Danny In The Valley
Shopify's Harley Finkelstein: “There’s room for us and Amazon”
Season 4, Ep. 146
The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Harley Finkelstein, president of Shopify, to talk about the market mayhem (3:50), Shopify coming out of the shadows (5:25), how it got started (11:30), how Amazon have up on the online stores business (19:35), getting into delivery (22:45), the renewed Amazon threat (27:45), the future of direct-to-consumer commerce (31:30), how Apple has upended online ads (36:10), and the best and worst of going fully remote (38:30).
21. Sightful's Tamir Berliner and Tomer Kahan: "The world's first augmented reality laptop"35:09The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Tamir Berliner and Tomer Kahan, founders of Sightful, to talk about inventing the world’s first “augmented reality” laptop (4:30), the end of the screen (8:10), what they learned from Magic Leap (10:30), making technology disappear (12:00), raising money (18:30), the advantages of starting the company in Israel (21:45), Apple’s big announcement (25:00), getting past the “Glasshole” problem (26:15), their backgrounds (29:00), and selling the first 1,000 laptops (31:30)
20. Outreach’s Manny Medina: “Most founders give up too soon”34:27The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Manny Medina, chief executive of Outreach, to talk about how artificial intelligence is invading the sales business (2:30), why it will enhance humans (6:10), growing up farming shrimp in Ecuador (7:45), communism (9:30), coming to America (11:45), his original startup idea, and abandoning it (14:50), why his capitalist life does not conflict with his communist upbringing (18:50), what is happening in the economy (21:30), moving from a tiny apartment (25:20), and the power of belief (32:00).
19. Runway’s Cristobal Valenzuela: “Pushing AI-generated film past the ’mom threshold’”39:47The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Cristobal Valenzuela, founder of Runway, to talk about using AI to edit and create videos (3:00), starting out at art school (6:50), quitting his job and starting the company in 2018 (8:30), his art career (9:30), rushing to raise money before his visa ran out (14:10), the critical breakthroughs (16:45), what “diffusion” is (18:30), the future of film (21:00), zero-cost content (28:30), coming to America from Chile (33:00), and the challenge of recruiting people (36:20).
18. Stability.ai's Emad Mostaque: "We're all going to die - but not from AI"59:16The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Stability.ai's founder Emad Mostaque, to talk about whether artificial intelligence (AI) is going to kill us all (3:30), why AI is the most important invention since the internal combustion engine (8:00), the next leap (12:40), the explosion of large language models and chatbots (17:00), why he is being sued (21:40), how AI can improve humans (25:30), how it will serve as the new platform (31:00), how he plans to make money (33:30), growing up in London (35:30), his charity (39:10), London's status as a hub (44:50), the most vulnerable industries (49:10), and his problem with OpenAI (56:10).
17. Loyal's Celine Halioua: "The first life extension drug for dogs"56:00The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Loyal founder Celine Halioua, to talk about extending the life of dogs (3:00), pushing to get first product on market in 2025 (6:10), the regulatory path (10:40), growing up in Texas (15:40), how health anxiety seeded her passion for longevity science (21:00), leaving Oxford after being sexually harassed (25:10), coming to San Francisco to work with Laura Deming on longevity (28:50), choosing to work on dogs (31:30), raising money (39:35), convincing top people to join Loyal (42:30), the development timeline (47:00), and the future of longevity science (50:45).
16. Andreessen Horowitz's Vijay Pande: "AI doctors"51:04The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Vijay Pande, head of Andreessen Horowitz’s $1.5bn bio fund, to talk about how artificial intelligence is impacting healthcare (3:30), tools that “understand” biology (8:50), trying to eliminate cancer (12:50), trying to get techie founders to get into healthcare (14:25), America’s plunging life expectancy (18:00), the (potential) end of radiology (21:10), AI’s “hallucination" problem in healthcare (25:55), the future of therapy (29:00), putting healthcare on the Moore’s Law curve (33:10), using automation to slash the industry’s costs and inefficiencies (37:30), the next trillion dollar company (40:00), if capitalism is the best way to crack healthcare (45:40), and solving the billing problem(48:35).
15. SuperFocus.ai's Stephen Hsu: “AI study buddies”50:50The Sunday Times' tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Stephen Hsu, founder of SuperFocus.ai, to talk about genetic testing of children (5:15), his new startup SuperFocus (9:15), the hallucination problem for artificial intelligence (11:40), how the Ai revolution could go very badly (17:55), creating an army of AI workers (24:00), how companies are reacting (27:30), starting a company amid the Cambrian explosion of AI companies (32:35), creating AI study buddies (37:00), the “who owns the data” question (43:15), and how education is the tip of the spear in the age of AI (48:45).
14. Precision Neuroscience's Ben Rapoport: "Write an email with your thoughts"48:36The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Ben Rapoport to talk about his plan it implant his first brain-computer interface in a human this year (5:00), his background in neurosurgery and electrical engineering (10:30), why BCI’s are ready now (13:30), Precision’s approach (16:45), preventing the device being rejected by the body (23:15), what this device will allow (24:45), restoring sense of touch to paralyzed people (32:55), exoskeletons (32:45), his time at Elon Musk’s Neuralink (41:00), and the dawning age of brain computer interfaces (44:00).
13. Fixie.ai's Matt Welsh: "The 12-cent engineer"55:28The Sunday Times’ tech correspondent Danny Fortson brings on Matt Welsh, founder of Fixie.ai, to talk about how artificial intelligence will replace human programmers (3:25), its growing capabilities (8:20), the power of natural language prompts (13:20), running the numbers (16:15), historical precedents (21:30), on whether there is a development “brick wall” coming (25:00), why this AI moment has arrived (27:50), whether OpenAI will have a defensible business model (32:30), Fixie’s plan (35:40), a world of bespoke AIs for different industries (41:20), Welsh’s history at Google, Apple and startups (43:50), starting Fixie (46:30), and the societal shift to come (50:45).