Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lunch Talk: Steve Fodor of Affymetix gives a talk at Stanford eCorner

Dr. Fodor and colleagues were the first to develop and describe microarray technologies and combinatorial chemistry synthesis.

In 1993, Dr. Fodor co-founded Affymetrix where the chip technology has been used to synthesize many varieties of high density oligonucleotide arrays containing hundreds of thousands of DNA probes.

The Market or The Technology

The Scientist vs The Entrepreneur

Monday, June 29, 2015

Google's anti-trust problem: users

Many news agencies reported on a new study about Google search results, painting it in anti-trust tones, e.g.,
(BloombergBusiness, June 29, 2015) The new study, which was presented at the Antitrust Enforcement Symposium in Oxford, U.K., over the weekend, says the content Google displays at the top of many search results pages is inferior to material on competing websites. For this reason, the paper asserts, the practice has the effect of harming consumers.
In reality, Google's biggest anti-trust problem is its users who believe that Google search engine can provide them with best results. The belief still holds true for the web because Google has the ability to access, index, and rank web pages. As information and (more importantly!) user interactions shift toward the social world and proprietary mobile applications, Google gradually loses its ability to access the data and make best judgements. In Scalable Innovation (Chapter 22: Google vs Facebook) we identify at least three major consequences of this shift: no full access to social feedback, e.g. "likes"; the reactive nature of the web search itself; Google's lack of access to app-specific data. As a result, people who use search to ask questions like “What’s the best pediatrician in San Francisco?” are not going to get the best answer because Google simply doesn't have it.

On the surface, it looks as if a big monopoly is trying to hurt consumers. That's not the case. The study presented in Oxford assumes that Google is omnipotent and omnipresent. That is, the authors seem not to realize that the information world has changed and our information habits have to change accordingly. Today, consumers hurt themselves by thinking that googling will give them the right answers. Although this powerful illusion works on the web, it begins to fall apart as we enmesh ourself in social networks and mobile apps.

tags: innovation, search, google, facebook, science, technology, 3x3, world

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Principles of Invention and Innovation (BUS 74). Session 1, Quiz 2

Research shows* that college students who use their laptops and mobile phones in class get easily distracted and miss important information. They also distract their professors and other students.

Question: How would IDEAL education and personal communications systems would change the situation?

* Michael J. Berry , Aubrey Westfall. Dial D for Distraction: The Making and Breaking of Cell Phone Policies in the College Classroom . College Teaching. Vol. 63, Iss. 2, 2015. DOI:10.1080/87567555.2015.1005040 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/87567555.2015.1005040

Friday, June 26, 2015

Principles of Invention and Innovation (BUS 74). Session 1, Quiz 1.

According to the LA Times,

More than 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV – including about 156,300 who don’t realize it, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That means 13% of those who are infected with the virus that causes AIDS aren’t in a position to protect their health, or the health of others.

Question: In your opinion, how would an IDEAL healthcare system would change the situation? Briefly describe at least one hypothetical solution that would lead to a breakthrough.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Scalable Innovation and the future of American jobs

Manju Puri and Rebecca Zarutskie, economics researchers from Duke University and Federal Reserve Board, used data over 25 years to understand the difference between VC- and non-VC-financed US firms.* They discovered that VC-financed firms had a disproportionately large positive impact on job creation in the country. For example, in the period between 2001 and 2005 VC-financed firms represented just 0.16% of all firms in existence. At the same time, they employed %7.3 of all workers, which is about 50 times greater than "normal." Also, VC- and non-VC-financed firms differed dramatically in sales (see the chart below).

On the Life Cycle Dynamics of Venture-Capital- and Non-Venture-Capital-Financed Firms. THE JOURNAL OF FINANCE VOL. LXVII, NO. 6 DECEMBER 2012 
Another important finding from the paper:
...the key firm characteristic on which VC focuses is scale or potential for scale, rather than short-term profitability.

Although the common wisdom in Silicon Valley is that VCs select for the best team, the data tells us that potential scale of the startup matters the most. This finding strengthens the argument we put forward in Scalable Innovation: scalability of the target innovation space is the fundamental differentiator between successful and unsuccessful innovation attempts.

* Source: Puri, Manju and Zarutskie, Rebecca, On the Lifecycle Dynamics of Venture-Capital- and Non-Venture-Capital-Financed Firms (June 13, 2010). EFA 2007 Ljubljana Meetings Paper; US Census Bureau Center for Economic Studies Paper No. CES-WP-08-13. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=967841 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.967841