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  • Jacqui 05:05:07 on 2018-05-25 Permalink
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    Ian Bernstein :  Founder & Head of Product at Misty Robotics 

    On the latest episode of This Week in StartupsIan Bernstein, former Co-Founder & CTO of Sphero and current Founder & Head of Product at Misty Robotics stops by. Ian introduces his programmable robot, Misty II, and we discuss the current state of generalized robotics, as well as more advanced functionalities that seem to be just around the corner.

    Join us for a glimpse into the future of consumer robotics, AI, the brain-computer interface, and more 🔥.

    This podcast is brought to you by Weebly. A good looking website is great, but a website that turns into a successful online business is better.

    With Weebly, you can manage inventory, collect payments, run promotions and even live-chat with customers. When you’re ready to grow, Weebly can help you get discovered on search engines, create marketing campaigns, and help you with retargeting customers.

    Go to Weebly.com/twist today to learn more & receive a 15% discount on your first purchase.

    This episode is also brought to you by LinkedIn. Get access to LinkedIn’s marketing tools and target your customers with precision.

    Redeem your first free $100 ad credit by visiting linkedin.com/thisweekinstartups.

    Show Notes:

    01:50: Introducing Ian Bernstein, former co-founder and CTO of Sphero and founder and Head of Product at Misty Robotics. Ian talks about founding entertainment robotics company Sphero, the high cost of marketing, more.

    05:48: Ian explains how adding character, personality, and gamification to Sphero’s robots led to a Disney-sanctioned BB-8 robot.

    11:55: Thank you to sponsor, Weebly. Visit weebly.com/twist for 15 percent off your first purchase.

    15:05: Ian talks about the history of generalized robotics and and the inspiration to create Misty Robotics. He also covers lack of consumer readiness as a cause for market failure. He says companies like Amazon are paving the way for more advanced home robotics by building useful AI and familiarizing people with it.

    20:14: Ian demonstrates the Misty robot. Currently targets developers without robotics experience. The robot is programmed via JavaScript. He lists available functions, including 3D mapping, navigation, voice interaction, computer vision, more. Misty is designed to be hackable in terms of software and hardware. The company is letting developers build whatever they choose right now, but will establish a more controlled system later.

    25:53: Thank you to sponsor, LinkedIn. Visit linkedin.com/thisweekinstartups for a $100 a credit.

    29:00: Jason and Ian talk about marijuana use at work and the impact on productivity of getting into a flow or zone.

    31:30: Ian says Misty I, the robot his company handcrafts in Colorado, is now available. Misty II will be available in December (on presale now through May 31). It runs $3.2k but it’s currently half off and TWiST listeners get another $100 off. Ian says one of the reasons Misty chose crowdfunding was to build a community, as, he says, most consumer robotics apps will come from third-party developers.

    34:21: Jason asks when generalized robotics will expand from the hobbyist tinkerer space into useful functionality for average people. Ian says the tech required for general functionality is just now becoming affordable for consumers. Ian notes Misty will support Cortana, Google Assistant, and Alexa. Also has Arduino integrations. Ian and Jason talk about the power of having an assistant-equipped robot following you around. The pair discusses fun and practical applications.

    44:52: Jason asks about Misty Robotics’ strategy in terms of funding, the pace of development, etc. Ian says that while hardware startups are still difficult because the development process is slow and requires several years of runway, investors are becoming more open to it right now. It’s very important to get the right people involved. He says Misty spun out of Sphero in order to focus specifically on home robots.

    48:35: Jason lists a series of jobs, asking Ian which ones are best performed by a robot today. For jobs best performed by humans, he asks how long it will be before robots can take over. They discuss what’s currently (theoretically) possible and the importance of 100-percent functionality versus robots that can perform only some parts of a given process.

    58:21: Jason asks about the state of robotic arm technology and notes the falling cost. Ian speaks about software improvements making lower-cost arms and hands more precise. Sensors and AI play a significant role in improving precision. Jason asks about advanced prosthetics and Ian talks about brain-computer interfaces for prosthetics and for home robots.

    1:02:25: Jason asks Ian what robotics developments in the past year have impressed him the most. Ian says the space is accelerating quickly. Boston Dynamics’ engineering is incredible. The pair discusses applications for Boston Dynamics’ dog-like robot.

    1:04:28: Jason asks about Misty in schools. Ian says that in 15–20 years, robotics will be critical for young people coming out of college, so it’s important that children today have some introduction — the same way he was introduced to computers as a child.

    Reminder to listeners to visit mistyrobotics.com/thisweekinstartups for $100 off the Misty II.

     
  • Jacqui 13:31:44 on 2018-05-17 Permalink
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    Ryan Rzepecki – Founder & CEO of JUMP Bikes 

    On episode 820 of This Week in Startups, I sit down with Ryan Rzepecki, Founder & CEO of JUMP, the dockless, electric bike-share startup that Uber acquired last month for 9-figures. We discuss the many ways in which multimodal transit solutions can transform cities, the future of commuting versus denser cities, the regulatory changes needed to build the cities of the future, and much more.

    Join us for a lively discussion about the challenges of transitioning from a car-oriented society to a multimodal society, and for a glimpse at the future of urban life.

    This podcast is brought to you by Wordpress. Your business needs an online home, it needs a WordPress.com website. 28% of all websites on the web currently run on WordPress.

    We use Wordpress at LAUNCH to host our This Week In Startups website, and Jason’s blog, Calacanis.com.

    Go to WordPress.com/twist for 15% off your brand new website.

    This episode is also brought to you by Walker Corporate Law. A boutique law firm specializing in the representation of startups & founders.

    Walker Corporate Law Group encourages fixed fees, whether you’re starting a company, going through M&A, licensing agreements, terms of service, etc, you will always know the cost upfront.

    Visit WalkerCorporateLaw.com or talk to Scott Walker, the founder, directly at scott@walkercorporatelaw.com or (415) 979-9998.

    Show Notes:

    00:47 – Jason, an Uber investor, introduces Ryan, founder and CEO of the Uber-owned dockless electric bike-share company, JUMP. Ryan talks about the conception and founding of his company.

    03:15 – Ryan explains the electric assist feature of JUMP’s bikes and the regulatory benefits of limiting the fleet to Class 1 electric assist (no throttle, the motor only engages while the user is pedaling).

    06:36 – Ryan explains the locking mechanism, which enables dockless sharing. He also talks about where users can leave the bikes, which leads to a conversation about cities making more space for electric bike and scooter parking/charging.

    11:52 – Thank you to WordPress, which powers the TWiST site and Jason’s personal blog. Go to wordpress.com/twist to get 15 percent off any new plan.

    14:51 – Ryan talks about the falling cost of electric bikes and battery packs. He covers the average income for each bike and the costs of operations and maintenance. He explains JUMP’s plug-free charging system. Currently, JUMP has to pick bikes up from drop-off locations and bring them back to a charging station. JUMP is currently expanding incentives for users to bring bikes to a station for charging. He and Jason also discuss the possibility of a standardized charging system, usable by bikes from multiple companies.

    19:57 – Jason asks about bike thefts. Ryan says JUMP operates in multiple cities around the world and theft is immaterial to the business. There is no aftermarket for heavily branded and specialized bikes.

    21:58 – Ryan talks about JUMP’s relationship with cities and says city governments benefit from JUMP’s data.

    22:48 – Ryan talks about the need to scale its fleet, as San Francisco users find no nearby bikes for one-third of app opens. He also talks about people choosing JUMP over short Uber rides.

    24:41 – Thanks to our sponsor, Walker Corporate Law, which focuses on serving founders and startups. Visit walkercorporatelaw.com.

    26:33 – Jason brings up the Uber acquisition and says bike-sharing is exactly what Uber needs. Ryan says that for JUMP, the sale to Uber will enable rapid global expansion. They discuss the leadership skills of current Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and the legacy of former CEO Travis Kalanick. They also discuss Uber giving its leadership in each city the power to experiment.

    31:10 – Jason asks what a government would need to do for JUMP to reach scale in a given city, and what that would look like. Ryan says JUMP would need to track utilization rates but a city like San Francisco might support up to 10k bikes. That would require the reallocation of public space for parking and charging. The city would benefit as JUMP would pay for infrastructure and provide the city with data. Would also reduce congestion.

    36:43 – Jason says Uber drivers could be paid to return JUMP bikes to charging stations or to areas where they’re needed. Ryan says Uber already has great tech for demand repositioning. He notes Uber’s multimodal partnerships and says the company provides an excellent alternative to car ownership.

    39:49 – Jason asks about JUMP’s city permit fees and talks about how partnerships with transportation startups can be beneficial to cities, providing increased revenue, reduced pollution etc. Ryan says Copenhagen probably has the best bike lanes/bike-only roads.

    41:39 – Ryan talks about his time working at the New York City Department of Transportation and the closure of Times Square to create pedestrian plazas. He and Jason talk about the increasing popularity of bikes in New York and San Francisco.

    45:38 – Ryan talks about JUMP’s footprint (40 cities in six countries) and future expansion plans. He and Jason talk more about the utilization of public spaces, congestion, the inefficiencies of parking, the long-term trend of making streets friendlier to people, more.

    50:06 – Jason and Ryan talk about how autonomous vehicles could change commutes, where people choose to live, etc. Those who can work while traveling to the office might be more likely to live farther away from their offices. Self-driving cars could reduce congestion and enable higher speed limits, possibly enabling sprawl, however, denser cities are likely the better solution.

    56:08 – Jason closes the show by saying JUMP represents entrepreneurship at its rawest and best: years of passionately working on an idea without anyone taking much notice, followed by a great outcome.

     
  • Jacqui 01:38:34 on 2018-05-14 Permalink
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    Brendan Eich — Founder of Brave, Mozilla & Creator of Javascript 

    Episode 819 of This Week in Startups features a fascinating interview with JavaScript creator, Mozilla co-founder, and now Brave Software Founder & CEO, Brendan EichBrave Software offers a browser with built-in ad and tracker blocking. We dig into the details of Brave’s Basic Attention Token (BAT), the ethics of online advertising, the browser wars, the shady nature of many ICOs, and more.

    Join us for an insight-rich conversation between two long-time web insiders.

    Receive these episodes in your inbox

    This podcast is brought to you by Asana, which gives teams everything they need to manage projects, tasks, and work productively to deliver better results, faster.

    We use Asana at LAUNCH to manage our pre/post-production tasks for This Week In Startups, blog posts, incubator, event planning, and more.

    Start using Asana today for free. Go to asana.com/twist to sign up.

    This episode is also brought to you by Squarespace. Build beautifully designed websites in a matter of minutes.

    We use Squarespace for all of our LAUNCH websites, such as LAUNCH Festival Sydney coming up in June 2018.

    Visit squarespace.com and enter offer code: “twist” to save 10% on your first purchase of a website or domain.

    Show Notes:

    04:39Jason covers Firefox’s deal with Google search (before Chrome launched). The pair discusses the launch and dominance of Chrome.

    00:42 — Introducing today’s guest Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript, Mozilla co-founder, and co-founder/CEO of Brave Software. Brendan explains the origins of JavaScript.

    03:06 — Brendan discusses Brave’s motivation for creating a new browser. He says the current top browsers are essentially owned by advertisers. Brave includes ad-blocking and anti-tracking tech.

    08:47 — Brendan talks about Brave’s launch, user experience versus publishers’ ability to advertise, the legality and ethics of ad-blocking, and a new model for publisher revenues.

    11:32 — Jason thanks sponsor Asana. Visit asana.com/twist and try it for free.

    15:32 — Jason asks about sites that either restrict ad-blocking users or that simply don’t function correctly with ad-blocking browsers. Brendan says Brave is developing machine learning and web crawling to automate exception handling.

    16:09 — Brendan explains Brave’s Basic Attention Token. He says Brave will serve to prove the BAT’s value, and hopefully, other browsers will adopt the tech. Brendan says many ad-blockers don’t prevent tracking, and they receive substantial payments to let some ads through.

    17:47 — Brendan demonstrates Brave and shows a graphic that details the ads and trackers that load at TMZ.com with other browsers versus what loads when using Brave. Jason and Brendan discuss how some trackers are used to work against publishers and users.

    22:49 — Brendan says Brave hopes to launch its own ads, free of trackers, which can be targeted without compromising anonymity (using zero-knowledge proofs).

    26:12 — Jason asks about how Brave handles Facebook and third-party tracking, says the Like button was a huge scam to gather publisher data and destroy publishers.

    29:22 — Jason thanks sponsor Squarespace, which powers all of LAUNCH’s event sites. Use offer code “twist” to get 10 percent off your first purchase.

    32:01 — Jason talks about the shady nature of many ICOs, then asks Brendan about the Ethereum-based Basic Attention Token (BAT). Brendan says Brave’s ICO helped to fund the project and supply users with BAT, which can be used to reward creators, more. Users can also fund their own wallets. He also demonstrates how Brave automatically rewards publishers based on user attention and how users can set budgets and only fund specific sites.

    40:23 — Brendan says Brave has 16k publishers and 10k YouTubers on board to collect payments. The pair discusses YouTube’s biased demonetization practices and the effect they have on lower-level creators.

    45:02 — Brendan says Brave’s top partner publishers are generating thousands per month from Brave. Jason asks about BAT support at various exchanges and what that could do for Brave. Brendan says Brave is building a long-term platform and BAT is a utility token (though some users are interested in the speculative aspects).

    48:35 — Brave claims more than 2.2M monthly active users and expects 5M by fall. Brendan talks about advertising goals at scale.

    50:42 — Brendan talks about Brave’s fundraising, the costs of operation, BAT’s value and potential beyond Brave. Jason talks about Mahalo’s virtual currency initiative.

    54:34 — Jason and Brendan discuss fraud in advertising, then Brave’s rising profile among large companies.

    57:12 — Jason asks why average consumers are finally paying attention to online privacy. Brendan says people aren’t just responding to big stories about data breaches; they’re noticing very specific ad targeting.

    58:14 — The pair discusses major companies facing investigations, lawsuits, regulations, etc.

    1:01:45 — Jason asks how Brave will know when it has succeeded. Brendan says standardization: when BAT is used by other apps. Standardization also applies to anonymous donations and anonymous ads revenue. Jason agrees that consumers should get some ad revenue for viewing or interacting with ads.

    1:03:38 — Jason asks Brendan about Prop 8 and surrounding issues.

     
  • Jacqui 03:21:14 on 2018-05-06 Permalink
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    News Roundtable: Elon Musk rants, FB Dating, Telegram cancels ICO, CamAnalytica folds 

    Join us for another News Roundtable episode of This Week in StartupsDave MathewsAustin Smith, and I discuss an action-packed week of big news. Topics include Elon Musk’s earnings conference call, Facebook dating, Jan Koum’s departure, Telegram’s canceled ICO, and more.

    Don’t miss the return of “Guess the fake Startup!”

    Receive these episodes in your inbox

    Timestamps:

    01:23Jason introduces TWiST regulars, NewAer founder Dave Mathews and Inside.com President and GM Austin Smith for this news-packed episode.

    03:07 – Tesla’s earnings conference call, in which Elon Musk dismissed multiple questions. Jason says Elon doesn’t have to play analysts’ games, and that some questions came from short sellers who are trying to manipulate the stock. Dave discusses robotics in auto manufacturing.

    12:36 – Jason thanks sponsor Walker Corporate Law, which provides flat-rate pricing and focuses on founders and startups: walkercorporatelaw.com

    13:50 – Guess The Fake Startup returns: Austin describes three dating app startups and Jason and Dave guess which one isn’t real.

    • Delightful.com: Match Group product with Steve Harvey serving as “Chief Love Officer”

    • HODL My Heart: Dating for cryptocurrency and blockchain early adopters

    • Clown Dating: Dating for clowns and clown lovers

    27:52 – Jason thanks sponsor Athletic Greens. TWiST fans get 20 free travel packs with first purchase. Visit https://athleticgreens.com/twist

    29:39 – Facebook’s f8 conference: Oculus Go, Clear History, and news of a coming dating feature (which punished Match Group stock). Dave notes the awkward timing of announcing the dating feature while the Cambridge Analytica scandal is still in the air. Jason isn’t sure users are concerned about it (Austin agrees), and says Facebook is already functioning as a dating site. He also says Facebook could block Tinder from using Facebook Login and use Instagram and other Facebook properties for dating.

    38:19 – Jan Koum leaving Facebook: Dave talks about the passion he shares with Koum: air-cooled Porsches. After discussing Koum’s stated reason for leaving (Facebook’s business practices and weakening WhatsApp security), Dave says a source told him the app’s encryption keys are already compromised. Jason talks about data mingling between Facebook apps and says the company cannot be trusted. He advises founders to disbelieve any promises Facebook makes in an acquisition offer: do not sell to Facebook.

    46:11 – Cambridge Analytica shutdown, bankruptcy.

    48:28 – Telegram cancels public ICO after raising $1.7B via pre-sale. Jason says this is the kind of thing the SEC needs to investigate immediately. The trio discusses the practical applications of Telegram’s virtual coin and the considerations for ICO investors and LPs.

    59:10 – Video of the Week: Puppy rescued from drain by drone with a custom-built crane.

    1:03:24 – Scooter-rental bike wars in San Francisco. Jump Bikes, Bird, LimeBike, Spin, etc. The trio covers safety issues, including users riding on the sidewalk rather than in the bike lane. People are also keeping scooters locked up for personal use, removing them from the pool.

    The groups also discuss other transportation issues, such as street congestion caused by cars and trucks competing with scooters and foot traffic.

    1:20:27 – Jason talks about LAUNCH Festival Sydney and Founder.University.

     
  • Jacqui 20:40:31 on 2018-05-03 Permalink
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    Productivity for Your Startup: An Action Plan 

    In episode 816 of This Week in Startups, Mike Ghaffary, Partner at Social Capital, stops by LAUNCH Incubator to give a talk on productivity. He details techniques for reducing cognitive load, improving work proficiency, working almost 100 percent mobile, and more.

    Join us for a discussion that addresses the unique challenges founders face in getting things done, as well as the importance of personal time and health.

    Receive these episodes in your inbox

    Timestamps:

    00:48 — Introducing Mike Ghaffary, Partner at Social Capital. Mike lays the groundwork for the day’s talk by detailing the limitations of increasing productivity merely by working more hours.

    04:18 — Mike covers his background in education, as a computer scientist, as an entrepreneur, and as an investor.

    07:29 — Mike talks about the problem of inbox overload

    08:00 — Thanks to our partners at Squarespace Inc., which powers all of LAUNCH’s event sites. Use offer code “twist” for 10 percent off from your first purchase.

    10:09 — Mike discusses inbox zero, an email client that motivates the user to get through all messages. Mike says entrepreneurs don’t have to use that system, but they need some sort of system to prevent themselves from getting bogged down with email.

    Mike recommends choosing from “The Four Ds” when going through email:

    • Do it (take an action, such as respond)
    • Delegate it
    • Delete it (read and archive)
    • Defer it (if it can’t be done now but requires an action, create a task or event)

    14:13 — Mike explains the themes of the talk:

    • Attaining 50/50 proactive/reactive balance
    • Reducing cognitive load
    • There’s no time like the present
    • Be mobile — don’t put off tasks you think of as desktop activities

    15:19 — Proactive vs reactive: Mike covers scheduling free time to think, using apps to simplify life.

    24:12 — Mike says the most important tool relevant to productivity is a task list. The key feature requirement is syncing between mobile and desktop. He recommends no more than three prioritized tasks per day. Use actionable verbs. Create small tasks with urgency, not broad goals.

    33:35 — Mike covers the importance of being able to do everything mobile and provides examples of how to perform tasks on mobile that people generally consider desktop activities.

    35:55 — Thanks to partner Rxbar, a whole food protein bar company. Get 25 percent off your first order by visiting https://rxbar.com/twist and entering promo code “twist”

    38:55 — Mike returns to discuss mobile productivity, starting with calendar use. He also notes that even spreadsheet work can be done while mobile. He says 99 percent of founder tasks can be completed while mobile. When you run into something that can’t be done mobile, create a task to find a new solution or to handle it later on desktop.

    44:40 — Mike explains email bankruptcy: select all inbox emails, label them as “(month name) bankruptcy day” and archive them. They are still available when you have free time to go through them.

    46:19 — Mike covers the benefits of using shortcut keys.

    Questions:

    47:45 — How does budget figure into radical delegation?

    51:13 — What do you think about recruiters, cost taken into account?

    55:10 — How do you avoid being on your phone non-stop and disconnecting from others?

    57:24 — Jason recommends removing unnecessary social and entertainment apps from your mobile device. He also recommends putting the device away after work.

    59:10 — Was there an A/B test or success that led you to sending recruiting emails on Friday evenings?

    1:01:58 — Can you walk us through your typical Thursday when you were CEO at Eat24?

    1:03:13 — Jason and Mike discuss the importance of getting a good night’s sleep and exercise.

    01:06:39 — Mike details the best times of day for specific types of activities for maximum productivity.

    1:10:08 — Jason concludes the talk by summarizing the goal: making the best use of your time given your company’s stage.

     
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