Sam Bhagwat: Solving Important Problems

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Part II of Sam Bhagwat's talk, focusing on "solving important problems" (generalizing lessons from part 1 about Blueseed).

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  • Largecapex: New cruise shipsNew airplanesReal-estate constructionEtcBlue-ocean:Minerva UniversityTeslaGoogle self-driving carsTitanic II
  • Radical pragmatism:India rural cellular & solarAirbnbUberHigh-speed LA-SF self-driving shuttleBlueseedPolicy innovation:Bandwidth auctioningAirline deregulationPatent reformMPG requirements for carsLobbying: lots of examplesEngineering: lots of examples
  • Goal: pretend like the adjacency difference is lower than it is (show video of Dario to BBC)
  • Goal: pretend like the adjacency difference is lower than it is (show video of Dario to BBC)
  • Breakthrough improvement:A. Prolonged processes:Moore’s Law20th century telephony20th century car safetyB.One-time events: PenicillinPolio vaccineCotton ginIncremental improvement:YouTube (“Flickr for video”)Facebook(“Myspace for college students, well-designed”)Moneyball(“analytics for baseball”)Repurposing:Cardboard bicycleBlueseed(“Cruise ship for international entrepreneurs, long-term”)Crazy shit: Asteroid mining (?? for ??)Google self-driving cars(Airplane autopilot for cars)
  • Goal: act like the adjacency difference is lower than it is (show video of Dario to BBC)
  • Goal: act like the adjacency difference is lower than it is (show video of Dario to BBC)
  • Sam Bhagwat: Solving Important Problems

    1. 1. Solving important problems Method: agnostic to definition of “important.” Focus: positioning oneself in current institutional blind spots. Metaphor: A ladder to pick well-developed, medium-hanging fruit all the low-hanging fruit opportunists missed. Sam Bhagwat CFO, Blueseed
    2. 2. Solving important problems Solution is moderately capital-intensive Solution Problem has little considered new tech political Solution combines two disparate fields Sam Bhagwat CFO, Blueseed
    3. 3. Capital intensivity Large Capex Blue-ocean Corporate planning / real estate inv. Deep-pocketed eccentric / crafty pitchHigh Capital Small business Lean Startup Banks, companies Typical Silicon Valley VCLow capital Old business model New business model
    4. 4. Politics vs. technology Policy innovation Lobbying Political solution Engineering Radical pragmatismTechnology solution Problem considered Problem considered technological political
    5. 5. Adjacency distance (“X for Y”) • What are the core competencies required? • And how far apart are they in skill- space?
    6. 6. Adjacency distance (“X for Y”) Communications satellite (1960) iPod (2001) Solar Music distribution largeRocketry large small Communication tech Computers Paypal (1998) Blueseed (2011) Payment Maritime processing Silicon medium Valley large Electronic small communication Immigration law/politics
    7. 7. Invention vs. repurposing Breakthrough improvement Crazy sh*t High Brilliant Crazy & loadedTechnologicalinnovation Incremental improvement Repurposing Skilled tinkerer Clever Low Small: Large: Overlapping Disparate Adjacency distance
    8. 8. Solving important problems Solution is moderately capital-intensive Solution Problem has little considered new tech political Solution combines two disparate fields Sam Bhagwat CFO, Blueseed
    9. 9. Additional reading• Working on important problems: – “Good and Bad Procrastination,” Paul Graham, http://www.paulgraham.com/procrastination.html• Working on important problems & capital-intensivity: – “What Happened To The Future?”, Bruce Gibney, Founders’ Fund: http://www.foundersfund.com/the-future• On multiple competencies: “Career advice,” Scott Adams, http://dilbertblog.typepad.com/the_dilbert_blog/2007/07/career-advice.html

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