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The Autonomous Last Mile Delivery Hunger Games

Today, Fedex announced their same-day delivery robot which signals another major player throwing their hat into the 'autonomous delivery bot' ring - following in the footsteps of Amazon Scout, Softbank-backed Nuro, Marble, Kiwi, and others.
Recently, I have been researching and thinking about this space where it seems like technological differentiation is minimal. It is essentially an AI driven 'service' where other than load-bearing specifications and radius of service, the bots can only be differentiated on their looks.
According to this McKinsey Report (which every single robodelivery company cites), autonomous delivery robots/vehicles (what do we classify them as?) will be responsible for 80% of all last mile deliveries. This is mostly driven by this basic business objective - reducing cost.
Last mile delivery is the biggest cost driver in the delivery landscape. Because of economies of scale, it is cheaper to ship bulk items from a centralized location/warehouse t…
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My Favorite Companies to Watch Out for from YC W19

Shef It is a marketplace to connect home chefs with nearby customers. Why I found it interesting - This is model is interesting because it is unlocking previously non-existent supply of food. Home chefs with excess capacity (groceries, time) can now monetize their kitchen without much of the overhead costs in a traditional restaurant. This means that not only is this marketplace increasing supply but also driving down food delivery costs. Woke It provides non-dilutive capital to emerging e-commerce brands and takes a % of their sales. Why I found it interesting - I am a big fan of exploring alternative capital investment models. A lot of startups raise big $$$ and end up spending a large % of that money towards paid campaigns and customer acquisition. Basically, this means selling your equity to acquire new customers. This new model, recently popularized by Clearbanc, lets founders get cash for marketing without selling equity in return for a revshare. I recently read somewhere that if …

Why Every Sports Team Needs to Become a Media Brand

Today I binge-watched the entire season of 'We are LAFC' on ESPN+. It was incredibly interesting to get a behind the scenes look at a brand new franchise's origins. Most importantly, I definitely walked away from the season, an LAFC fan. Today, our relationship with sports is evolving. In the past, our touch points with our sporting idols were few - live games on TV, seeing them live in-stadium, and the occasional newspaper article. Now, social media has given us unprecedented access into the lives of our favorite athletes. On the flip side, athletes have found several ways to express themselves off the court. Thanks to Twitter and Instagram, we know of Russell Westbrook's latest pre-game fashion garb, Lonzo's latest rap song, Lillard's offseason superman workouts, and Josh Hart's favorite video games (and how good he is at them). As access increases, fans want their sports team to create content way beyond their live games. This is important for three rea…

Biotech Platforms Primer

Biotech entrepreneurs ask themselves the same question software entrepreneurs ask. "Do we want to build a platform or a product?" Traditionally, entrepreneurs, both software and biotech, have focused on building single-product companies. In biotech, that means a specific drug, and in software it means providing a specific tool or service. Now, platform startups are the rage, especially in silicon valley. 'Come for the tool, stay for the platform' has become the mantra for many early stage entrepreneurs. In biotech, a platform essentially means providing centralized set of technologies and services to support the drug development process. This includes lab diagnostics, therapeutic protocols, antibodies, or testing devices. While product (drug) focused companies spend years (and tons of $$$) in research and clinical trials before making any money, platform companies see cash flow much earlier in their life cycle by licensing their platform to these drug manufacturers. …

Bye Excel

Today, Excel launched their big product update - being able to import a spreadsheet by using the camera to take a picture of the table.
First, tools like Airtable and Coda are disrupting the traditional spreadsheet by adding app-like functionality on top of it - making it extremely powerful, attractive looking, and fun and easy to use.
Now, in this competitive landscape, Excel comes back with camera based import. Admittedly, it is very cool. However, it is not a killer feature for most users. Excel's has lost its functionality advantage long ago and now it's only lock ins are - inertia, especially in finance, platform integration on windows PCs, and enterprise integrations through Office 365 and Microsoft Azure.
I am excited for my favorite tools to copy this feature, but unfortunately it cant save excel.

What is ParajOS

I am building my operating system. During the day, we are bombarded with information. While chatting with colleagues and friends, listening to podcasts, endlessly scrolling Twitter and Instagram, and sometimes even by ourselves in the shower. This information and the thoughts that accompany it can be extremely valuable. They are like little jigsaw pieces to help us piece together our understanding of ourselves and the world around us. At the same time, they are valuable snippets that can potentially unlock rare insights. Thus, I set out to build ParajOS as an extension of my brain to create a tech-enabled mind palace. My goal is to create an organized repository of information. I want to be able to readily access and reference interesting bits of information, statistics, facts, anecdotes, and insights to develop my thinking and learn more about myself and the world around me. I want it to be a self-contained 'operating system' that draws a logical line between stimulus (infor…

Let Your Customers Cancel Their Subscription Easily

"Hi, I have moved to a different state and just wanted to cancel my gym membership"

"Okay, can you come in tomorrow?"

"Um, like I said, I have already moved so I cannot come in, which is why I want to cancel my membership"

"Oh - well the only way to cancel it is to come in person. Can you come in this week?"

"What?"

"Maybe you can write us a letter and send it in the mail so we can cancel your membership"

"Can't you do it over the phone or over email? Why do I have to send you a letter - that sounds ridiculous"

"We are only authorized to cancel your subscription if you are here in person or a signed letter in the mail"

"Wait so I signed up and paid for my membership all online easily, but I need to come in person and handwrite a letter to cancel? "🤔🤔🤔

This is a real conversation I had with my gym back in California. I had a no-contract month-to-month membership which has now become incred…