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In this interview, serial entrepreneur and published author Craig Weiss shares his predictions on emerging technologies that will revolutionize the world in coming decades. He discusses how artificial intelligence is just one of many areas where we’re witnessing incredible progress-and offers some insight into what it means for our future prospects as humans!

-Craig Weiss

Raw And Real Entrepreneurship with Craig Weiss

Topics covered in the interview

Venture Capitalist work and being a father
Changing mindset
What makes a successful founder
The future of technology

Craig Weiss’ Bio

Craig Weiss is a Venture-Capitalist, serial entrepreneur, and published author.  Craig is the Managing Member of Flagstaff Ventures, a Venture Capital firm focused on early-stage consumer products and services.  He is also the Co-Founder & CEO of venture-backed Retainer Club & Mouthguard Club.  Craig has founded or co-founded half a dozen companies.  During his three and half years as President & CEO of NJOY, Inc. he led the company to a $1B valuation.  

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Craig Weiss was a patent attorney, where he focused on the drafting and prosecution of patent applications for medical device, e-commerce and business method inventions.  An inventor, Craig Weiss has 14 patents to his own name, including five for medical devices.  

A published author, Craig co-authored I Am My Brother’s Keeper, which features a foreword from Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu.  The book is also the subject of the Nancy Spielberg produced documentary, “Above & Beyond,” in which Craig appears as one of the historians.  Craig’s newest book, “Fighting Back” was published on May 17, 2022.  

Craig is a frequent speaker at A.S.U’s W.P. Carey School of Business and has also spoken numerous times Harvard Business School.  

A lifelong resident of Arizona, Craig lives in Paradise Valley with his wife, two children and six dogs. 

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Show Notes

Read Full Transcript

Speaker 00:00
Welcome to Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, the show that dares to bring the no nonsense insight to those who have the coverage to start, grow, and scale a business. Here's your host, entrepreneur, investor and best selling author Susan Sly.

Susan Sly 00:16
Well, hey, what is up, Raw and Real Entrepreneurs, wherever you are in the world, I hope you're having an amazing, amazing day. And I have a question for you. You know, do you wonder why in this current landscape, there are still people out there starting businesses, because you might be thinking this is the recession, mortgage rates are crazy. Borrowing money is insane and there are people doing startups. And my guest today is in venture capital, which means he's essentially betting on who's gonna make it and who's not. And check this out. Not only is he a venture capitalist, he's a serial entrepreneur, published author, he has been on Mad Money twice, I kind of do have a crush on Jim Cramer and I'm hoping to meet him in New York this year, coming up. Anyway, he is the Managing Member of Flagstaff Ventures, which is a venture capital firm focused on early stage consumer products and services. He's the co founder and CEO of venture backed Retainer Club and Mouthguard Club. He has founded or co founded half a dozen companies. And during his three and a half years as president and CEO of enjoy, Inc, he led the company to a billion dollar valuation that is unicorn territory, my friends. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, he was a patent attorney, God bless him. No, seriously, patent attorneys are the best. I love them. I'm grateful. We have great patent attorneys. And on top of everything else, he has 14 patents to his own name, including five for medical devices and forget everything I just told you, he's also an amazing father, his children are remarkable. I'm a huge fan of his wife. She is an incredible badass. And I have the privilege today to have a conversation with my friend, Greg Weiss. So Craig, welcome to Raw and Real Entrepreneurship.

Craig Weiss 02:08
Thank you so much, Susan. It's a pleasure to be here. Really appreciate it.

Susan Sly 02:11
Well, I have to laugh because it is raw and real. And people were like, oh, you know, you do these interviews, and do you ever get nervous? Well, I had to do two takes of the intro because I was thinking so much about our friendship and our last lunch together. And both being parents navigating building businesses, and having kids. And the challenge it is. So because it's raw and real entrepreneurship, what would you say is the biggest challenge that you're facing right now in terms of building companies doing VC work and being a dad?

Craig Weiss 02:51
Um, you know, it's, it's hard, it's so hard. And I feel like that word is just doesn't do service to, you know, the challenge, like when, when I talk to people who don't have, who are about to have kids who don't have kids, and they're young, it's like, what, what they don't tell you is, it's not that it's twice as much work, because, okay, you're thinking to yourself, I can do more work, it's twice as much work on half the sleep. It's this brutal combination of you're gonna work harder, and have less reserves and less energy and less resources. What I found now, you know, is I'm at a place, I'm turning 50, next year, and I'm at this place now where I realize the complexity of my life is, you know, it just keeps getting harder, right? It's more complicated. My, I've got two teenagers now, for children, that's getting more complicated. My Businesses are getting more complicated, you know, everything is getting harder. And so what I found is just like with business, you have to kind of keep leveling up. I feel that way in my personal life, like I would say, I'm putting in a meaningful amount of hours each week into like, personal development, Family Development, marriage development, just trying to, because I think we fall into this trap as entrepreneurs where, you know, we're like, we're these go getters, right? So we read books, and we listened, we listened to Susan's podcast, and we're trying to like constantly get smarter. And if I said to everyone who's listening right now, what's more important to you, your business or your family? 100% of us would say family, and it's like, okay, but what's your commitment and time and energy and resources for personal development, Family Development, not professional development? It's like, oh, like how many conferences you go to for your family? And so that's kind of, so that's one of the things that's been hard is realizing that that actually really requires as much or more effort, resource allocation, investment as everything else in your life. And, you know, there's just obviously, and of course, you have to take care of yourself. And it's not a cliche, you can't just talk about putting the oxygen mask on yourself, you actually have to do it. And there's only so many hours in the day, and you got all these constituents. And so it's hard.

Susan Sly 05:22
It is hard. And I think that just owning it and saying it, it's liberating. So So Craig, Saturday night, we're at a dinner for Harvey McKay's 90th birthday. And I think I'll be sharing stories on the podcast of what happened over the course the weekend for the next several podcasts. But the, so Saturday night, there's 330 people and all these incredible people, Lou Holtz is there and Jay Abraham is there and all these folks and, and so our friends, Glenn, and Mindy Stearns, and Chris and I are sitting at the table, and we just started having this conversation about raising teenagers and what happened to you. You have a business meeting, and then you're called to the school, and then you suddenly you have to drop everything, go to the school, explain to your colleagues, oh, I have to leave this meeting, because I have this urgent situation. And then something happens. And then suddenly, there's reprioritization. And one of the people at the table, we talked about letting go of perfection when it came to parenting because at the end of the day, like, there's only so much we can do. And to your point, it's we're not always going to be perfect in everything. But there's having this opportunity to be a parent and grow business. It's not easy. And it's really uncharted because our parents, 70% of parents in the 70s, one parent stayed at home. And now we live in a society where over 70% of both parents, if there are two parents in the household, they're both working. So it's so different. So for you go ahead, I know you want.

Craig Weiss 07:09
Well, I was only going to say two things. One is, I thankfully gave up on perfection a long time ago. So I haven't been holding myself to that standard, because I knew it was impossible. I, I think two things I was gonna say one is, I think one of the hardest things about trying to juggle it all is when you, this is actually a new realization on my part, was when I realized, you don't get to pick, you don't get to schedule that school meeting, you don't get to schedule that phone call from your kid who's who's hysterical or who's upset, or you don't get to schedule when your spouse is like, I've got an issue that I need your help with, like, so you can't say, You know what, it's not a great time right now so let me just, I want you to talk to my EA and we'll schedule this crisis, you know, at a more convenient time later, like, that's just not how it works. So, so the hard part is, you know, as business operators, you know, you're focusing on these business needs, and then you have a personal or family need, which intuitively, you know, has to take priority. But you're like, oh, but it's just such an inconvenient time. It's just so inconvenient. It's like, yeah, that's the deal, right? If it was convenient, then no one would be talking about this right now. It's so easy to balance everything. It's not because it never works out the way you want it to, it always comes to the worst possible moment. And that's, in many ways, though, I'm now embracing that, which is, that's the test. That's the test of whether you really, where your priorities really do lie. Because you don't know if everything happens at the most convenient time, you don't really know. But when you're faced with that dilemma, I have to choose between this current business situation and my family, then you have to make a choice. And that's where, that's how you know who you are.

Susan Sly 08:57
Well, it is, it's how you know who you are. And also the, I have a philosophy and you know this one, that I won't do business with anyone that I'm not willing to have the dinner table with my kids. And so it, we're friends, and so obviously you pass the dinner table test. How do you, Craig, go from,cr I'm so curious about this. So you get the call from the school, okay, so that situations coming down, now you have to transition super fast and go into a huge meeting. So how do you shift your mindset super quick?

Craig Weiss 09:33
So it's interesting. It's funny, it's funny you ask because it's one of the things that I've now discovered, is actually like a little bit of a superpower of mine that I didn't know that I had is, I don't know that it's a good thing, but I am able to transition really quickly from not just personal to professional but my beloved portfolio companies. You know, in my venture capital fund, and there's you know, and I'm constantly talking to new people. And so I'm almost on a pretty much on a daily basis, I would say, multiple times a day, having to shift my entire brain from one conversation to another. I'm talking about retainers, and then I'm talking about, you know, french fries. And it's just like, you know, I'm just going from one thing to another. So I've had to do it. There's a guy, though, that I have a tremendous amount of respect for who's kind of a CEO whisperer, this guy in town, and Jim Mitchell, who's an amazing human being in Phoenix, and he, I had the privilege of him speaking to my CEO group. And he actually had some incredibly powerful tools for actually doing that, which is just, just taking even 30 seconds in your car in between those two things, and just breathing, right? Just focusing on your breath for 30 seconds, 60 seconds of just. And just, if you can do that, it's a great way to transition. His recommendation is basically, you do that every single day, when you come into the garage, like when you're coming back home, you need to kind of breathe out that, you know, he has this great, he has this great frame of reference, like, we're CEOs, right? So we're just like these problem solvers. And he's like, the problem is, if you don't transition properly, you're gonna walk into the house with this problem solving sledgehammer. And then like, your kids are like, Hey, Mom, Hey, Dad, and you're just like, Whack, whack! What's your problem, I got a solution. Don't talk to that kid anymore, you should do this, and then all of a sudden, your kid's just like, You know what I'm gonna go talk to dad. I'm gonna go talk to someone who's not trying to like, problem solve everything, they just want someone to be able to listen. And we need to be able to transition from problem solving mode, the listening mode.

Susan Sly 11:51
From problem solving mode to listening mode. It's so, because this is Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, that ability to transition from one conversation to the next even before this show, we were talking and I had a customer facing meeting. So my mind is, you know, computer vision AI, and you know, what the use cases are? And then as soon as that we're done this show, then we have, you introduced us to an amazing vendor who's flying in and doing a presentation. And then it's just, you know, you go from one thing to the next. And then I love what you said about taking that 30 seconds and just taking a deep breath and that, that shifting into parent mode or partner mode or whatever mode it needs to be for someone because we, I've even seen in, you know, for myself, if I go into the house, and I'm still in CEO mode, it means I'm not in wife mode to Chris, I am not in parent mode to the kids. And that is not a place of power, for sure. So switching gears, but not so much, because I'm sure with all the ventures that you're managing that you're a parent in some of those situations. But I want to shift gears because you made a decision with Flagstaff to go really early stage for investment. And for people who are not aware what that means, can you describe how early you're investing in these companies?

Craig Weiss 13:25
Yeah, so what I learned was, things have changed in this institutional investing world over the last sort of 10 or 15 years. I think there was a point, really not that long ago, where venture meant free revenue, and private equity meant revenue. And over the last sort of 10 or 15 years, that's just not true anymore. Everyone's kind of moved upstream. And now venture investors want to see revenue, and private equity investors wants even more revenue. And so, and so the only people, I don't want to say the only people but almost the only people investing in pre revenue are angels, just individuals who are willing to write a check, because they know you and they're willing to take a risk. And so my feeling is pre revenue is where you, you know, it's the maximum amount of risk with the maximum amount of upside. Because you have no idea whether it's going to succeed or fail, there's no traction, there's no customers. So you're really taking this leap of faith. Of course, though, because there's no revenue and there's no traction and there's no customers, the valuation is going to be low or low, certainly lower than it would be if there's less risk because the business model has been proven out. So it's not that I like only want to do pre revenue, I think of my 11 investments, literally half, I think five were pre revenue and five and I think six were post revenue, so about almost almost 50% And so, it's really comes down to me of, it's a leap of faith. So it's based on that, you know, I have a similar feeling that you do, Susan, about doing business, you know, only the people I would want to have dinner with, and you know, with my kids there, I, you know, I definitely have a view that I'm only going to invest in people that I genuinely like, that I really want to see be successful, that I really care about. And almost their success is important to me emotionally, and you know, the financial success, that'll just be a byproduct of seeing a good person, be successful. And I think that, ultimately, pre revenue is exciting to me, because it's like, it's that building the airplane while you know, putting in, putting on the engines while you're in flight. And it's, and so I love that. I love having to make complicated decisions without sufficient information where you only have part answers, and you got to just kind of, you got to make bold decisions and move quickly. So, and I think those are the people who need the most amount of help, and I, and look, I wouldn't be where I am today without a powerful mentor who was incredible, incredibly helpful to me. I didn't know anything. And so I triy to channel all of that down to sort of pay it forward with what I received and try to be as kind hearted as I can, but to help my fellow operators because I was one of them. And I, like you, live in the real world where things are super messy and don't run smoothly, like someone might think they do on an Excel spreadsheet if they've never been on the real world.

Susan Sly 16:44
Isn't life in Instagram perfect? The testament to your character. So Craig and I were having lunch. And he's showing me these ventures and these founders, and he's not just like, oh, this was this company, Craig talks about the person first and their life and what's going on for them and where they came from and where they went to school and everything else. And it was Craig, it was so beautiful to see. And since you're doing this, and we're in these economic headwinds, so to speak, Jim Cramer, though, has different words, not economic headwinds. He says something different. I was listening to Jim on the you know, on CNBC this morning. So we're in a very interesting economic time. We're seeing large companies, Meta just laid off 11,000 people, we see Twitter, he's doing a restructure, it's, you know, whatever, there's different but we're seeing mass layoffs in tech. And here you are investing at what some would consider a very risky time. And so because you're betting on the person, not necessarily just the idea, in your mind, what makes a successful founder?

Craig Weiss 18:00
So a successful founder to me, is, it's a great question. And it's not obviously that one size fits all, but the qualities that I've seen over and over again in successful founders is, it's actually really an interesting combination of qualities, because some of them are almost in conflict with others. You have to have a never, like you have to have a failure is not an option, never quit mentality. At the same time, though, you also have to have this flexibility. You can't be so rigid that you're saying, failure is not an option. So I'm going to just keep, you know, doing this thing over and over again, that's clearly not working. Right? So you have to be able to differentiate between overall failure as opposed to the failure of this specific thing that you're working on. Because overall failure is what you want to prevent. But it might be that this business initiative is not a good idea. It's not working, and you need to pivot. Right? And so pivoting isn't quitting. It's keeping your eyes on the big picture, which is okay, I tried it, didn't work. That's okay. Like, you know, now let's try something else. And so you need to have, you know, definitely flexibility. You know, you can't be rigid a thought. You have to be flexible. But you don't want to be so flexible that you're like, Oh, I'm not sure if this is working. Let's just quit and we'll try something new. Oh, that's not working. I'm not sure if that's working. Let's try something new. Like you've got to actually, you know, really put forth the effort to be successful and only if it's clear from the evidence, whatever you're trying isn't working, then having an intelligent conversation about what a pivot might look like, but that never quit attitude, combined with flexibility is really important. And then, probably as important as those two is passionate. Like, if I meet somebody and I, and it's like, so why are you doing this? And if they say I just really want to make a lot of money. I'll never and someone who says that, you know, and it's not because they can't be successful. I, it's funny. This is a story I've never told anybody else, Susan. I was on a panel. And I'm not gonna say the name of the person, but I was on a panel pre COVID with this gentleman, and I didn't know him. So we're getting to know each other backstage before we go on the main stage together. And, and I go, and he's doing this company that is like a logistics type of company. And I've always been curious about people who do businesses that I couldn't get excited about personally, because it sounds kind of boring to me. And so I said, I said, so like, you know, Ryan, like what, you know, what are you passionate about, like what floats your boat? And he's like, I just really want to make a lot of money. And I just remember being like, super turned off by that. Now, fast forward to today. At the day that he said that to me, I don't know how much money he was worth, I don't think his company was that successful. The company is extraordinarily successful. And I believe on paper, he's now a billionaire. Okay, in the five years, since we said, had that conversation. So it's not that I'm saying to people who don't have the passion can't be successful, I've probably met two dozen billionaires and they're the same cross section of that you see in the rest of what I call Gen pop. Some are jerks. Some are sweethearts, some are brilliant, some I just don't think are that smart. And they were just in the right place at the right time. You know, like, it's the same thing you see from from everything else in society. So I think, for me, personally, I need to see passion, that they just love what they're doing. They're passionate about it. And financial success is just, you know, that's just an outcome that happens as a result of being passionate about what they do.

Susan Sly 21:42
Yeah, I think, and I know exactly what you're saying. I've met, I've met the people who might say one thing on stage, but backstage are like, I just want to make the money, make the money. Money, in my opinion, is a byproduct of all the things you said. The ability to focus, the ability to pivot, to be flexible to, to be passionate. And thinking about that and thinking about who you've chosen in this group of people who are so impressive, but let's be real, the early stage investing is a long hold. So this is not like you're going to early stage invest and be out of these companies. How long do you expect to, the average company to take to exit or IPO?

Craig Weiss 22:29
Right. So I would say, you know, you're right, it's a longer hold time. Venture, just as kind of cool for probably your listeners, because I didn't learn this until I got into this space more closely. So venture as an asset class, like if you were gonna say private equity, you know, buying publicly traded stocks, investing in real estate, venture is an asset class actually outperforms every other asset class, just in terms of financial performance over time, it does better. But it's also the most illiquid, and that's the trade off. So you're gonna get the best financial performance for venture with the, with the most amount of illiquidity. So a typical venture capital fund, like mine is structured as seven years. So if you give me your money, you should not expect to get it back for seven years. Now, as a practical matter, you should start, you know, venture does start paying out sooner than that, because as soon as any one of these 11 companies gets acquired, or goes public, or has a liquidity event, that money is distributed out to the LPs and so that, that's some of, I've already actually, in the first 12 months, made of partial distributions. So as companies have liquidity events over time, there'll be distributions. I would just, whenever I talk to people who, who are contemplating an investment, I say that while my hope and expectation is to be able to send money out every year, you should not be giving me anybody that you, that you need back, you know, in the next, you know, seven years, right, just just in case. So, and some are going to have liquidity really quick, and some are going to just take a long time, just because things didn't work out the way they wanted. They had to pivot, they had to try again, you know, and of course, some won't work out at all. But so far, I'm still very bullish on all.

Susan Sly 24:19
All that it's, and it's a testament to you, right, because I know you, you're very good at seeing people's hearts and that's one of many things that I adore about you, honestly. And it's tough because even for the companies I'm invested in I mean,I look, I'm always thinking about if I was in that person's shoes, and I've also shifted because the economy, what I'm entertaining investing in, so I just had a Estelle Giraud on and she's an early stage founder. She's doing a capital raise in the med tech space, has a PhD, and she is so passionate. And we were talking about playing the founder game, which means you put away all other distractions and you're laser focused because you're accountable not just to your staff, you're accountable to investors, you're accountable to VCs, like everyone that you have to do that. And she has a toddler. Right? So that's a whole different level of sleeplessness. Right. And when she said that about playing the founder game, and that ability to focus, and we think about this economy. So let me ask you this question. Somebody who's listening right now and saying, I'm thinking of starting a business, this economy is horrible. What would you say to that person?

Craig Weiss 25:42
So look, I mean, my views on entrepreneurs, so I'm a proud entrepreneur myself. And like, when I guest lecturer at WP Carey at the Business School here at ASU, I say to the, whether it's seniors taking entrepreneurship, or the exec MBAs or the the regular MBA, I say, look, I love being an entrepreneur, it's not for everybody, and there's no judgment. You know, some people that just want to get that paycheck, you know, every two weeks and not have to worry. And I get that. I have respect for that. I couldn't do that. I couldn't go to that world where I felt like my fate was in someone else's hands. And you know, you mentioned all those layoffs, right? There used to be in you know, in my parents generation, my parents grew up, I have much, my parents have both passed away, I was, I had much older parents who was born much later in their lives. So they grew up during the Great Depression. And the belief system there was, you know, you want to go work for a big established company, IBM, Ford, you know, because that was safe. But you just listed some of the top employers in the world and they're firing people left and right, like at huge volumes, not because of the performance of the individual, right? Just, you know, these macro economic conditions. So I don't think working for the big company, as an employee is as safe as people think it is. So once I kind of got comfortable with the fact that that's not so safe, so you're gonna take risks either way, I'd rather my fate be as much in my hands as possible. Now, that said, of course, it's never just in your hands, because you've got, you live in the real world. And so there's market conditions, there's suppliers, there's the supply chain nightmares, there's all of these issues that we all have to struggle with. My psychologist always reminds me, you know, if it was easy, everybody would be successful, right? So I sometimes honestly, am grateful. And one of my, one of my favorite expressions that I say at work is the good news is it's complicated, right? Because that complexity is potentially your ally, because that's what's preventing other people from tackling this problem, because they're, they're just too scared of it, it's too complicated. But you either have the subject matter expertise or the passion or both to tackle it, and it's good that it's complicated, because that's what's gonna make you successful were others, you know, have fallen short.

Susan Sly 28:02
It's good that it's complicated. And I love that you said that because there are different philosophies out there, like, Oh, if someone else hasn't solved it, then why are you doing it? Right? That's like the Roger Bannister thing. Okay, so no one ran the four minute mile. So you're gonna give up trying until someone does it? And I think there's a lot of technological opportunities. I think there's a lot of CPG opportunities. I think there are a lot of things that haven't been done yet, not because they haven't been tested. But the right people haven't gone down those roads. So all right, I need you to put on like a special hat. And it's the predictive hat. Right. So my mentor always says, predict, predict, predict. So I'm going to, you know do some rapid fire. You ready?

Craig Weiss 28:46
I'm ready.

Susan Sly 28:47
Craig has no idea what I'm going to ask in terms of predictions. Okay. So let's start with technology. In your opinion, what are some of the next areas where we're going to start to see some great companies emerging in terms of tackling you know, those problems that haven't been solved yet?

Craig Weiss 29:09
So I love that question. There's two. There's two, no, three areas where I see just enormous opportunity. So one is in this world that we're about to enter, and it's fun to talk about, because we're literally not in this world today. And we're about to be in a world that will be so radically different from the world that we live in right now. And in my mind, there's a 100% chance of this. This isn't something that may happen, it's for sure gonna happen. But we live in a world as human beings today, where our entire, almost our entire experience with reality is unfiltered. And we are about to move into a world where all of our reality is going to be filtered in augmented reality. And Apples been working on this for years and years and years, and they there is a 100% chance that there will be, at first glasses, and eventually contact lenses. And you're gonna walk into a cocktail party and you know, above Susan's head, it's gonna say, Susan, married to Chris, and these are her children and this is their, ,and they play soccer, and they, you know, this guy goes cross country, and he's at GCU. And you're gonna have all this biographical information, and I'm gonna Hey, Susan. So, you know, how's Chris doing, you know, like, and so, but it goes so much more beyond that, because what's going to happen is, it's going to empower so many people on this planet to do things that we can't even dream of. And I'll just use a silly example, because none of this exists. And I know for sure, it's all coming. You're gonna have a situation where like, I don't know, your, your kitchen sink is clogged, and you're gonna put on the glasses, open the cabinets under the sink, and there's going to be like blue arrows and green arrows and turn this that way, turn that and you're going to become a plumber, just by putting on the glasses, and you're gonna be able to fix your own problems. And like, people are going to be able to be mechanics and plumbers, and maybe even doctors, right, just by putting on these like Superman glasses that are going to filter their reality and superimpose, you know, make a left, make a right do this point there, you know, cut here. And I don't think people have any clue what level of transformation that's going to bring about. And the platform is going to be whatever, whether it's Facebook's, Oculus, or whether it's Apple or you know, whoever, but it's coming. And the applications for that are basically limitless. And so, so that's one that I see. Another one that I see is we've all heard about this thing called the blockchain. And we've all heard about crypto. And I've heard a couple of really, really interesting people talk about technology, transformational technology, and they had a, they had a couple of great examples. The two that I liked the most are the personal computing revolution, the personal computer, and the internet. And so the story goes like this, the dawn of the personal computer revolution was I think, you know, I think it was what 1976, the front cover of Popular Mechanics magazine, you know, the first true personal computer before that, you had to go to a university to get access to a mainframe, this was and the promise was big, right? We're going to democratize this, you know, computing power, it's going to be for everybody, not just for the elite in these academic institutions. And it's going to change the world. And for the next 10 years, all you could use a personal computer for was to like play palm, like, and so people were like, Hey, what happened to all that hype? Like I thought this thing was supposed to change the world, like it's not doing anything. Now, it did change the world. We all know that what the personal computer has done, but it didn't happen overnight. It didn't even happen in the first 10 years. All of the promise of what they promised has been fulfilled and then some, but initially, it wasn't. And it was a giant disappointment. And then it was the same thing with the internet, right? We're going to connect the world, we're going to share all this information, you're going to be able to do anything you want. Well, for the first 10 years, the Internet was for sports scores, bulletin boards. And then basically, porn was like the whole purpose of the internet for a good period of time. And I think somebody had said to me the other day 30% of all internet, internet traffic today is porn, like, it's still a big part of it. But what's crazy to me is, for so many years, this thing that they were promising was going to change the world where everyone's looking around like this the internet, like, what's this TCP IP? Like what are all those initials even stand for? So it's the same thing now with Blockchain, you've heard all this stuff about it, and crypto. And but if you really look around, I think for 99.99% of us, it's not doing anything to change the quality of our lives today. But it will. We're in that incubation period right now that's five or 10 years where people are like, building the infrastructure. But there's so much coming from this world of distributed, you know, a distributed network, where there's no central network, and there's a million things, but I'll just give you a silly one that I know is coming that doesn't exist today. You know, how does how does commerce work? Well, we have these people called employees and they get these things called paychecks every two weeks. Well, that's not super efficient. But the problem is, it's hard to pay people more frequently than that, because the transaction costs are really high. We've got these payroll costs and all of this stuff, but the blockchain takes those costs down to almost zero. So in the future, your employees are going to have their wages streamed to them the way we stream music. They're going to come to work at 9am and they're going to buy lunch with the money they earn from 9am To 12pm, which is going to be in their account when they walk out the door, they're going to earn as they go. And so you can't do that today. There's no way that, you can't make the math work. But the blockchain is going to permit that it doesn't exist today. But that's just one silly example of the many changes that are coming.

Susan Sly 35:17
Well, and you, so AR, blockchain, crypto. I think, and to your point, I was, I was speaking at the AI at the edge summit in Santa Clara. And the head of the, essentially the AR lab for Meta was there and he was speaking, he's fascinating, humble human. And talking about technological challenges and conductivity and things like that. So to your point, the people who don't know, they're thinking, why isn't this been solved yet? Or haha, it hasn't been solved. Therefore, it's not happening. Oh, no it's going to happen. There are engineering challenges. There are, even how crypto move from proof of, you know, moving from proof of work to proof of stake, all of those things are taking time. The internet was clunky. I remember I had one of the first online coaching businesses in 1995. And I think some of us are old enough to remember dial up, right? So how long did it take to get to where you were going? And in those days, could we have imagined that we, if we can't google and get something instantly, that we're thinking that the load time is too slow for those websites. So it is all happening to your point, Craig and I think there are lots of problems that we're seeing in the world too, especially when we started talking about parenting. I think therapy is going to be, one of my friends, Dr. Brenda Wiederhold, is working on depression, PTSD, learning differences, and using AR and VR to help with different therapies. I think we're going to see a lot of tech enablement for some of the mental and physical health challenges we're seeing. So all sorts of things. So Craig,

Craig Weiss 37:05
I agree with you. Mental health, and I agree also about AI. And obviously self driving cars, I mean, all of those things are coming, they are. And what's cool about all of those things is, and the mental health obviously is near, and is near and dear to my heart. Personally, we, you know, had many people in my family, I've had, you know, including myself, I would include, you know, struggled with mental health in lots of different levels. And I think it's, and I don't think as a society, we've done a great job of giving the resources that we need to be able to tackle it. And we've done a lot on destigmatizing mental health and people I think are getting to a place where mental health is health, and they are accepting that which is great. So I agree with you on all those things. I would just add that, you know, just remember with the internet, I'm glad you brought up dial up in 1995. If you had gone to the smartest engineers in the world in 1995, and said hey, can we use this internet thing to like stream video? They would say it's impossible, it cannot be done. There's like, and they would have the 10 Hyper technical reasons why, like, Do you realize in order to stream video, how much infrastructure has to be put it in? And they would just say it's like, you can't even imagine the amount of investment and complexity. But yet today, we just take it for granted. Right? It happened. It was super complicated and super hard and involved all sorts of telecom companies investing, you know, hundreds of billions of dollars, but it, but it happened and then do your point, that same transformation is going to happen everywhere else.

Susan Sly 38:41
Well, Craig, I love it. And I think that the biggest thing that I would say to anyone listening is what I'm hearing from Craig, and we didn't even, there were so many things. When Craig and I get together for lunch, it's like two hours, right? But there are so many things we didn't talk about. But I think the big message I'm taking away from you is it's always a good time to start a business. And if you have passion and you are flexible, if you have that tenacity, that it's not going to matter what that landscape is, and there are always going to be distractions and there is always going to be chaos. But as long as you can be nimble enough to focus on what you need to focus on when you need to focus on, you're gonna be just fine. Well, Craig, I appreciate you so much. And we need to, like offline, we need to figure out when we're all going for dinner but I would just say I'm excited to follow Flagstaff Ventures. So it's Craig is going to open a new, his one is fully subscribed and he started the fund with his own money and he's going to open a new fund in the new year. So keep following that if you are an investor. And go to LinkedIn and follow Craig and his adventures on LinkedIn. I am such a huge advocate on LinkedIn. And Craig, I'm gonna do an unsolicited social media plug. And I'm gonna say we, this is a whole topic of conversation I've been saying for a long time in the show, that Meta is having too many problems. Instagram is gonna go south, Meta has lost $800 billion a share. I said Twitter is going to be the place to be and now we're seeing it with Elon. So Craig and I, you can find us on LinkedIn. And we love LinkedIn. LinkedIn is very happy. It is very, like it's a lot more serene on LinkedIn and other places. But, Craig, thanks so, so much for being here. I can't thank you enough. I appreciate you. And for everyone, if this show has been helpful, or if you know, question for Craig, just go ahead, drop us. I would love a great review. You can go to I actually see all your contact forms. And Craig, I'm going to continue to follow your adventures. Thanks again for being here.

Craig Weiss 40:58
My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Susan Sly 41:01
Well, with that everyone, this has been another episode of Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, and I will see you in a future episode.

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Susan Sly

Author Susan Sly

Susan Sly is considered a thought leader in AI, award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and tech investor. Susan has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime, ABC Family, and quoted in Forbes Online, Marketwatch, Yahoo Finance, and more. She is the mother of four and has been working in human potential for over two decades.

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