Make It in NYC with VC Fred Wilson | Summary and Q&A

May 10, 2016
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Make It in NYC with VC Fred Wilson

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In this video, the speaker covers a range of topics including the current state of the tech industry, the impact of AI and robotics, the potential of virtual reality and augmented reality, and the future of self-driving cars and drones. The speaker also discusses the importance of diversity in the venture capital industry and their role in promoting and supporting the growth of the tech sector in New York.

Questions & Answers

Q: Are we currently in a bubble in the tech industry?

I don't think we're in trouble. From what I see, there is plenty of capital and activity in the tech industry. Although there might be a slight decrease in risk tolerance and impatience towards the lack of exits, it doesn't indicate a major crisis.

Q: Are there any mistakes that investors should avoid in terms of investment?

One major mistake is getting too hung up on valuation. It's important for entrepreneurs to focus on getting their companies funded rather than on a specific valuation. Some entrepreneurs may insist on a certain price, but then have to backtrack and accept a lower price, which can complicate the financing process.

Q: What is the difference in approach between men and women in terms of handling failed investments?

Women, in general, tend to be more tenacious and committed to fixing and making things work, whereas men are more willing to cut their losses and move on. Both approaches have their merits, and it's beneficial to have both perspectives in the room.

Q: Is there a plan to have a female partner at the speaker's venture capital firm?

While the firm would like to have a female partner, they haven't added a partner since 2012 and don't have plans to add any soon. They have a small team that works well together, and they are cautious about making changes to a successful formula.

Q: Is augmented reality (AR) going to be a bigger industry than virtual reality (VR) in the long term?

The speaker believes that good VR is essentially good AR, and that eventually, these technologies will merge into one. However, the speaker is more interested in AR because it doesn't require isolating oneself from the real world, like VR does. They envision untethered AR, possibly in the form of glasses, as a more appealing and practical option.

Q: Are you concerned about people becoming too disengaged from reality and real relationships due to VR or AR?

The speaker believes that society tends to reject things that are too creepy or strange, and that people will use technology like AR for things that make sense. They see the potential for AR to enhance social experiences, such as virtually joining friends for lunch, and believes that such applications can be positive and beneficial.

Q: How does the speaker feel about the impact of AI on jobs and the potential loss of human labor?

The speaker believes that the transition to AI will be faster than most people anticipate. They are optimistic and believe that more good will come out of AI than bad. While there may be concerns about job loss, the speaker sees opportunities for humans to focus on higher-order tasks and create art, music, film, knowledge, and science. However, they acknowledge that there may be a short-term period of fewer jobs before new ones are created.

Q: Who is better prepared to dominate the self-driving car industry, tech companies or car companies?

The speaker believes that tech companies have an advantage when it comes to self-driving cars because it's primarily about the intelligence, software, and data rather than the physical car. They recognize that car companies are also investing in this area but lean towards tech companies being better positioned to pioneer the software, AI, and data aspects.

Q: What traditional industries will be disrupted the most by commercial drone usage?

The speaker sees potential disruption in the insurance, construction, and real estate industries due to the use of drones. Drones can provide efficient and cost-effective aerial imaging, enabling insurance companies to process claims more rapidly, construction companies to manage projects more effectively, and real estate companies to monitor and document properties more efficiently.

Q: Is the rise of AI, robotics, and automation going to lead to job losses and potential societal challenges?

The speaker acknowledges the concern but believes that society has a history of adjusting to technological changes. They believe that while there may be short-term job losses, new jobs will be created in the long term. They also highlight the importance of focusing on higher-order tasks and problem-solving, allowing humans to contribute to art, music, film, and other creative and intellectual pursuits.

Q: What is the speaker's legacy goal in the tech industry?

The speaker's goal is to have a lasting impact on the growth and development of the tech sector in New York City. They have been championing the resurgence of the tech industry in the city and want to continue promoting initiatives like computer science education and preparing the workforce for the demands of a tech-driven economy.


The tech industry is not currently in a major crisis or bubble, with sufficient capital and activity in the market. Entrepreneurs should focus on finding funding rather than getting fixated on valuation. Diversity in the venture capital industry, including more female partners, is important for a well-rounded perspective. Virtual reality and augmented reality have potential, with untethered AR as a more appealing option. AI will likely have a faster transition than anticipated, with more positive outcomes than negative ones. Tech companies may have an advantage in the self-driving car industry. Drones have significant applications in the insurance, construction, and real estate industries. The impact of AI, robotics, and automation on jobs and society is uncertain, but previous transitions have seen new jobs created in the long term. The speaker's legacy goal is to contribute to the growth and development of the tech sector in New York City.

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