Business, life

The Brain, Entrepreneurship And Life With Jeff Hawkins

I’ve watch this interesting conversation between Jeff Hawkins and Michael Chui. For the ones that are old enough to remember Palm (yep, Palm V!) and Handspring – Jeff was the founder of both but he has since turned to work on neuroscience full-time at Numentanumenta. In this hour conversation there are lots of interesting points on the brain, his life and some great tips for entrepreneurs. Few points that I wrote down from his thoughts:

  • Strengths / Weaknesses – Do what you are (really) good at… or in other words, bring a real CEO when it’s needed. The founders are in many cases, the product masters or a great developers so they should not run the business.
  • Focus on ‘big idea’ or as Peter Thiel put it “We wanted flying cars. Instead we got 140 characters”.
  • How the brain works – Well, it’s the raw notes I’ve took: “…It’s a memory system, hierarchy of systems, each module of memory is working in a sequence way. The type of representation is very different from what we have in computers.” He try to learn how the neocortex part works and then applied this knowledge to build new hardware/software the will excel in manipulating big data.
  • We have billions of data sources in the world today. How are we going to manage and understand this big data is challenging.
  • Electric power is the only commodity in the world that you cannot store. This is a real problem with predicting consumption.
  • “…It’s just neurons all the way down. There is nothing else there that will go to some place else…” – unfortunately.
  • “There is no free will!” – According to Jeff.
  • Computer vision market – The opportunity there is not that big. It’s sounds very wired as we see many startups, VCs that are focusing on this market.
    • It seems that today we can’t build a ‘real’ powerful application that will do powerful strategic things.
    • Jeff mention that the area in your brain that control vision is ~20 times the area that control language. And we (in computer science  think that languages are challenging…
  • Numenta wish to prove by example and in that way to drive community to contribute more to the field.
  • Some of the quick Q&A:
    • Favorite mobile device (right now): Kindle fire.
    • Your mentor – Donna Dubinsky.
    • What to study in collage to be successful in business life? Something you really care about.
    • What region will challenge silicon valley? No idea.
    • Which space is over hip? big data.

So remember… “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” – S. King


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