Dispatches from Disrupt: Day 2September 19, 2017
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5:15 p.m. -- Over and out. Now all we need to do is figure out what to wear to the TechCrunch Disrupt party tonight...
4:10 p.m. -- Thought I saw a Winklevii. False alarm. -KC
4:00 p.m. -- We're sitting here wondering if the dog from earlier today is going to make a return appearance. Read more about the adorable animal in a post from TechCrunch, aptly titled "Let's talk about Sebastian Thrun's puppy."
3:50 p.m. -- "People say YC is too big. My worry is that we're not nearly big enough," says Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator, one of the original tech accelerators. He thinks there's room for many, many more startups in the world. "Maybe everyone else is right, but I don't think so. [Y Combinator] has already been able to scale much more than I thought." -DO
3:15 p.m. -- Maureen Fan of VR animation company Baobab Studios talks AR, VR and gaming—and she comments on how to get more women into the tech industry: "I think it comes from the top down, from investors." -DO
2:50 p.m. -- Tiffani Ashley Bell, executive director of The Human Utility, is one of the participants in the "tech as a force for good" panel. Her company's platform pays water bills & helps eliminate disconnections for low-income and elderly people. -DO
2:20 p.m. -- Fashion-tech, marketing-tech, the blockchain, music-tech. There are dozens of companies from every sector in startup alley ready to tell you just how they will "disrupt" an industry. I chatted with Tommy Marquez, the founder of Chasyr, a ridehailing company that will soon operate on Ethereum, and sure enough, he's ready to disrupt the ridehailing and payments industry. Here's a glimpse of some of the other companies in startup alley today. -KC
2:00 p.m. -- One of the only places I've ever been where the line for the men's restroom is longer than it is for the women's restroom. -DO
12:30 p.m. -- It's been a packed morning. Just before lunch, 23andMe co-founder & CEO Anne Wojcicki discusses her direct-to-consumer genetics testing startup. She focuses on business and glosses over the company's recent $250 million fundraise: "Fundraising is important, but it's kind of like the fuel in your car. It's not that exciting. OK, we filled the tank." -DO
11:45 a.m. -- Awkward moment alert. Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen, the married co-founders of Houzz, take the stage. Moderator opens with: "Congratulations to you guys for staying together." -DO
11:25 a.m. -- KEVIN DURANT IS HERE! To be honest, I was a lot more excited to see Zach Woods of Silicon Valley yesterday, but this is pretty cool too. Wondering what the basketball star is doing here? We were too. Turns out his venture capital firm, the Durant Company, has been quite successful. It backs companies including delivery company Postmates and the investment app Acorns. -KC
"It's the world we live in...Tech is a huge deal. Guys coming in & out of this area, they're seeing how much tech is affecting the world." pic.twitter.com/IPAK0JRgqK— PitchBook Data (@PitchBook) September 19, 2017
10:05 a.m. -- THE BEST THING THAT'S HAPPENED TODAY: Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun brought his dog. -DO
9:50 a.m. -- "Technology should augment the human intellect, not replace it," said John Giannandrea, senior VP of engineering at Google, on AI and machine learning. -DO
9:35 a.m. -- GGV Capital managing partner Jenny Lee has come a long way since 2005, when she helped set up the VC in China and made her first investment with "a suitcase full of cash." Today, she's known as one of the top tech investors in the world. She talked on stage about the global intersection of tech companies: "The US and Chinese economies are not distinct." -DO
9:20 a.m. -- "Our first panel has to do with robotics, but it's more yummy than you might think." That's how TechCrunch's Jordan Crook introduced the first panel of the day: "Rise of the robo chefs" with Zume Pizza's Julia Collins and Miso Robotics' Dave Zito. The pair of developers of robotic kitchen assistants explained that their robots won't replace jobs, as many worry. Rather, they'll make kitchens more efficient. Oh, and Zume compared itself to Amazon. -KC