Village Global Podcast

Lessons from the Early Days at Uber and Advice for Founders with Kevin Novak

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We're excited to launch a new EIR program for data science founders in partnership with Rackhouse Ventures, founded by Kevin Novak. Learn more about the program:

Kevin Novak (@novakkm), an early Uber employee, was instrumental in developing their data science program and was the creator of surge pricing.


- Kevin, originally a nuclear physicist, applied his analytical skills to develop Uber's first surge pricing model in three weeks—a task that would typically take six months in academia.

- He says that founders shouldn’t wait until they have plenty of data to make decisions — instead, start with first principles thinking while also building a virtuous data cycle by ensuring you are collecting data that will inform future decisions.

- He comments that AI might be “overhyped on average” at the moment. The first breakthrough product is essentially an API, which has led to incumbents responding more quickly and more aggressively. Kevin argues that if you are founding a generative AI company, you are effectively making the claim that incumbents won’t be able to respond and implement an LLM themselves.

- Kevin cautions founders not to fall in love with any one idea too early. It’s better to hedge your bets and experiment with one or two. Through trial and error, you can eventually decide on one idea that has the potential to be a strong business. 

- For the Village Global-Rackhouse EIR program, we’re looking for founders with deep passion for founding a company. We don’t require you to have your idea and team established. 

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