech companies with a long view would be really smart to encourage their employees to use work time to participate in ScriptEd and TEALS (or even reward them for it).

    1. PhilipSugar

      There really are a ton of interesting places to live both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.I could never see living in NYC (again now that I have a family) or SF, but they are a great place for many people.And again no disrespect (I know when people say that….) but having technical people participate (and get paid to) ScriptEd and TEALS is a much better use of time than Habitat for Humanity. Not that isn’t a great charity and people should participate, but why not add the maximum value you can.

      1. LE

        I could never see living in NYC (again now that I have a family) or SF, but they are a great place for many people.See now I am the exact opposite. I’d love to be in NYC. Where I live there may be a diversity of careers and people, but what is missing is the passion and the drive that I feel exists in NYC (collectively) as far as how people are undoubtedly driven and motivated to survive in that environment given how competitive it is. NYC attracts people from everywhere that at some point woke up in the morning and decided “I want something better than where I am at. I want to be in the big city”. [1] Just like a top college attracts a certain group of motivated smart people. And creates an environment that is better for each individual. [1] Joanne is a good example of that concept, schlepping Fred to NYC (as the story was told I believe) in the early 80’s. She graduated from college and knew she had to be in the best place in the world for what she was interested in doing. And she got up, traveled there, and even convinced her husband (or was it boyfriend at the time?) to go with her.

        1. PhilipSugar

          No, that is my point. I loved my time in NYC. I love going to SF and just got back from London, Toronto, and Seattle this week alone. Love them all.Just different strokes for different folks.

      2. LE

        And again no disrespect (I know when people say that….) but having technical people participate (and get paid to) ScriptEd and TEALS is a much better use of time than Habitat for Humanity. Not that isn’t a great charity and people should participate, but why not add the maximum value you can.Agree.And maybe not a great comparison but doing something like Habitat is like a parent who thinks their kid has fulfilled the merit badge for learning about business by running a lemonade stand. (Ok that wasn’t a great example.) My point is people are quick to go for the low hanging fruit of “doing something”. They lack creativity and the ability to explore an activity that is out of the box of what their immediate group of friends is doing or what is the current craze. Like an former friend who told his son to get a job as a cashier at the supermarket. Really creative, eh? That’s the best guidance you could do? Couldn’t pull any strings and get him a better job than that? Or help him setup his own small business selling something?Actually many things that parents do fit this. Kids at soccer game on Saturday is another example. Nothing unique about that. It’s just the easiest thing for parents to do with their kids to keep them busy. And everybody else is doing that so they can check of a box [x] Good parent well rounded kid. Takes no effort. Just sign them up. [1] Ditto for summer camp. Instead of maybe another experience that costs the same money but is in some way unique and a much better experience.So maybe my point was that habitat is perhaps satisficing the itch to help out.People never seem to get the “best use of time” concept. They get around this rationalizing whatever choice they make as “good” in some way.[1] Many parents also pick activities where they can socialize with other parents without regard to what is actually better for the kids (note I didn’t say “what the kids want to do” because if you left it up to them they wouldn’t go to school.)

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Like an former friend who told his son to get a job as a cashier at the supermarket. Really creative, eh? That’s the best guidance you could do? Couldn’t pull any strings and get him a better job than that? Or help him setup his own small business selling something? I have to conclude that kids get dumped on, a lot, usually for no good reason, nearly never with constructive effect.Kids need to become like a duck that just lets water roll off their back, especially the yellow colored water.Since that is an important lesson in life, maybe that’s the only upside of kids getting dumped on.For your statement, e.g., a parent helping their kid get going in their career, I had a disappointing case:As a teenager, I was interested in cars, really, in the engineering. I was a total car nut. So, I learned all I could from all I knew how to find. I was able to do some significant auto maintenance work. But fairly soon I saw that my learning sources were teaching me only trivia and nothing much about the engineering. E.g., I never got the details of the geometry of the suspension linkages or of Ackerman steering, how an automatic transmission worked, how crankshaft balance worked, enough about thermodynamics and the Carnot cycle to understand why high compression helped, etc. So, my interest in cars waned.Later, out of college, I was in Maryland learning and applying a lot in computing and applied math, especially for problems in US national security, especially the US Navy.Soon I was at Georgetown U. as the lead computer systems administrator and also teaching sections of computer science, consulting with the faculty on the fast Fourier transform, multi-variate statistics, numerical analysis, algorithms, etc.Then I got a call to join FedEx and did. My first little work item was to write software to schedule the fleet — the software was desperately needed. So, I resigned my work at Georgetown, but kept the teaching until the end of the semester, and there in Maryland in our home, via time sharing, in eight weeks wrote the software and got it running. Then I rushed to Memphis to deliver and use the software. Soon one evening SVP Roger Frock (he wrote a FedEx book) and I developed the schedule. Our two representatives of prospective BoD Member General Dynamics went over the schedule and said “It’s a little tight in a few places, but it’s flyable.”. The BoD was pleased, and crucial funding was enabled. FedEx was saved.Later I saved the company again with some more work for the BoD — revenue projections that made at least a little sense and the only projections the company had that made any sense at all.I had identified and was pursuing a full plate of work, more in fleet scheduling and more, that could have saved FedEx a very significant bundle, called a senior management meeting, that everyone attended, and outlined the work. As a result, FedEx founder, COB, CEO F. Smith promoted me to Director of Operations Research to pursue the work.That was something of a choice position in US business. E.g., my office was next to Smith’s. I reported to SVP Planning Mike Basch who reported to Smith.But (1) my wife was still back in Maryland in her Ph.D. program; (2) her program was going slowly and she would not be able to join me in Memphis soon; (3) the stock I had been promised 18 months before still had not shown up; and (4) if not stock then I wanted a relevant Ph.D. So I left FedEx, went home, and started on my Ph.D.Later my wife was further delayed in her Ph.D. program, so I needed a job to keep us going.Then Dad really dumped on me: He suggested, from what I’d done with cars in high school, that I would be really happy with a job in a gas station pumping gas.Gads.Actually, I’d had a terrific opportunity at FedEx and could have gotten the stock if I’d played the politics well. Dad never understood the high significance of that opportunity and never tried to help me take advantage of it. That was a big loss.Gads.But, soon I did get a good job in computing and applied math for operations research for the US Navy. Some of the work was good! E.g., there was a rush question about the survivability of the US SSBN fleet under a special scenario of global nuclear war but limited to sea. I drew from the old Koopman’s report on search at sea, saw a continuous time, discrete state space Markov process subordinated to a Poisson process, wrote the software to do the calculations, got the work past a technical review by well known professor J. Keilson, submitted the results, on time, that is, within the two weeks, and was also on time the next day for the vacation my wife had scheduled for us in Shenandoah. A lot better than pumping gas!There in Maryland was a very good place for applied math and computing, far, Far, FAR ahead of anywhere else in the US. In comparison, nearly all of US business, including nearly all of Silicon Valley, looks like some guys who have yet to have a spoken language trying to start fires by rubbing sticks together.

          1. LE

            Then Dad really dumped on me: He suggested, from what I’d done with cars in high school, that I would be really happy with a job in a gas station pumping gas.Hillarious! My dad, after my first business was sold, actually suggested that I buy a liquor store. He was an immigrant and many of his friends had them. I said something that roughly translated to “are you fucking nuts!”. Right off the top there would be no way to take any of my skills in a business that I had started from scratch (with 0 experience) and in any way use those skills to make “a better liquor store”. Not to mention it’s a cash business and stickups and all of that. A liquor store is a business for someone who is not educated and needs that type of business. To this day I have no clue why he suggested that.Dad never understood the high significance of that opportunity and never tried to help me take advantage of it. That was a big loss.Yup. I feel your pain. In my culture (jewish culture) parents typically had given advice that kept their children close to home and in their fold. In other words what was good for the parent, not for the child. My dad did his version of that with me. Paid for Wharton but then expected I would work in his small business. Luckily didn’t happen.When my daughter graduated from college she wanted to return home to live with her mother at first and get a job at a local company in boringsville. I spent a bit of time brainwashing her to go to NYC and get a job there. Which she did and now she is very happy for that. I also got her an interview at Facebook by pulling a favor that was owed to me. If the NYC job hadn’t happened I think she could have ended up in the Valley (where there are more men than in NYC).One thing that is true is there is often a correlation between selfishness and success. That is certain people are more likely to simply do what is in their best interest without regard to influence of parents or friends. However this is much easier I think when your parents are true wack jobs vs. kinda right most of the time. The “kinda right” parents would tend to get listened to. The wack job or fringe parents would tend to get ignored. (David Geffen leaving Brooklyn is a good example of that principle..)

          2. Matt Zagaja

            I bet Gary Vaynerchuk would have much to say about the liquor store thing.

          3. LE

            Gary was raised in his fathers liquor store. Different situation. Afaik he doesn’t currently earn his living by running liquor stores. He moved beyond that (so if so much opportunity why not go on to multiple stores?)Liquor store is similar to gas station or bodega or convenience store. 711 is a franchise primarily staffed by immigrants. Places that cut corners by paying people under the table and also employing the help unpaid family members. So hard to compete in that type of business. Wine Library is an exception to the rule.Are there chains of liquor stores? I am sure there are. Just not in the area that I am in or that I have seen. Even Wine Library is not anywhere but N Jersey.True that Gary did build his fathers liquor store. However my statement stands. Gary didn’t take the liquor store further so why was that? He saw greener pastures to explore. (Marketing) Note that also to run a liquor store you need licensing so you can’t just easily expand to other locations. Possible but very difficult. And it’s a tough business with tough characters. Read that again.Noting also that in expanding (and this is important) Gary had the help of his father (an immigrant!) being onsite (I would not have that) and his brother in law as well. Not taking away from what Gary did however having people that you can trust in a cash business like that is unquestionably important. I know a great deal about business at this level. I not only grew up with it but I served that market. Had a guy take out a gun one time right after college when I went to collect money owned to me.

          4. sigmaalgebra

            > One thing that is true is there is often a correlation between selfishness and success.Maybe so. But in my case, I did want success, wasn’t trying to be selfish, but didn’t want to do something with my career and finances that would be totally brain-dead.Another time I got dumped on, Dad actually saved my tail feathers: Commonly in grade school, the handwriting quality of boys just sucks. Somehow in their development, they just haven’t got it yet. Typically time solves the problem. Of course, the girls do much better!By the eighth grade, my handwriting was still awful. So, for the arithmetic problems in eighth grade arithmetic, my columns didn’t line up, and even if they did too often I’d misread the contents! So, my accuracy in the arithmetic exercises was awful. It was just a handwriting problem together with a missing emphasis that I should try harder to compensate. For the math, I understood that right away, even without practice.So, the eighth grade arithmetic teacher gave me a D and at the end took me aside one on one and fervently advised me never to take anymore math and that in high school I could take high school arithmetic.I told Dad, and he just laughed, and I continued on with math in grades 9-12 –1st and 2nd year algebra, plane geometry, trig, solid, and did fine.Net, it was a relatively good high school, and I was a good shot at the 2nd best math student and the best physics student in my grade in the school. The third best went to MIT. The first went to Purdue. Both were Jewish (the Jews in town knew what the best high school in the city was — so did Dad when he bought our house), and I may have had more in muscle and bone than the total of both of them! I got sent to a math tournament and a summer NSF math/physics program.So, the eighth grade teacher was really badly wrong — nice lady, didn’t know anything about math, but had a very pretty and sweet daughter my age — and Dad was instantly, fully correct.Kids often get dumped on very unjustly and, then, need to learn just to rinse it off, f’get about it, and keep on going.Some humans are remarkably fragile creatures, and some others are remarkably resilient. Better to be resilient.

          5. LE

            and I may have had more in muscle and bone than the total of both of them!Perhaps that is why they were at the top of the class though.Goes like this:- Large size and muscle correlates as one factor for playing sports.- Lack of size and muscle means you won’t get picked as much in the neighborhood game (other factors of course but you get the point). – Lack of size and muscle means less likely in the olden days to do manual labor. Need to find something and standout in another way. By use of brains. Always exceptions of course (big guy in corporate america, played sports, good at sales and so on).Less time playing sports, must spend time doing something else with your time.Separate correlation: Sociability and good looks and personality. Generally if you look as good as Ashton Kutcher and you are popular – less time spent studying or on school work.Some cherry picked examples:Einstein – 5’9Newton – 5’6Putin – 5’7Spielberg – 5’8Scorsese – 5’4Lucas – 5’7Lloyd Blankfein – 5’7Also plenty examples of correlation by anecdote and stereotype. Little old man. Doctors (except for orthopedic surgeons).Lastly, apparently jews are shorter than average:http://www.jewishencycloped…Occams razor says look no further!

          6. sigmaalgebra

            That’s a lot of social insight!But, how tall is Netanyahu?Ah, I was just awful at sports!Why I liked math and science? They were biggies in the news, e.g., for US national security for the Cold War. And I was insecure and looking for something reliable and powerful as a source of security.And somehow in some significant ways, not all, I was good at math and physics. Why, I don’t really know.One good way: Although I do not now nor have I ever had any interest in being a college professor, even when for a while, for reasons having to do with my wife in her long illness, I was, it’s been easy for me to do publishable, original research in math and math in computer science.My main fault as a student: Since I was looking for security, my standards of quality were too high. At times the high standards helped, a lot. But these high standards hurt some at times in math and a lot in physics; the physics community even takes pride in making a mess out of the math crucial to their work, and then as a student I lost faith in taking such physics education seriously.Of course, the physics community keeps saying that they are interested in essentially just research, but the background they provide their students is so crude and sloppy that for research the students are left with intuition as nearly their only tool. But, that’s what the physics community dreams of — someone who, mostly just with good physical insight, can mostly just intuitively say what will solve the current, big unsolved problems, e.g., marry general relativity and gravity with quantum mechanics, say what is the next step past the standard model, solve the really grimly complex problems of condensed matter physics, etc.E.g., when the physics courses needed Stokes theorem, I wanted the real stuff. Actually, though, for a modern treatment, for an undergraduate physics student, the real stuff is a bit much, goes fairly deeply into differential geometry and exterior algebra, and now I don’t think anyone at my relatively good ugrad school understood either one.At one point I realized that nearly no one around me, student or prof, actually knew the solid, modern versions of Stokes theorem. So, one evening I lowered my standards, got out a great book by Apostol (long at Cal Tech), found the right chapter, only about 20 pages long, and zipped through it in about an hour. Great! If willing to be a little intuitive and draw little pictures, do know Fubini’s theorem well (which then I did), it’s really fast, simple, and easy.Apostol wrote that book at just about the right level. When I wanted that book, it was out of print so I got a copy used. It remains one of my more valued books on my bookshelf.I have gone through exterior algebra at least twice and recently got the main source, recently in English instead of French, E. Cartan; it’s a bit tedious but, still, not very long and easy enough to read.By now I’ve got plenty of background for a really good pass into differential geometry. After my startup, I want to zip through a good, modern version of differential geometry and then make its most liked application — the modern approach to general relativity.Same for quantum mechanics.There’s more:(1) Physics keeps talking about the principle of least action. They are correct that there is something there, and there are lots of examples. E.g., can use that in deriving just the ordinary gas law. Also in the simplest case of refraction in optics. Still, physics is super slow in saying just what the principle is or even just what they mean by action which usually is first introduced when trying to teach the principle of least action!I suspect that there is a good answer in D. Luenberger’s Optimization by Vector Space Methods.(2) For another example, IIRC in his Lectures on Physics, Feynman says that a particle about which we know nothing is equally probable to be anywhere. Nope, sorry Richard! There can be no such probability distribution! E.g,. I have right in front of me a box with volume 1 cubic foot. Suppose the probability the particle is in that box is p. If p = 0, then essentially the particle doesn’t exist. So, suppose p > 0. Okay, no matter how small p is, 1/p is finite and the probability the particle is in that many cubic feet is 1 (do the right thing with round off). And the probability the particle exists at all is greater than 1, bummer. There is no probability distribution uniform everywhere!IIRC, when Feynman explained the strong force, it was really F. Dyson who got the math clean. I’d rather been Dyson!(3) A. Guth had his theory of inflation, that is, within the first second of the big bang, space expanded to a significant fraction or more of all we can see now. BOOM, out it went. Nice. But IIRC some other guys cleaned up the math.In the picture,…I prefer the work of the two guys on the ends, Ulam on the left, von Neumann on the right, with Feynman in the middle! My last paper uses a classic result of Ulam. My startup uses some classic work of von Neumann.My ugrad physics prof should have sat me down in his office, frankly explained some of the facts of how physics struggles with math it doesn’t have time enough to do carefully, assured me that I could do as well as the physicists do and that in physics I was not at risk of getting my head cut off from some sloppy math. E.g., I was fully welcome to do the usual, elementary approach to arc length and not worry about, or be afraid of, pathological examples such as Brownian motion or some Sierpinski space filling curve. Etc.I was plenty good enough at both the math and physics but, really, was afraid of getting dumped on, say, as happened too often for no good reason in grades 1-12.Indeed, in grades 9-12 and in college, in math I could PROVE I was correct and defend myself, and that was TERRIFIC. Going into physics without being able to defend myself from being able to prove everything right down to the level of set theory and the axiom of choice, was scary. So, I majored in math instead of physics.Lesson: Kids can grow up afraid of various things. Dumping on kids can make them more afraid. Dumping on them unjustly is even worse. Kids could use some guidance to help them understand and handle their fears (and that’s one of the main things a boy needs to do for his candidate girlfriend, too). In addition, compassion, empathy, sympathy, observation, and insight enough to guess what the kid is afraid of and help them with their fears is important.

        2. static

          Funny, as I took the grocery job when I was 15 because I wanted $, despite there being many better things I could have done, but no one paid me for homework. Stuck with it, and was made assistant store manager when I turned 18, and even saved about 12k, working there all through college. Good experience managing people 20 years older than me, but I could have definitely done a lot more if my parents or I had even the slightest clue about the value of the code I was writing for fun on old computers. All turned out okay, but don’t want anyone else to waste so many of their best years. Did still learn a lot though, so who knows? Maybe learning to work for money has value.

      3. Kirsten Lambertsen

        I’m frequently tempted by other places where it might be more affordable (Providence, Austin come to mind). But NYC is my first love, and I’m a loyal type.I do understand though. It’s not for everyone and not at every stage of life.

        1. creative group

          Kirsten:you forgot the many affordable cities in Arizona and the winter Weather, Weather, Weather.That is the only aspect of New York City we don’t miss is the winters and humidity.We do miss the intelligent people, activities, center of the universe attitude and food, food and food.

  9. sigmaalgebra

    Okay, I’ll chip in and concentrate on computing for information technology startups:There are at least three important dichotomies:Dichotomy 1 — Common or Exceptional(A) What the common man in the street needs from computing and (B) what the founder of a really successful startup needs from computing. These two can be quite different, so let’s not confuse them.Success with (B) is a rare, exceptional result so that we have to suspect that it is nearly necessary to have some exceptional approaches.Dichotomy 2 — How to Versus What to(A) As in the interview, how to give instructions to a machine to do what we want and (B) what we want the machine to do.Example 1:Then a case of (A) is how to fly an airplane (many thousands of people know, and know well enough to write software to do most of it), and a case of (B) is for, say, FedEx, how to determine which airplanes go to what cities in what order to move all the loads as required, observe engineering and safety constraints, have the system robust to unpredictable events, and on average minimize costs.Dichotomy 3 — Manual and Known or Unknown(A) Most of what has been programmed is work that, before the programming, was understood well enough to be done manually, at least in principle and usually in practice, but (B) there is also work to be done that so far no one or nearly so has ever seen how to do manually, even if only in principle.Observation:For case (B) in Dichotomy 2, for how to schedule the fleet at FedEx, really that is an example of case (B) in Dichotomy 3, that is, no one knows a really good way to do that, not even in principle. So, in Dichotomy 2, we have case (B), knowing what to program; we don’t know what to program, we don’t know what to tell the computer to do; we don’t know how to do the work in any sense and, thus, are unable to tell the computer how to do that work.Example 2:Monitoring and management of large server farms and networks can be challenging. For this problem, at one time IBM borrowed from artificial intelligence, expert system research to get a solution. So, for (B) in Dichotomy 2, IBM just asked an expert, and expert systems technology might have eased the effort as in (A) in Dichotomy 2, that is, telling the machine what to do (that was already understood from the expert).But, for this problem of, say, monitoring, suppose, as is common, from some system we want to monitor, we collect data on that system, say, collect data on each of 20 variables 100 times a second. Now we want to look for problems — security, performance, reliability, etc. — never seen before and raise an alarm when we believe we have detected such a problem. There we want the false alarm rate to be low and the detection rate to be high. How to do that? Mostly people don’t know; likely and apparently there is only one person in the world who does. Disclosure: I’m doing a startup but not that one!Back to Dichotomy 1: For a startup, we want (B), something exceptional, not (A), something common. So, in pursuing something exceptional, we risk rubbing the wrong way a lot of fur of things that are common. Sorry ’bout that.Really, for each of these three dichotomies, we want (B) instead of (A).How to Get the Three Cases of (B)Okay, how to do that? Well, broadly, our computer will take in data, manipulate it, and report results.Then for both the FedEx schedule and the computer/network monitoring, the challenge is how to manipulate the data. I claim that quite generally that is the central challenge.At least for now, the most powerful way to meet this challenge is with math, at least with the help of some math. The math might be original. Here by math we mean the real stuff, i.e., complete with theorems and proofs. Right, now, in this way, with some good math, we are on the way to having some much better ways to manipulate the data we have and to being exceptional. Right, in Dichotomy 1, we are solidly in case (B) and not with (A), the common man in the street. Sorry ’bout that.To do this, we look at the real problem and see features, aspects, properties, etc. that are solid and that we can convert into math assumptions. Then we do math deductions and get math results. On a good day, the math results are a case of (B) in Dichotomy 3, that is, tell the computer what to do that no one ever understood how to do manually, and a case of (B) in Dichotomy 2, know what to tell the computer what to do.When this work is done, the math is the key, the crucial, core, powerful, valuable work that makes the rest routine, constitutes intellectual property, and provides an unfair advantage and a technological barrier to entry, etc.E.g., with this math done, the part in (A) in Dichotomy 2 is supposed to be routine.E.g., for Example 2, make some meager assumptions, get a finite (algebraic) group of transformations on the 20 variables that is measure preserving, prove a good, quite general change of variable result in measure theory, sum over the finite group, and, presto, bingo, know how to adjust and set false alarm rate, essentially exactly, in advance and also get some good results on detection rate, e.g., from a classic result of S. Ulam.Ah, no experts involved! Besides, nearly always the experts did really poorly on both false alarm rate and detection rate and, in particular, were nearly totally hopeless at doing anything at all effective jointly, as is crucial, with the 20 variables.For Example 1, fleet scheduling, an algorithm that showed that P = NP might help a lot! Short of that, could do things, possibly quite valuable, with Gilmore-Gomory column generation, Lagrangian relaxation, etc.From Kauffman at…and AVC at…on average information technology venture returns have been poor. So, there is a need for higher returns, that is, more that is exceptional and successful.In broad terms, we need progress.We can make progress like a snail or we can get serious and borrow our approaches from the best of applied math, physical science, and engineering since Newton and as illustrated magnificently, continually for 70+ years by the US DoD and some of the best in industry.The coding, that’s supposed to be routine. If Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Cisco, etc. want people to program their products, then they should do a good job documenting how to program their products.

  10. Matt Zagaja

    Had an interesting presentation at work yesterday by one of our blockchain researchers that showed this new blockchain for contracts concept I thought was interesting: https://www.ethereum.orgI think the thing that has been most interesting to me is Radiolab had this episode recently about someone whose computer was hacked and their introduction to Bitcoin was having to pay a ransom (and they also explored some of the legal issues around whether it is appropriate for bitcoin exchanges to sell people bitcoin if they know it’s for a ransom which is not legal to pay). When I was tweeting about the bitcoin presentations I also received some negative feedback, and it seems that many out there in the public are getting stuck with a bad taste in their mouth from some of the less savory characters in the bitcoin community. Yet the thing that seems clear is that blockchain is something that is useful and even if it isn’t bitcoin business are probably going to adopt some type of blockchain technology to help them with things. One of the ideas I liked was using blockchain to record property titles for municipalities instead of the old card system or having to rely/worry on a single computer database.

  11. Simone

    I think you are pondering if to get into politics, or already decided. Regarding the happy bubble some tech people choose to live in, it seems it isn’t an option for you, not because you are a worrier, but because you care. In the near future there will be a high need of people who understand technology’s intricacies and also care a lot.

    1. fredwilson

      i would like to help elected officials. i would not like to be one though.

  12. William Mougayar

    Good video and breadth of content. Not the best interviewer, but you plowed through it.

  13. DJL

    Maybe it was just the time – early 80s. But my programming skill is what enabled me to get a job in oil and gas during the biggest oil slump in 40 years. As the House seniors used to say “sooner or later, everyone goes course 6.”