More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
6 months ago
Trends from the Winter 2022 Demo Day at Y Combinators
Y Combinators Winter 2022 Demo Day continues the trend of more startups engaging in accelerator Demo Days. Our team evaluated almost 400 projects in Y Combinator's ninth year.
After Winter 2021 Demo Day, we noticed a hurry pushing shorter rounds, inflated valuations, and larger batches.
Despite the batch size, this event's behavior showed a return to normalcy. Our observations show that investors evaluate and fund businesses more carefully. Unlike previous years, more YC businesses gave investors with data rooms and thorough pitch decks in addition to valuation data before Demo Day.
Demo Day pitches were virtual and fast-paced, limiting unplanned meetings. Investors had more time and information to do their due research before meeting founders. Our staff has more time to study diverse areas and engage with interesting entrepreneurs and founders.
This was one of the most regionally diversified YC cohorts to date. This year's Winter Demo Day startups showed some interesting tendencies.
Trends and Industries to Watch Before Demo Day
Demo day events at any accelerator show how investment competition is influencing startups. As startups swiftly become scale-ups and big success stories in fintech, e-commerce, healthcare, and other competitive industries, entrepreneurs and early-stage investors feel pressure to scale quickly and turn a notion into actual innovation.
Too much eagerness can lead founders to focus on market growth and team experience instead of solid concepts, technical expertise, and market validation. Last year, YC Winter Demo Day funding cycles ended too quickly and valuations were unrealistically high.
Scrum Ventures observed a longer funding cycle this year compared to last year's Demo Day. While that seems promising, many factors could be contributing to change, including:
Market patterns are changing and the economy is becoming worse.
the industries that investors are thinking about.
Individual differences between each event batch and the particular businesses and entrepreneurs taking part
The Winter 2022 Batch's Trends
Each year, we also wish to examine trends among early-stage firms and YC event participants. More international startups than ever were anticipated to present at Demo Day.
Less than 50% of demo day startups were from the U.S. For the S21 batch, firms from outside the US were most likely in Latin America or Europe, however this year's batch saw a large surge in startups situated in Asia and Africa.
YC Startup Directory
163 out of 399 startups were B2B software and services companies. Financial, healthcare, and consumer startups were common.
Our team doesn't plan to attend every pitch or speak with every startup's founders or team members. Let's look at cleantech, Web3, and health and wellness startup trends.
Our Opinions Following Conversations with 87 Startups at Demo Day
In the lead-up to Demo Day, we spoke with 87 of the 125 startups going. Compared to B2C enterprises, B2B startups had higher average valuations. A few outliers with high valuations pushed B2B and B2C means above the YC-wide mean and median.
Many of these startups develop business and technology solutions we've previously covered. We've seen API, EdTech, creative platforms, and cybersecurity remain strong and increase each year.
While these persistent tendencies influenced the startups Scrum Ventures looked at and the founders we interacted with on Demo Day, new trends required more research and preparation. Let's examine cleantech, Web3, and health and wellness startups.
Hardware and software that is green
Cleantech enterprises demand varying amounts of funding for hardware and software. Although the same overarching trend is fueling the growth of firms in this category, each subgroup has its own strategy and technique for investigation and identifying successful investments.
Many cleantech startups we spoke to during the YC event are focused on helping industrial operations decrease or recycle carbon emissions.
Carbon Crusher: Creating carbon negative roads
Phase Biolabs: Turning carbon emissions into carbon negative products and carbon neutral e-fuels
Seabound: Capturing carbon dioxide emissions from ships
Fleetzero: Creating electric cargo ships
Impossible Mining: Sustainable seabed mining
Beyond Aero: Creating zero-emission private aircraft
Verdn: Helping businesses automatically embed environmental pledges for product and service offerings, boost customer engagement
AeonCharge: Allowing electric vehicle (EV) drivers to more easily locate and pay for EV charging stations
Phoenix Hydrogen: Offering a hydrogen marketplace and a connected hydrogen hub platform to connect supply and demand for hydrogen fuel and simplify hub planning and partner program expansion
Aklimate: Allowing businesses to measure and reduce their supply chain’s environmental impact
Pina Earth: Certifying and tracking the progress of businesses’ forestry projects
AirMyne: Developing machines that can reverse emissions by removing carbon dioxide from the air
Unravel Carbon: Software for enterprises to track and reduce their carbon emissions
Web3: NFTs, the metaverse, and cryptocurrency
Web3 technologies handle a wide range of business issues. This category includes companies employing blockchain technology to disrupt entertainment, finance, cybersecurity, and software development.
Many of these startups overlap with YC's FinTech trend. Despite this, B2C and B2B enterprises were evenly represented in Web3. We examined:
Stablegains: Offering consistent interest on cash balance from the decentralized finance (DeFi) market
LiquiFi: Simplifying token management with automated vesting contracts, tax reporting, and scheduling. For companies, investors, and finance & accounting
NFTScoring: An NFT trading platform
CypherD Wallet: A multichain wallet for crypto and NFTs with a non-custodial crypto debit card that instantly converts coins to USD
Remi Labs: Allowing businesses to more easily create NFT collections that serve as access to products, memberships, events, and more
Cashmere: A crypto wallet for Web3 startups to collaboratively manage funds
Chaingrep: An API that makes blockchain data human-readable and tokens searchable
Courtyard: A platform for securely storing physical assets and creating 3D representations as NFTs
Arda: “Banking as a Service for DeFi,” an API that FinTech companies can use to embed DeFi products into their platforms
earnJARVIS: A premium cryptocurrency management platform, allowing users to create long-term portfolios
Mysterious: Creating community-specific experiences for Web3 Discords
Winter: An embeddable widget that allows businesses to sell NFTs to users purchasing with a credit card or bank transaction
SimpleHash: An API for NFT data that provides compatibility across blockchains, standardized metadata, accurate transaction info, and simple integration
Lifecast: Tools that address motion sickness issues for 3D VR video
Gym Class: Virtual reality (VR) multiplayer basketball video game
WorldQL: An asset API that allows NFT creators to specify multiple in-game interpretations of their assets, increasing their value
Bonsai Desk: A software development kit (SDK) for 3D analytics
Campfire: Supporting virtual social experiences for remote teams
Unai: A virtual headset and Visual World experience
Vimmerse: Allowing creators to more easily create immersive 3D experiences
Fitness and health
Scrum Ventures encountered fewer health and wellness startup founders than Web3 and Cleantech. The types of challenges these organizations solve are still diverse. Several of these companies are part of a push toward customization in healthcare, an area of biotech set for growth for companies with strong portfolios and experienced leadership.
Here are several startups we considered:
Syrona Health: Personalized healthcare for women in the workplace
Anja Health: Personalized umbilical cord blood banking and stem cell preservation
Alfie: A weight loss program focused on men’s health that coordinates medical care, coaching, and “community-based competition” to help users lose an average of 15% body weight
Ankr Health: An artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled telehealth platform that provides personalized side effect education for cancer patients and data collection for their care teams
Koko — A personalized sleep program to improve at-home sleep analysis and training
Condition-specific telehealth platforms and programs:
Reviving Mind: Chronic care management covered by insurance and supporting holistic, community-oriented health care
Equipt Health: At-home delivery of prescription medical equipment to help manage chronic conditions like obstructive sleep apnea
LunaJoy: Holistic women’s healthcare management for mental health therapy, counseling, and medication
12 Startups from YC's Winter 2022 Demo Day to Watch
Bobidi: 10x faster AI model improvement
Artificial intelligence (AI) models have become a significant tool for firms to improve how well and rapidly they process data. Bobidi helps AI-reliant firms evaluate their models, boosting data insights in less time and reducing data analysis expenditures. The business has created a gamified community that offers a bug bounty for AI, incentivizing community members to test and find weaknesses in clients' AI models.
Magna: DeFi investment management and token vesting
Magna delivers rapid, secure token vesting so consumers may turn DeFi investments into primitives. Carta for Web3 allows enterprises to effortlessly distribute tokens to staff or investors. The Magna team hopes to allow corporations use locked tokens as collateral for loans, facilitate secondary liquidity so investors can sell shares on a public exchange, and power additional DeFi applications.
Perl Street: Funding for infrastructure
This Fintech firm intends to help hardware entrepreneurs get financing by [democratizing] structured finance, unleashing billions for sustainable infrastructure and next-generation hardware solutions. This network has helped hardware entrepreneurs achieve more than $140 million in finance, helping companies working on energy storage devices, EVs, and creating power infrastructure.
CypherD: Multichain cryptocurrency wallet
CypherD seeks to provide a multichain crypto wallet so general customers can explore Web3 products without knowledge hurdles. The startup's beta app lets consumers access crypto from EVM blockchains. The founders have crypto, financial, and startup experience.
Unravel Carbon: Enterprise carbon tracking and offsetting
Unravel Carbon's AI-powered decarbonization technology tracks companies' carbon emissions. Singapore-based startup focuses on Asia. The software can use any company's financial data to trace the supply chain and calculate carbon tracking, which is used to make regulatory disclosures and suggest carbon offsets.
LunaJoy: Precision mental health for women
LunaJoy helped women obtain mental health support throughout life. The platform combines data science to create a tailored experience, allowing women to access psychotherapy, medication management, genetic testing, and health coaching.
Posh: Automated EV battery recycling
Posh attempts to solve one of the EV industry's largest logistical difficulties. Millions of EV batteries will need to be decommissioned in the next decade, and their precious metals and residual capacity will go unused for some time. Posh offers automated, scalable lithium battery disassembly, making EV battery recycling more viable.
Unai: VR headset with 5x higher resolution
Unai stands apart from metaverse companies. Its VR headgear has five times the resolution of existing options and emphasizes human expression and interaction in a remote world. Maxim Perumal's method of latency reduction powers current VR headsets.
Palitronica: Physical infrastructure cybersecurity
Palitronica blends cutting-edge hardware and software to produce networked electronic systems that support crucial physical and supply chain infrastructure. The startup's objective is to build solutions that defend national security and key infrastructure from cybersecurity threats.
Reality Defender: Deepfake detection
Reality Defender alerts firms to bogus users and changed audio, video, and image files. Reality Deference's API and web app score material in real time to prevent fraud, improve content moderation, and detect deception.
Micro Meat: Infrastructure for the manufacture of cell-cultured meat
MicroMeat promotes sustainable meat production. The company has created technologies to scale up bioreactor-grown meat muscle tissue from animal cells. Their goal is to scale up cultured meat manufacturing so cultivated meat products can be brought to market feasibly and swiftly, boosting worldwide meat consumption.
Fleetzero: Electric cargo ships
This startup's battery technology will make cargo ships more sustainable and profitable. Fleetzero's electric cargo ships have five times larger profit margins than fossil fuel ships. Fleetzeros' founder has marine engineering, ship operations, and enterprise sales and business experience.
6 months ago
Meet a Programmer Who Turned Down Microsoft's $10,000,000,000 Acquisition Offer
Failures inspire young developers
Jason citron created many products.
These products flopped.
Microsoft offered $10 billion for one of these products.
He rejected the offer since he was so confident in his success.
Let’s find out how he built a product that is currently valued at $15 billion.
Early in his youth, Jason began learning to code.
Jason's father taught him programming and IT.
His father wanted to help him earn money when he needed it.
Jason created video games and websites in high school.
Jason realized early on that his IT and programming skills could make him money.
Jason's parents misjudged his aptitude for programming.
Jason frequented online programming communities.
He looked for web developers. He created websites for those people.
His parents suspected Jason sold drugs online. When he said he used programming to make money, they were shocked.
They helped him set up a PayPal account.
Florida higher education to study video game creation
Jason never attended an expensive university.
He studied game design in Florida.
“Higher Education is an interesting part of society… When I work with people, the school they went to never comes up… only thing that matters is what can you do…At the end of the day, the beauty of silicon valley is that if you have a great idea and you can bring it to the life, you can convince a total stranger to give you money and join your project… This notion that you have to go to a great school didn’t end up being a thing for me.”
Jason's life was altered by Steve Jobs' keynote address.
After graduating, Jason joined an incubator.
Jason created a video-dating site first.
Nobody wanted to use it when it was released, so they shut it down.
He made a multiplayer game.
It was released on Bebo. 10,000 people played it.
When Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple app store, he stopped playing.
The introduction of the app store resembled that of a new gaming console.
Jason's life altered after Steve Jobs' 2008 address.
“Whenever a new video game console is launched, that’s the opportunity for a new video game studio to get started, it’s because there aren’t too many games available…When a new PlayStation comes out, since it’s a new system, there’s only a handful of titles available… If you can be a launch title you can get a lot of distribution.”
Apple's app store provided a chance to start a video game company.
They released an app after 5 months of work.
Aurora Feint is the game.
Jason believed 1000 players in a week would be wonderful. A thousand players joined in the first hour.
Over time, Aurora Feints' game didn't gain traction. They don't make enough money to keep playing.
They could only make enough for one month.
Instead of buying video games, buy technology
Jason saw that they established a leaderboard, chat rooms, and multiplayer capabilities and believed other developers would want to use these.
They opted to sell the prior game's technology.
Assisting other game developers
They had no money in the bank to create everything needed to make the technology user-friendly.
Jason and Daniel designed a website saying:
“If you’re making a video game and want to have a drop in multiplayer support, you can use our system”
TechCrunch covered their website launch, and they gained a few hundred mailing list subscribers.
They raised seed funding with the mailing list.
Nearly all iPhone game developers started adopting the Open Feint logo.
“It was pretty wild… It was really like a whole social platform for people to play with their friends.”
What kind of a business model was it?
OpenFeint originally planned to make the software free for all games. As the game gained popularity, they demanded payment.
They later concluded it wasn't a good business concept.
It became free eventually.
Acquired for $104 million
Open Feint's users and employees grew tremendously.
GREE bought OpenFeint for $104 million in April 2011.
GREE initially committed to helping Jason and his team build a fantastic company.
Three or four months after the acquisition, Jason recognized they had a different vision.
Jason's Original Vision for the iPad
Jason focused on distribution in 2012 to help businesses stand out.
The iPad market and user base were growing tremendously.
Jason said the iPad may replace mobile gadgets.
iPad gamers behaved differently than mobile gamers.
People sat longer and experienced more using an iPad.
“The idea I had was what if we built a gaming business that was more like traditional video games but played on tablets as opposed to some kind of mobile game that I’ve been doing before.”
Unexpected insight after researching the video game industry
Jason learned from studying the gaming industry that long-standing companies had advantages beyond a single release.
Previously, long-standing video game firms had their own distribution system. This distribution strategy could buffer time between successful titles.
Sony, Microsoft, and Valve all have gaming consoles and online stores.
So he built a distribution system.
He created a group chat app for gamers.
He envisioned a team-based multiplayer game with text and voice interaction.
His objective was to develop a communication network, release more games, and start a game distribution business.
Remaking the video game League of Legends
Jason and his crew reimagined a League of Legends game mode for 12-inch glass.
They adapted the game for tablets.
League of Legends was PC-only.
So they rebuilt it.
They overhauled the game and included native mobile experiences to stand out.
Hammer and Chisel was the company's name.
18 people worked on the game.
The game was funded. The game took 2.5 years to make.
Was the game a success?
July 2014 marked the game's release. The team's hopes were dashed.
Critics initially praised the game.
Initial installation was widespread.
The game failed.
As time passed, the team realized iPad gaming wouldn't increase much and mobile would win.
Jason was given a fresh idea by Stan Vishnevskiy.
Stan Vishnevskiy was a corporate engineer.
He told Jason about his plan to design a communication app without a game.
This concept seeded modern strife.
“The insight that he really had was to put a couple of dots together… we’re seeing our customers communicating around our own game with all these different apps and also ourselves when we’re playing on PC… We should solve that problem directly rather than needing to build a new game…we should start making it on PC.”
So began Discord.
Online socializing with pals was the newest trend.
Jason grew up playing video games with his friends.
He never played outside.
Jason had many great moments playing video games with his closest buddy, wife, and brother.
Discord was about providing a location for you and your group to speak and hang out.
Like a private cafe, bedroom, or living room.
Discord was developed for you and your friends on computers and phones.
You can quickly call your buddies during a game to conduct a conference call. Put the call on speaker and talk while playing.
Discord wanted to give every player a unique experience. Because coordinating across apps was a headache.
The entire team started concentrating on Discord.
Jason decided Hammer and Chisel would focus on their chat app.
Jason didn't want to make a video game.
How Discord attracted the appropriate attention
During the first five months, the entire team worked on the game and got feedback from friends.
This ensures product improvement. As a result, some teammates' buddies started utilizing Discord.
The team knew it would become something, but the result was buggy. App occasionally crashed.
Jason persuaded a gamer friend to write on Reddit about the software.
New people would find Discord. Why not?
Reddit users discovered Discord and 50 started using it frequently.
Discord was launched.
Rejecting the $10 billion acquisition proposal
Discord has increased in recent years.
It sends billions of messages.
Discord's users aren't tracked. They're privacy-focused.
Covid boosted Discord's user base.
Weekly, billions of messages were transmitted.
Microsoft offered $10 billion for Discord in 2021.
Jason sold Open Feint for $104m in 2011.
This time, he believed in the product so much that he rejected Microsoft's offer.
“I was talking to some people in the team about which way we could go… The good thing was that most of the team wanted to continue building.”
Last time, Discord was valued at $15 billion.
Discord raised money on March 12, 2022.
The $15 billion corporation raised $500 million in 2021.
Aaron Dinin, PhD
2 months ago
Are You Unintentionally Creating the Second Difficult Startup Type?
Most don't understand the issue until it's too late.
My first startup was what entrepreneurs call the hardest. A two-sided marketplace.
Two-sided marketplaces are the hardest startups because founders must solve the chicken or the egg conundrum.
A two-sided marketplace needs suppliers and buyers. Without suppliers, buyers won't come. Without buyers, suppliers won't come. An empty marketplace and a founder striving to gain momentum result.
My first venture made me a struggling founder seeking to achieve traction for a two-sided marketplace. The company failed, and I vowed never to start another like it.
I didn’t. Unfortunately, my second venture was almost as hard. It failed like the second-hardest startup.
What kind of startup is the second-hardest?
The second-hardest startup, which is almost as hard to develop, is rarely discussed in the startup community. Because of this, I predict more founders fail each year trying to develop the second-toughest startup than the hardest.
Fairly, I have no proof. I see many startups, so I have enough of firsthand experience. From what I've seen, for every entrepreneur developing a two-sided marketplace, I'll meet at least 10 building this other challenging startup.
I'll describe a startup I just met with its two co-founders to explain the second hardest sort of startup and why it's so hard. They created a financial literacy software for parents of high schoolers.
The issue appears plausible. Children struggle with money. Parents must teach financial responsibility. Problems?
Buyers and users are different.
The financial literacy app I described above targets parents. The parent doesn't utilize the app. Child is end-user. That may not seem like much, but it makes customer and user acquisition and onboarding difficult for founders.
The difficulty of a buyer-user imbalance
The company developing a product faces a substantial operational burden when the buyer and end customer are different. Consider classic firms where the buyer is the end user to appreciate that responsibility.
Entrepreneurs selling directly to end users must educate them about the product's benefits and use. Each demands a lot of time, effort, and resources.
Imagine selling a financial literacy app where the buyer and user are different. To make the first sale, the entrepreneur must establish all the items I mentioned above. After selling, the entrepreneur must supply a fresh set of resources to teach, educate, or train end-users.
Thus, a startup with a buyer-user mismatch must market, sell, and train two organizations at once, requiring twice the work with the same resources.
The second hardest startup is hard for reasons other than the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. It takes a lot of creativity and luck to solve the chicken-or-egg conundrum.
The buyer-user mismatch problem cannot be overcome by innovation or luck. Buyer-user mismatches must be solved by force. Simply said, when a product buyer is different from an end-user, founders have a lot more work. If they can't work extra, their companies fail.
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8 months ago
Pebble Beach Auto Auctions Set $469M Record
The world's most prestigious vintage vehicle show included amazing autos and record-breaking sums.
This 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo earned Best of Show in 2022.
David Paul Morris (DPM)/Bloomberg
2022 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance winner was a pre-war roadster.
Lee Anderson's 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo won Best of Show at Pebble Beach Golf Links near Carmel, Calif., on Sunday. First American win since 2013.
Sandra Button, chairperson of the annual concours, said the car, whose chassis and body had been separated for years, "marries American force with European style." "Its resurrection story is passionate."
Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Auction
Since 1950, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance has welcomed the world's most costly collectable vehicles for a week of parties, auctions, rallies, and high-roller meetings. The cold, dreary weather highlighted the automobiles' stunning lines and hues.
A visitor photographs a 1948 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta. This is one of 25 Ferraris manufactured in the years after World War II. First shown at the 1948 Turin Salon. Others finished Mille Miglia and Le Mans, which set the tone for Ferrari racing for years.
This year's frontrunners were ultra-rare pre-war and post-war automobiles with long and difficult titles, such a 1937 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Figoni & Falaschi Teardrop Coupe and a 1951 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Stabilimenti Farina Cabriolet.
The hefty, enormous coaches inspire visions of golden pasts when mysterious saloons swept over the road with otherworldly style, speed, and grace. Only the richest and most powerful people, like Indian maharaja and Hollywood stars, owned such vehicles.
Antonio Chopitea, a Peruvian sugar tycoon, ordered a new Duesenberg in Paris. Hemmings says the two-tone blue beauty was moved to the US and dismantled in the 1960s. Body and chassis were sold separately and rejoined decades later in a three-year, prize-winning restoration.
The concours is the highlight of Monterey Car Week, a five-day Super Bowl for car enthusiasts. Early events included Porsche and Ferrari displays, antique automobile races, and new-vehicle debuts. Many auto executives call Monterey Car Week the "new auto show."
Many visitors were drawn to the record-breaking auctions.
A 1969 Porsche 908/02 auctioned for $4.185 million. Flat-eight air-cooled engine, 90.6-inch wheelbase, 1,320-pound weight. Vic Elford, Richard Attwood, Rudi Lins, Gérard Larrousse, Kurt Ahrens Jr., Masten Gregory, and Pedro Rodriguez drove it, according to Gooding.
The 1931 Bentley Eight Liter Sports Tourer doesn't meet its reserve. Gooding & Co., the official auction house of the concours, made more than $105 million and had an 82% sell-through rate. This powerful open-top tourer is one of W.O. Bentley's 100 automobiles. Only 80 remain.
The final auction on Aug. 21 brought in $456.1 million, breaking the previous high of $394.48 million established in 2015 in Monterey. “The week put an exclamation point on what has been an exceptional year for the collector automobile market,” Hagerty analyst John Wiley said.
Many cars that go unsold at public auction are sold privately in the days after. After-sales pushed the week's haul to $469 million on Aug. 22, up 18.9% from 2015's record.
In today's currencies, 2015's record sales amount to $490 million, Wiley noted. The dollar is degrading faster than old autos.
Still, 113 million-dollar automobiles sold. The average car sale price was $583,211, up from $446,042 last year, while multimillion-dollar hammer prices made up around 75% of total sales.
Industry insiders and market gurus expected that stock market volatility, the crisis in Ukraine, and the dollar-euro exchange rate wouldn't influence the world's biggest spenders.
Classic.com's CEO said there's no hint of a recession in an e-mail. Big sales and crowds.
Ticket-holders wore huge hats, flowery skirts, and other Kentucky Derby-esque attire. Coffee, beverages, and food are extra.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, 1955. Mercedes produced the two-seat gullwing coupe from 1954–1957 and the roadster from 1957–1963. It was once West Germany's fastest and most powerful automobile. You'd be hard-pressed to locate one for less $1 million.
1955 Ferrari 410 Sport sold for $22 million at RM Sotheby's. It sold a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Sindelfingen Roadster for $9.9 million and a 1924 Hispano-Suiza H6C Transformable Torpedo for $9.245 million. The family-run mansion sold $221.7 million with a 90% sell-through rate, up from $147 million in 2021. This year, RM Sotheby's cars averaged $1.3 million.
Not everyone saw such great benefits.
Gooding & Co., the official auction house of the concours, made more than $105 million and had an 82% sell-through rate. 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante, 1990 Ferrari F40, and 1994 Bugatti EB110 Super Sport were top sellers.
The 1969 Autobianchi A112 Bertone. This idea two-seater became a Hot Wheels toy but was never produced. It has a four-speed manual drive and an inline-four mid-engine arrangement like the Lamborghini Miura.
1956 Porsche 356 A Speedster at Gooding & Co. The Porsche 356 is a lightweight, rear-engine, rear-wheel drive vehicle that lacks driving power but is loved for its rounded, Beetle-like hardtop coupé and open-top versions.
Mecum sold $50.8 million with a 64% sell-through rate, down from $53.8 million and 77% in 2021. Its top lot, a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT 'Tour de France' Alloy Coupe, sold for $2.86 million, but its average price was $174,016.
Bonhams had $27.8 million in sales with an 88% sell-through rate. The same sell-through generated $35.9 million in 2021.
Gooding & Co. and RM Sotheby's posted all 10 top sales, leaving Bonhams, Mecum, and Hagerty-owned Broad Arrow fighting for leftovers. Six of the top 10 sellers were Ferraris, which remain the gold standard for collectable automobiles. Their prices have grown over decades.
Classic.com's Calle claimed RM Sotheby's "stole the show," but "BroadArrow will be a force to reckon with."
Although pre-war cars were hot, '80s and '90s cars showed the most appreciation and attention. Generational transition and new buyer profile."
2022 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance judges inspect 1953 Siata 208. The rounded coupe was introduced at the 1952 Turin Auto Show in Italy and is one of 18 ever produced. It sports a 120hp Fiat engine, five-speed manual transmission, and alloy drum brakes. Owners liked their style, but not their reliability.
The Czinger 21 CV Max at Pebble Beach. Monterey Car Week concentrates on historic and classic automobiles, but modern versions like this Czinger hypercar also showed.
The 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo won Best in Show in 2022. Lee and Penny Anderson of Naples, Fla., own the once-separate-chassis-from-body automobile.
8 months ago
ZERO GRACE/ZERO MALICE
Amazon's purchase of One Medical could speed up American healthcare
The U.S. healthcare industry is a 7-ton seal bleeding at sea. Predators are circling. Unearned margin: price increases relative to inflation without quality improvements. Amazon is the 11-foot megalodon with 7-inch teeth. Amazon is no longer circling... but attacking.
In 2020 dollars, per capita U.S. healthcare spending increased from $2,968 in 1980 to $12,531. The result is a massive industry with 13% of the nation's workers and a fifth of GDP.
In 40 years, healthcare has made progress. From 73.7 in 1980 to 78.8 in 2019, life expectancy rose (before Covid knocked it back down a bit). Pharmacological therapies have revolutionized, and genetic research is paying off. The financial return, improvement split by cost increases, is terrible. No country has expense rises like the U.S., and no one spends as much per capita as we do. Developed countries have longer life expectancies, healthier populations, and less economic hardship.
Two-thirds of U.S. personal bankruptcies are due to medical expenses and/or missed work. Mom or Dad getting cancer could bankrupt many middle-class American families. 40% of American adults delayed or skipped needed care due to cost. Every healthcare improvement seems to have a downside. Same pharmacological revolution that helped millions caused opioid epidemic. Our results are poor in many areas: The U.S. has a high infant mortality rate.
Healthcare is the second-worst retail industry in the country. Gas stations are #1. Imagine walking into a Best Buy to buy a TV and a Blue Shirt associate requests you fill out the same 14 pages of paperwork you filled out yesterday. Then you wait in a crowded room until they call you, 20 minutes after the scheduled appointment you were asked to arrive early for, to see the one person in the store who can talk to you about TVs, who has 10 minutes for you. The average emergency room wait time in New York is 6 hours and 10 minutes.
If it's bad for the customer, it's worse for the business. Physicians spend 27% of their time helping patients; 49% on EHRs. Documentation, order entry, billing, and inbox management. Spend a decade getting an M.D., then become a bureaucrat.
No industry better illustrates scale diseconomies. If we got the same return on healthcare spending as other countries, we'd all live to 100. We could spend less, live longer and healthier, and pay off the national debt in 15 years. U.S. healthcare is the worst ever.
What now? Competition is at the heart of capitalism, the worst system of its kind.
Amazon is buying One Medical for $3.9 billion. I think this deal will liberate society. Two years in, I think One Medical is great. When I got Covid, I pressed the One Medical symbol on my phone; a nurse practitioner prescribed Paxlovid and told me which pharmacies had it in stock.
Amazon enables the company's vision. One Medical's stock is down to $10 from $40 at the start of 2021. Last year, it lost $250 million and needs cash (Amazon has $60 billion). ONEM must grow. The service has 736,000 members. Half of U.S. households have Amazon Prime. Finally, delivery. One Medical is a digital health/physical office hybrid, but you must pick up medication at the pharmacy. Upgrade your Paxlovid delivery time after a remote consultation. Amazon's core competency means it'll happen. Healthcare speed and convenience will feel alien.
It's been a long, winding road to disruption. Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway formed Haven four years ago to provide better healthcare for their 1.5 million employees. It rocked healthcare stocks the morning of the press release, but folded in 2021.
Amazon Care is an employee-focused service. Home-delivered virtual health services and nurses. It's doing well, expanding nationwide, and providing healthcare for other companies. Hilton is Amazon Care's biggest customer. The acquisition of One Medical will bring 66 million Prime households capital, domain expertise, and billing infrastructure. Imagine:
"Alexa, I'm hot and my back hurts."
"Connecting you to a Prime doctor now."
Want to vs. Have to
I predicted Amazon entering healthcare years ago. Why? For the same reason Apple is getting into auto. Amazon's P/E is 56, double Walmart's. The corporation must add $250 billion in revenue over the next five years to retain its share price. White-label clothes or smart home products won't generate as much revenue. It must enter a huge market without scale, operational competence, and data skills.
Healthcare reform benefits both consumers and investors. In 2015, healthcare services had S&P 500-average multiples. The market is losing faith in public healthcare businesses' growth. Healthcare services have lower EV/EBITDA multiples than the S&P 500.
Amazon isn't the only prey-hunter. Walmart and Alibaba are starting pharmacies. Uber is developing medical transportation. Private markets invested $29 billion in telehealth last year, up 95% from 2020.
The pandemic accelerated telehealth, the immediate unlock. After the first positive Covid case in the U.S., services that had to be delivered in person shifted to Zoom... We lived. We grew. Video house calls continued after in-person visits were allowed. McKinsey estimates telehealth visits are 38 times pre-pandemic levels. Doctors adopted the technology, regulators loosened restrictions, and patients saved time. We're far from remote surgery, but many patient visits are unnecessary. A study of 40 million patients during lockdown found that for chronic disease patients, online visits didn't affect outcomes. This method of care will only improve.
Amazon's disruption will be significant and will inspire a flood of capital, startups, and consumer brands. Mark Cuban launched a pharmacy that eliminates middlemen in January. Outcome? A 90-day supply of acid-reflux medication costs $17. Medicare could have saved $3.6 billion by buying generic drugs from Cuban's pharmacy. Other apex predators will look at different limbs of the carcass for food. Nike could enter healthcare via orthopedics, acupuncture, and chiropractic. LVMH, L'Oréal, and Estée Lauder may launch global plastic surgery brands. Hilton and Four Seasons may open hospitals. Lennar and Pulte could build "Active Living" communities that Nana would leave feet first, avoiding the expense and tragedy of dying among strangers.
Privacy matters: HIV status is different from credit card and billing address. Most customers (60%) feel fine sharing personal health data via virtual technologies, though. Unavoidable. 85% of doctors believe data-sharing and interoperability will become the norm. Amazon is the most trusted tech company for handling personal data. Not Meta: Amazon.
What about antitrust, then?
Amazon should be required to spin off AWS and/or Amazon Fulfillment and banned from promoting its own products. It should be allowed to acquire hospitals. One Medical's $3.9 billion acquisition is a drop in the bucket compared to UnitedHealth's $498 billion market valuation.
Antitrust enforcement shouldn't assume some people/firms are good/bad. It should recognize that competition is good and focus on making markets more competitive in each deal. The FTC should force asset divestitures in e-commerce, digital marketing, and social media. These companies can also promote competition in a social ill.
U.S. healthcare makes us fat, depressed, and broke. Competition has produced massive value and prosperity across most of our economy.
Dear Amazon … bring it.
2 months ago
Creating Images on Your Local PC Using Stable Diffusion AI
Deep learning-based generative art is being researched. As usual, self-learning is better. Some models, like OpenAI's DALL-E 2, require registration and can only be used online, but others can be used locally, which is usually more enjoyable for curious users. I'll demonstrate the Stable Diffusion model's operation on a standard PC.
Let’s get started.
What It Does
Stable Diffusion uses numerous components:
A generative model trained to produce images is called a diffusion model. The model is incrementally improving the starting data, which is only random noise. The model has an image, and while it is being trained, the reversed process is being used to add noise to the image. Being able to reverse this procedure and create images from noise is where the true magic is (more details and samples can be found in the paper).
An internal compressed representation of a latent diffusion model, which may be altered to produce the desired images, is used (more details can be found in the paper). The capacity to fine-tune the generation process is essential because producing pictures at random is not very attractive (as we can see, for instance, in Generative Adversarial Networks).
A neural network model called CLIP (Contrastive Language-Image Pre-training) is used to translate natural language prompts into vector representations. This model, which was trained on 400,000,000 image-text pairs, enables the transformation of a text prompt into a latent space for the diffusion model in the scenario of stable diffusion (more details in that paper).
This figure shows all data flow:
The weights file size for Stable Diffusion model v1 is 4 GB and v2 is 5 GB, making the model quite huge. The v1 model was trained on 256x256 and 512x512 LAION-5B pictures on a 4,000 GPU cluster using over 150.000 NVIDIA A100 GPU hours. The open-source pre-trained model is helpful for us. And we will.
Before utilizing the Python sources for Stable Diffusion v1 on GitHub, we must install Miniconda (assuming Git and Python are already installed):
wget https://repo.anaconda.com/miniconda/Miniconda3-py39_4.12.0-Linux-x86_64.sh chmod +x Miniconda3-py39_4.12.0-Linux-x86_64.sh ./Miniconda3-py39_4.12.0-Linux-x86_64.sh conda update -n base -c defaults conda
Install the source and prepare the environment:
git clone https://github.com/CompVis/stable-diffusion cd stable-diffusion conda env create -f environment.yaml conda activate ldm pip3 install transformers --upgrade
Download the pre-trained model weights next. HiggingFace has the newest checkpoint sd-v14.ckpt (a download is free but registration is required). Put the file in the project folder and have fun:
python3 scripts/txt2img.py --prompt "hello world" --plms --ckpt sd-v1-4.ckpt --skip_grid --n_samples 1
Almost. The installation is complete for happy users of current GPUs with 12 GB or more VRAM. RuntimeError: CUDA out of memory will occur otherwise. Two solutions exist.
Running the optimized version
Try optimizing first. After cloning the repository and enabling the environment (as previously), we can run the command:
python3 optimizedSD/optimized_txt2img.py --prompt "hello world" --ckpt sd-v1-4.ckpt --skip_grid --n_samples 1
Stable Diffusion worked on my visual card with 8 GB RAM (alas, I did not behave well enough to get NVIDIA A100 for Christmas, so 8 GB GPU is the maximum I have;).
Running Stable Diffusion without GPU
If the GPU does not have enough RAM or is not CUDA-compatible, running the code on a CPU will be 20x slower but better than nothing. This unauthorized CPU-only branch from GitHub is easiest to obtain. We may easily edit the source code to use the latest version. It's strange that a pull request for that was made six months ago and still hasn't been approved, as the changes are simple. Readers can finish in 5 minutes:
Replace if attr.device!= torch.device(cuda) with if attr.device!= torch.device(cuda) and torch.cuda.is available at line 20 of ldm/models/diffusion/ddim.py ().
Replace if attr.device!= torch.device(cuda) with if attr.device!= torch.device(cuda) and torch.cuda.is available in line 20 of ldm/models/diffusion/plms.py ().
Replace device=cuda in lines 38, 55, 83, and 142 of ldm/modules/encoders/modules.py with device=cuda if torch.cuda.is available(), otherwise cpu.
Replace model.cuda() in scripts/txt2img.py line 28 and scripts/img2img.py line 43 with if torch.cuda.is available(): model.cuda ().
Run the script again.
Test the model. Text-to-image is the first choice. Test the command line example again:
python3 scripts/txt2img.py --prompt "hello world" --plms --ckpt sd-v1-4.ckpt --skip_grid --n_samples 1
The slow generation takes 10 seconds on a GPU and 10 minutes on a CPU. Final image:
Hello world is dull and abstract. Try a brush-wielding hamster. Why? Because we can, and it's not as insane as Napoleon's cat. Another image:
Generating an image from a text prompt and another image is interesting. I made this picture in two minutes using the image editor (sorry, drawing wasn't my strong suit):
I can create an image from this drawing:
python3 scripts/img2img.py --prompt "A bird is sitting on a tree branch" --ckpt sd-v1-4.ckpt --init-img bird.png --strength 0.8
It was far better than my initial drawing:
I hope readers understand and experiment.
Stable Diffusion UI
Developers love the command line, but regular users may struggle. Stable Diffusion UI projects simplify image generation and installation. Simple usage:
Unpack the ZIP after downloading it from https://github.com/cmdr2/stable-diffusion-ui/releases. Linux and Windows are compatible with Stable Diffusion UI (sorry for Mac users, but those machines are not well-suitable for heavy machine learning tasks anyway;).
Start the script.
Done. The web browser UI makes configuring various Stable Diffusion features (upscaling, filtering, etc.) easy:
V2.1 of Stable Diffusion
I noticed the notification about releasing version 2.1 while writing this essay, and it was intriguing to test it. First, compare version 2 to version 1:
alternative text encoding. The Contrastive LanguageImage Pre-training (CLIP) deep learning model, which was trained on a significant number of text-image pairs, is used in Stable Diffusion 1. The open-source CLIP implementation used in Stable Diffusion 2 is called OpenCLIP. It is difficult to determine whether there have been any technical advancements or if legal concerns were the main focus. However, because the training datasets for the two text encoders were different, the output results from V1 and V2 will differ for the identical text prompts.
a new depth model that may be used to the output of image-to-image generation.
a revolutionary upscaling technique that can quadruple the resolution of an image.
Generally higher resolution Stable Diffusion 2 has the ability to produce both 512x512 and 768x768 pictures.
The Hugging Face website offers a free online demo of Stable Diffusion 2.1 for code testing. The process is the same as for version 1.4. Download a fresh version and activate the environment:
conda deactivate conda env remove -n ldm # Use this if version 1 was previously installed git clone https://github.com/Stability-AI/stablediffusion cd stablediffusion conda env create -f environment.yaml conda activate ldm
Hugging Face offers a new weights ckpt file.
The Out of memory error prevented me from running this version on my 8 GB GPU. Version 2.1 fails on CPUs with the slow conv2d cpu not implemented for Half error (according to this GitHub issue, the CPU support for this algorithm and data type will not be added). The model can be modified from half to full precision (float16 instead of float32), however it doesn't make sense since v1 runs up to 10 minutes on the CPU and v2.1 should be much slower. The online demo results are visible. The same hamster painting with a brush prompt yielded this result:
It looks different from v1, but it functions and has a higher resolution.
The superresolution.py script can run the 4x Stable Diffusion upscaler locally (the x4-upscaler-ema.ckpt weights file should be in the same folder):
python3 scripts/gradio/superresolution.py configs/stable-diffusion/x4-upscaling.yaml x4-upscaler-ema.ckpt
This code allows the web browser UI to select the image to upscale:
The copy-paste strategy may explain why the upscaler needs a text prompt (and the Hugging Face code snippet does not have any text input as well). I got a GPU out of memory error again, although CUDA can be disabled like v1. However, processing an image for more than two hours is unlikely:
Stable Diffusion Limitations
When we use the model, it's fun to see what it can and can't do. Generative models produce abstract visuals but not photorealistic ones. This fundamentally limits The generative neural network was trained on text and image pairs, but humans have a lot of background knowledge about the world. The neural network model knows nothing. If someone asks me to draw a Chinese text, I can draw something that looks like Chinese but is actually gibberish because I never learnt it. Generative AI does too! Humans can learn new languages, but the Stable Diffusion AI model includes only language and image decoder brain components. For instance, the Stable Diffusion model will pull NO WAR banner-bearers like this:
The shot shows text, although the model never learned to read or write. The model's string tokenizer automatically converts letters to lowercase before generating the image, so typing NO WAR banner or no war banner is the same.
I can also ask the model to draw a gorgeous woman:
The first image is gorgeous but physically incorrect. A second one is better, although it has an Uncanny valley feel. BTW, v2 has a lifehack to add a negative prompt and define what we don't want on the image. Readers might try adding horrible anatomy to the gorgeous woman request.
If we ask for a cartoon attractive woman, the results are nice, but accuracy doesn't matter:
Another example: I ordered a model to sketch a mouse, which looks beautiful but has too many legs, ears, and fingers:
V2.1: improved but not perfect.
V1 produces a fun cartoon flying mouse if I want something more abstract:
I tried multiple times with V2.1 but only received this:
The image is OK, but the first version is closer to the request.
Stable Diffusion struggles to draw letters, fingers, etc. However, abstract images yield interesting outcomes. A rural landscape with a modern metropolis in the background turned out well:
Generative models help make paintings too (at least, abstract ones). I searched Google Image Search for modern art painting to see works by real artists, and this was the first image:
I typed "abstract oil painting of people dancing" and got this:
It's a different style, but I don't think the AI-generated graphics are worse than the human-drawn ones.
The AI model cannot think like humans. It thinks nothing. A stable diffusion model is a billion-parameter matrix trained on millions of text-image pairs. I input "robot is creating a picture with a pen" to create an image for this post. Humans understand requests immediately. I tried Stable Diffusion multiple times and got this:
This great artwork has a pen, robot, and sketch, however it was not asked. Maybe it was because the tokenizer deleted is and a words from a statement, but I tried other requests such robot painting picture with pen without success. It's harder to prompt a model than a person.
I hope Stable Diffusion's general effects are evident. Despite its limitations, it can produce beautiful photographs in some settings. Readers who want to use Stable Diffusion results should be warned. Source code examination demonstrates that Stable Diffusion images feature a concealed watermark (text StableDiffusionV1 and SDV2) encoded using the invisible-watermark Python package. It's not a secret, because the official Stable Diffusion repository's test watermark.py file contains a decoding snippet. The put watermark line in the txt2img.py source code can be removed if desired. I didn't discover this watermark on photographs made by the online Hugging Face demo. Maybe I did something incorrectly (but maybe they are just not using the txt2img script on their backend at all).
The Stable Diffusion model was fascinating. As I mentioned before, trying something yourself is always better than taking someone else's word, so I encourage readers to do the same (including this article as well;).
Is Generative AI a game-changer? My humble experience tells me:
I think that place has a lot of potential. For designers and artists, generative AI can be a truly useful and innovative tool. Unfortunately, it can also pose a threat to some of them since if users can enter a text field to obtain a picture or a website logo in a matter of clicks, why would they pay more to a different party? Is it possible right now? unquestionably not yet. Images still have a very poor quality and are erroneous in minute details. And after viewing the image of the stunning woman above, models and fashion photographers may also unwind because it is highly unlikely that AI will replace them in the upcoming years.
Today, generative AI is still in its infancy. Even 768x768 images are considered to be of a high resolution when using neural networks, which are computationally highly expensive. There isn't an AI model that can generate high-resolution photographs natively without upscaling or other methods, at least not as of the time this article was written, but it will happen eventually.
It is still a challenge to accurately represent knowledge in neural networks (information like how many legs a cat has or the year Napoleon was born). Consequently, AI models struggle to create photorealistic photos, at least where little details are important (on the other side, when I searched Google for modern art paintings, the results are often even worse;).
When compared to the carefully chosen images from official web pages or YouTube reviews, the average output quality of a Stable Diffusion generation process is actually less attractive because to its high degree of randomness. When using the same technique on their own, consumers will theoretically only view those images as 1% of the results.
Anyway, it's exciting to witness this area's advancement, especially because the project is open source. Google's Imagen and DALL-E 2 can also produce remarkable findings. It will be interesting to see how they progress.