Augmenting Innovation Decisions With Data Science

As a venture capitalist/data scientist, I’ve spent over a decade arguing that other venture capitalists and innovators can improve their decision making (a lot) through data science.  While the idea seems like a no-brainer today, 11 years ago it was heresy. Reactions to my work were historically hostile and emotional, and that’s putting it politely.  Words like “data science” and…

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China, Unicorns and the Battle for Global AI

Guest Post by Angelina Cheok Back in 2015, China’s economy appeared to be at a crossroads. Its slowing growth seemed to herald a death knell for the country’s start-up boom, while the outlook for its tech sectors look equally grim. Think tanks, academics and journalists like the Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy published scathing critiques of China’s inability to…

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Some Ideas Are Better Than Others (and I don’t mind saying so)

Some ideas are better than others. This is a challenge for business strategists, who are voracious consumers of ideas (books, seminars, case studies, articles, blogs, biographies, etc.), but who aren’t typically trained to judge an idea’s quality. This leaves strategists vulnerable to bias, persuasion, poor heuristics and psychophysiological reactions (called ‘intuition’). Everyone from the doorman to the chairman has an…

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Venture Capital and Statistics: Art Meets Science

Venture capitalists usually try to avoid statistics, arguing that picking startups is more art than science. When asked why they don’t use statistical decision tools, most VCs say there either isn’t enough data to build reliable models, or picking startups is simply too intangible and complex to be reduced to math. There’s some truth to both arguments… but they’re getting…

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Global race in data science decision-making

On your mark, get set, go 2017! While most folks in the US intuitively understand the pull from abroad, it might surprise them to hear this: I'm finding many overseas companies way ahead of their US counterparts when using data science to improve decision making. It’s real. It’s noticeable. Speaking as an American, it’s even a bit scary. I’ve been guilty…

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Business intuition’s blind spot

I saw this YouTube clip explaining why it can seem as if good-looking people are jerks, and why it seems like healthy food always tastes bad. It made me realize the same effects happen in business, and it’s a bad thing. The YouTube video uses a nifty 2x2 matrix, plotting how "nice" people are versus how good looking you find…

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The Democratization of Math

Historically speaking, why haven’t companies used statistics to manage their innovation portfolios? I’ve had this question a lot lately. It’s a great question. Innovation is one of the most risky aspects of business, and statistics are the tools of risk management. Yet for some reason, despite 70% - 90% failure rates and trillions of dollars spent by companies each year in…

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