All the things COVID-19 will change forever, according to 30 top experts

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Tech exec, VCs, and analysts—from WhatsApp’s Will Cathcart to AOL cofounder Steve Case—on the pandemic’s lasting impact on how we live, work, and think.

We’re four weeks into the massive time-out forced on us by coronavirus. Many of us have spent much of that time trying to get used to the radical lifestyle change the virus has brought. But we’re also beginning to think about the end of the crisis, and what the world will look like afterward.

So it’s a good time to round up some opinions about how the pandemic might change how we think about various aspects of life and work. We asked some executives, venture capitalists, and analysts for thoughts on the specific changes they expected to see in their worlds.

Naturally, many of them tended to see the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis in optimistic terms, at least when it comes to their own products, ideas, and causes. And at least some of them are probably right. But the general themes in their comments add up to preview of what might be ahead for tech companies and consumers once the virus is no longer the biggest news story in the world.

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The average age of a successful startup founder is 45

 

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It’s widely believed that the most successful entrepreneurs are young. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg were in their early twenties when they launched what would become world-changing companies. Do these famous cases reflect a generalizable pattern? VC and media accounts seem to suggest so. When we analyzed founders who have won TechCrunch awards over the last decade, the average age at the time of founding was just 31. For the people selected by Inc. magazine as the founders of the fastest-growing startups in 2015, the average age at founding was only 29. Consistent with these findings, Paul Graham, a cofounder of Y Combinator, once quipped that “the cutoff in investors’ heads is 32… After 32, they start to be a little skeptical.” But is this view correct?

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What makes Silicon Valley different?

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The home in Menlo Park, California, where Sergey Brin and Larry Page founded Google in 1998. Paul Sakuma/AP

Like Detroit with automobiles or Pittsburgh with steel, Silicon Valley is synonymous with technology. In her new book The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America, Margaret O’Mara casts a historian’s eye on the contradictions of this pivotal place in modern American history.

Although it is known as a hotbed of entrepreneurship, O’Mara shows the important role played in Silicon Valley by government spending, funneled through research universities such as Stanford or dispensed as federal contracts to tech firms. She charts how the Valley continually remakes itself, creating cutting-edge industry after industry—from semiconductor chips and personal computers to biotech, mobile devices, the Internet, and social media. She traces it from its birth in the military buildup of the 1940s and the Cold War, to the rise of entrepreneurs steeped in the Bay Area counter-culture of the 1960s and 1970s, to now, and the backlash against tech.

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LA new mobility challenge

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 The L.A. New Mobility Challenge is a major global startup competition focused on solving the challenges of urban mobility. The third edition of the Challenge brings together 12 semi-finalists who will pitch their innovations on stage to a crowd of top Venture Capitalists and key public and private stakeholders on November 13, 2019, the eve of CoMotion LA 2019.

The four categories this year are shared and personal mobility, urban aerial mobility, smart infrastructure (including autonomy and connectivity), and zero emission mobility. To be eligible, companies must be less than five years old, have revenue of less than $5 million, and have a product in pilot, beta or prototype stage.

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Vinod Khosla predicts AI will replace human oncologists

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While much of the conversation around AI and jobs is focused on widespread job losses in sectors like trucking, venture capitalist and Sun Microsystems cofounder Vinod Khosla thinks that there’s a high-paying job on the chopping block: oncology.

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The race to monetize artificial intelligence has begun

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The artificial intelligence (A.I.) battle has been heating up. IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google all continuously release impressive technologies in the space that are capturing the minds of developers and customers. From a market standpoint, A.I. is positioned to become a pillar of the next generation of software technologies. We can expect all those software giants to capture segments of the A.I. space, however, the most interesting question is who can monetize A.I. at scale first.

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The Exodus from Silicon Valley

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Over the past few years, there has been a sort of entrepreneurial utopia bloom in Silicon Valley. Young kids with big ideas moved to the Bay Area, where zealous venture capitalists were anxious to fund the next Facebook or the next Uber. However, there’s been trouble in paradise recently. Mega-rounds have declined, and companies have started laying off employees.

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Only 3% of Americans are legally allowed to invest in startups

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All of the venture capitalists that are worth more than $1 billion are all men. Most of these men have invested in Groupon, LinkedIn, Skype, YouTube, Paypal, Facebook and others. Chances are, you are legally barred from joining their exclusive investors’ club.

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