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Tag Archives: start ups

10 Reasons The Future Doesn’t Include Your Job



You’re Screwed.


If you have a boss, anyway.

Jobs are getting demolished like crazy. Yours is probably next.

Robots and software are making each worker amazingly productive. This has been happening forever. Ned Ludd is famous for smashing a couple stocking frames because they took his job. A bunch of people thought this was a good idea and so they also started bashing technology. Then they became Luddites. They were scared. They were professionals who became obsolete because of technology.

Fortunately, no amount of bashing can stop technological progress. (Well, actually, some guy discovered aluminum like 1800 years before we started using it but a greedy King had him beheaded. So sometimes it can work for a while. But he didn’t have the Internet or any backed up data.) The Luddites lose every time.

The original Luddites (like everyone else) ended up getting factory jobs and pay raises. There was more going around. But what happens while the new jobs get made?

In recent history, the new jobs have come in quick. Not now, though. There’s been no obvious place for displaced workers to go.

The rest of this post will give you the information you need to understand what’s happening and, more importantly, how you can secure a place for you and your family among the beneficiaries of all this disruptive craziness.

 I quote heavily from Al Gore’s most recent book, The Future, which is a phenomenal look at the current landscape we’re dealing with. I have also quoted James Altucher’s Choose Yourself which is one of the better books out there. For a more in-depth and step-by-step approach to thriving in this crazy world check out our book, Self-Made U.


A. Robots are Taking Over


Consider the following graph provided by the MIT Technology Review

In Berlin, Are Startups Really Solving Problems?

Some problems are deeply meaningful and urgent: malaria, access to clean water, AIDS.

Others, like which smartphone app to occupy one’s short attention span on the subway ride home, are considerably less so. And, for all the hype surrounding Berlin’s emerging startup scene, it has produced far more trivial solutions, such as games and socially connective apps, than solutions for humanity’s most pressing challenges.

This isn’t just endemic to Germany’s capital but rather international startup culture as a whole. It’s often more about building sandcastles in the sky and quickly selling off hot air to the highest bidder than creating a better world.

The Founders Fund, a San Francisco venture capital group that might be best-known for its early investment in Facebook, addresses this lack in a manifesto subtitled, “We wanted flying cars. Instead we got 140 characters.”

Technological innovation has the potential to transform the quality of life for billions, and yet creativity and passion are thrown-away on the creation of yet another social-media platform.

Startup scenes run the risk of being too obsessed with themselves, collectively reinforcing trivial motivations rather than meaningful movements. Berlin’s relative newbie status on the global market might very well work to its advantage, however; still in its infancy, the city’s startup culture could mature in innumerable ways.

The Berlin tech scene is definitely attracting a lot of hype, but it needs to grow. Part of its maturation process is the development of community platforms for substantive engagement about what Silicon Allee currently represents and, more importantly, what it has the potential to become.

Apex Power sessions, a series of symposiums founded by Ari Stein and Jordan Michaeli, are spearheading a Berlin start-up culture in a better direction.

“If you input a Google search for ‘Socially Aware Startup Berlin,’ the first result that comes up are the Power Sessions,” Stein says.

“Is our city’s startup ecosystem really so soft on social awareness? Jordan and I both came from the startup scene, and we noticed a glaring gap in the market for constructive discussion about where we’re heading and how we can move forward, based on questions that are affecting us everyday.”

The Apex Power Sessions are a lecture series developed over the past six months, with the aim of putting Berlin’s young visionaries in contact with established, international greats. Previous guests have included Red Bull Music Academy Co-Founder Many Ameri, Bread & Butter VP Sebastian Hennecke, Former Team Europe Co-Founder Pawel Chudzinski, Absolut Vodka Global Marketing Manager Franz Drack, and Google’s Director of Marketing for Germany, Austria, and Switzerland Barbara Freyduni, among others.

At 50 Euro a pop, approximately 50 paying guests have the opportunity to participate in a three hour, town hall meeting style format, in which some of the world’s biggest players openly field questions from small-time Berliners who want to put themselves on the map as well.

What makes these sessions so unique is that they’re held in an intimate environment where attendees can hang out and mingle with successful enterprise leaders. A natural, early partner for the Apex Power Sessions was the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, a unique (and still relatively unknown institution) helping groom creative leaders of tomorrow.

Google was so impressed by the Power Sessions format that Stein and Michaeli have been invited to host this month’s event, Are Startups Really Solving Problems, at the Google HQ on Wednesday, April 17th.


Facebook Veteran Ari Steinberg’s New Startup Vamo Taps Big Data To Book You Cheap And Easy Travel

Travel planning is a nightmare. So many moving parts cause decision paralysis and fear you’re getting gouged. That’s why 7-year Facebooker Ari Steinberg just raised $1.6 million for his new startup Vamo. It’s building what Ari calls “the holy grail for travel…a site where you can book a full vacation” or business trip. Priceline, Expedia, and TripAdvisor may have something to worry about.

Now, Steinberg’s quick to say his forthcoming product Vamo isn’t a direct competitor to those travel booking and review sites. He was very cagey about the details of how Vamo will improve the travel planning experience. But what he envisions could encompass them all.

Steinberg came out of Stanford and worked as an engineer at Facebook in the early days before becoming a manager. He and two other employees founded the Facebook Seattle office together, which grew from the three of them to 150 staffers before Steinberg left the company last October. He’s a worldly guy with a penchant for wanderlust, and over his visits to Brazil, India, Japan, China, and Italy he realized how arduous travel booking was.

Steinberg tells me, “It’s a full weekend-long operation just to pull all the pieces together to plan a trip. How long? Where am i going? How long am I staying there? How do I get from place to place? The whole process is really difficult.” Isolated, each piece is easy to plan. But since all the parts are tied together, making the best decision on all of them simultaneously is a huge challenge for our brains. Which dates do you prefer? When is the hotel you want available? When are the flights the cheapest?

“There’s something called a ‘constraint satisfaction problem’. It’s a really geeky way of assembling all these different variables and trying to optimize them” says Steinberg. The solution requires serious engineering work on big data, machine learnings, algorithms, scalability, and distributed systems.

Ari Vamo

That’s why Steinberg came out of stealth now and raised the $1.6 million. He needs to recruit a bigger team of top-notch programmers. The funding comes from a coalition of early-stage firms and angels across entrepreneurship and travel.

Investors include Adam D’Angelo (Quora), Aditya Agarwal and Ruchi Sanghvim (Dropbox), Adrian Aoun, Akhil Wable, Ben Ling, Bono (U2), Box Group, Charlie Songhurst, Crunchfund, Dave Morin (Path), Fritz Lanman, Hadi and Ali Partovi, Hank Vigil, Jed Stremel, Keith Rabois, Kevin Colleran, Marc Bodnick (Quora), Max Levchin (PayPal), Sam Shank, Scott Banister, Spencer Rascoff, and SV Angel. The money will help Steinberg grow the team from its current four-person headcount, and tackle the engineering challenges involved in optimizing travel.

“With Vamo we’re helping people have richer travel experiences. They have a limited amount of time off and want to make the most of it. We want to give you all the joys you can get from travel.”

You can sign up now for access when Vamo goes live.


Ari Steinberg is Founder & CEO at Vamo and previously a software engineer at Facebook.