Fun playing with Drones while Elon announces a new freaking-fast roadster

Tonight I attended the Flying Robot Film Festival where we saw a ton of short movies all done, at least in part, with drones. More info on this film festival, which will be held in several cities, is here:

At the afterparty I shot this video.

While I was doing that Elon Musk was announcing a new truck and a new Roadster that goes 0-60 in under two seconds. I had the first ride in the first Roadster (he gave me a ride before he gave his best friend, Jason Calacanis, a ride) and back then he bragged that it could do 0-60 in only about four seconds. I still remember how much it felt like a rocket ship back then. This one must feel totally unreal.

The Verge has video of that up here:


Autodesk goes augmented, er, automated

You might not know Autodesk well, but nearly everything in your world, from movies to cars to skyscrapers to even the shoes you wear have been designed in Autodesk’s software.

Right now I’m on Twitter’s Periscope watching Autodesk’s CEO speaking at its big conference live right now. (Separate stream on Facebook is here).

And already he is talking about automation and augmented reality.

I’ve been talking a lot with employees and execs at Autodesk (recently gave a presentation on same to its executives) and it is working with all the augmented reality glasses manufacturers, from Microsoft HoloLens to Magic Leap. So watching what it’s doing is very interesting, even if most of its customers won’t be using it in augmented reality for years.

Watching live there were few announcements about augmented reality, rather it focused on automation as a trend in building new things. Even announced a fund aimed at helping retrain workers as more jobs become automated. Hint: how will that be done? Augmented reality.

Its customers showed how it was using AI and robots to augment jobs, er, automate them. Interesting that most of the things I’ve been talking to execs about weren’t shown. It’s almost as if Autodesk realizes that augmented reality’s year isn’t coming in 2018, so it didn’t need to force new AR functions out right now. Smart move, I think, because I’m seeing the same.

If this passes Silicon Valley’s wealth generation engine will die

I’ve met with government officials all over the world and one of their first questions often is “how can we build a Silicon Valley here?” My first answer is “figure out how to keep your geeks in your country and let them get rewarded for building companies.”

Today Fred Wilson (VC who invested in Twitter amongst many others) warned us about a new bill.

In lots of places, like Australia, they have been fighting anti-stock-option laws for years. Why do they get passed? Big companies love these kinds of laws because it keeps the cost of labor down.

Remember at Microsoft how even the secretaries became millionaires? That was due to stock option rewards. I’ve seen just how these create billionaires but when a company goes big like it has for Google or Facebook or Microsoft then thousands of others see sizable rewards.

But that’s all on the back end. If you tax workers to participate in such a system most will be forced to turn it down (be honest, how many new engineeers or marketers can afford to pay even $5,000 more in taxes to cover what these might bring? I know several in that situation and they couldn’t afford it so probably would turn it down).

If this passes Silicon Valley’s wealth generation engine will die and we’ll all be harmed.