Jeremy Welch

Pattern Recognition and Acceleration

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The Importance of OpenAI

Elon Musk, Sam Altman, Peter Thiel, Ried Hoffman and others have just launched a new non-profit with over $1 billion in funding, called OpenAI, that is dedicated to Artificial Intelligence research.

Steven Levy has a short interview on the launch of OpenAI with the following snippet that I think is extremely important:

I want to return to the idea that by sharing AI, we might not suffer the worst of its negative consequences. Isn’t there a risk that by making it more available, you’ll be increasing the potential dangers?

Altman: I wish I could count the hours that I have spent with Elon debating this topic and with others as well and I am still not a hundred percent certain. You can never be a hundred percent certain, right? But play out the different scenarios. Security through secrecy on technology has just not worked very often. If only one person gets to have it, how do you

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Self-Driving and Electric Vehicles Will Kill these Businesses

A storm is on the horizon for Automotive and related industries.

Current business models of gas stations, car dealerships, auto-care companies, car washes, and more are built for a world where:
(a) gasoline engine vehicles are
(b) driven by humans.

That’s all about to change.

Electric Vehicle (EV) and Self-Driving Vehicle (SDV) technologies will enable so much behavioral change that most of today’s automotive-related business models will not survive.

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Some companies and investors are preparing for the coming storm, but many in auto-related businesses are going to be blindsided.

Below I’ve compiled a list of industries, companies, and product types that are facing a Dead Man Walking future as a result of EV and SDV technologies.


 Auto Parts Retail Stores and Aftermarket Parts

Advanced Auto Parts, Pep Boys, Autozone and others sell aftermarket car parts to the masses of car

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Founders Must Be Rooted

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Paul Graham claims that 20% of companies YC has funded have had a cofounder leave. That is an enormous number. One in five.

If we’re entering the Age of the Cockroach, we need more rooted Founders.

For Founders:
How rooted are you?

Do you feel confident, rock-solid and determined about the mission of your company? Do you have a support system and community that helps in the tough times? Are you structuring your life on a longterm view that will enable you to maintain consistent output and stability for your investors, employees, and partners for as long as it takes?

For Investors, Employees, and Partners of startup companies:
Are the Founders you work with rooted?

Would you follow them into battle? Are you confident that they’ll stay with the company no matter what happens because they care deeply about the mission?

 Shutting Down Chrg, Inc

I’m asking these questions because

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Tesla is a Battery Company

Tesla Motors started as a Car company, but they should now be considered to be a Battery company for three key reasons:

  1. Tesla Leadership has Expertise in Batteries and Energy Systems
  2. Batteries Are the Most Important Component of an Electric Vehicle (EV)
  3. Tesla can enter other Markets with the Battery Tech they Developed While Building EVs

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 Electrochemical Blood

The careers of Tesla founders Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning have been largely focused on Battery technology. Their first company together NuvoMedia, which built an eBook reader called the Rocket eBook in the late 90s, was a bet that as battery technology improved eBook readers would become much more feasible. They sold the company in 2000 for $187 million.

This sale would provide the funding necessary for Eberhard to explore the electric car market, another product space that had potential to be deeply changed by

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On Google’s “Build And Buy” Acquisition Strategy

Invite Media – where I cut my startup and adtech teeth – is the best performing acquisition in Google’s history by revenue growth, quickly scaling from tens of millions into the billions in only a few years.

This incredible feat is as much the result of Google’s Corp Dev and Product teams as it is the Invite Media founders, team and investors. By executing an acquisition strategy that I call “Build And Buy”, Google established a basis for cleaner technical and team integration of our growth machine, and they also insured they had people on staff with domain expertise that could steer the ship even after the original Invite Media team members left Google (the Invite Media mafia is strong).

Any company attempting to solve a problem using technology they fully control and own faces a choice of Buy or Build. Buy means acquiring another piece of technology outright, most often by

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