145 episodes

Published weekly as a supplement to the 'That Was The Week' newsletter, this podcast features Keith Teare and Andrew Keen discussing the events in tech that will shape the future of startups, venture and angel investing. https://thatwastheweek.com

That Was The Week Keith Teare

    • News
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

Published weekly as a supplement to the 'That Was The Week' newsletter, this podcast features Keith Teare and Andrew Keen discussing the events in tech that will shape the future of startups, venture and angel investing. https://thatwastheweek.com

    No Runway

    No Runway

    Contents


    Editorial: 


    Essays of the Week


    The modern data stack was never big enough


    Revisiting The Death of a Venture Fund


    Calpers’ $4.5 Billion Venture Bet


    Global Venture Funding In November Slows At Early Stage


    The Fintech Sector Trotted The Most New Unicorns Onto Our Board In November


    From Unicorns to Zombies: Tech Start-Ups Run Out of Time and Money




    Video of the Week


    The Where, When, and How of AI




    AI of the Week


    Learn more about Gemini, our most capable AI model


    Google’s Gemini Marketing Trick


    Nope, the Turing Test has not been solved


    The EU has reached a historic regulatory agreement over AI development


    X begins rolling out Grok, its ‘rebellious’ chatbot, to subscribers


    Apple releases Apple Silicon-optimized MLX machine learning framework




    News Of the Week


    Everything you know about the podcast industry is a lie


    Google launches migration tool ahead of Google Podcasts’ 2024 shutdown


    Carta: Startup Shutdowns Are Up 237%


    Pilot: 57% of Venture Startups Will Need to Raise More In 2024


    The FTC is reportedly looking into Microsoft’s $13 billion OpenAI investment


    Amazon asks court to dismiss FTC lawsuit that accuses it of ‘monopolistic practices’




    Startup of the Week


    Animate Anyone




    X of the Week


    In case you don’t believe anti-semitism is real






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    • 33 min
    A Tale of Two Weeks

    A Tale of Two Weeks

    It’s Thanksgiving here in Palo Alto, and I should thank all the writers and producers whose work I read each week for the stimulation and provocation they provide. In case you do not all realize it, you are appreciated.

    I always try to call out the creators of the content I curate at the top of That Was The Week, and I will continue to do so. Many appear every week.

    Let us start with Brian Chesky, of AirBnB fame, this week. His X post is apt and to the point.

    I called this week’s newsletter A Tale of Two Weeks. Friends kindly noted that it has only been one week. It felt like two, and to Brian Chesky’s point, we learned a lot.

    EA and e /acc are now part of everyday conversation in tech circles. And we are starting to understand that ideology (or philosophy) plays a significant role in strategy. People are forced to take sides.

    Last week, the EA (effective altruism) camp looked in the ascendancy. But this week, over 700 OpenAI employees sided with Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, resulting in their return to lead the company. The e/acc camp won. And that leads many advocates of effective altruism to question its relevance to startups.

    There are also some new acronyms or labels to learn. Marc Andreessen is reposting @beffjezos on X, mentioning Decels.




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    • 46 min
    The OpenAI Debacle - e /acc versus e /a

    The OpenAI Debacle - e /acc versus e /a

    It’s a day late for That Was The Week. In mitigation, what a day it was, with the firing of Sam Altman at OpenAI, and the demotion, then resignation of Greg Brockman, Jakub Pachocki, the company’s director of research; Aleksander Madry, head of a team evaluating potential risks from AI, and Szymon Sidor, a seven-year researcher at the startup.

    The dust is beginning to settle, and my best interpretation of the events comes from these x posts by Kara Swisher and Elad Gil, focused on effective altruism (e /a) and the e /acc belief in unfettered AI.


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    • 12 min
    Changing The World

    Changing The World

    It's Thursday evening, and I have had a busy day in a busy week, and I am not feeling the urge for grandiosity. But OpenAI and its CEO Sam Altman did announce some world-changing technologies this week. The article by Ben Thompson from Stratechery below lists them. Still, a list does not do justice to how much thinking decision-making, and execution OpenAI has accomplished in a short period.

    The heart of the announcements is a newly scalable architecture that allows anybody to have their own “GPT”. Developers will be able to build both enterprise and consumer GPT applications, often with no code required.

    Want the world's best chef and recipe source? Build it. Want an excellent tool for fixing a car? No problem. Want the world’s best physics teacher for 10th Grade… done. And so on.

    Over the next 12 months, we expect to see an explosion of use cases for almost any human endeavor.

    More interesting is that user interfaces will change dramatically. Form filling, browsing, searching, learning, creating, researching, building, and more will be done simply by interacting with an AI.

    Productivity is about to explode. And investments, too.

    Packy McCormick leads this week's Essays of the Week with ‘Tech is Going to Get Much Bigger’. And he means in value and scope. The idea that the world’s biggest company is worth a single-digit $ trillion will be history quickly.

    When Kyle Harrison, in another essay of the week - Surviving the Death of Venture Capital - says:

    So if you want to survive in the ever-changing world of funding innovation, there are a lot of things you can do. But one thing is for sure: the only thing that is certain? Change. Get used to it.

    He could have been writing about OpenAIs developer day announcements.

    There are many excellent pieces of writing in this week’s edition. The impressive interview with Charlie Munger explains why venture capitalists screw their customers. The videos with Satya Nadella and Lina Khan are great for Sunday listening or viewing. Warner Media CEO Jason Kilar on why Netflix has the upper hand in streaming and what it will take to compete is compelling also (hat tip to Steve Gillmor).

    Enjoy.


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    • 41 min
    Guilty

    Guilty

    Ethics matter. And using them in times of stress matters, too. SBF lost the plot in his defense this week, seeking to blame his lack of attention to detail and his colleagues for the failings at FTX and Alameida.

    There was a lack of ethics in his decisions and a further lack of ethics in his trial strategy.

    I have no idea how contrived the entire set of episodes was at FTX, but blaming colleagues seems both a low shot and a long shot simultaneously. It would have been better to tell the truth - I crossed lines due to a frothy market. I thought it would be fine. The market tanked, I panicked and then crossed more lines trying to keep the ship afloat. When I failed, I tried to cover for my mistakes. At least the jury would have heard some honesty and contrition.

    So, the trial is over, and SBF is guilty. Justice will be done. Given all the evidence, it seems to be the right decision.

    But this week, AI was also put on trial. Both the Whitehouse and 10 Downing Street held meetings that produced statements and documents. The competition to be the leader who rails in AI seems pervasive across many governments. The full Whitehouse press briefing is below, as is the gist of the UK meeting.

    The two most interesting responses are Elon Musk’s statement that jobs will become unnecessary (he’s right) and Steven Sinovsky’s thoughtful essay on why AI regulation is premature.

    The AI section is lengthy this week; Michael Parekh explains why Google is investing $2bn in Anthropic, and Dan Shipper shows why the Apple Journal app has nothing on ChatGPT as a Journal co-pilot.

    There are four pieces on AI’s use in Venture Capital, focusing on EQT and SignalFire (not to be confused with SignalRank). And Andre Retterath of Data-Driven VC writes about the correlation between alumni networks and who gets funded (ominous).

    Enjoy.


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    • 36 min
    Capitulation?

    Capitulation?

    Charles Hudson and Manu Kumar are two of the best early-stage investors in the world. This week, they both penned meaningful essays declaring that the fundamentals of early-stage investing have changed, possibly permanently.

    Charles states:

    For the past 18 months, the Series A market has been very quiet. Outside of AI-related investments, it feels like deal volume is off 75%. The Series A investors I know don’t feel any pressure to make investments and don’t really seem that excited or interested in much these days. Unfortunately for seed-stage companies, the Series A market can remain on strike longer than most seed-stage companies can remain solvent.

    He predicts a significant dip in the number of seed-stage companies doing a Series A, a drop in Series As, and fewer extensions or bridge rounds.

    Manu Kumar of K9 Capital extends the theme and suggests only companies building real businesses with real customers and revenue will survive. He implores companies to understand the following:

    Early stage venture, particularly Pre-Seed and Seed stage venture, is a different game today than it used to be 10 years ago. LPs and GPs should be aware of this dynamic as they make investment decisions.

    This follows from Sam Lessin’s theme a couple of weeks ago, declaring that the era of larger checks coming in at later rounds is now over.

    At Signalrank, we have always distinguished between organic unicorns, built over many years from the seed stage, and artificial unicorns created by a single large check in an early round. Organic is always best and can survive downturns.

    In this week’s video of the week, Jaimie Rhode doubles down on the theme, explaining that in venture capital, only power-law companies matter. Those companies grow to valuations, enabling an entire fund to be returned or more. The venture capital industry relies on the few power law winners returning invested capital.

    In the heady days of 2019-2022, it was possible for a power-law company to emerge fast due to a single round of financing. And then quickly go on to do two or three more rounds within a year or two. Charles and Manu correctly point out that this is unlikely, except perhaps in AI. A power law winner will have to be built organically.

    The implication is that early-stage investing will need to become once again deliberate and patient. I use the word capitulation (with a question mark) in the title, but this is just a recognition of reality. Capitulation to reality is a good thing. So, no, it is not a capitulation.

    But it begs the question, can venture capital support wealth creation if it is really a lottery for a power law winner? Is there a way to benefit from the growth in venture-backed companies without needing to play the lottery of picking individual companies?


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    • 35 min

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