Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Emerging Technology Conference 2008

I have been meaning to write part 2 of the post about decision making pitfalls, another post about a presentation I attended by one of the founders of - unfortunately, a day only has 24 hours.

I skipped classes this morning to attend the Emerging Technologies conference at MIT this morning. I was very glad I went. The keynote by Vinod Khosla seemed to start-off on a pessimistic note. He made the point that prediction has varied widely from reality in the past with respect to things like oil prices, consumer adoption of cell phones etc. When the next slide switched to alternate energy sources, I thought I had a clue as to what was coming. I was pleasantly surprised. He went on to talk about the scope and magnitude of solutions that will be required to make a dent in the energy challenge, and how any proposed solution must be inexpensive enough to be adopted by the "Chindia" market to actually make progress. He then talked about "Black Swans", disruptive technologies capable of changing the nature of the game, and how any solution that comes along must be profitable on its own merits without requiring subsidies. He went on to talk about the criteria used by Khosla ventures to make an investment, and about the companies in his portfolio. Some of the ones he mentioned are doing incredible work, can't wait to check them out!

I also attended 2 sessions of the TR35 elevator pitches and came away very impressed, as expected. I had a chance to chat with Dr. Shafi from University of Pennsylvania afterward. His story was fascinating, and his enthusiasm infectious. I was particularly awed by how the polymer simply gets absorbed into the body once its job is done - very neat. I extended an invitation to him to participate in the MIT100K competition since he mentioned he was looking for another round of funding, and he is very interested. So MIT people reading this blog, if this is something you're interested in, drop me a line, he's looking for a MIT partner with whom to enter the competition.

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