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What happened to innovation? - Sam Altman

Stashed in: Silicon Valley!, YCombinator, Innovation, Awesome, startup, @elonmusk, Innovation, @om, @sama

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What happened to innovation?  The word "innovation" itself, that's what happened... such a weasel word compared to "invention".

Plus Sam Altman is the guy who invented Loopt right?

What does he know about innovation?

Or is that his point: Don't make the mistake I made with Loopt?


I'm just saying. 

Top right is Google, Bottom right is Elon Musk, Bottom left is Kickstarter, and Top left is every startup in Silicon Valley.

Seems like a sweeping generalization.

I'm not sure I agree with the categorical sort of physical vs software, but why quibble.  I certainly don't understand the incredulity of the question... are we somehow supposed to be shocked at one quadrant or another?

I'm saying the whole analysis is sloppy, because as you point out, his axes are not orthogonal.

Also, from the article, this is not true:

Right now in Silicon Valley, most investors are more interested in your growth graph than your long-term plan—i.e., more interested in the past than the future.  Some possible explanations for this are risk aversion and intellectual laziness.  (Actually, it’s a little better than that—compounding growth is an extremely powerful force, and if investors believe growth will keep going at the same rate, then they can be making a very wise decision.)  This focus makes it hard for companies to raise money if they’re doing things that won’t have a growth graph of any sort for years.

Having a growth graph in Silicon Valley these days won't get you funded either. Investors are passing on almost everything,

I work at a company that VCs are practically begging to throw money into, and we've so far turned down all institutional investors and buy out offers. (yeah it's pretty awesome).... But my office shares a wall the the conference room they usually use so I hear quite a bit of the conversations (i'm almost deaf, but the wall is paper thin.. lol). Some of the things I've heard are:

They're sick of games, mobile, social, and other consumer-y properties. Low ROI and even then only in aggregate.

They want originality (tho i find this dubious) or at least something truly compelling.

They HATE startups which are aiming for acquihire.

Security products are HOT.

Patents (and patentability) on real things make them salivate.

Your sampled observations are right on the money regarding my experience of prevailing conditions among VCs this season... and we can expect that to change.  Just not sure when.  Haha!

Yes, they're on a pendulum that ever swings back and forth.

There's just no way to predict when the swing will happen. 

any change? 

Not yet. Sometimes change takes years. 

This is about 95% a function of what investors are willing to fund

If Tesla or SpaceX were Musk's first startups he'd have been laughed off of Sand Hill Road

We can all remember as recently as a few years ago when no one would fund Tesla and Elon Musk had to practically bankrupt himself to keep it going.

Investors don't have intestinal fortitude these days, but arguably as a group they never did.