Welcome back to DIGIGRAM! Thanks to those who read our last issue and inquired about USA Launching Pad and the recent Connected Life class at UC Berkeley. Excited to share that the next USA Launching Pad starts in March, and Connected Life will make a comeback in the fall semester (it was voted the second-most popular startup class at UC Berkeley, woohoo!).
2023 is off to a stormy start – literally! San Francisco just recorded the wettest 22-day period since 1862. It was so wet that it saturated sand dunes, which gave way to drop a world-war II bunker onto the beach below. Looks like a scene from the “1941” movie! Luckily, the sun has finally returned to dry out a soaked California.
Photo: “Relocated” bunker at Fort Funston (Source)
In this edition of Digigram:
#1: MIT & Climate Energy Prize – This long-running competition for student-led climate startups is solving some of the biggest issues facing our environment. Hear from this year’s organizing team about how promising young people from the world’s best universities fight climate change today.
#2: Hybrid Work and San Francisco Commercial Real Estate don’t go well together. – If you’ve wandered around the Financial District lately, you’ll notice there are still a lot of empty skyscrapers. The city holds a dubious record for most NOT returning back to the offices after COVID. Will San Francisco’s tech office culture ever return to normal?
#3: Streaming just beat cable. – The streaming wars between major entertainment companies continue to rage on, and streaming now has more market share than traditional cable TV. But a new development is now seeing a streaming service provider integrating forwards and offering even their own hardware. Post-CES, we will explore what Roku is offering with its new line of televisions to define the experience for a streaming-first future.
Till soon, Gert
P.S.: If you receive this newsletter and would rather not, please excuse my intrusion and unsubscribe at the bottom. If you’d like to subscribe to this newsletter, please go to http://www.digigram.news. If you’d like to reach me, you can do so at email@example.com or +1 650 441 6299.
Top of the Month or Flop of the Month (Year)?
Since late 2022 everybody has scrambled to understand it, write about it and figure out how to best use it: ChatGPT. Everybody? Not Microsoft! I was surprised to read in the New York Times that Microsoft has been investing in OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, since 2019. Well done. And with Sam Altman (former Founder of Y-Combinator) at the helm, OpenAI is definitely at the Top of my Month. On the other hand….. What a frenzy. Let’s hope it doesn’t end like Clubhouse (does anybody even remember Clubhouse???). I hope we can find meaningful, value-adding, money-generating, and ethical uses for this new ingenious technology. As a university lecturer, I am soooo glad that my exams involve personally pitching a startup and not writing essays, painting creative works, or solving math problems. Good luck, colleagues, finding the cheaters who are using ChatGPT to solve your exams… :-/
Meet me here:
I will be in Switzerland in March. A week of skiing in Saas-Fee. Followed by a week in Zurich, Berne, and Geneva during March 27-31 to kick off the Spring Cohort of USA Launching Pad. Who’s up for a meeting, a meal, or a coffee?
Or meet me on the slopes in Saas-Fee. My brother Adrian promised me the best glacier skiing anywhere and he has the photo to back it up. That snow bar does look like the perfect spot for a happy hour, no? See ya there.