Episode 13: What’s the deal with SPACs?

SPACs have been one of the hot topics of 2020. Jeff Weinstein, who co-heads investing at FJ Labs, and our resident venture capital nerd, joins to talk about all things SPAC.

He covers:

  • What are SPACs?
  • How do they operate?
  • Why are they hot in 2020?
  • What’s in it for sponsors, institutional investors, the companies merging into them and retail investors?

Interestingly he concludes that while we are in a bubble, SPACs are here to stay and will become a legitimate way to go public once the dust settles after the upcoming, inevitable crash.

For your reference I am including the slides Jeff used during the episode.

Whats-The-Deal-With-SPACs_

If you prefer, you can listen to the episode in the embedded podcast player.

In addition to the above Youtube video and embedded podcast player, you can also listen to the podcast on:

Episode 12: Pandemic, Populism and Policy Failure – The Surprising Case for Optimism in 2020

Given the omnipresent doom and gloom of 2020, I took the time to reflect objectively on where things stand and where the world is heading. My deep dive across so many industries and technologies left me inspired and awe struck by the opportunities open to us. We will address the two fundamental issues of our time: climate change and social injustice / inequality of opportunity.

In turn I cover that:

  • We are constantly bombarded by doom and gloom
  • During the past 200 years we have seen lots of progress in the human condition
  • Lots of issues remain in terms of social injustice and inequality of opportunity with consequences permeating through every sector: education, health care, cost of living, real estate, income disparities, decreased mobility, access to capital etc.
  • Climate change is becoming an existential threat
  • The political system is incapable of dealing with these issues which has led to the rise of populists
  • Technology and entrepreneurs can and must solve these issues
  • With regards to climate change, the ever-decreasing cost of solar and improvements in storage will help us transition to carbon free energy emission sooner than most people realize even if we do not get fusion (and we may see a breakthrough in fusion as well)
  • We are seeing a clear trend towards electrifying transportation and radical innovation in manufacturing and food production which will make the economy carbon free by 2100 and perhaps as early as 2050
  • Carbon removal technologies are also emerging
  • Once we get to a world of free marginal cost of energy lots of other wonderful things happen
  • Startups, especially marketplaces, are emerging to address many societal ills seeing bad user experiences, discrimination, and high costs as an opportunity
  • Amazing companies are emerging to democratize housing, finance, and education
  • A combination of dark kitchens, robotization, autonomy and density will revolutionize food ordering and delivery providing high-quality low-cost food to all making it cheaper than making it on your own
  • Healthcare and public services are finally moving online with better user experiences
  • We are still at the beginning of the technology revolution and are making great strides in everything from nanosatellites, robots, 3D printing, augmented reality, mind reading, self-driving, drones and much more
  • We will tackle the challenges of our time and build a better world of tomorrow, a world of equality of opportunity and of plenty that is ethically conscious and sustainable

For your reference I am including the slides I used during the episode.

2020-12-Pandemic-Populism-and-Policy-Failure-The-Surprising-Case-for-Optimism-in-2020

If you prefer, you can listen to the episode in the embedded podcast player.

In addition to the above Youtube video and embedded podcast player, you can also listen to the podcast on:

Episode 11: Loonshots with Safi Bahcall

I had the privilege of running into the same social and intellectual circles as Safi Bahcall for the past 20 years. When I heard he wrote a book on how large organizations could continue innovating despite their scale, I was intrigued and decided to check it out.

In general, I do not read “business books” as I find them simplistic. Loonshots is the exception to that rule. It blew me away. It mixes compelling personal narratives of entrepreneurs like Edwin Land (Polaroid) and Juan Trippe (Pan Am) with observations from physics and history to weave a very compelling narrative.

To date Playing With Unicorns taught something specific every week. However, I thought a conversation with Safi would be fun and wide ranging, so I invited him to be my first ever “traditional” live stream / podcast guest. It was great and through many non-sequiturs discussed:

  • His transition from academia to running a private biotech company
  • The transition from being a private company to a public company CEO
  • Thinking through what you really want to do in life versus what society expects of you and how pursuing his curiosity led him to Loonshots
  • What the core learnings from Loonshots are
  • Why he is currently fascinated by “Why Markets Crash” and “How organizations can pick the right strategy” (e.g., why, and how did Amazon beat Google in the Cloud market so far)
  • Much more!

If you prefer, you can listen to the episode in the embedded podcast player.

In addition to the above Youtube video and embedded podcast player, you can also listen to the podcast on: