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Danny In The Valley
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Danny In The Valley

Author: The Sunday Times

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After more than a decade in London, Danny Fortson returns to Silicon Valley to meet the techies trying to change the world - and make loads of money while doing it.

129 Episodes
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The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on David Barrett, founder of Expensify, to talk about competing for talent with unicorns (2:00), the odd reason for the company’s founding (5:15), creating a fictional expense-reporting startup (6:20), the deification of serial founders (10:30), why he promotes from within (14:15), the expenses industry (16:20),why he takes the whole company overseas every year (18:30), why he doesn’t like venture capitalists (25:40), buying out his investors (28:30), the stages of development (30:45), using a subscription model (32:00), why it took 12 years to get where they are (36:30), whether he wants to go public (38:15), the homelessness problem (41:30), the great rewards/points scam (43:45), his worst day of work (49:30), and the time when his employees got dengue fever (54:30). For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of Shorter, to talk about why we work 40 hours per week (2:30), why he wrote the book (4:50), why working less is gaining traction (8:00), why working too much is like smoking (9:00), the difficulty instituting shorter work weeks (11:00), how it can be done (18:00), fighting against the gig economy (22:15), why big companies would ever want to do this (26:45), whether this is different between generations (29:35), the power of mothers (31:55), why rest is key (5:20), the culture of overwork (38:10), partnering with automation (42:30), and getting unstuck from the 40-hour week (45:30). For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on George Whitesides, chief executive of Virgin Galactic, to talk about the new space race (3:00), doing more with less (4:15), rethinking space travel (6:45), moon hotels (8:15), democratising space (10:00), being an astronaut (12:15), why space travel is important (13:15), bringing the price down (17:30), avoiding disaster (18:30), governing who gets the lunar spoils (22:00), where space exploration sits in the history of humanity (25:00), and moving to the moon (27:20).  For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Kulveer Taggar, founder of Zeus Living, to talk about the Greek god of corporate housing (3:00), growing up in London (5:15), getting into Y Combinator (7:30), teaming up with Stripe founder Patrick Collison (10:40), becoming a millionaire at 24 (12:15), becoming a comedian (14:25), coming back to San Francisco to do Y Combinator again (18:00), why media coverage is not all it’s cracked up to be (23:40), pivoting to property management (26:40), how it works (31:00), why this is different from his other companies (33:15), the importance of location (36:25), his plan for life (39:50), living as a service (42:20), and his worst day (45:50). For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Seth Bannon, founder of venture capital firm Fifty Years, to talk about targeting the truly big problems (1:00), why it took 18 months to raise $5m (2:40), targeting lab-grown meat (6:30), getting the met lobby on their side (8:30), backing birth control (12:00), taking left-field approaches to climate (13:50), taking advantage of the Silicon Valley cultural crisis (17:15), the need for big winners (21:00), the slow death of the Fridman doctrine (26:00), how he started out as a young idealist (28:30), (33:30), when he faked it but didn’t make it (38:20), confessing his sins (41:05), and his worst day of work (42:15).  For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Dennis O’Malley, head of cannabis startup Caliva, to go from the buttoned-up corporate world to the weed industry (2:45), the ‘green rush’ (5:10), running a federally illegal business (7:50), the friction involved with buying weed products (13:00), their target market (14:40), raising $75m (16:30), charting a path toward legitimacy (20:00), partnering with Jay Z (22:30), trying to replace alcohol and pharma (29:10), not being able to advertise (34:15), the vaping crisis (38:35), whether it will ever go mainstream (40:30), the coming green crash (46:15), whether he needs black market expertise (48:15), his worst day of work (50:40), and whether filter bubbles help (55:20). For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Vivienne Ming, founder of Socos Labs, to talk about ethics in artificial intelligence (2:25), passing on a job at Amazon (7:55), why its hiring algorithm failed (11:0), the death of professional human judgment (13:30), how work will have to change (23:15), the bifurcation of society (26:00), what Socos Labs is (31:30), why universal basic income is not the answer (39:00), the importance of learning to learn (45:25), creating a tech wise council (50:30), AI as an expert witness (59:45), how transitioning genders has coloured her views (1:03:40). For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Al Alcorn, video game pioneer and co-founder of Atari, to talk about when he first met co-founder Nolan Bushnell (2:30), breaking into a world dominated by pinball machines (6:30), making Pong (9:00), taking it to a bar (12:00), starting a manufacturing company (14:30), hiring hippies to work in a former roller rink (18:30), when copycats emerged (22:00), almost going bust (25:50), creating the first mass-market home console (28:45), striking a deal with Sears (30:30), building a company of young people (36:30), the hot tub announcement (40:10), why they sold to Warner (44:30), the culture clash (47:30), obsoleting their own products (52:00), hiring Steve Jobs (55:10), funding his trip to India (58:00), turning down Jobs’ offer to invest in Apple (1:00:00), and how Silicon Valley culture has changed (1:03:15) For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Tom Harries, founder of Tulip, to talk about disrupting the cremation industry (0:30), starting with an obituary app (2:20), selling it and selling Tulip (3:45), what’s wrong with funerals (6:00), the fragmented death market (9:00), sending ashes through the post (11:45), cremating 10,000 people in two years (14:00), scaling from 5 to 95 people (17:40), hiring a professional chief executive then quickly selling (21:00), losing control of his baby (25:00), spreading the word online (28:30), the lows of starting a business (30:50), making mistakes (32:30), being a non-technical founder (34:20), why bring in a CEO went wrong (35:50), and raising $10 million (41:00). For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Mary Lou Jepsen, founder of Openwater, to talk about how her near-death experience (3:05), and how it inspired her to start Openwater (5:50), developing a way to see inside our bodies (9:00) how it works (12:30), telepathy (19:45), the brain as the last bastion of privacy (24:20), the future of depression (26:40), the death of language (31:10), the brain as the final frontier (333:55), why she is so open about the issues this technology conjures (38:30), the problem with MRI’s (43:10), and why decoding the brain is inevitable (51:50). For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Hao Li, the world’s top deepfake artist and founder of Pinscreen, to talk about the role of the Fast and Furious in the rise of deepfakes (3:30), spending millions to do create a digital replica of Paul Walker (7:00), creating a deepfake for free in a few days (10:30), the democratisation of deepfakes (15:30), the end of trust (21:00), how the Pentagon is getting involved (23:15), overcoming the uncanny valley problem (25:00), why all you need is a comuputer (28:00), and why detection tools are imperfect (32:00), For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Kimbal Musk, brother of Elon Musk and found of Square Roots, to talk about going to culinary school after selling his first company with Elon for $307 (4:00), living in New York during Sept 11 (5:45), how cooking for the firefighters inspired him to start a restaurant (8:30), leaving New York (11:00), going back to tech (14:45), breaking his neck (16:15), quitting tech for good (18::30), hitting on the farm-to-table movement (21:00), backing meatless meat (23:45), his warehouse farm startup (25:55), how Tesla began (23:50), space tourism (30:00), working at a meat-packing factory (31:45), growing up in an entrepreneurial family (34:40), setting up gardens at school (36:50), taking inspiration from Jamie Oliver (38:45), having dinner with Prince Charles (41:10), why he invested in eSports (43:00), and the plan for Mars. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Purva Gupta, founder of Lily.ai, to talk about algorithms of emotion (5:40), creating psychographic profiles of shoppers (7:45), drawing on 15,000 data points to predict what people want (10:45), bring brands out of the dark ages (12:45), starting her company (14:45), testing her idea (17:45), having no technical background (20:15), having six different visas (23:00), using numbers to replicate emotions (24:15), her plan to access new data sources (26:15), why social media data is not that attractive (30:55), building an immunity to rejection (32:35), almost giving up (35:15), founder dating (37:25), and breaking up (41:25), her moment of inspiration (43:30), and why she won’t work for some companies (47:30). For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Iain McIntyre and Tim Fiori of Humm to talk about creating brain prosthetics, starting out in Australia (3:20), turning a room-sized machine into a band-aid (7:10), improving working memory (8:45), and what that means (11:25), the miniaturisation process (13:40), my own brain test (14:35), tuning the brain’s orchestra (17:55), the business plan (21:20), targeting old people (23:20), marketing it as a wellness product (24:40), bifurcating the human race (27:35), why someone else isn’t doing this (31:20), compounding interest in your brain (35:05), why others have failed (36:40), and a better brain subscription (38:30).  For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Ben Thompson, the tech commentator behind Stratechery, to talk about the antitrust issues stalking Big Tech (2:50), why Google is most vulnerable (4:40), convenience versus abuse (9:35), why Facebook’s antitrust case is much less clear (10:40), why Instagram was so clearly a step too far (15:20), the consumer harm problem (17:50), Amazon as a niche player (19:00), why the App Store is a clear cut case of monopoly (21:20), Apple’s self-appointed role as the guardian of privacy (24:35), why Silicon Valley is branching into new industries (27:10), is regulation too late or even important (29:00), why Big Tech is big (32:20), and the future of the gig economy (34:25). For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson bring on Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, to talk about suing the government (3:00), working at Microsoft for a quarter of a century (5:00), how battling the government changed the company’s approach (7:00), whether Silicon Valley will do the same (9:40), calling for a cultural revolution (11:40), being careful about who they sell their tech to (14:30), the rising demands of tech employees (19:00), why this time is different with artificial intelligence (21:200), the new age of anxiety (29:10), the culture of tech (31:35), how Silicon Valley is like the Galapagos (34:10), how it is changing (36:00), the primacy of data centres (37:30), how tech companies are like banks (40:55), and data privacy as a human right (44:30). For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, to talk about growing up in Utah (0:45), setting up his first business at age 10 (3:00), managing the games department (4:20), coming to Silicon Valley (7:10), working at Ampex (8:30), playing Space War (9:30), starting a gaming company with $500 (12:30), creating Pong (16:20), running on a shoestring (19:15), selling to Warner (23:30), the Atari culture (24:40), hiring Steve Jobs (27:00), making more than all of Hollywood combined (32:00), turning down an offer to be the first investor in Apple (34:40), his worst day of work (38:15), why the tech industry took root in Silicon Valley (39:00), why he’s excited about tech in 2019 (41:00), his other ventures (45:20), what Steve Jobs got right (48:25). For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, to talk about company culture (2:15), the Amazon example (7:), what’s wrong with new Uber (9:45), Uber’s old culture (12:15), Silicon Valley’s moment (15:55), how culture can be a company-killer (20:00), on whether capitalism is changing (25:15), why there aren’t more outsiders in venture capital (31:15), seeing what you don’t have (37:1), how lack of diversity creates product problems (39:55), and seeing culture early (43:05). For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on artificial intelligence expert Stuart Russell to talk about AI’s King Midas problem (3:00), dismissiveness about general AI (8:00), and why we are not close to developing it (13:10), the future of work (16:20), happiness engineering (21:00), humanity’s last invention (25:30), slaughter-bots (31:05), whether he is an optimist (37:40), how we can control something more powerful than us (39:30), conscious machines (45:30), the social media experiment (48:30), writing minimally-invasive algorithms (53:40), the brain-computer interface (55:30), and how we can save ourselves (59:50) For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent brings on Daniel Wiegand, founder of Lilium, to talk about how he got hooked on the idea of air taxis (3:00), being a first-time founder (4:20), reimagining the hair dryer (6:20), building the first prototype (8:30), why science is his friend (11:10), starting with pilots (13:05), why silence is golden (15:20), how Lilium plans to launch its own air taxi service (17:50), being as cheap as ride-hailing (21:00), why cities are interested (23:20), learning on the job (24:05), what China wants (27:00), what the world looks like in 2039 (29:35), why he doesn’t just want to be a manufacturer (31:40), looking at Africa (35:50), why batteries are critical (36:35), his worst day of work (38:10), and why the air taxi boom is happening now (40:20). For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy
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Comments (1)

Santiago Calderón (Perejil)

Man, what an asshole! No wonder this episode is so short!

Nov 29th
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