Back to the Future

The number of startups doing really hard stuff has skyrocketed recently. Bitcoin, drones, food substitutes, 3D printing, bioinformatics, deep learning. We used to see these “science fiction” or “moonshot” startups only occasionally. Now it feels like every other startup (or at least 30%) is working on something pretty wacky.

These ideas are like old school Silicon Valley startups: Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel, Sun and Silicon Graphics. In order to work at those places (let alone start one), you needed to have one big brain - and back then, that was usually validated by an advanced technical degree. Deep technical expertise and know-how (i.e., being a smart motherf*cker) created a barrier to entry.

Similarly, the startups in today’s “moonshot”...

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