Video Of The Week: Albert and Beezer at Slush

A few weeks ago, at the Slush Conference in Finland, my partner Albert and our limited partner Beezer talked to Colette Ballou about a bunch of interesting topics. The talk is about 25mins long.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    What’s (a) Beezer?

    1. JimHirshfield

      You know, a young geezer.

  2. JimHirshfield

    I watched part of this earlier in the week but I didn’t Finnish.

    1. jason wright

      I prefer long form. This is just a teezer.

      1. JimHirshfield

        But oh such a pleezer

        1. jason wright

          Hail Ceezer, the king of avc comedy.

          1. James Ferguson @kWIQly

            A humorous Pleezer ! ?Oops Too late – I take that back- Like Ebeneezer

          2. Jed Melnik

            Haha, this string made me so happy.

          3. Vasudev Ram

            Good enough to put in the freezer (i.e. preserve it).

          4. Lawrence Brass

            A frozen geezer.oops, it was taken.

          5. Vasudev Ram


  3. awaldstein

    The world is a better place for having Albert thinking about it.

    1. Twain Twain

      He’s a deeper thinker than most VCs and the same is true of other partners at USV; we can tell this by their interviews.When I read his blog, what seems clear is that Albert combines the traditions of the German school of scientific philosophy with American perspectives on economics and technology. The commonality being that both are grounded in methodical philosophy towards practical applications.I agree with him we’re migrating to a Knowledge Economy.The challenge for everyone is that if knowledge capital is less monetizable than attention capital with the current technology (fewer people like-vote videos on long, hard science documentaries on YouTube than 5-minute music and makeup videos, for example), then what will happen to human knowledge and innovation?Moreover, our attentions are diverted to what’s popular by the algorithms because that’s what they do and how they work: they add up the like-votes.The mechanisms of the current platforms are populist in design so no one should be surprised Trump’s team made use of those design features to help them win the election.None of the platforms are capable of connecting and/or surfacing the “whys” — they’re set up to focus on and facilitate the popularity counts of likes, shares and retweets. That’s populism as technology practice.

  4. James Ferguson @kWIQly

    Err Putin ….?

  5. jason wright

    Until very recently the ‘public’ space for discussion and debate had always been dominated by powerful (defined by their domination) private groups and networks. This new open state is a golden age, and the ugliness we sometimes witness may be a tax we have to pay to preserve it.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      I think this state is in its early stages, opening the lids, visibility, transparency. If 2011 Occupy and the Arab Spring can be considered a spontaneous manifestation of network(ing) effects in society, this second stage is about those same networks being hijacked and manipulated by large scale social engineering by the same powers you mention, the open state is at risk. However, I believe it will recover as the network matures, but we have to be alert.

      1. jason wright

        The brute force of frictionless capital is a problem, allowing vested interest the ‘right’ to buy in and not earn in.

  6. William Mougayar

    Lots covered. APIs are underrated I think. I’d like to see the personal BOT idea come to life, but I don’t think it will disrupt existing businesses (like Uber), rather it will come into a new generation of services instead.

    1. Kent Karlsen

      “APIs are underrated I think”,From which perspective: Investing, marketing or technological?

      1. William Mougayar

        I meant in terms of usage by regular end-users, not just developers. The personal bot is an API application, for example.

  7. marcoliver

    I believe, you should worry about the State first. 2nd who runs it. 3rd what regulations you need. Certainly not self regulated communities nor companies.

  8. pointsnfigures

    Can Army beat Navy today?

    1. fredwilson

      Hell yes.

  9. Pointsandfigures

    When the printing press was invented, they had the same problems. What about yellow journalism? I think we get into danger when we use “society” to determine what speech is free and what’s not. Hate speech starts to go down a slippery slope. I do think that there is responsibility for free speech; and there are consequences for it. For example, when Van Jones says the election was about “whitelash” is it hate speech? Are there consequences? Whenever anyone compares Obama to Hitler, hate speech? Consequences?I am very uncomfortable with a lot of censorship unless it’s really threatening. For example, the journalist that tweeted he hoped Trump would get assassinated. That’s wrong.I also wonder about “fake news”. The NYT and WaPo was guilty of spreading a lot of fake news.Instead, I think what we are dealing with is the break up of media curators. Eventually, the system will reconfigure into different curators. It will never be the same-but when networks break apart they go through a difficult transition and then tend to reformulate themselves. When that happens, we don’t know.

    1. PhilipSugar

      I agree 100% with this comment. On both sides:I’ll give an example. They say disputing global warming is “fake news”. Is that really fake??? No. You might find that “ignorant” but just because you say you don’t believe in global warming doesn’t make you a liar.You are right on hate speech, when you say Trump is the same as Hitler that is pretty darn hateful.But its the same on the other side you go to Brietbart (I did for the first time Streisand effect) Yup there is some pretty raw stuff there as well.

  10. Pointsandfigures

    (Using an ipad so I couldn’t edit). I think that because people didn’t like the outcome of the election, they are analyzing this the wrong way. They seem to be the new Luddites. They are unable to grasp the changes that are underfoot.

  11. Pointsandfigures

    (Using an ipad so I couldn’t edit). I disagree with th notion that a company has anything more to do than derive shareholders value. They do that by solving a problem and getting renumerated for that with customers giving up some sort of asset or resource. I think that because people didn’t like the outcome of the election, they are analyzing this the wrong way. They seem to be the new Luddites. They are unable to grasp the changes that are underfoot.By the way, I really thought that Albert did a great job of pushing back on the confirmation bias of the interviewer. I really like him, thoughtful guy.

  12. Frank W. Miller

    Universal Basic Income? I didn’t vote for Trump but I grew up in blue collar/agricutural Iowa. Twitter has nothing to do with whether people can find a job or not. You people are living in la la land.

    1. jason wright

      Twitter is a data platform. Data platforms will make getting a job in Iowa and everywhere else even harder to find as they expand.

      1. Frank W. Miller

        You may find this hard to believe but Twitter doesnt matter at all.

        1. fredwilson

          You may find this hard to believe but you are wrong

          1. Frank W. Miller

            Hmm, a response. I thought you’d just labeled me an ass and moved on. My statement was a little too general. What I mean is this. Its just the latest incarnation of a group chat room. There’ll be another shiny rock along shortly. Remember The Well?

        2. Salt Shaker

          Our Pres elect would beg to differ. Moreover, I would add that DJT is the best thing that ever happened to TWTR. He, more than any individual or entity, has and will continue to make TWTR relevant. It’s the new admin’s defacto marketing/PR engine.

          1. Lawrence Brass

            His blind trust should buy Twitter. 🙂

          2. Salt Shaker

            Ha, there are all kinds of blind trusts. The American public is now engaged in one too 🙂

        3. george

          You will have a hard time understanding what you don’t see. Try it, you might like it…

  13. jason wright

    Facebook is a ‘black box’. We have no idea what it’s doing to help or hinder perceptions and outcomes. I think it and other dominant tech companies should be broken up. Government will not do it. The entrepreneur must.

    1. Twain Twain

      They shouldn’t be broken up because they serve to show us 1/2 of the whole picture of us. We just need to create the tools that can show us the other 1/2 too.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…All the existing techcos do the Matrix model (“the black box’). It’s the legacy from 450+ years of Rational Scientists’ views and mode of thinking and the increasing application of existing maths to try fit the data with — including the irrational complexities of human intelligence, language, creativity, ethics and values.Trying to cram us “round pegs into square holes” is what the black boxes try to do (and they don’t do it well — even if the maths looks impressive).The panel broadly identified how hard it will be to find answers for how to include empathy, integrity and social value into systems. These are all subjective and perceptual factors (@wmoug:disqus).And Albert made the distinctions between the analogue world (data and input-value outcomes followed a bell curve) and the digital world where it follows a power law.I’ve based my approach and work on Da Vinci since childhood (my Dad introduced us to the great artists and scientists, early). I’d say the bell curve and the power law curves are both examples of the tools of the black box.The frameworks we’re all seeking have been with us since before the Rational Scientists eradicated the art+heart from how we encode our data and our systems.There is invention that can be done (inspired by those frameworks) and we’ll do it because we humans are infinitely ingenious.@pointsnfigures:disqus — Who is the shareholder and what is value? Is the shareholder also the stakeholder representative from society? Is value purely some compound percentage increase on share price? Is the utility derived from a platform directly coupled to the work done by employees and/or also to the work done by users?We’re in such times when New Economics will be borne as significant as capitalism itself.

      1. Adam Sher

        @jasonpwright is referencing monopolies, and it is one of the biggest challenges for government. FB and Google are monopolies that don’t feel like monopolies in a traditional sense because so much of their use is free to its users. These companies have more market power because of their information monopolies than older monopolies due to power laws, which Albert discussed, and so has Nassim Taleb. The tech world renamed cornering a market and achieving monopoly/oligopoly with achieving network effects and scaling. This is a distinction without a difference.Can you break up a Google monopoly or do you have to live with it and hope to develop the correct set of regulations?

  14. george

    I really like that Albert and USV are tackling the topic of defining future tech values, that needs to happen more often; the world is changing quickly and the scale of tech influence could be aspirational or simply Fake Plastic Trees.

  15. David Semeria

    Some might argue that an investment thesis based on empowering the disenfranchised who have become disenfranchised because of the success of previous investments theses is the height of cynicism.But I wouldn’t. VC’s invest in companies that solve problems, simple as that.

  16. Manuel Molina

    “I think it’s very hard to go and say to these companies– go figure it out, when we haven’t figured it out for ourselves”. I love this line and I tend to agree, but I also think we need technology to show us the way, just as it did when it got us into interacting digitally.