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To Power A.I., Start-Up Creates a Giant Computer Chip -
Aug. 19, 2019 The New York Times By Cade Metz.

New A.I. systems rely on neural networks. Loosely based on the network of neurons in the human brain, these complex mathematical systems can learn tasks by analyzing vast amounts of data. By pinpointing patterns in thousands of cat photos, for instance, a neural network can learn to recognize a cat.

That requires a particular kind of computing power. Today, most companies analyze data with help from graphics processing units, or G.P.U.s. These chips were originally designed to render images for games and other software, but they are also good at running the math that drives a neural network.


About six years ago, as tech giants like Google, Facebook and Microsoft doubled down on artificial intelligence, they started buying enormous numbers of G.P.U.s from the Silicon Valley chip maker Nvidia. In the year leading up to the summer of 2016, Nvidia sold $143 million in G.P.U.s. That was more than double the year before.

But the companies wanted even more processing power. Google built a chip specifically for neural networks — the tensor processing unit, or T.P.U. — and several other chip makers chased the same goal.
artificial_intelligence  Cerebras  conventional_wisdom  Intel  Qualcomm  semiconductors  start_ups 
20 days ago by jerryking
How to Pursue a Side Hustle or Startup While Working Full Time
July 31, 2019, 4:00 AM EDT Updated on August 1, 2019, - Bloomberg By Arianne Cohen
millennials  side_hustles  start_ups 
28 days ago by jerryking
Makerspaces under pressure to revamp business models
July 29, 2019 The Globe and Mail | BRENDA BOUW, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL.
3-D  bankruptcies  business_models  hacks  innovation  manufacturers  start_ups  Makerspace 
6 weeks ago by jerryking
Opinion: Canadian companies must prepare for disruptors to come knocking
July 26, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by JOHN RUFFOLO.

In August, 2011, technology legend Marc Andreessen wrote his seminal article titled Why Software Is Eating the World, which became the central investment thesis behind his venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Andreessen’s prognostication has since followed Amara’s Law on the effect of technology, which aptly states: “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” The feast has really just begun.

We are in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – or as some call it, the Information Revolution.....the Information Revolution really began to take shape in 2008, catalyzed by three incredibly powerful and converging forces – mobility-first, cloud computing and social media. All three forces collided together with full impact in 2008, spawning a wave of new technology companies.......The next phase of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will see the rise of a new species of company – the “disruptors.” While technology companies will continue to grow, we are witnessing the enablement of those technologies across all economic sectors as the leading weapon used by new entrants to disrupt the traditional incumbents in their respective industries. The massive influx of venture capital to support the building and growth of technology companies over the past 10 years has produced these tools, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the internet of things, which are now being leveraged across all industries......Those companies that can harness these new technologies to operate better and faster, and to gain unmatched insights into their customers, will prosper. Although these disruptors are not technology companies in the conventional sense, their tight focus on value creation through innovation further blurs the lines between a technology company and a traditional company.

The incumbents, however, are not asleep at the wheel. To ward off the disruptors, they know they must embrace technology. It is this battleground that I believe will generate the greatest wealth creation and transfer opportunities over the next decade. The disruptors, naturally, are particularly active in those industries where they perceive the incumbents to be burdened by outdated technological infrastructure or business models, and hard-pressed to counterattack.

Yesterday, the disruptors focused primarily on consumer sectors such as the music industry, travel booking, newspapers, magazines and book publishing. Today, it’s groceries, entertainment and personal transportation, thanks to Amazon, Netflix and Uber, respectively.

But consumer-focused sectors were just the start for the disruptors. Before long, I believe we will see them try to disrupt varied industries such as banking, insurance, health care, real estate and even agriculture and mining; no industry will be immune. These sectors all represent emblematic Canadian brands, and yes, each will in turn will go through the same jarring disruption as so many others.
See [Why It’s Not Enough Just to Be Disruptive - The New York Times
By JEREMY G. PHILIPS AUG. 10, 2016] Creating enormous value over the long term requires turning a tactical edge into some form of durable advantage....Superior tactical execution can still create real value, particularly where it provides ammunition for a bigger war (like Walmart’s battle with Amazon). And in the long term, value is created not by disruption, but by weaving together advantages (as both Amazon and Walmart have done in different ways) that together create a barrier that is hard to storm.
Amara's_Law  artificial_intelligence  cloud_computing  digital_savvy  disruption  incumbents  investment_thesis  John_Ruffolo  legacy_tech  Marc_Andreessen  mobility_first  overestimation  social_media  software_is_eating_the_world  start_ups  technology  underestimation  venture_capital 
7 weeks ago by jerryking
British quantum computing experts leave for Silicon Valley
June 24, 2019 | Financial Times Madhumita Murgia in London.

A group of Britain’s best-known quantum computing scientists have quietly moved to Silicon Valley to found a start-up called PsiQ that believes it can produce a commercial quantum computer within five years.

The departure of some of the UK’s leading experts in a potentially revolutionary new field of technology will raise fresh concerns over the country’s ability to develop industrial champions in the sector.

The news comes just weeks after the successes of the British start-up scene were extolled at London Tech Week, where prime minister Theresa May pledged £150m specifically to help develop commercial applications for quantum computing.

The scientists’ move to Silicon Valley was driven partly by a need to raise capital. “The story is that the best of Britain is going to the United States to scale up,” said Hermann Hauser, co-founder of UK-based chip designer Arm, which is now owned by Japan’s SoftBank, and an early investor in PsiQ.

“They rightly concluded that they couldn’t access the capital in Europe so moved to the Valley,” he added. So far PsiQ has received investment from Playground Global, a venture firm started by Android founder Andy Rubin.

PsiQ, which has 50 employees according to LinkedIn, was co-founded by Jeremy O’Brien, a physicist at the University of Bristol and Terry Rudolph, a professor at Imperial College London. Several PhD graduates of the two UK labs have followed the researchers to Palo Alto, where the start-up has set up shop close to Stanford University.

Chief operating officer Stu Aaron was previously a partner at premier Silicon Valley investment firm Khosla Ventures and has worked for at least five start-ups based in California. 
carve_outs  funding  package_deals  Palo_Alto  PsiQ  quantum_computing  relocations  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  United_Kingdom 
12 weeks ago by jerryking
How non-engineer Stewart Butterfield reached top of Silicon Valley
JUNE 21, 2019 | Financial Times | by Richard Waters in San Francisco.

Silicon Valley loves its engineer-founders. They are members of the region’s highest caste, the entrepreneurs trusted to turn bits and bytes into the next hit digital products, and the people venture capitalists most like to back.

Stewart Butterfield, co-founder and chief executive of the workplace chat app Slack, is not one of them. He stands out as a philosophy major in a start-up world full of software engineers, a non-techie who has made it to the top of the tech heap......Slack’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange this week has cemented his reputation as one of the Valley’s most creative product designers — and values his own stake in the company at $1.6bn.

“He is your quintessential, product-oriented founder-leader,” ......In a nod to an unconventional streak in Mr Butterfield’s personality that separates him from the herd, Mr Levie adds: “He has just the right level of quirkiness.”.....Butterfield got a philosophy degree at the University of Victoria, followed by a master of philosophy at Cambridge, before being bitten by the internet bug at the end of the 1990s and moving to Silicon Valley........Pressed on how he can withstand the Microsoft onslaught, Mr Butterfield defaults to the quiet, analytical self-assurance. “There has been a long history of the small, focused start-up taking on the large incumbent with multiple lines of business and being successful” — starting, he added, with a small and scrappy Microsoft itself taking on the giant IBM.
artisan_hobbies_&_crafts  CEOs  chat  craftsmanship  engineering  Flickr  founders  mobile_applications  product_design  product-orientated  quirky  Richard_Waters  Silicon_Valley  Slack  start_ups  Stewart_Butterfield  workplaces 
12 weeks ago by jerryking
Opinion: Canadian CEOs facing an innovation disconnect - The Globe and Mail

Both Canadian and global CEOs told us the environment, territorialism and disruptive technologies were their top three concerns.

For Canadian companies, lack of consensus on environmental issues weighs heavily given our disproportionate dependence on the resource sector. And with nearly a third of our gross domestic product tied to exports, growing trade differences with and between Canada’s two largest trade partners raises concerns about the continuing health of our economy.

While our leaders are carefully watching how these national and geopolitical issues pan out, they are putting their focus on technology. Almost two-thirds plan to increase investment in disruption detection and innovative processes – with the same number planning to collaborate with innovative startups.

But CEOs must also brace for the effects of automation and artificial intelligence on their work force. It comes down to culture, and three-quarters of CEOs say they want a culture in which failure in pursuit of innovation is tolerated. However, barely half say that it exists today.
Canadian  CEOS  collaboration  disruption  innovation  large_companies  start_ups 
may 2019 by jerryking
Walmart Hires Global Tech Chief to Compete With Amazon
May 28, 2019 | WSJ | By Sarah Nassauer.

Walmart is working to becoming an increasingly tech-focused company, buying up e-commerce startups and investing heavily to boost online sales. ...... Walmart is working to becoming an increasingly tech-focused company, buying up e-commerce startups, investing heavily to boost online sales, adding more grocery-delivery options and working to ramp up its digital ad revenue. The bulk of Walmart’s revenues and profits came from around 4,600 U.S. stores as of the most recent quarter......Walmart’s current chief information officer, Clay Johson, and all unit CTOs will report to Mr. Kumar. Marc Lore, Walmart’s head of U.S. e-commerce, will continue to report to Mr. McMillon directly,
Amazon  appointments  C-suite  CTOs  digital_strategies  e-commerce  hiring  retailers  start_ups  technology  Wal-Mart 
may 2019 by jerryking
Silicon Valley Needs a Few Good CFOs
May 24, 2019 | WSJ | By Kristin Broughton and Ezequiel Minaya.
CFOs  compensation  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  unicorns 
may 2019 by jerryking
Cashew foie gras? Big Food jumps on ‘plant-based’ bandwagon
MAY 18, 2019 | Financial Times | by Leila Abboud in Paris and Emiko Terazono in London

* Boom in meat and dairy substitutes sets up ‘battle for the centre of the plate’
* Nestlé recently launched the Garden Gourmet's Incredible burger in Europe and plans to launch it in the US in the autumn in conjunction with McDonald’s.
* Burger King has partnered with a “foodtech” start-up to put meat-free burgers on their menu.
* Pret A Manger is considering a surge in its roll-out of vegetarian outlets as it looks into buying UK sandwich rival Eat.

A change is afoot that is set to sweep through the global food industry as once-niche dietary movements (i.e. vegetarians, then the vegans, followed by a bewildering array of food tribes from veggievores, flexitarians and meat reducers to pescatarians and lacto-vegetarians ) join the mainstream.

At the other end of the supply chain, Big Food is getting in on the act as the emergence of plant-based substitutes opens the door for meat market disruption. Potentially a huge opportunity if the imitation meat matches adoption levels of milk product alternatives such as soy yoghurt and almond milk, which account for 13% of the American dairy market. It is a $35bn opportunity in the US alone, according to newly listed producer Beyond Meat, given the country’s $270bn market for animal-based food. 

Packaged food producers, burdened with anaemic growth in segments from drinks to sweets, have jumped on the plant-based bandwagon. Market leaders including Danone, Nestlé and Unilever are investing heavily in acquisitions and internal product development.

Laggards are dipping their toes. Kraft-Heinz, for example, is investing in start-ups via its corporate venture capital arm and making vegan variants of some of its products. Even traditional meat producers, such as US-based Tyson Foods and Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods, are diversifying into plant-based offerings to remain relevant with consumers.......“Plant-based is not a threat,” said Wayne England, who leads Nestlé’s food strategy. “On the contrary, it’s a great opportunity for us. Many of our existing brands can play much more in this space than they do today, so we’re accelerating that shift, and there is also space for new brands.” .....a plethora of alternative protein products are hitting supermarket shelves... appealing to consumers for different reasons....(1) reducing meat consumption for health reasons... (2) others concerned about animal welfare...(3) concern over agriculture’s contribution to climate change......As Big Food rushes in, it faces stiff competition from a new breed of start-ups that have raced ahead to launch plant-based meats they claim look, taste and feel like the real thing. Flush with venture capital funding, they have turned to technology, analysing the molecular structure of foods and seeking to reverse-engineer versions using plant proteins......Not only are the disrupters innovating on the product side, they are rapidly creating new brands using digital marketing and partnerships with restaurants. Big food companies, which can struggle to create new brands, often rely on acquisitions to bring new ones onboard.....Aside from the quality of the new protein substitutes, how they are marketed will determine whether they become truly mass-market or remain limited to the margins of motivated vegetarians and vegans. The positioning of the product in stores influences sales, with new brands such as Beyond Meat pushing to be placed in the meat section rather than separate chilled cabinets alongside the vegetarian and vegan options.....Elio Leoni Sceti, whose investment company recently backed NotCo, a Chile-based start-up that uses machine learning to create vegetarian replicas of meat and dairy, believes new brands have an edge on the marketing side because they are not held back by old habits. 

“The new consumer looks at the consequences of consumption and believes that health and beauty come from within,” said one industry veteran who used to run Birds Eye owner Iglo. “They’re less convinced by the functional-based arguments that food companies are used to making, like less sugar or fewer calories. This is not the way that consumers used to make decisions so the old guard are flummoxed.”...Dan Curtin, who heads Greenleaf, the Maple Leaf Food's plant-based business, played down the idea that alternative meats will eat into meat sales, saying the substitutes were “additive”. “We don’t see this as a replacement. People want options,” he said. 

animal-based  Beyond_Meat  Big_Food  brands  Burger_King  Danone  digital_strategies  food_tech  hamburgers  Impossible_Foods  Kraft_Heinz  laggards  Maple_Leaf_Foods  McDonald's  Nestlé  plant-based  rollouts  start_ups  Unilever  vegetarian  vc  venture_capital  CPG  diets  meat  new_products  shifting_tastes 
may 2019 by jerryking

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