a16z Podcast: Ancient Dreams of Technology, Gods & Robots
with Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread) and Adrienne Mayor (@amayor)
Is it possible that ancient Greeks and Romans dreamed of technological innovations like robots and artificial intelligence millennia before those technologies became realities? In this episode of the a16z Podcast, Adrienne Mayor, historian of science and author of the just released Gods & Robots: Myths, Machines, and Ancient Dreams of Technology, discusses with a16z parther Hanne Tidnam the earliest myths around ideas of technology and even artificial life from the ancient world: from the first imagined robot to walk the earth, to actual historical technological wonders of the ancient world such as mechanical flying doves or a giant miles-long parade of 10 foot tall automatons pulled by hundreds of men. What do these early imaginings of technological invention tell us about human nature? And what can we take from understanding the deep roots of this mythology for the era of technology, for today?
Mayor is the 2018-19 Berggruen Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and author of The Amazons: Lives and Legends; Fossil Legends of the First Americans; and The Poison King, which was a National Book Award finalist.
a16z Podcast: M&A and Innovation, Inside Out
with Stephanie Cohen and Martin Casado (@martin_casado)
As chief strategy officer of Goldman Sachs (and former global head of financial sponsors M&A), Stephanie Cohen has seen it all when it comes to the ins and outs of M&A. And what it means to innovate from within, especially at a large company.
Given Cohen's unique vantage point and nearly 20-year tenure at Goldman Sachs, Casado -- himself a veteran of both an acquisition (Nicira) and big company innovation (VMware) -- interviews Cohen in this episode of the a16z Podcast, on the ways that big companies navigate innovation... both inside and outside. How do they make the decision to build vs. buy? How does one diversify perspectives? And so on.
This episode is based on a fireside chat that originally took place at our annual a16z Summit event in November 2018.
a16z Podcast: Automation + Work, Human + Machine
with Prasad Akella, Paul Daughtery (@pauldaugh) and Frank Chen (@withfries2)
What is different on that factory floor from Henry Ford to today? In this conversation, Prasad Akella, Founder and CEO of Drishti; Paul Daugherty, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer of Accenture, and author of the recently published Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI; and a16z operating partner Frank Chen, talk about how the introduction of automation from Henry Ford to now co-bots and AI all change the work we do in manufacturing and beyond. What are the skills that we’ll need in the future? What kinds of new information is available, and what new needs -- for dynamic adaptive processes, for example? What are the new tool chains and core (organizational and technical) habits of ML/AI-centric companies of the future?
a16z Podcast: Eyeballs on the Game
with Jeff Jordan (@Jeff_Jordan), Yogi Roth (@YogiRoth), Zack Weiner and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread)
For decades, the increasing value of sports teams, rights, licenses and more have been fueled by sports media. But dollars follow eyeballs, and eyeballs -- at least on the traditional broadcast -- are going elsewhere. "If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up someplace else,” Yogi Berra once said. So where exactly are those eyeballs going, and what does that mean for the sports media industry, now that each and every one of us is an individual media platform?
a16z General Partner Jeff Jordan, Yogi Roth, Pac-12 college football analyst and former athlete and coach, and Zack Weiner, co-founder and president of sports media platform Overtime -- in conversation with a16z's Hanne Tidnam -- talk all about the evolution of sports media and content, and what it means for how we will consume sports in the future. How will the way we watch sports fundamentally change? How this begin to affect the game itself? How are athletes thinking about brand in this new world of sports content?
a16z Podcast: From Research to Startup, There and Back Again
The period from 2000-2016 was one of the best of times and worst of times for tech and the Valley (dotcom, financial crisis, Google IPO, Facebook founded, unprecedented growth, and so on), and John Hennessy -- current chairman of Alphabet, also on the boards of Cisco and other organizations -- was the president of Stanford University during that entire time. Given this vantage point, what are his views on Silicon Valley (will there ever be another one, and if so where?); the "Stanford model" (for transferring IP, and talent, into the world); and of course, on education (and especially access)?
Hennessy also co-founded startups, including one based on pioneering microprocessor architecture used in 99% of devices today (for which he and his collaborator won the prestigious Turing Award)... so what did it take to go from research/idea to industry/implementation? General partners Marc Andreessen and Martin Casado, who also founded startups while inside universities (Netscape, Nicira) and led them to successful exits (IPO, acquisition by VMWare), also join this episode of the a16z podcast with Sonal Chokshi to share their perspectives.
But beyond those instances, how has the overall relationship and "divide" between academia and industry shifted, especially as the tech industry itself has changed... and perhaps talent has, too? Finally, in his new book, Leading Matters, Hennessy shares some of the leadership principles he's learned -- and instilling through the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program -- offering nuanced takes on topics like humility (needs ambition), empathy (without contravening fairness and reason), and others. What does it take to build not just tech, but a successful organization?
image credit: Jitze Couperus / Flickr