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Aviad Harell's Insights on Tech, AI, and Venture Capital
Episode 220th June 2024 • Data Driven • Data Driven
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In this exciting episode, Frank La Vigne and Andy Leonard sit down with Aviad Harell, managing partner at Team 8, to explore the transformative power of technology in today's business landscape.

Aviad shares his mission to eliminate day-to-day bureaucracy and leverages technology to automate processes, drawing from his vast experience in the tech industry. Beyond business, Aviad reveals his passion for traveling in South America and his book recommendation, "The Mom Test," which acts as a guide for proper idea validation.

As the conversation unfolds, we explore how venture capital has evolved from a hobby to a disciplined, professional field, much like the maturity models in software development. Aviad details Team 8's innovative approach to venture capital, partnering with founders early in their journey, sometimes before even fully forming ideas. This unique model includes building a robust support system of 85 professionals to ensure the success of the startups they invest in.

Discover the importance of critical thinking, loving the problem more than the solution, and the journey from idea to execution.

Hear Aviad's insights on why execution is more crucial than the original idea and his belief in adaptability, quoting the famous military adage, "No idea survives contact with reality."

Show Notes

04:56 Founders seek validation, partners provide early support.

07:57 Teammate model founded on deep cybersecurity understanding.

10:51 Query about venture capitalist process's modernization and perception.

15:28 Entrepreneurship challenges led to significant personal growth.

19:07 Unintended tech consequences changing finance and daily lives.

22:47 Interested in different applications of agile methodologies.

27:22 Fascinating insights into approaching venture capitalists today.

30:31 Passion for skill, idea improvement, crucial teamwork.

31:23 Seek advice, consider other ideas, and collaborate.

36:26 Entrepreneur becomes angel investor, supports Tel Aviv.

37:52 Considered new company, resisted VC, became investor.

43:58 Automating bureaucracy, taxes, and legal document review.

47:53 Focus on problem, not solution; meaningful feedback.

50:38 Data-driven episode with Aviad Harrell from Team 8.

Transcripts

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Hello and welcome back to Data Driven. In this episode,

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Frank and Andy interview Aviad Harrell, managing partner

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at Team 8. Aviad sheds light on team 8's unique

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model of partnering with founders even before they have fully formed

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ideas, emphasizing the importance of critical thinking,

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understanding problems intimately, and having a systematic process for

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success. Aviad's insights into the evolution of venture

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capital capital and the AI revolution are sure to intrigue and

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inspire. Now on to the show.

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Alright. Hello, and welcome back to Data Driven, the podcast where we explore the

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emergent fields of AI, data science, and, of course, data

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engineering. With me on this epic road trip down the information

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superhighway of data.

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Andy Leonard. How's it going, Andy? It's going pretty good, Frank. How are you,

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sir? I'm doing alright. You and I are both suffering from the

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pollen wave that has hit, Virginia, Maryland.

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We're at least half of Maryland. The southern the the kind of coastal

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half. I was in Pittsburgh. Out of town, and I was up in you were

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north. I was in Pittsburgh, and Yeah. Everyone up there is complaining about

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allergies, but, yeah, it wasn't at the degree. It didn't bother me. And then it's

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literally as soon as I crossed interstate 81, in

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Hagerstown, boom. Like, it just hit like a wave.

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But with me, with us today is

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Aviad Harel. He is a, management partner

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at team 8, and, he's gonna tell

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us all about what team 8 is because I've heard it used, I've heard it

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referenced, but I'd like to know more. Welcome to the show, Aviad. Hi, Frank.

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Hi, Andy. Happy to be on your show today. Cool. Good to have you.

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So It was my pleasure. You are, you're an

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investor. You're, an adviser, and

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you have a history of of being a founder, actually. You you

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were a founder and COO of

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Sisense. So tell us about what is team 8? Let's start

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there. Yep. So team

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8 is, is a VC to begin with. It's

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an Israeli based VC, quite large one,

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but, it has, a spill. It's a VC with

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a spill, and I'll try to explain what, makes it, unique.

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We at Teammate, we really like to partner with

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founders very early in their journey.

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Sometimes before they have a very established idea of what they're going to

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build, we usually look for founders

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that, we we become big believers

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in in their capabilities, and

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we are also interested in founders that are interested in the

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same verticals that we are interested.

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Part of our day to day is to build

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thesis for ideas. What does it mean? We don't like to be

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passive. We don't like to sit on our on our chairs and waiting for,

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founding, teams to come to us and pitch us ideas. We

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do that, and we like that, but we also really, really

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like to be very active on the ideation part. So even

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before we find founders, we work very hard to build our own thesis in

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our, in our specific verticals that we're interested

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in. But we're building the thesis in a way

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that is like we are going to start that company.

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So we come up with an idea. We connect to

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the market, to specific companies that potentially can become design

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partners or even customers, of that idea, and

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we try to validate that idea together with them.

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If we were able to validate the idea

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in in in a very systematic way, and we have a very

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elaborated, book of processes, how we, validate

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our teasers. And then we also found the right

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founders that, we feed them, they feed us, and they feed the

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teasers. Then we usually don't just bet

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on them, we triple bet on them. It starts with the size

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of the check. Usually, we invest in

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precede, rounds. We invest 2 x to

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5 x of the average check size in these founders and

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ideas. We do not invest

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in many companies every year. We invest in only very few

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because we want to give them our full attention. And lastly, at

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team 8, we have, an establishment we call

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the, the platform. It's actually a group

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of 85 professionals on the payroll of teammate that

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includes, developers and product people and

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sales people and business people, that they have two purposes

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in, teammate. 1, help us in, validating

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thesis, and secondly started

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it. So from the

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perspective of the founders, if we decided,

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to partner with them, we give them large

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checks very early on in the process. They give they get

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the bandwidth of, the managing partner such as

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myself and my, partner, and they're augmented,

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at day 0 with the platform, the 85, professional,

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part of, teammate. This is a very expensive motion.

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We were able to execute on that motion

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if and only if we're able to build a very strong conviction

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on the problem, the solution, and the founders. So

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we do very little, but the little we do, we

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triple bet on that. So this is this is

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my way to explain the difference, or the

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different motion of teammate versus a more typical VCs.

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Right. And, you know, VCs, at least in America at

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least in the Valley, the Valley model, it sounds like you're very different than the

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Valley model. It seems like you're you're kind of, like, a step or

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2 ahead of you you bet. And that's not fair to the valley based ones.

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Right? Like, because there there's a stereotype. Right? Like, and and I'm sure they're they're

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painfully aware of the survey. But it sounds like you don't just invest in the

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idea, but you also invest in the people. Right? Correct. Correct.

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I I I would not be, very quick to say that,

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the Silicon Valley VCs do not invest in people. They do invest in

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people, But, we invest

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in people very early. Right. And,

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we take bigger chances because we build bigger conviction

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more than average at least on the problem statement and the solution for that.

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Mhmm. Nice. That makes a lot of sense.

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No. And I don't mean to track the value of these. It's

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just it's a different what you're doing is is I think being people first,

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if that's if that's a a a good way to think of it. How did

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you come to that I'm sorry. Go ahead. Yeah. We're big

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believers in, people. You know?

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I think the number one, attribute to success of a

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venture is the people we partner with and the

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market. Right? These are the 2 most important, attributes, to

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that. So we try to partner with the best founders we can. Now best

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founders we can partner with is a combination of few qualities.

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1st, the the people, and secondly, they're matched

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to the teases, to the idea that they are after.

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Interesting. Interesting. How did you

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come to that model of being kind of a people first approach as opposed

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to what I've seen as more of a product

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based approach or an offering based approach?

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Yeah. So first, teammate, was

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founded way before I joined. I joined a little bit over a year ago, so

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it's not a a model I invented. But I think,

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this model, was

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created based on few things. 1st, I think

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the people that founded team 8 basically,

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had a very good understanding of a specific vertical they started

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with and cybersecurity. Teammate was found by

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the x 8200, commander. It was the the

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intelligence, technical intelligence unit out of IDF.

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And, he and his team came with,

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a set of understanding deep understanding of, the

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vertical, and, they wanted to

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be very active in regards to what they're going to build and not just

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wait for, ideas to come to them. So they started to build few teasers,

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and they part of the process of building or or building a

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factory to build, startups, they also started

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to, meet or date potential, founders.

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And, they had a very good initial success, And I think this

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is what, set, set the structure going on

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forward of, how, things are, taking

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place at Team 8. Well, that whole that whole seeking

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out people, I know I know that's what other, VCs do.

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But most of the time, you know, those of us on the outside of the

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market, hear of people going to pitch

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their ideas in a shark tank kind of way. Is that on my side

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or your side? So that on my side, that's what

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I hear. You know, my understanding is Got a little bit dumb. Invested.

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So you got a little bit disconnected. Technical glitches. Yeah.

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So from my side, what I see as a person on the outside is

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that usually engagement with venture capitalists

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involves someone like me going to someone like you

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and sharing an idea and creating a pension oh, I'm sorry.

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I still see him. Oh, no. I still see you. Can you

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still hear me, Andy? I hear both of you. Yeah. And I've had a couple

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of glitches over here, but that's kinda normal. Am I back in

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sync? You look like you are.

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Okay. Can you hear me? Typing. I can hear you. Can you hear

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me talking when and see my mouse moving into the system? You for,

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few to, 10 of seconds. Okay. Can you hear me now?

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Daphne says she can hear me. Okay. Weird. Oh,

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well. Sorry about He's moving. Yeah. I can see

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I think the video is good. You come in and go. I'm trying to check

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my network. It seems okay. Yeah. It's probably me.

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I'll let my team Teams. I like blaming Teams. Hold on. Frank, you know what

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I you got the gist of what I'm about to do. Yeah.

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So I will I will ask in behalf of Andy because it's okay. So

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from the outside, right, and and to be clear, last time I had any kind

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of interactions with, venture capitalists would have been the dotcom

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boom. Right? So this is, like, a lifetime ago. And,

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one of the things is, like, when when we when people tend to when people

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on the outside of the industry, they tend to think of something like Shark

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Tank. Right? Where a a a, entrepreneur

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goes to a bunch of venture capitalists, and they do a pitch deck or a

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pitch. Has that changed? Like, what is what is what is kinda normal for the

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industry now?

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Can you still hear me?

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Oh, wow. Okay. He's not moving, so you come and go.

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Okay. Yeah. Let me prep a Google Meet

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just in case.

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I think now it's a little bit better. Now it's better.

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Yeah. Maybe we should turn off cameras just to be We

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can. Yeah. Sorry about that, guys. No worries.

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Alright. How's that? Can you I can

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hear you perfectly. Yeah. Excellent. Alright.

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This is gonna happen over the course of 8 years of podcasting.

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Alright. 1st time. Go ahead, Andy. We'll we'll take it from the top.

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Okay. So my question was, you know, I'm I'm a person outside of,

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venture capital. I've not interacted with, with with

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venture capitalists at all. And my understanding has

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been that the way you engage with a venture capitalist

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is you do a pitch deck. You go to a meeting that's a lot like

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the TV show Shark Tank, and they ask

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questions and you give answers. And, you know, at the end

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of that, they you know, the venture capitalists go thumbs up,

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thumbs down. And what I hear you saying, it sounds like that, yes,

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you're doing that, but you're also actively seeking out

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founders and that that's a bit different from what we've

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what we've expected. Okay. I think Cool. I think I think you

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described it, well. We seek out founders sometimes even

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before they have ideas. And in parallel, we also seek

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ideas regardless of founders. Now that's an interesting

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approach going after the that you know, I've never heard anybody say

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that before, that you're looking for, I guess, you're looking

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for leadership or, enthusiasm or

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intelligence or some combination of all of the above. You're you're

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looking for a person, and then y'all are all

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gonna get together, you and that person and your team,

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and you're gonna come up with an idea for that person to

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lead. Is that accurate? It is. It is. I just,

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even make it more, more,

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concrete. We look for entrepreneurs. Right? Entrepreneur

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is a little bit, of mixture of of, everything you listed,

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earlier. Uh-huh. But it also has the x factor.

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You know, someone that, will be able to get,

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in the room from the cracks in the floor. Right?

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So that x factor is a must,

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a must be, fairy dust on the qualities you described earlier.

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But, yeah, we're focused on that. Interesting.

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Interesting. What is what is kind of like

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because last time I interacted with any kind of venture capital would have been during

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the dotcom boom in the late nineties. Yep. How how has the industry

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changed since then? Well, this is this is

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a a a great, question. So,

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I'll try to answer it from, my own experience. So,

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before I joined team 8, I was a

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founder of, business intelligence and analytics company called Sisense.

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I started it 18 years ago. It's a long

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period of time when I say it, like that, and I spend there 15 years,

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holding, all the various position, you can,

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think of. I remember few things

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from the early days of, Sisense. 1st,

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it feels like it was way

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less professional than it is today. In the

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sense that when me and my cofounders

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wanted to start a Sisense, we were completely clueless.

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Right? We were completely clueless of what it means to start a

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company. We were completely clueless what it means to build a product.

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We were completely clueless of what it means to define a product

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or to build a team or to raise money.

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Today, many years after, I meet

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many teams and I see that the level of understanding,

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and, the knowledge that the teams, the founders that I

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meet today have is a few orders of

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magnitude, higher than what I had when I

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started. So this is one thing. Secondly,

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the first money I raised to my company was half a

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$1,000,000, I think. It was a long time ago.

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It's a different ball game today. Yeah. It used to be a lot of money.

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It used to be a lot of money, and I gave

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a big equity chunk for that half a1000000 dollars

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worth of, funding. Today, it's a different ball game.

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This is pay more for much smaller part

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of, of, the company. So this is

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a a second, difference. And lastly,

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I think the ecosystem is much more mature. The

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ecosystem of startups and that, that

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cradle the the the founders and support them. Right? I'll give you a

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few example. When you want to start,

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a venture and you raise money from any VC

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by the way, many many VCs are really good

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VCs in, provide you,

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air coverage of building your, company. They will,

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introduce you to relevant potential, customer or design partners.

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They will help you with future found of running funding.

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Sorry. They will introduce to you

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potential, key hires to your company. They used to

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do it in the past, but, in in much less systemized

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manner. So I think that on one

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in one way, it's easier or more systematic,

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to be a founder these days. However, it's more competitive

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than it used to be back then. Interesting.

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What do you think has driven that the kind of the evolution? Just a

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few aside from inflation and being that, you know, half

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$1,000,000 isn't what it used to be. Well, I I think many

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factors. 1st, you know, the industry

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matured in in I don't know. 20

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years ago, there weren't so many tech

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startups out there. And as a

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derivative of that, there wasn't so so

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much of, institutional money to be invested in

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it. It wasn't a thing to invest in start up. It was, more of

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a hobby. Now it's more, matured

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and incorporated in many ways.

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So the the industry, like many other industries, matured

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along, the way. Now, secondly,

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the world is becoming more tech, savvy or more

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tech driven, compared to what it was, 20 years

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ago. Right? That's true. Look at the Fortune,

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500, companies. Who are the companies that now lead the Fortune

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500 compared to who led the Fortune 500,

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least 20 years ago? Yeah. It's definitely tech heavy

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now. Yep. Yes. Absolutely. No. Those are

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good points. Those are good points. It's interesting to see how

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just unintended consequences of, you know, things becoming more

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tech, heavy has changed things like the, you know,

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the S and P and, as well as the weighting of

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the Dow Jones, but also kind of our daily lives, but also,

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you know, the better venture capital industry. Like, it's a it's more sounds like it's

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more of a proper discipline now as opposed to, you know,

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a hobby. Like, you know, kinda like we said, it was kinda,

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but now it's more of a professional discipline with with with

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proper kind of structure and form

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around it, I guess, would be a good way to put it. Yep. I agree.

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I agree. It's I think it's fair to describe it that way. Yeah. I

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like the way you're approaching it. It's very systematic. It it

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feels, you know, it feels kind of appropriate

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in that there's, that there's a framework that

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you're following, a system that you're following, kind of a, like Frank

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said, a disciplined approach to it. And, it it feels

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self similar. So you're investing in technologies.

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Maybe you're looking for or maybe part of what you're looking for

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is someone who has the ability to

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perhaps create methodologies to solve business problems,

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technical problems. And, you know, and and in

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doing that, you're applying this methodology that you've already built,

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you and your partner. I think it's,

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the right way to put it. In a way,

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if you want to become better in what you're

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doing, you must have a system. Doesn't matter

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which discipline you're involved with. But if you want to constantly

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improve, you must have a system. Because without a system, you won't be

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able to look back in a retrospective and understand in a

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systematic manner what worked and what didn't work and

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how to improve it. So in order to have the the the the

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the base ground to analyze what worked and what didn't

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work, you need to have a a a framework, a systematic framework that

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will help you to do so. So you're describing an

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advanced, or mature. There's a capability maturity

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models that are applied in software all the time. And what you're describing sounds

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very, very similar to that. And it's,

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you know, the same sort of thing that I recall from an article that

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I I read. I wanna say it was back in the nineties. And it was

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about the team that developed software for the Space Shuttle,

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for NASA Space Shuttle here in the US. And

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one of the things that, that they would do, an approach that they

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took was if there was a

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failure in the code, they didn't

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go fix the failure. They went back to their process

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and found where that failed and let that failure in the code

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through. So it's it's funny that you

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describe it that way because of 2 things. 1st, I think the the

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people you referred to are very smarter than I am, and they

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build much greater things in a in a bigger unknown,

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environment. But, in in in

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regards to that, internally at team 8,

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the the system we've built to how to IDA,

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to how to validate, to how to build a company,

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we actually, we actually call it the machine and and for a

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reason. We try to build a machine, that will help

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us build great companies. That that really

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sounds impressive, and I'd love to know more about that. And I

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know we're, and I know we we have a limited amount

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of time, but I I'm fascinated by that application,

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you know, of this in a different field because

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I've seen, people try to attempt other methodologies

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that do great in software. My my number one experience was

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with the scrum agile method. Yep. And I was at a

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business where that was introduced, and we all learned it. I learned it there for

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the first time. But then I saw the the

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business, part of that try and adopt,

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and and, you know, adapt from and adapt it to,

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applying it to business principles and business decisions. And in that

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particular instance, it failed miserably. And it was

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like I don't know what they did differently because I'm I wasn't that

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high up in the business. I was a low level manager. But

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but seeing that having that experience, seeing that fail

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was eye opening. And it's really cool to see

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somebody applying this in a to a to a business model

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and especially to, venture capitalism and the

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funding of founders and the building of ideas,

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and taking an idea from actually taking it from before the

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idea even exists, just finding a founder

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and then building an idea and then building that idea

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to some product or service. That that's just very impressive

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to me. It's exciting to hear that that's happening. It sounds like the movie

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inception. Right? Like Doesn't it? Yeah. You get it? That you

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can move before it's really a fully formed idea. You kinda nudge

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it along. Yeah. So so you know what? Let let let

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me give you a manifestation of, this process that, relates to

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our discussion, today. One of the things that,

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we build, at teammate as

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assets that we use to, to execute upon that

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motion is what we refer to as the villages. We

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have a couple of them. We have the CISA village, the system

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information security officer village, and,

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the data village. The Cisco village obviously is

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a network of, great CISOs from

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across the globe. Many Fortune 500, companies CISOs

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are part of, that network. And in the data village, we have,

Speaker:

CDOs and and head of, data operations in different

Speaker:

companies all across the globe. And the reason why we

Speaker:

build these, networks that, we work very hard to maintain

Speaker:

and to create engagement in these networks, it's not only because of

Speaker:

the of the social, for

Speaker:

exactly

Speaker:

for exactly what we've talked to. For example,

Speaker:

recently, and we do it on a on a cadence. We reach out

Speaker:

to our network to learn about their day to day

Speaker:

and top of mind issues and challenges that they

Speaker:

face in the real life. And, we use

Speaker:

that, as an input for us to map

Speaker:

the world and understand which areas are,

Speaker:

mostly painful for, the the,

Speaker:

network, members of ours. And it's a great

Speaker:

indication for us to start investigating whether there is a potential to

Speaker:

build a company there. Right? So this is one thing. And the

Speaker:

second part of it, is later in the process. So,

Speaker:

let's say we build a thesis. Let's say I came up with a thesis in

Speaker:

a data infrastructure, vertical. Now

Speaker:

I really like, my thesis, but, nobody cares about the fact

Speaker:

that I like them. I need the network to like them. Right? Because they're their

Speaker:

potential, buyer eventually. So I take

Speaker:

the thesis that, we processed internally at, at,

Speaker:

team 8 that we worked on it, and I bring it to their table.

Speaker:

I want to hear a candid feedback from, these,

Speaker:

village members, what they think about it, and, why,

Speaker:

we don't know what we're talking about or the opposite. Why this is the the

Speaker:

best thing since sliced bread?

Speaker:

Right. Right. Yeah. It's it's almost like it takes a village,

Speaker:

you know, or takes Exactly. You know? Exactly. The approach.

Speaker:

Interesting.

Speaker:

No. This is fascinating. Like, you know, it's it's it's fascinating to see kind of

Speaker:

how this this world works as someone who is kind of, you know, on

Speaker:

the outside and kind of I watched our tank. There's actually a

Speaker:

knockoff version of the show called elevator pitch, which I've

Speaker:

seen. You know, it's not my client's

Speaker:

getting shark tank, but so what

Speaker:

would be your advice to entrepreneurs?

Speaker:

Like and and, like, what would be your advice for

Speaker:

them in general? They have an idea. And what would

Speaker:

be your advice to them to, like, say, hey. I wanna execute

Speaker:

on this idea. Like, what how would they best approach a venture

Speaker:

capitalist in today's kind of terms? Right? Because it used to be you have to

Speaker:

write this huge document way back, then it became, oh, you see the PowerPoint

Speaker:

deck. Right? I'm pretty sure it's evolved to something else now. What what what

Speaker:

what would be your advice to somebody in that position? So,

Speaker:

I'm trying to address this, question, holistically and not,

Speaker:

tactically. First, I think

Speaker:

that, having a founder that, operates

Speaker:

in that specific domain for some time is very important.

Speaker:

To have an intimate relationship with a problem, I think it's a get

Speaker:

great indicator, for a great,

Speaker:

problem understanding and potentially to solve that problem. So this

Speaker:

is one thing. Secondly, critical

Speaker:

thinking. Right? Sometimes all of us,

Speaker:

fall in love with our ideas. Right?

Speaker:

And and and this could be the the one of the the

Speaker:

biggest detractors or or company destroyers

Speaker:

out there, to fall in love with what you do. I mean, you should fall

Speaker:

in love with it, but you should also be very judgmental

Speaker:

about everything you do and question every step

Speaker:

you take. For example, I give you the example. We come up with a

Speaker:

thesis that sounds to us or feel to us very

Speaker:

good, and we have, a lot of confidence with that. It's

Speaker:

nice, but it doesn't mean a lot. I need the actual market,

Speaker:

the actual, friction of the market,

Speaker:

to indicate the same thing. So we try to be

Speaker:

as critical thinkers as, possible.

Speaker:

The people, we talked about it. Building your,

Speaker:

founding team is crucial, for your

Speaker:

success. And, it's one of the those things

Speaker:

that I believe that you should build a team in a way that 1

Speaker:

+1equal 3, meaning the sum of the people,

Speaker:

or the the the value of the group is bigger than the sum of, the

Speaker:

people. And to make sure you have a a good distribution of, skill

Speaker:

set in that team, you have someone that is more business oriented, someone

Speaker:

is more technical oriented, someone is more, focused on a

Speaker:

product. These are great indicators or

Speaker:

initial great indicators for, a good founding

Speaker:

team, and and and and a good venture.

Speaker:

I I love that approach. I love the overlapping bends,

Speaker:

for both passion and for skill.

Speaker:

The thing you said earlier, though, that that really, that I wanna

Speaker:

go back to is the idea of an

Speaker:

idea, if you will. So, yes, people can,

Speaker:

I think, approach with a a great idea? And I see this all of the

Speaker:

time on a much smaller scale, just managing teams of individuals

Speaker:

that people will look at a a solution or look at a problem that needs

Speaker:

to be solved and come up with a solution that

Speaker:

is okay. Maybe not great, maybe it'll solve it, but

Speaker:

it would be so much better if they just added a couple

Speaker:

of, you know, a couple of tweaks to that idea. And it could

Speaker:

be too. That that's one part

Speaker:

of it. The other part of working with others, and this is the crucial part

Speaker:

of that, building that team that you're talking about. And it's my experience

Speaker:

with it is that, sometimes you need

Speaker:

somebody to look you in the eye and say, that's a bad idea.

Speaker:

And it really it can go a couple of ways from there. So one way

Speaker:

it can go, and I think this is often overlooked, so I'm gonna mention it

Speaker:

first, is that they may be wrong about that. It

Speaker:

may be a great idea, and somebody's got a passion for it, and they

Speaker:

want to, to build this thing. But here's an

Speaker:

option. You don't you can build it, but maybe you don't have to

Speaker:

build it right now. If you build this other idea, which

Speaker:

is, you know, what everyone agrees that you should build, now

Speaker:

everyone's engaged. You've got the power of all of those

Speaker:

blends of skills and passions, and you can

Speaker:

produce this product now. Go ahead and do that. Spend a few

Speaker:

years on it. Make your money, and then you can go off and build your

Speaker:

passionate project. And it could be that that also

Speaker:

succeeds. So that just I that's just that take

Speaker:

on it. I I really like that idea, though, the team. I

Speaker:

think anybody who's ever worked in a good team has enjoyed

Speaker:

that experience and seeks to repeat that experience because it

Speaker:

is truly an awesome thing. It's a great feeling when the

Speaker:

team clicks. I couldn't agree more

Speaker:

with you, Andy. One thing that,

Speaker:

was, I heard between the words of

Speaker:

what you said is something that I also relate to, and

Speaker:

this is the process. Right? We talked about the team.

Speaker:

We talked about, the perspective of being a judgmental or

Speaker:

critical thinker about everything you do. But one thing that I think

Speaker:

is overlooked sometime is the process itself. I mean,

Speaker:

I hear on a on an average week at least

Speaker:

20, 30 new ideas. Right? Ideas

Speaker:

are at best at best, 20% of the success of

Speaker:

a new start up at best.

Speaker:

80% if not more, it's all about the execution of

Speaker:

the idea. Right. The execution of the idea. And,

Speaker:

there there are many many layers to this statement.

Speaker:

You start with the idea. Right? But, then reality

Speaker:

happens. Right? And you see that, yeah. And

Speaker:

then you see that the idea well, the the the origin

Speaker:

of the idea is right, but, you need to constantly

Speaker:

navigate the idea, the product vision,

Speaker:

you know, with the conjunction of, the reality. And Sure.

Speaker:

The best teams, others are the ones that

Speaker:

can navigate, in a very up,

Speaker:

open and critical thinking way the product

Speaker:

from the the initial idea to the actual,

Speaker:

embodiment or the actual manifestation of the product that it that

Speaker:

they will, end up with. So the

Speaker:

process itself is super important in my mind.

Speaker:

Yeah. I I so agree with that. We have a there's a a famous

Speaker:

military statement, but what you said reminded me of a modification of

Speaker:

it. It's like no idea survives contact with

Speaker:

reality. Mike Tyson is

Speaker:

also known for for a similar quote where everybody has a plan until they

Speaker:

get punched in the face. That's right. But I think I think that

Speaker:

ties into something, you had said earlier, Adiad, was, you know, like, you you you

Speaker:

wanna love your idea and you wanna fall in love with your idea, but I

Speaker:

don't think you want your love to blind your common sense.

Speaker:

So here is a a a quote I really like, to use.

Speaker:

Don't fall in love with your solution. Fall in love with the problem.

Speaker:

Right? Make sure you have yeah. Make sure you're

Speaker:

you're very, very familiar with the problem.

Speaker:

You really relate to it, you understand it in a very intimate

Speaker:

manner, the right solution will evolve, will

Speaker:

evolve throughout the process if if if you're a strong leader.

Speaker:

Right. Wow. Yes. That's good. That's

Speaker:

really good. That's a quotable. Definitely. I

Speaker:

know we're short on time, and, normally, we do all these questions, but I think

Speaker:

we can do an abbreviated one. I think the first question I'd have for you

Speaker:

is how did you get how did you find your way into into

Speaker:

being a VC? Right? Like, did did it find you or did you find

Speaker:

it? So probably a little bit of both. So,

Speaker:

as I mentioned, before I joined T9, I was, I spent

Speaker:

15 years in a company I founded, a AI analytics

Speaker:

company. And it was a great success. Right? When I left the company, it was

Speaker:

at 100 and $60,000,000 of reoccurring revenue, and we had

Speaker:

more than 800, employees, globally. But

Speaker:

I did it for a very long period of time, 15 years. And I

Speaker:

started that company out of college. It's almost, the the cliche

Speaker:

of, founding up, a startup. You're

Speaker:

doing brilliant. Yeah. And I wanted to to

Speaker:

to, you know, to experience few other things.

Speaker:

So when I started to have these existential thoughts, I informed the board

Speaker:

of directors of, my company, and it took some time until I departed.

Speaker:

But, during my last

Speaker:

few years at Sisense, I also became an

Speaker:

active angel investor. So I tried to start,

Speaker:

giving back to the community of, entrepreneurship in Tel Aviv,

Speaker:

by meeting founders and offering them my candid

Speaker:

support and advice. That's it. And, I started to do

Speaker:

that. And every once in a while, I met up, founders or a

Speaker:

team that I got really excited, from. And,

Speaker:

I I I asked them if I can also invest some of my

Speaker:

own money. And this is how I started my, angel investment,

Speaker:

journey. When I departed from teammate,

Speaker:

You mean Sisense? Yep. Sorry. Sisense.

Speaker:

I, had a lot of free time on my plate. So,

Speaker:

naturally, I became more and more active

Speaker:

in my angel investments. If you ask

Speaker:

me when I when I left, Sisense, if I'll, if I

Speaker:

want to become a VC, the answer would have probably been

Speaker:

no way. I'm a founder. I'm a founder. I'm going

Speaker:

to start a new company. And, I was very close

Speaker:

to start up, a new company, after Sisense,

Speaker:

but the reality is that it didn't happen. Now

Speaker:

I can talk for hours about the psychological,

Speaker:

reasons for that, but it didn't happen. And,

Speaker:

I I can think of why not, but, eventually,

Speaker:

after, I became, quite, active

Speaker:

angel investor, I met the teammate, people.

Speaker:

And, they talked to me for quite some time, and I remember the first

Speaker:

few talk, that they asked me about the, about potentially

Speaker:

working together. I told them I will never become a VC.

Speaker:

But after some kind of, relationship for a long term,

Speaker:

they came to me and told me, but, Aviad, you you were saying you're

Speaker:

not you don't want to be a VC, but you actually invest in companies for

Speaker:

your living. This is what you're doing currently. So join us. Don't

Speaker:

fool yourself. Look at the mirror and join us, and it made

Speaker:

sense. And, this is how I became a,

Speaker:

a VC. You understand? That sounds

Speaker:

like, Frank and I talk often about divine appointments, and

Speaker:

it sounds very much like like one of those. You happen to run into

Speaker:

the these people and it happened or, you know, your first

Speaker:

reaction was not positive. That's great.

Speaker:

Our next question is, what is your favorite part of your current

Speaker:

gig? Very easy answer. Working

Speaker:

with great founders. By far, meeting the

Speaker:

teams, identify that these are great,

Speaker:

great entrepreneurs. This is what makes me tick. And

Speaker:

spending as much time, with them. I don't care doing what? Spending

Speaker:

time with them? This is my favorite part of, my current gig. That

Speaker:

is awesome. Very cool. We

Speaker:

have 3 complete the sentences. When I'm not working, I enjoy blank.

Speaker:

Well, it's a little bit embarrassing because, I don't have

Speaker:

many hobbies. I really like, I really like, working.

Speaker:

I I mean, obviously, my family. I love my family. So if I have spare

Speaker:

time, I'm gonna I'm gonna spend it with, my wife and,

Speaker:

kids. But if I'm not doing that, I'm probably working.

Speaker:

No. I'm right there with you. Don't be embarrassed. You're I

Speaker:

I don't know if you're in good company, but you have a lot of company.

Speaker:

That's right. That's right. That's right. That's an interesting way to phrase

Speaker:

it. So our second

Speaker:

complete sentence, I think the coolest thing in technology today

Speaker:

is blank. Oh, so many cool new things in

Speaker:

technology. I think the most prominent one is the

Speaker:

AI revolution we're all experiencing. It's

Speaker:

disrupting so many verticals, and

Speaker:

very, very quickly, probably more, or faster than

Speaker:

anything I've seen in the past. I thought when the

Speaker:

cloud movement started, I don't know, 10 years ago, I thought this

Speaker:

is the the quickest, evolution or revolution

Speaker:

in technologies that I've seen. Nothing compared to, the speed

Speaker:

of AI, and and how quickly it changes so

Speaker:

many

Speaker:

in it's in I thought we had reached kind of, a

Speaker:

certain plateau of pace. But then when

Speaker:

Chat GPT came out, I mean, it did just, like, just

Speaker:

accelerated. You know? What do you think made Cheggipt,

Speaker:

becoming the pivotal thing in the perception of everyone that

Speaker:

is, the reason for the the

Speaker:

change in perception around AI? I

Speaker:

personally think is the way that it was presented.

Speaker:

It has you know, there's 2 factors to

Speaker:

it. 1, it's a chatbot. Right? So people can kinda relate to that. Right? That's

Speaker:

it the the the and big deal. Right? There's been chatbots around for number

Speaker:

of years. But I think the real thing that blew people away

Speaker:

was it destroyed the notion that AI can't be

Speaker:

creative. Well, this is very close to what I think.

Speaker:

Mhmm. I was dazzled. I mean, I heard

Speaker:

about bots. I played with many bots in the past. But the first

Speaker:

time I started to play with JetJPT, I was dazzled by the

Speaker:

quality, how good it was. And it was light

Speaker:

years, better than anything else, any other

Speaker:

chatbot that I've seen, and and it was very apparent that this is a

Speaker:

revolution for me at least. That was that was my reaction. Right? So

Speaker:

when it came out, I was presenting because we we launched a product to Red

Speaker:

Hat about the same time and at at AWS reinvent.

Speaker:

Right? So I was kind of in AWS reinvent

Speaker:

land. And I go I get to the airport at

Speaker:

Vegas because early because when you wanna leave Vegas, you do you wanna

Speaker:

leave. Right? So I get to the airport early, and I'm like, you

Speaker:

know, I a lot of people I know have been, like, raving about chat GBP

Speaker:

and saying how great it is. And I'm like, alright. Alright. So let me just

Speaker:

ask it. How do I start how do I get started with SageMaker? I think

Speaker:

that was the original question I asked it. And I had a expectation of,

Speaker:

well, you do this, you do this, you do this. But, like, the the the

Speaker:

answer behind it was so coherent and so cogent.

Speaker:

Like you said, it was light years beyond my expectations.

Speaker:

And I'm continually amazed at, like, what it can do. Right? Like, it

Speaker:

and it blows my mind to this day and this is, like, what's

Speaker:

going on 2 years later. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Speaker:

Alright. Andy, you want the the next complete the sentence or has the allergies

Speaker:

gotten you?

Speaker:

Alright. I will I will ask you for him so we stay on some kinda

Speaker:

sketchy. Sneezing. He's probably sneezing. Alright. Complete the sentence.

Speaker:

I look forward to the day when I can use technology to blank.

Speaker:

Take away the vast majority of my day to day

Speaker:

bureaucracy. Right? Dealing with the bank and taxes.

Speaker:

And I think we're getting quickly towards that.

Speaker:

Quickly towards that. I'm involved in a company that,

Speaker:

is actually building, disruptive technology in,

Speaker:

filing your taxes every year. And they do it, yeah, doing

Speaker:

it automatically in a in a very good manner.

Speaker:

I met up, founding team in in legal deck that they

Speaker:

build, a technology that can summarize

Speaker:

thousands of, legal document very, very quickly and just

Speaker:

do, the red lines very, very quickly and replace,

Speaker:

you know, the the tedious work of, endless, hours of,

Speaker:

lawyers in that regard. So I think we're at the right direction

Speaker:

towards that, but, it's a brave new word, I

Speaker:

think. I don't know what the tax code is outside the US, but

Speaker:

in the US, it's very convoluted and confusing. Yep. So if you can have an

Speaker:

AI that you can explain it to you like you're 5, you know what I

Speaker:

mean, that would be very useful. There are a few very exciting

Speaker:

technologies that, are after that goal, so stay tuned.

Speaker:

I will eagerly be awaiting that.

Speaker:

So share something different about yourself. It's a family podcast.

Speaker:

Like, it's a it's a family podcast in the sense of,

Speaker:

we went into this before. Like, when I drive to where

Speaker:

my my my wife's family is, it's about 3 hours. It's about 1 Joe Rogan

Speaker:

episode away, but I can't listen.

Speaker:

That's influence. Right? You measure time and distance based on your

Speaker:

podcast. Right? That is true.

Speaker:

But, so I don't listen to

Speaker:

it because I have kids in the car. So what that's

Speaker:

the rationale behind it. So what's your, you know, what

Speaker:

what's, you know would you answer that? Yeah.

Speaker:

So first thing that comes to mind that, not many

Speaker:

people know about me, I, really love traveling,

Speaker:

and I used to to backpack in South

Speaker:

America for almost a year. Oh, wow. A while

Speaker:

ago. A while ago. But backpack by myself

Speaker:

as a decision. I wanted to backpack by myself in

Speaker:

South America, and I did it for 11 months. Wow.

Speaker:

That is very interesting. You must have gotten a lot of, like, clarity on

Speaker:

things. Like, just along with your thoughts. It feels amazing. I

Speaker:

have to admit. That's awesome. So, Audible is a sponsor.

Speaker:

And if you go to the data driven book dotcom,

Speaker:

you can sign up for a month. And if you decide to

Speaker:

subscribe after that, then Frank and I get to buy a coffee.

Speaker:

It it works out well because we both like coffee. We treasure every

Speaker:

cup. Is there a a good audio book

Speaker:

or just a a book that has influenced you,

Speaker:

impacted you? Yeah.

Speaker:

Actually, there is one. It's called the mom's test. I don't know if you heard

Speaker:

about it, but a few of the thing,

Speaker:

that, we talked earlier relate to that book. And the mom

Speaker:

test is a book about how, this is

Speaker:

my interpretation of it, how to properly validate

Speaker:

ideas. Right? In a very, as I mentioned, a very

Speaker:

critical thinking way and doubtful way,

Speaker:

that I usually advise, founders that I meet to read. I

Speaker:

think it's very valuable. Interesting. Okay. I

Speaker:

see it on Audible. I tested the link earlier, the

Speaker:

data driven book.com, and it took me right over to Audible like it was

Speaker:

supposed to, and it's by Rob Fitzpatrick. Is that accurate?

Speaker:

Okay. The mom test. I love that title. Yep.

Speaker:

Very cool. You know, in a in a nutshell in a nutshell,

Speaker:

when, when you question people about idea, it talks

Speaker:

about few things we we've mentioned is to focus on the problem and not the

Speaker:

solution. Right? If I'll tell you, hey, guys. I have an idea for a great

Speaker:

app on your iPhone that organize your icons. I don't know. What do you think

Speaker:

about it? And you'll probably say, oh, it's cool. That

Speaker:

feedback is meaningless. I learned nothing from that feedback.

Speaker:

Right? Right. So how you structure the questionnaire? How you structure

Speaker:

the discussion in order to properly validate the problems, the solution, and

Speaker:

such is at the at the core of this book, and I think it's

Speaker:

super valuable. Well, I love it when authors read their own work,

Speaker:

and he does. And so I grabbed it. It's, about

Speaker:

almost 4 hours long, and that's that makes it kind of a

Speaker:

short audiobook, which is also, perfect. I love that as

Speaker:

well. So I appreciate you, recommending that, and I'm going

Speaker:

to read that, and then I'm gonna connect with you on LinkedIn so I can

Speaker:

give you feedback on that, on what I would do at work. I would love

Speaker:

that. Well, this has been an

Speaker:

amazing show, Frank. Absolutely. I I it

Speaker:

was it was a pleasure, Aviat. Yep. Where where

Speaker:

people reach out to find out more about you? That's what I was gonna

Speaker:

say. You're most welcome, and I'm very accessible. If

Speaker:

you want to talk again, just, have my email. Send me an

Speaker:

email. I travel a lot to the US. So next time on, on the

Speaker:

East Coast, I get to New York a lot. So if you're there, I'll be

Speaker:

happy to meet for I'll buy you coffee. You said you like coffee.

Speaker:

That would be outstanding, sir. Thank you so much. So if,

Speaker:

where can people learn about your, the company you're working with now?

Speaker:

Sorry. Say it again. So where where might

Speaker:

people learn more about the, the group you're working with now? Team

Speaker:

8. Team 8. Yes. So, we can

Speaker:

do multiple things. 1st, check our website,

Speaker:

teammate, dot v c. You can read all about

Speaker:

this team 8, the motion, the the portfolio companies, the

Speaker:

founders, and such. And,

Speaker:

if you need more information, I'll be more than happy to share with you, you

Speaker:

know, marketing information and everything you need.

Speaker:

So that is for our listeners team, the word team, and then the

Speaker:

number 8 dot v c. Correct.

Speaker:

Pretty awesome. Okay. Excellent. Andy and

Speaker:

Frank, I had a blast. Thank you very much. Same we did

Speaker:

too. Same Learned a lot of you. Yeah. Great great

Speaker:

conversation. Thank you so much. Well, excellent. You. With that, we'll

Speaker:

let the nice British AI lady finish the show. Well, that's a wrap on

Speaker:

another episode of data driven. We hope you enjoyed our chat

Speaker:

with Aviad Harrell from team 8 as much as we did. If you

Speaker:

found this episode insightful, please show your support by

Speaker:

liking, subscribing, and leaving a review on your favorite podcast

Speaker:

platform. Your support helps us continue to bring you

Speaker:

fascinating conversations and the latest in AI, data

Speaker:

science and data engineering. Stay connected with us on

Speaker:

social media and visit our website for more content.

Speaker:

Until next time, keep learning, keep innovating, and as

Speaker:

always, stay data

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