SXSW: Sharing SRI’s Secrets to Successful Innovation

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This past weekend, I had the pleasure of speaking at SXSW. My session on “commercialization secrets at SRI” was over-subscribed, with a few hundred attending, and many being turned away. This was a pleasant surprise, given the time of the talk was 9:30am on a Saturday morning!

Anthony Ha of TechCrunch was a superb interviewer, and for an hour asked questions about SRI’s secrets to success. Some of my favorite questions were beyond the ordinary and very edgy—such as: “ Fast Company wrote an article that implied SRI should be creating many more ventures from its technology; why hasn’t it? And why haven’t we heard of any ventures since Siri?”

It was a great opportunity for me to speak about our criteria for ventures  and the reason for our high selectivity: really important problems, real market pain, a great team, and a disruptive technology solution are all required. We only start three or four ventures a year, and even that is a large number given our criteria.

Anthony’s question also gave me a chance to speak about the ventures beyond Siri that many attending SXSW have heard of: Tempo AI, Desti, Kuato, and Grabit.

One question Anthony told me he was going to ask, but didn’t have time for, was “What do you see SRI being in five to 10 years?”  The answer would have been easy, so let me share it with you: SRI will be THE premier independent source of high value innovations, ventures, and solutions.

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