This Much I Know is the popular podcast from Seedcamp, Europe’s seed fund

Tristan Harris on product ethics & morality in design

How do you organise a billion people’s life choices? For tech giants like Google, Facebook or Apple that isn’t a flippant question: incremental design choices can have monumental significance when introduced at the scale such companies command. ‘They’re urban planners,’ argues Tristan Harris, ‘designing this invisible city that a billion people live inside, and they don’t know it.’

Called the ‘closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience,’ by The Atlantic magazine, Tristan Harris was formerly a Design Ethicist at Google and is now a leader in Time Well Spent, a movement to align technology with our humanity. Time Well Spent aims to heighten consumer awareness about how technology shapes our minds, empower consumers with better ways to use technology and change business incentives and design practices to align with humanity’s best interest. Previously, Tristan was CEO of Apture, which Google acquired in 2011.

Speaking to Seedcamp partner Carlos Espinal, Tristan calls for greater recognition by technology giants and software engineers of their ethical responsibilities. He argues that companies like Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat, which jostle aggressively for command over people’s attention in a zero-sum game, are in a ‘nuclear arms race’, or ‘race to the bottom of the brainstem’.

Given the perverse incentives such companies face – such as deploying ‘drip-by-drip’, instant notifications to sustain people’s interest – Tristan encourages the creation of coordinating mechanisms, akin to the Geneva Convention, and the adoption of shared norms to clean up what he calls the ‘pollution in the attention economy’.

Show notes: Carlos Medium: sdca.mp/2entVR3 Seedcamp: www.seedcamp.com Time Well Spent: www.timewellspent.io Tristan Harris: www.tristanharris.com

Related bio links: Carlos: linkedin.com/in/carloseduardoespinal / twitter.com/cee Tristan: linkedin.com/in/tristanharris / twitter.com/tristanharris

Patrick Campbell, CEO at Price Intelligently, on buyer personas and knowing your customers

Conventional wisdom often encourages startup founders to focus on product and growth, and then figure out monetization later. Yet this can be a backwards step as Patrick Campbell, CEO at Price Intelligently, notes. Businesses should ‘look at the market they want to attack, and then build the thing for them’, by gathering and analysing data on buyer personas.

Patrick’s background is one steeped in using data to generate insights about people and customers. Prior to setting up Price Intelligently, which provides price optimisation software for businesses using proprietary algorithms to determine customers’ relative preferences and their price sensitivities, Patrick worked on Strategic Initiatives for Gemvara. Before Gemvara, Patrick worked in Sales and Operations at Google, where he built new models to optimise their AdWords strategies. He also worked in intelligence for the NSA, shortly after graduating.

Speaking to Seedcamp partner Carlos Espinal, Patrick encourages businesses to work hard on using data to understand the profile and psyche of their customers by building quantified buyer personas. “If you just get in a room and then get aligned on, ‘Here’s who we’re selling to,’ your decisions around product, sales, marketing and operations, even, become crystal clear,” he says.

Learn more about pricing strategies, collecting user behaviour data and finding patterns to help understand customer experience, as well as how to determine which product features are the most important for customers.

Show notes: Carlos Medium: sdca.mp/2entVR3 Seedcamp: www.seedcamp.com Price Intelligently: www.priceintelligently.com

Related bio links: Carlos: linkedin.com/in/carloseduardoespinal / twitter.com/cee Patrick: linkedin.com/in/patrickccampbell/ / twitter.com/Patticus

Building Trust Online with Husayn Kassai of Onfido and Philipp Man of CHRONEXT

Online transactions occur behind a veil of digital anonymity. As a result it is not always possible to ensure a person is who they claim to be. For many startups the problem of trust is even more pronounced, with early stage companies lacking the credibility or reputation of established competitors. So how do you build trust online?

On that topic Seedcamp partner Carlos Espinal is joined by two entrepreneurs for whom trust lies at the very heart of their businesses: Philipp Man, founder and CEO of the luxury watch marketplace CHRONEXT, and Husayn Kassai, founder and CEO of Onfido, a software company providing the next generation of identity verification and background checks.

Selling assets worth thousands, CHRONEXT must ensure trust across their entire platform and supply chain. Philipp notes their ‘whole business model is built on guaranteeing trust and preventing potential fraud’ and discusses some of the authentication mechanisms they rely on - from identity checks and due diligence on suppliers to manual inspection checks by expert watchmakers.

Meanwhile Husayn explains how Onfido is essentially in the business of building trust and that the company was born out of the recognition that trust would be the ‘currency of the future’. He discusses Onfido’s early days, selling first to the on-demand sector and sharing economy, later to FinTech, and now online and retail banking.

Tune in to learn how to build credence for your early stage business from entrepreneurs who’ve been there before, and how to balance converting customers with minimising fraud.

Show notes: Carlos Medium: sdca.mp/2entVR3 Seedcamp: www.seedcamp.com Onfido: www.onfido.com CHRONEXT: www.chronext.com

Related bio links: Carlos: linkedin.com/in/carloseduardoespinal / twitter.com/cee Husayn: linkedin.com/in/husaynkassai / twitter.com/HusaynKassai Philipp Man: linkedin.com/in/philippman / twitter.com/ManPhilipp

Investing in AI: Carlos Espinal speaking at the AIBE Summit 2017

Seedcamp partner Carlos Espinal gave a talk at the AIBE Summit 2017 on venture capital investment in Artificial Intelligence. With one of the largest AI portfolios held by an early-stage investor in Europe, including companies like ThirdEye, Reinfer and Viz.ai, Carlos discusses the areas in which Seedcamp has invested to date and why, as well as wider funding trends.

Carlos recalls the history of previous ‘AI Winters’, in which valuations dry up and scepticism abounds, and explains why right now it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur working with artificial intelligence. He argues that AI, like mobile in 2007, is no longer a standalone category but a technological enabler, unlocking value in healthcare, security and other sectors.

The slides to his talk can be found here: sdca.mp/AIslides Read more from Carlos on the topic of artificial intelligence and its potential to become 'the new mobile' here: sdca.mp/AIisnow

Show notes: Carlos Medium: sdca.mp/2entVR3 Seedcamp: www.seedcamp.com AIBE Summit: www.aibesummit.com

More on the AIBE Summit: The AIBE Summit is a conference on artificial intelligence in business & entrepreneurship. Their mission is to increase public understanding and intellectual discussion on the implications of AI for the business world, to raise the technological literacy of students, entrepreneurs, and professionals alike, and to recognise London as one of the world’s major digital capitals for the future of AI.

It is an initiative pioneered by the LSE Entrepreneurs Society, driven to celebrate the newly formed Partnership on AI between Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft.

Davor Hebel, Managing Partner at Eight Roads Ventures, on entrepreneurial ambition & scaling up

“Being a good consultant, being able to problem solve in a room with a whiteboard, is not the same as being able to get things done,” argues Davor Hebel, managing partner for Europe at Eight Roads ventures (and previous consultant).

Davor’s area of focus at Eight Roads includes consumer and enterprise technology - with Innogames (bought by MTG), Treatwell (bought by recruit) and Notonthehighstreet among the companies he has worked alongside. Davor spent several years at McKinsey and Company, where he advised companies on issues of strategy and technology. He was also an entrepreneur in his native Croatia. Davor holds a tech degree from ASU, an MISM from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Speaking to Seedcamp partner Carlos Espinal, Davor discusses moving from Croatia and transitioning from a Communist state to market economy - the US - where he was ‘enamoured by capitalist society, the private economy, talk of entrepreneurship and ownership of companies’.

Learn more about the proof points Eight Roads looks for in companies, including repeatable revenue and an understanding of which marketing channels are starting to scale, and which type of companies should consider relocating to the US.

Show notes: Carlos Medium: sdca.mp/2entVR3 Seedcamp: www.seedcamp.com Eight Roads: www.eightroads.com

Related bio links: Carlos: linkedin.com/in/carloseduardoespinal / twitter.com/cee Davor linkedin.com/in/davorhebel / twitter.com/dhebel

Azeem Azhar on startup pivots, fake news and how AI is reshaping societies

With ‘fake news’ of increasing concern - and an issue pushed to prominence during the US presidential election - how can we ensure the accuracy of our information sources? Few are better placed to answer than Azeem Azhar, product entrepreneur, writer and founder of PeerIndex, the social media analytics startup acquired by BrandWatch.

How to find the best and most reliable information is something that Azeem says has driven him throughout his rich and varied career. As well as founding PeerIndex, which processed social data by using machine learning to identify novel, actionable signals, Azeem was involved with startups like EVI (acquired by Amazon), AMI Software (acquired by Bertin) and others. He also worked as a technology correspondent and in management positions for The Guardian, The Economist, BBC and Reuters. Azeem now curates the Exponential View, a weekly newsletter on technology and society.

Speaking with Seedcamp partner Carlos Espinal, Azeem discusses his journey from journalism to technology. He distills the most important lessons learnt during the founding and development of PeerIndex - including successfully pivoting the business twice. Talking about his own experience, he urges entrepreneurs who have sufficient doubts about whether their punches are landing in the market to act quickly.

Azeem also addresses the ways in which advanced technologies like AI are reshaping society, including their costs and associated ethical puzzles, and suggests ways in which we can respond to increased technological efficiencies to avoid a future like that depicted in dystopian blockbuster ‘Elysium’.

Show notes: Carlos Medium: sdca.mp/2entVR3 Seedcamp: www.seedcamp.com Exponential View: www.exponentialview.co

Related bio links: Carlos: linkedin.com/in/carloseduardoespinal / twitter.com/cee Alex: linkedin.com/in/azhar / twitter.com/azeem

Alex Macpherson, Managing Director of Octopus Ventures, on backing exceptional founders

This week we’re joined by Alex Macpherson, Managing Director of Octopus Ventures. With 53 companies in its portfolio (including successes like Zoopla, Swiftkey and Graze.com), and around $850M in management, Octopus is one of the European ecosystem’s leading players, backing teams across multiple stages and sectors.

Alex transitioned into venture after 11 years as a derivatives trader in the City – prior to which he sold personal and business computers after leaving school (and even worked in the circus). In 2000 he founded Katalyst, a private investor group making investments into early stage, start up and expansion stage companies. Over seven years, Alex led the business as CEO until its sale to Octopus in August 2007 – upon which he joined the firm.

Speaking to Seedcamp partner Carlos Espinal, Alex discusses the ways his years as a City trader shaped his approach to investing– including learning the lesson that the ‘first cut is the cheapest’, meaning investors and entrepreneurs should know when to cut their losses or shift strategy.

Referencing some of Octopus’s biggest success such as Zoopla, Alex explains how he looks for teams that combine execution with vision and why, given that the difference between success and failure is ‘wafer thin’, backing exceptional founders is essential.

Show notes: Carlos Medium: sdca.mp/2entVR3 Seedcamp: www.seedcamp.com Octopus Ventures: www.octopusventures.com

Related bio links: Carlos: linkedin.com/in/carloseduardoespinal / twitter.com/cee Alex: linkedin.com/in/alexandermacpherson

Kenneth Cukier, Senior Editor at The Economist on machine learning & big data

Big data, argues Kenneth Cukier, senior editor for data and digital at The Economist, is epoch defining: the ability for humans to store and transmit information at a scale previously inconceivable will transform ‘how we work, live and think’ – much as fire, bronze and the paper press revolutionised earlier societies. But how should we respond to the economic dislocation AI will produce in conjunction with big data?

Kenneth’s career in journalism is a distinguished one. The co-author of the New York Times Best Seller “Big Data” (2013) he manages new digital product development and oversees data analytics for The Economist. Prior to this, Kenneth served as technology editor of the Wall Street Journal Asia and also worked at the International Herald Tribune in Paris. In 2002-04 he was a research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Speaking with Seedcamp partner Carlos Espinal, Kenneth claims that information has gone from ‘a stock to flow’. Instead of being stored in fixed media – such as clay discs 4,000 years ago – data is now liquid and dynamic. The application of machine learning techniques and algorithms to such data lets us do things once impossible, such as build self-driving cars or diagnose diseases at a far earlier stage. But, he cautions, ‘it is the mark of an unwise society’ and close to criminal that we are not properly sharing data in spheres such as healthcare.

Listen to understand how we can learn from the information we collect, what change needs to materialise before we feel AI’s effect in proper, and how to respond to the job displacement that AI will bring about.

Show notes: Carlos Medium: sdca.mp/2entVR3 Seedcamp: www.seedcamp.com The Economist: www.economist.com Kenneth’s TED Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pHzROP1D-w

Related bio links: Carlos: linkedin.com/in/carloseduardoespinal / twitter.com/cee Kenneth: cukier.com / twitter.com/kncukier

Evan Nisselson, General Partner at LDV Capital on Visual Technologies & Satellite Selfies

This week we’re joined by serial entrepreneur and General Partner of LDV Capital, Evan Nisselson. LDV Capital invests in entrepreneurs building early stage Visual Technologies companies in Europe and North America.

Evan’s fascinating background includes time as a photographer, photo agent and photo buyer before landing in Sillicon Valley in the mid-90s and becoming one of the first photo editors on the internet. Evan has spent the past 18 years building and investing in Visual Technology businesses and his expertise in the sector led to the creation of LDV Capital over four and a half years ago.

In this podcast, Evan talks to Carlos about his own experiences as a founder and CEO of Digital Railroad, launched in 2004, providing professional photographers, agencies and image buyers with a web service platform and marketplace. Evan talks about the successes and failures of the company, liquidated shortly after the economic crash in 2008, and the critical lessons he learned from his experiences that he goes on to share with founders he backs today.

Often described as “crazy” for his views, Evan has a habit of predicting future trends. In May 2003 he wrote an article that said camera phones would replace point & shoot cameras. Evan talks through his predictions around the Internet of Eyes replacing the Internet of Things, satellite selfies and retina cameras as seen in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror.

Tune in to hear more about Evan’s thoughts around the evolution of social interactions, whether privacy is dead and how timing is everything when it comes to investment.

Show notes: Carlos Medium: sdca.mp/2entVR3 Seedcamp: www.seedcamp.com LDV Capital: http://www.ldv.co/

Related bio links: Carlos: linkedin.com/in/carloseduardoespinal / twitter.com/cee Evan: linkedin.com/in/evannisselson / twitter.com/nisselson

Jackson Gabbard, Seedcamp EiR & founding Facebook hire on great tech leadership

How can companies promote great technical leadership, and how should startups approach hiring developers? On that topic Seedcamp partner Carlos Espinal is joined by Jackson Gabbard, one of the founding hires in Facebook’s London office and now an Expert in Residence at Seedcamp.

Having made the transition from an English degree to a career in software development by teaching himself to code, Jackson also recalls how he overcame gaps in his technical knowledge through focus and hard study – leading to multiple promotions at Facebook after some initial struggles.

Jackson, who conducted over 500 developer interviews while at Facebook, helped create the mobile timeline and worked on abuse prevention systems, cautions against non-technical founders outsourcing their dev work abroad because it can limit product development in the long run.

Learn why the myth of the ‘10x engineer’ is a dangerous one, the reason it’s important to have product visionaries and not just great salespeople, and how tech companies can ensure good people management.

Show notes: Carlos Medium: sdca.mp/2entVR3 Seedcamp: www.seedcamp.com Jackson's YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UCcdCkJKXlRoXVD03eo-q8mQ/

Related bio links: Carlos: linkedin.com/in/carloseduardoespinal / twitter.com/cee Jackson: linkedin.com/in/jacksongabbard / twitter.com/jackson_gabbard