Last week I touched on the role of experts in startup investment due diligence. To be honest, I was surprised to read David Frankel's opinion that experts may not be the best authority on niche technologies. This is in stark contrast to a discussion we had with a "deep tech" fund manager a few months ago. He said that he always asks experts for an opinion before investing in a startup. Moreover, he said he "wasn't arrogant enough" to consider that he can make sense of scientific research papers himself. So he trusts experts to guide him in technology due diligence, while not trying to get into the specifics.
Experts are necessary, of course. But a human can absorb only so much information before getting a headache in today's fast-moving world. Every day, new research is published, products are released and discontinued, people blog, startups launch and shut down, with an occasional unicorn doing an IPO or getting acquired by a FANG. A myriad things are happening, requiring superhuman abilities to track everything one needs to know to be an "expert".
To cope with this deluge of information, people narrow down their information funnels. They skim articles instead of reading them, follow just a handful of sources and rely on others to tell them what's important. The effectiveness of this strategy looks dubious to me. A third-party service cannot match everyone's information needs. What is noise to you will be valuable to someone else and vice versa. And how do you track events that fly below the radar just because they are in another language or don't get published in an A-rated journal?
Being an expert involves more than just reading stuff. A true expert is a thought leader, even if he or she does not blog, give TED talks or tweet. An expert must consider implications of new developments, imagine alternative scenarios, discuss with peers, make notes, generate new ideas and evolve their thinking as new evidence emerges. And they must be able to not only provide an opinion, but also explain why this is their opinion. This also applies to investors, entrepreneurs and any professional who wants to be the best.
Information overload causes herding and outdated ideas. That's why, if you ask an expert for an opinion, you might not be getting the best advice. And if you're an expert yourself, you must make sure you provide the best advice to those relying on your expertise to make critical decisions. But how do you do that? Traditional media channels are both too narrow and too undifferentiated. They tend to focus on one sector, but then lump everything inside it together. At the same time, there is so much content online that searches often feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.
We believe the solution lies in effective management of information sources and data streams. Avogadro One will leverage machine learning to serve what's relevant to you, not what an editor thinks should be important to everyone. This will boost your productivity, reduce your information overload and make you happier. And happy people make others happy too!