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Out of the Crisis
65 minutes | May 24, 2021
Eren Bali of Carbon Health on public health, Covid vaccinations, and working as a unified society to problem solve
Eren Bali arrived in Silicon Valley from Turkey in 2010 hoping to relaunch Udemy, his online education company. He spent a few years working at the tech startup Speed Date before following through with his original plan, after which Udemy went on to be enormously successful. When his mother became ill and Eren spent some months accompanying her to doctors in order to get the right diagnosis and treatment, he had a realization that led him to his true mission. Now, as CEO and founder of Carbon Health, Eren is leading one of the country's fastest growing healthcare startups. It's mission is to provide really high quality healthcare to the entire population, with a special focus on underserved demographics. A provider of low-cost health clinics across the country, Carbon Health was also on the frontlines when the COVID pandemic hit--and even understood what was coming long before most people in the U.S. did. They pivoted to monitoring patients for COVID, then testing. Ultimately, the company partnered with the City of Los Angeles, and as Eren recalls, "seven days after the original handshake and launch into a scheduling website, we helped launch Dodger stadium, which was the single largest mass vaccination site in the country." From there, Carbon Health fully reinvented themselves as a full-stack public health company.
72 minutes | May 3, 2021
Brian Armstrong of Coinbase on cryptocurrency, being mission-oriented, and institution building
A few weeks ago, Coinbase , which facilitates buying, storing and purchasing cryptocurrency and also operates a cryptocurrency exchange, went public. It was one of the year's most successful IPOs so far, and has been heralded as a "landmark moment" for cryptocurrency's entrance into mainstream investing. Just before the IPO, I had a far-reaching conversation with co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong as he approached this major milestone for the company he co-founded back in 2012. We talked about a wide variety of topics, including what the decline in public trust of institutions means for companies, how to codify company culture and intentions, remote work, the concept of the ICO--initial coin offering--and his side company, ResearchHub, which he founded to counter his belief that "there's a crisis happening in scientific research, that is just slowing down human progress."
61 minutes | Aug 31, 2020
Noah Smith and Brad DeLong: the cost of the crisis
We are now seeing how damaging our weak response to the pandemic was in the US. Both on human lives and on the economy. But, how much would it actually have cost, if we had completely shuttered the economy for six weeks and paid everyone to stay at home? Would it be cheaper and more effective than the patchwork responses we are seeing now?These questions are not easy to answer, so I spoke to two economic experts Brad DeLong and Noah Smith. Brad and Noah don't agree on much, or really anything. However, they came together on one idea. We missed and are still missing a massive opportunity to save lives and save the economy.
73 minutes | Aug 24, 2020
Zeynep Tufekci (part two): How we get out of this mess and predictions for the future
After Part One, you should have a sense of Zeynep. If you haven't listened, it is worth going back and hearing her impressive background and history. In part two, we changed our focus and started talking about the pandemic. We discussed her early work advocating for common sense policies, how we got our response so wrong, and what we can do now to begin the recovery. Given her history of being right, we should all pay attention to what she has to say.
70 minutes | Aug 17, 2020
Zeynep Tufekci (part one): from Turkey to Technosociology
Zeynep Tufekci may be the most important account on Twitter. The reason being she has a habit of being early on the defining trends shaping our world. The pandemic was no different. Zeynep was sounding the alarm early in 2020, calling for common sense policies advocated by public health officials. It's safe to say, we would have been better off if we had listened to her.Zeynep's life is unique, and I didn't want to cut the fascinating stories she told me. So, I split this conversation into two parts. In this first part, Zeynep discusses growing up in Turkey, learning to code, and tricking IBM into hiring her.
71 minutes | Aug 10, 2020
Ron Klain: The Ebola Czar on COVID
Ron Klain may know more about government pandemic response than anyone in the US. This is because in 2014 Ron lead the response to the Ebola epidemic, resulting in only 18 infections and 2 deaths. Ron was talking about a need to response to COVID as early as January of this year, when he authored an op-ed in the Atlantic saying we had moved beyond the "if" COVID comes to the US to the "how bad will it be" phase.Ron and I spoke about his experience as the Ebola Czar, how we should have responded to this pandemic, and how Ron thinks we can end the crisis.
81 minutes | Jul 27, 2020
Tomas Pueyo: The Hammer and the Dance
In these conversation, I have spoken with many every day people who managed to have a large impact in this crisis. Tomas Pueyo is, perhaps, the best example of this. Tomas began to notice what was going on with COVID early in 2020. He realized that there was no comprehensive guide on what governments needed to do to flatten the curve. So, Tomas set out and wrote "The Hammer and the Dance" After an initial share on Facebook, this article eventually reached over 60 million people. Tomas and I spoke about how he got the data for the article, the impact it had on government responses and what it means for governments to use the hammer and the dance.
78 minutes | Jul 20, 2020
Bitwise: Retraining and reemploying American workers
There are two types of unemployment we are seeing right now. Unemployed caused by pandemic, and unemployment caused by the lockdown caused by the pandemic. This is a serious issue and will have long lasting impacts on our country if we don't act now.Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin were already tackling the issue of unemployment, and job training, well before the pandemic. Bitwise, the company they founded, specialized in providing technical training to people in what they called "underdog" cities. So, when the saw the rampant unemployment, they sprung into action. I spoke to Jake and Irma about Bitwise, the organization they founded in response to the pandemic Onward US, and what more needs to be done to fight unemployment.
64 minutes | Jul 13, 2020
Revolution Foods: Rethinking the Food Supply Chain
Kristin Groos Richmond and Kirsten Saenz Tobey had no idea that they were building a nationwide phenomenon when in 2006, they founded Revolution Foods. Their mission was simply to provide kid-inspired, chef-crafted food to school aged children. Fast forward to 2020, they were serving over 2 million meals per week to kids across the country. When COVID hit and they saw their revenue decline, they made the choice to get into the fight. Kirsten and Kristin used their food supply chain to get meals to the most vulnerable among us at nursing homes and homeless shelters. While there is so much more work to do, Revolution Foods is providing crucial support at a time of need. We should all follow their example.
56 minutes | Jul 6, 2020
Sal Khan: The Classroom of the Future
Sal Khan may be the most famous educator in the world. His organization, Khan Academy, was helping millions of students around the world supplement their learning. However, since the lockdown, Khan Academy has taken on a new role. Instead of just augmenting education, Khan Academy has become a provider. They are now partnering with school districts across the world to provide education to hundreds of millions of students. I spoke with Sal to discuss how Khan Academy reacted in the early days, how they are operating now, and if a fully remote education system could work.
58 minutes | Jun 29, 2020
Max Henderson: CovidActNow, a Necessary Counterweight
Remember how fast shelter-in-place went from seeming impossible to becoming a reality? Remember how policy makers all of a sudden appeared to understand what was at stake and take action? How did this happen?Max Henderson was on a sabbatical from his full time role at Google, when he saw the first few COVID cases in the US. At that moment, he realized that we were not acting quickly enough. This led Max to found CovidActNow.org, which started out as a simple calculator to understand how many deaths could result from every day of delay. Pairing this with a large public pressure campaign, Max helped push government leaders to respond to this crisis. I spoke with Max to talk about the early days of CovidActNow, how he came up with his model and what he is focusing on going forward.
75 minutes | Jun 25, 2020
Dr. Robert Schooley: Why weren't we ready?
Why weren't we ready? There are so many conflicting theories surrounding this idea that it seems hard to answer. But it is not a black box, there is a science to this. In fact, we have been through outbreaks so many times that our lacking response is shocking. To learn more about the history of infectious disease and why we weren't ready I decided to talk to an expert. Dr. Robert Schooley is one of a handful of true infectious disease experts. He has seen numerous outbreaks and spent his entire career in research and treatment of infectious disease. Dr. Schooley and I spoke about the historic lack of resources for the study infectious disease, where we went wrong in this pandemic, and what the path to "normalization" must look like to avoid a relapse.
57 minutes | Jun 22, 2020
SF New Deal: A model for the future
Lenore Estrada, like many of us, was set up for a good year heading into 2020. She had just broken ground on a new site for her bakery, Three Babes Bakeshop, and was scaling up her operations. Then, everything had to be put on hold. At this moment, Lenore decided to use the tools of entrepreneurship and her experience in the food industry to make a difference. Lenore launched SF New Deal with the goal of providing income for workers and meals for those who have been hurt by COVID-19. Now, SF New Deal has disbursed over $3 million to small businesses and delivered over 300K meals to people in need. Lenore and I spoke about how she started SF New Deal, the broader implications this crisis is having on under-resourced communities, and how we can use her experience as a model for others who want to join the fight.
68 minutes | Jun 18, 2020
Robert Rhinehart: Building the tools for research
Robert Rhinehart is most known for Soylent, a company and product he founded in the search for nutrition supported by science. But, Robert has always been interested in technical underpinnings of biology.So, after reading a paper about the effect of COVID on the brainstem, Robert jumped into action. He launched the Corona Initiative, a public benefit corporation dedicated to building the tools for research. These tools, such as a psuedovirus, are required for researchers to run experiments and test treatments. In this conversation Robert and I discussed why basic research is underfunded, what we need to accelerate COVID research and the implications this pandemic could have on biotechnology companies going forward.Some of the resources we discussed are:marsbio.vccorona-initiative.comhttps://cdn.elifesciences.org/articles/57309/elife-57309-v3.pdf
56 minutes | Jun 15, 2020
Alpha Lee: An Open Source COVID Moonshot
After seeing the impact of the SARS pandemic as a child in Hong Kong, Alpha Lee dedicated his life to science. Studying mathematics and biology at some of the most prestigious universities in the world, Alpha has now turned his attention to an area ripe for disruption, preclinical drug discovery.Alpha had just arrived in the bay area for the startup program Y Combinator when the lockdowns for COVID starting. Having been through this before, Alpha knew what he needed to do. Alpha decided to use the technology he had been developing to find promising compounds to fight coronavirus and then open source it. Alpha received thousands of submissions and now the most promising of those are being developed in a lab in the UK. Alpha's message throughout all of this? Let's not waste the opportunity, this time.Resources we discussed:https://postera.ai/covidhttps://www.alpha-lee.com/https://www.gofundme.com/f/covidmoonshothttps://covid19-hpc-consortium.org/projects/5e8be82df1a9290078584cf4
42 minutes | Jun 15, 2020
OOTC Special: Roy Bahat: a reflection on Tech's Response to COVID-19
This year, I sat down with Roy Bahat at CogX, a large global technology conference, that this year was completely virtual. Roy and I used this time to reflect on everything that has happened since the start of the pandemic. What many don't know is that a catalyst for the technology industry's response to the crisis in the early days was a WhatsApp group that Roy and I were a part of. We shared what it was like in those early days, how we got involved and what we need to do now to make sure we build a better world on the other side. This is the first ever live tapping of Out of the Crisis. It was recorded on June 9th, 2020.
54 minutes | Jun 12, 2020
Curative: Testing Thousands for COVID-19
Fred Turner is a scientist and biotech CEO who, like so many during this crisis, felt an obligation to act when the pandemic hit. In a matter of days and with the help of his friend Celine Halioua, Fred pivoted his startup, found a research lab, and relocated his entire operation from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Now, Fred and his team at Curative are testing thousands for COVID-19. Fred and I discussed his pivot, how he managed to get up and running within days, what those first tests were like, and what more we need to do to get widespread testing adopted in this country.
85 minutes | Jun 8, 2020
Jeremy Howard: The Data Behind Masks4All
Jeremy Howard is not a lobbyist, politician or a doctor. He is a data scientist. And yet, he is one of the main reasons that governments across the US are telling citizens to wear masks outside. To understand how this came to be, I spoke to Jeremy about his background, the data supporting masks, other country's experiences with masks, and the various trends the data is showing.
87 minutes | May 28, 2020
Hannu Rajaniemi: Creating a Vaccine Manhattan Project
Hannu Rajaniemi is most know for his work as a science fiction author. However, recently, he has taken his talent for seeing the bigger picture and turned it towards finding a solution to the pandemic. In the early days of the crisis, Hannu rapidly pivoted his cancer vaccine startup Helix Nano to focus on developing an mRNA vaccine for COVID-19. But he has as not stopped there. Hannu has also put together a proposal for a Vaccine Manhattan Project, calling for the coordination of public, private and nonprofit sectors to create a vaccine for COVID-19 in a matter of months. This project is ambitious, but it may be the best shot at mitigating the damage the virus could have on our society. In this episode Hannu and I talk about his background, the biological mechanisms at work when a virus attacks our cells, the different types of vaccines, and the need for a Vaccine Manhattan Project.
85 minutes | May 25, 2020
Frontline Foods: fueling the fight against COVID-19
Sydney, Frank, and Ryan have been friends for a long time. So when the crisis hit and Sydney was thrown into the frontlines as a pediatric nurse, Ryan and Frank wanted to help.What started out as a pizza party for Sydney's team, has now turned into one of the largest organizations coordinating meals for frontline workers across the US. I asked the three founders of Frontline Foods to share how they got started, the impact they have had so far, and where they want to take the organization from here.Hosted on Breaker.
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