Predicting Our Future is a tech podcast that envisions the future through a serial entrepreneur’s eyes. Andrew Weinreich, inventor of the first social network and founder of 7 startups, interviews leading entrepreneurs to predict massive opportunities for the next generation of startup founders to change the world.
Episode 12: Honeywell Vs. Nest: The Battle for the Smart Thermostat
While Nest wasn’t the first company to offer a smart thermostat, its first product quickly developed rock star status. Nest helped turn the thermostat — a relatively forgettable device — into a sexy offering that made consumers excited about other devices that would be offered as part of the smart home. Honeywell, a company that has long dominated the traditional thermostat market, is now going head to head with Nest in selling smart thermostats. In the third episode of a 7-part series on the future of the smart home, Andrew examines how an industry titan is able to maintain its lead in the smart thermostat space and what this means for manufacturers of smart home devices in other verticals.
The David and Goliath story of startups entering an entrenched industry and disrupting its leading players isn’t a new one. Yet within the smart home space, an unlikely development has birthed a particularly startup-friendly environment. Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have provided the right financing dynamics and access to early customers for startups to successfully launch smart home products. In the second episode of a 7-part series on the future of the smart home, Andrew investigates the evolving role of crowdfunding for smart home startups that have been making waves with innovative hardware devices.
Episode 10: Smart Homes & IoT: A Century in the Making
The idea of a home that can take care of its inhabitants has been around for over 100 years. But only in the last few decades have we seen technological breakthroughs that can make smart homes a reality. In the first episode of a 7-part series on the future of the smart home, Andrew traces the history of the smart home and presents a vision of its future as a multitude of devices are being connected to the Internet.
Episode 9: Disinterested Voters & 500,000 Elected Officials
In the United States, there are over 500,000 elected officials. In the overwhelming majority of elections, less than half of eligible voters participate, resulting in one of the lowest levels of voter engagement of any Western democracy. In this episode, Andrews asks and tries to answer: What can be done to increase turnout for elections conducted every year in the U.S.? Can the security risks of implementing online voting be overcome? If online voting did become available in the United States, what might it look like? Which companies would be the winners?
Episode 8: Hacking Elections, DDoS Attacks, & Online Voting Around the World
In a 2016 testimony addressing the House Committee on Space, Science & Technology, Dan Wallach warned that the country’s voting infrastructure was vulnerable to hacking by foreign governments. Computer scientists have long spoken of the dangers of electronic voting machines, and now they’re warning against adopting online voting. But is there a fundamental difference in the way that academics and entrepreneurs approach the risks and benefits of online voting? How might the introduction of online voting change the way that we conduct American elections?
Episode 7: Can Online Voting Defeat The Broken Electoral College?
In the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a little over a half of the voting age population cast their votes and the candidate who won the presidency lost the popular vote. Is the problem with low U.S. voter turnout due to culture or lack of accessibility? Without amending the U.S. Constitution, is there a way to use technology to improve voter turnout and overcome the effects of the Electoral College?
Episode 6: The Tesla of Homebuilding
Have we hit a tipping point for residential construction where the cost and quality of a factory-built home always compares favorably to the cost and quality of a conventionally-built home? Are Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists beginning to train their sights on this mammoth industry? In the sixth and final episode of a series on the future of homebuilding, Andrew discusses how entrepreneurs eager to disrupt this space might conceive of building and financing a modern homebuilding factory.
Episode 5: Cars, Mars, & 3D Printing
In 2012, six single-family homes were made by a 3D printer in China. The inventor of that technology is now working on a 3D printer designed to construct buildings on Mars. Does this technology have a future on Earth? Or does the future of homebuilding involve modern factories that leverage robots to build wood or steel framing similar to the types of machines you might find in modern automotive plants?
Episode 4: NYC Goes Modular
In the summer of 2016, the world’s tallest modular building at 32 stories high was completed at 461 Dean Street in Brooklyn, NY. Once the building’s apartment modules were completed at a factory located in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, they were transported to the development site and essentially stacked one on top of another into a high-rise building. To the dismay of its original backers, the building was delivered years late, riddled with construction problems, and the subject of a costly litigation. Still, excitement about modular construction in New York abounds with new projects under development.
Episode 3: Google, China, & Overnight Cities
If a trillion dollar market opportunity exists, you can bet the people at Google are thinking about it. Within X, Google’s most secretive lab, they’ve been working on solving the problem of how to make building construction more efficient in order to deal with the world’s severe and worsening urban housing shortage. By the year 2050, the global population is expected to grow by 2.2 billion people, and 90% of that growth is expected to take place in cities that are in dire need of new housing. In China, one company has figured out how to deal with this challenge by prefabricating components for skyscrapers inside of a factory.
Episode 2: Half-priced Hamptons
Modern homebuilders have taken the art of prefabrication to new heights where they can construct entire rooms complete with insulation, plumbing, and electric wiring all within a factory. These rooms, called “modules,” are then transported from the factory to the building site and stacked to form a home in mere days. In the Hamptons, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and a number of other major cities, it’s now possible to build a beautiful modern home modularly for dramatically less than the cost of building with local contractors.
Episode 1: Home-in-a-box
Between 1908 and 1942, Sears sold 100,000 homes that were delivered in kits consisting of 12,000 pieces. While Sears is no longer in the business of making prefabricated homes, a new class of technology-driven startups has picked up the mantle and is now delivering kits, which once they’re put together, make modern homes.