HAX At CES, Events And Why I Didn't Like Rogue One

(most likely we met offline somewhere, which surely means something - you can unsubscribe below)


2017 has come. It's already madness.

In brief, HAX, our little hardware investment shop is growing by leaps and bounds. Hop directly to Part 2 to check events we are holding tomorrow and Wednesday in SF. Also, it's the last chance to apply for the March program!

~ In this issue ~

1. HAX @ CES: 82 STARTUPS, EVENTS, PRIZES
2. HAX EVENTS IN SF THIS WEEK!
3. NEW FUND CLOSES AT $150 MILLION
4. CULTURAL CORNER: MOVIES, BOOKS
5. THE WORLD


~ In more details ~

1.
HAX @ CES: 82 STARTUPS, EVENTS, PRIZES

I just arrived in SF from CES in Las Vegas.
We had 82 startups exhibiting at the show, the largest private group!
Full report here.

HAX Startups Caused Massive Traffic Jams at CES 2017

Our startups won a dozen awards and made headlines.

Among them:

I also wrote my third column for Forbes on China’s strong presence at CES. My second was on the Golden Age Of Gadgets, a response to Farhad Manjoo at The New York Times who had declared that the “Gadget Apocalypse” was among us.

Last, I managed to squeeze in an evening of shows after CES! I saw Criss Angel and the Blue Man Group (2 for one at Luxor). Pretty good - I wasn't awed but it was entertaining. If you have recommendations for next year let me know (PS: I wasn't too impressed by Zumanity last year - it was artistic and impressive but I didn't find it sensual or erotic at all).

2.
HAX EVENTS IN SF THIS WEEK!

We are bringing our new startups to SF!
We replaced the traditional “pitch” day with demo booths.
This way participants can talk to the ones they are most interested in.

Not sure whether to come or not?
Check this short video teaser showcasing a dozen of the startups.

HAX new grads teaser

To RSVP
+ Media only (Jan 10, 10:00-12:00)
+ Investors only (Jan 10, 14:00-17:00)
+ Meetup - open to all (Jan 10, 18:30-21:30)
+ Corporates & Partners only (Jan 11, 9:00-13:00)
=> Password: makeit

Other upcoming events are here.

3.
SOSV FUND III CLOSES AT $150 MILLION

The company behind HAX closes its third fund. Ready to invest!
Full story here and TechCrunch coverage here.
Thanks to all our LPs, and the friends who helped make it happen. It takes a village.
It should be obvious to all soon that this was the right move.

4.
BOOKS & MOVIES

A friend of mine in HK who commutes a lot told me he “read” over 50 books in 2016. His secret? Audiobooks. With all the traveling in January I decided to give it a shot too. It’s quite convenient indeed. Waiting in line? Doing “busy work”? Audiobook! I use Audible.

Movies-wise:

  • Rogue One: I watched it in 3D but found it disappointing, similar to this review. A bit too juvenile, predictable and forcefully “diverse” (though heroes are always humans... aliens would disapprove!). Also, it lacked new gadgets (there were more at CES!) and original robots - the new one is cool but rather unimaginative (yet another android, when most successful robots today are not humanoid). Are robots and aliens condemned to be sidekicks like the early years of Women, Asians and Blacks in Hollywood? (in Avatar one hero is an alien, but the main one is a transformed human).

  • Aliens: I watched this classic for the first time and while some effects have aged, it’s still pretty good. Ripley is one of the coolest and most credible female heroes in cinema history. It poses interesting questions regarding the level of intelligence of aliens. What do they need to be respected as a specie? Do being parasitic in nature and unattractive to humans enough to be wiped out?

  • Bruce Lee movies: I had family over in HK and recommended the Bruce Lee museum to them. I also watched a couple of his movies - The Game of Death is a bit of a mess (he died half way). Enter the Dragon is cool for the HK nostalgia. I recommend the latter. I tried to spot the cha-cha moves.

  • Snowden: I have some second-degree connections with the fellow and have interest in whistleblowers and geopolitics. It was also interesting that it all happened not far from where I live. Overall the world is better off with guys like him. And he did try hard to minimize the damage.

  • Lolita: I felt I had to catch up on classics following the Slavoj Zizek documentary on cinema (though it's not mentioned in it). I thought it would be a steamy (though not graphic) and uncomfortable pedo-drama. Unfortunately it was so excruciatingly slow and tame my friend and I decided to stop half way. I read later that Kubrick disavowed the movie who got butchered by censors. I wish I knew.

  • Captain Fantastic: a modern family lives in the wild. This is the kind of movies I would try on planes, due to its production. It turned out hectic, senseless and predictable. For much better movies on the same theme, Mosquito Coast, Into the Wild, or animations like My Neighbor Totoro and Wolf Children.

I watched a few other unremarkable movies on flights. Mostly to rest my brain between reading and writing (and audiobook). It's been quite busy with HAX demo days, family, CES and all. I'll report on books (and read/listen more) next time.

Oh, in the last newsletter I mentioned the great Joseph Campbell series. I eventually wrote an article inspired by it. It’s called “The Startup With A Thousand Faces

5.
THE WORLD

+ America confirmed its President. Evgeny Morozov, who often has unorthodox views (and “unorthodox” seems to be the name of the game), writes on the blaming of fake news in The Guardian.

+ France is heading toward its own presidential elections. We’ll see.

+ Marissa Mayer resigned from the Yahoo board. It was a hard mission but damn did she make moves selling those Alibaba shares and buying all those startups! I bought Yahoo stock years ago just to prove a point after calculating the value of their share in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan. It's a net positive but it could have been better. I remember discussing the Yahoo case with a DST Partner in London about 5 years ago, and agreeing on the holding structure being the best one, with sale of other assets. Well well.

+ Not very many new experiences at the moment due to lack of time and inspiration. I'm thinking about what activities to do / pick up this year. Likely still some yoga. Not sure about boxing / BJJ / other.

+ Last, I've been reading up on relationships. You can read some unusual things here and here.

Time is short for this update so I’ll stop here.
I’m turning 40 this month - wish me luck!

Ben @ HAX
Email: ben@hax.co
Twitter: @benjaminjoffe
LinkedIn: benjaminjoffe