Startup Watch: the real robot danger

The world of entrepreneurship news is a complex one, with people ever ready to give their two cents on how you should be running your business/VC fund/incubator.

Here’s our wrap of what we’re reading on women and AI, hiring mistakes, how some tech is never meant to become a great business, and a little something to lighten the end of the working week.

Women versus the machine. As talking heads fear the age of super intelligence, there is a very real danger that these robots will not be our friends. And when we say 'our', we mean women. Very few people are talking about how robots are being built right now - not in the future - with encoded gendered stereotypes: service robots are ‘female’, war robots are ‘male’, and current attitudes towards both sexes are being unconsciously built into AI. You’re already complicit in this, whenever you talk to a chatbot or a home assistant, so think about it.

A search for 'robots and women' brings up page after page of highly gendered fembots (and the occasional real woman).

Your term sheet should include your goal to change the world. We’re aware that getting VCs over the line with term sheets can be an uphill battle (really - we’ve heard the stories and aren’t jealous of you one bit). But writing your values into your term sheet will mean that everyone really is on the same page. When your investor asks why you’re pouring money into employee training, you can point to clause a, section b.

Wamda of the week: the most fun we’ve had writing about pitching. Wamda has held off writing a ‘how to pitch’ article for years - you don’t need us, you can Google that stuff. But then we met Bianca Praetorius, who almost made us want to get on stage ourselves (almost). Her top tips are: ladies, don’t be cute, and everyone, tone down the ego.

The actress-turned-pitch-coach says a good pitch is an edited pitch. (Image via Bianca Praetorius)

Do you make these two most common hiring mistakes? Hint: do you expect to hire an MBA fluent in Arabic and English who can code, manage clients, and bring in cupcakes every Wednesday for your lowly-paid intern position? You’re making one right there.

F-f-f-failure: don’t be a zombie like BitTorrrent. The beauty of a quick success or failure is that you get resolution fast. But BitTorrent… well they’re the epitome of why you need that. They’re also a useful lesson that if you make your tech open source, it may be impossible to ever build a business around it.

This is where investors are investing this year. The short answer is: infrastructure for the gig economy - think coworking spaces and even co-living spaces (which in regular world parlance is called ‘finding a housemate’); govtech; blockchain; driverless cars; and ‘AI for X’. There are a few others but these are the ones we understand. We’re still not sure what this ‘software is eating the world/business is eating software’ buzz-phrase is supposed to mean.

Random techie things we’ve been reading this week. There’s the Amber Heard/Elon Musk relationship, the proposal that Mexico buys Twitter and shuts it down to protect the country’s economy, and the news that of the eight men who are as rich as half of all humanity, four are bonafide tech entrepreneurs. Our fave though is the tech behind the Amish horse-drawn buggy - they don’t have ABS but they do have air bags.

Feature image via Alpha Coders.

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