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#105: Jullian Guthrie: Taking on Silicon Valley’s Male Culture with Alpha Girls

Julian Guthrie, Alpha Girls Author

Julian Guthrie is a journalist-turned-author, covering such topics as Larry Ellison’s quest for the America’s Cup, and the new age of private space exploration. She gravitates to tales of underdogs and innovation, and her latest book is no exception.

Alpha Girls:  The Women Upstarts Who Took on Silicon Valley’s Male Culture and Made the Deals of a Lifetime” is the story of 4 women:  Magdalena Yesil, Mary Jane Elmore, Theresia Gouw, and Sonja Hoel Perkins.  Each of these rose – against the well-known odds of Silicon Valley – to the top of the game.

Well before “me too” these 4 women juggled work and family, overcame unequal pay, and faced the sexist attitudes prevalent in male-dominated Silicon Valley.  Nevertheless, they rose to rewrite the rules of an entire industry.

Each story is amazing on its own. Magdalena Yesil, came from Turkey with $43 to her name, and would go on to help Marc Benioff build Salesforce.

Mary Jane Elmore went from the cornfields of Indiana to Silicon Valley and landed at the storied venture capital firm IVP – where she was one of the first women in the U.S. to make partner at a venture firm.

Theresia Gouw, Asian American from a working-class town, ultimately helped venture firm Accel Partners invest in firms like Google, Facebook, Imperva, Forescout, and Trulia.

Sonja Hoel Perkins, a Southerner, became one of the first women investing partners at white-glove Menlo Ventures, and invested in McAfee, Hotmail, Acme Packet, and F5 Networks.

In this wide ranging conversation, Julian shares her experience in writing this book, and previous books including “How to Make a Spaceship,” with a foreword by Richard Branson and an afterword by Stephen Hawking, and “The Billionaire and the Mechanic,” about Larry Ellison. We also discuss the current state of sexism in Silicon Valley, her predictions for the future, and the in-the-works adaptation of her book for television.

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#104: Charles Hudson Builds a Pre-seed Venture Fund

Charles Hudson is the founder and Managing Partner of Precursor Ventures, one of Silicon Valley’s hot seed stage venture firms.  He was previously at Uncork Capital, the storied seed venture firm founded by Jeff Clavier.  Precursor is a classic seed stage venture firm investing in founders they believe in. 

Before becoming a venture capitalist, Charles cofounded Bionic Panda Games, and held senior business development roles at Serious Business and Gaia Interactive.

Also – he went to Stanford.  Twice.

In this episode we discuss a range of issues including what it’s like to be a black VC in a mostly white industry, how he made his way to venture, what it’s like working at In-Q-Tel, and why he left a hugely successful VC to start his own.

Listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts!

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#103: Michael Tchong on the Ubercool Future

Michael Tchong has been called “the most influential trend-spotter in America”. He is a top-rated innovation speaker, adjunct professor at the University of San Francisco, trend forecaster and author of “Ubertrends — How Trends And Innovation Are Transforming Our Future.” He heads up incubator Ubercool Innovation and is the founder of four disruptive startups, including MacWEEK, Atelier Systems, CyberAtlas and ICONOCAST, all riding early market waves.

In this podcast we discuss “Ubertrends” — his proprietary framework of massive waves that are reshaping global human behavior. In this podcast, Michael and Kent discuss the trends that are shaping the future — from “time compression” to the to the ‘rise of women’ — we cover them all.

The full set of trends discussed includes: Digital Lifestyle — Marriage of Man and Machine;  Fountain of Youth — Rejuvenating Body, Spirit and Environment;  Generation X-tasy — Been There, Done That;  Time Compression — The Acceleration of Life;  Unwired — Untethered and Unfettered;  Casual Living — The Evaporation of Decorum;  Voyeurgasm — I Like to Watch;  WAF (Woman’s Acceptance Factor) — Ascent of Woman;  Innovation — Reinventing Business and Life

More about the book: Ubertrends — How Trends And Innovation Are Transforming Our Future is a graphic and eye-opening exploration of nine disruptive forces that are shape-shifting society. As these massive waves crash into the future, they leave many subtrends in their wake while leading to many cultural value changes. Society’s permanently altered behavior provides ready context for how the future will evolve

Listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

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#102: Scott Kupor: Secrets of Sand Hill Road

Scott Kupor is the managing partner of famed venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm with more than $7 billion of assets under management that sits at the beating heart of Sand Hill Road. Sand Hill road is, of course, the physical center of the venture capital industry – the greatest wealth-generating machine in the world. So…Scott is at the center of the center of the global venture capital industry.

In his new book — Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It — Scott covers a range of topics critical to any founder: Why VCs invest in particular stages, the key skill for raising venture capital, and what happens when things don’t go so well.

Listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

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#101 Ellen Pao: Ellen Changes the Game

Ellen Pao
(Photo by Chris Michel)

Ellen Pao is CEO of Project Include and author of the book Reset:  My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change.    Her book looks at power in the tech world – and why so few women and people of color hold it. 

She famously sued an elite venture capital firm for sexism, and in doing so set off a national conversation.

As CEO of Reddit, she waged one of the first highly visible battles against Internet trolls – a topic which has since exploded as big tech companies come under heavier scrutiny. 

In this wide-ranging conversation, we cover a range of topics.  From Ellen’s experience litigating against a powerful venture capital firm to the current state of diversity in Silicon Valley she tells her story.

Listen on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.

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#100 Pete Alcorn: Democratizing Publishing — Ebooks, Podcasts, Edtech and More

Pete Alcorn discusses the democratization of publishing

Pete Alcorn

Welcome to Episode 100!  Yep, we’ve made it to 100.  And for this one…Pete Alcorn stops by the podcast as he bucket-lists his way around the world.  He has run, among other things – ebooks at Amazon (just before they cared about it) and podcasting at Apple.  Also at Apple, he oversaw iBooks in Europe and education content discovery everywhere.  Pete was also Kent’s first partner in the startup world, building a company (that still exists today) called “NetRead”.  Oh, and we also went to high school together in La Jolla California.

In this wide-ranging episode we cover:  the future of edtech, the corporate path vs. the startup path, whether Pete agrees with Po Bronson, and the future of the planet.  Thanks for making it to 100.  Enjoy!

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#99 Eric Lagier: The Nordic Unicorn Factory

Eric Lagier of ByFounders Discusses the Nordic Startup Ecosystem

Eric Lagier, ByFounders

Eric Lagier co-founded and is a general partner of ByFounders, a 100 million Euro venture firm focused on Nordic and Baltic startups. As you grab your map to find where the Nordics and Baltics actually are, think about this: Since 2013, 41 startups built in Europe are now worth more than a billion dollars. (These are known as “Unicorns”, a term coined by Ailene Lee of Cowboy Ventures). Even more extraordinary is the fact that 10 of those 41 are from the Nordics. So an area comprising of 4% of Europe’s population has generated 25% of Europe’s Unicorns. This includes companies like Unity, Spotify, Just Eat, Sitecore, Zendesk and Tradeshift among others

Yes, a lot of numbers! Join us as Kent and Eric talk about why such huge outcomes occur in Nordic countries, and what cultural differences define the Nordics vs. the U.S.  Learn who is behind ByFounders, how the fund came together and more. 

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#98 Jay Adelson: Jay Builds the Internet

We cover Jay’s journey from office temp to founder of the world’s largest data centers to building Digg… and beyond!

Jay Adelson

Jay Adelson is the cofounder or CEO of Equinix, Revision3 and Digg.  From a career that has taken him from building the first data centers to creating a wildly growing news aggregator, Jay has truly unique insight into Silicon Valley.  In this conversation Jay traces his path from working at a temp agency to building the largest data center in the world.

Nerd out with us as we discuss how you obtained a URL before the Internet even had a governing body – and before the web existed; the battle over whether the Internet should ever be commercial; and the kind of technologies you can only invent when you are at the core of the Internet. 

Also discussed – should you be CEO of two companies?  Why didn’t Revision3 become Youtube?  Why was it called Revision3?  Did Reddit replace Digg?  What did Youtube get wrong, and Twitter get right?

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#97 Po Bronson: The Future According to Po

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Po Bronson

Best selling author Po Bronson has written deeply, often hilariously, about Silicon Valley and its effects on the world.  After founding San Francisco’s Writers Grotto, he wrote such books as The Nudist on the Late Shift, Bombardiers, and What Should I Do With My life?.  Today, he’s a venture capitalist at IndieBio – the Life Sciences accelerator. 

In this episode, Po discusses why 2019 feels like 1994, and what happens when daytime and nighttime conversations converge in Silicon Valley.  We also cover income inequality – the idea of ‘Basic Universal Equity”, and the futures of sports, medicine and…libraries.  But that’s just the beginning – stay tuned to hear what happens when climate change, biotech and automation converge.  And the big finish: whether our species will survive.

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96 Monique Woodard, Venture Capitalist

Monique Woodard fell into venture capital.  Or…wait.  Actually, no.  Monique grew up in rural Florida.  Starting with an Atari game system and moving to a Commodore computer, she learned to write computer code This, in a place where coding was far from the norm, and computer class required a drive into town.  She eventually became a venture capitalist, investing in such companies as: Blavity, Court Buddy, Silvernest, and Mented Cosmetics.

In this podcast we discuss Monique’s journey from the farms of rural of Northern Florida to Miami’s music scene, to Silicon Valley.  We discuss how she established herself as an entrepreneur, and founded the organization Black Founders, eventually becoming a venture capitalist.  We cover a wide range of topics, including her demographic investment thesis, and why it should not be conflated with ‘diversity initiatives’.

Listen on iiTunes

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