Home   Syllabus   Grading   Project Generator   Video Wall   Sayings/Dichos   Class Projects

Guest Lecture - David Pablo Cohn

Sarah Kintner


David said he started his education as a computer scientist, but had started out to be a chemist, but changed from being a physicist to a computer scientist. He had been involved in several start-ups which failed and finally had a start-up that was a success. He believes that failure is a way of life. He recommended the video of his friend Alberto about pretotyping which I did watch online.

He stated that failure was not a straight line but more of a twisted and turning route to success. He works for Google at the Mountainview Googleplex (free food, nap stations, beer and other things.)

The four rules for success are:

  1. Plan for failure
  2. Fail quickly
  3. Learn from failure
  4. Iterate as necessary

Layout the possible failures
   Regulatory requirements can spell such a problem that it can result in failure.

One must be determined to work around the failures.

Lobbyist when speaking to congressional leaders ask “What would you need to change in the world that would allow you to say "yes"?

One should detect how to determine that the plan has failed.

The biggest failure – inability to get deal flow – generate customers. Hard to get someone to be the first customer.

Financiers in Silicon Valley want 10X – or in plainspeak - they want 10 times return on the money invested in the venture. Silicon Valley investment comes from within its borders not from outside investment.

Learn from failure:
   Embrace failure
   Retrospection asks not who, but what & why
   Expected vs unexpected failures
   How well do you really understand the system
   Iterate post mortem

What is your pivot - start-up refine the business model and pivot - change what I am going to do based upon the business model change. Start-ups learn from their data - ie failures and insights into what a customer may or may not want.

Some investors are impact investors and have certain provisions for helping certain causes or people without profit interest.

Kickstarter website - run a kickstarter to raise money for a fund.

RocketHub also is for raising capital.

Iterate - start a new start-up again
   Get yourself mentally ready
   Failure is hard stuff and it happens over and over
   ~90% of all start-ups fail

Google Labs made it easy to innovate

Say it with data

Shapeway site for 3D shapes

Three questions:

  1. If you had to innovate - in what direction in software seems to be the most probable for science and a resulting start-ups?
  2. When your sat at home and realized your business was going to fail - did certain people in your life or business turn against you?
  3. How did you wife take losing all you finances and can you make provisions to keep her nest egg still safe in the tree when yours has fallen to the ground?

Future work:

  1. Can you be an innovator and try to create a new technology in software such control software for remove biological systems.
  2. Does Google understand when people cannot control their own accounts that it really makes people mad - such as selling their information to industry. Does Google play on both ends of this type of behavior and how do they plan on stopping these practices?
  3. If future computer hardware may in fact become so small and controllable by your own thought waves - how will education teach use to our thought waves and how would Google put a software together to receive these thought waves?