183. Top entertainment picks to help you learn about tech

ai and big data big tech entrepreneurship founder stories Dec 27, 2023

In this episode, you will get four suggestions for shows about Big Tech, AI,  billionaire founders and white collar criminals.

Sophia Matveeva's top entertainment suggestions will also teach you:

  • How Facebook was created
  • What happens to founding teams when companies get successful
  • How to convince powerful investors to fund you when you have nothing
  • How social media companies work from the inside
  • What happens when a robot develops consciousness

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Episode Transcript

Hello smart people!

How are you today?

For those of you who just celebrated Christmas, I hope it was fabulous. I was in London, so I watched the King’s Speech (not the movie, but actual King Charles’s Christmas Day speech), and thought he did quite a good job. I’m not really a fan of the monarchy, but I like that King Charles is an environmentalist, and I think the world needs a person with influence pushing the green agenda forward.

And, because right now is the festive season, I want you to rest. January is going to be a big month, and 2024 is going to be a Big Year. So, even if you can’t take time off right now, you can take things a bit more easy, to make sure you have energy for a fresh start in January.

And you know what’s happening in January? The fabulous Design for Growth program!

This is a workshop that will take place online on 28 January and consists of two main parts.

First, you will learn design thinking principles, which will be covered by me and a very cool Lead Designer, and then, in the second part, we will use these principles to create a plan of action for 2024.

You can use the Design for Growth program to create a new product, to launch or grow a venture, or to transform your career. I have used design thinking for all three, and it works.

As well as this workshop, you’ll also get a class on how to get headhunted, so you can make opportunities come to you, which we will do in February. All of this is online, so you can grow your network, and learn new skills without leaving your house.

There’s also a bunch of bonus resources, which are all in the program description.

Design for Growth will be the perfect way to learn an vital skillset and to begin your year with an ambitious but realistic plan, for your career, for your product or your business. BUT - Early Bird rates run out this week. Prices go up on 1 January, so make sure to get the Early Bird rate today. The link is in the show notes or just go to techfornontechies.co/events and see it there.

And now, in the spirit of holiday relaxation, I’m going to share four suggestions of things to listen to and watch if you want to learn about tech, and also be entertained. This means that you can get your family involved too, because these aren’t serious classes.

My first pick is a podcast series called Bad Blood, which tells the story of how Elizabeth Holmes and her partner Sunny Balwani managed to get a $10 billion valuation for Theranos. There is also a book of the same name, if you prefer that medium, but a podcast series is obviously free on Spotify and Apple.

As a reminder, Theranos was a blood testing company which promised to be able to tell you about most of your ailments from a tiny drop of your blood, but this turned out to be total rubbish and Ms Holmes is currently in jail.

Firstly, this is just a good story. It is literally a thriller. Elizabeth Holmes managed to get investment from Henry Kissinger and Rupert Murdoch and the Walton Family of Walmart. She was lauded internationally as a genius and was on the cover of Forbes. And this was all based on a lie. Their product had no chance of working. Don’t you want to know how she did it?

And, here’s my controversial take why you should listen to the Bad Blood podcast: while I do not recommend that you defraud anybody, the Elizabeth Holmes case is a masterclass in managing perception, creating need and fundraising. In order for all of us to have any modicum of professional success, we will have to convince people to do things. This is especially true for the entrepreneurs listening to this show. So, learning from someone who influenced very experienced people so masterfully, is useful, as long as you use your powers for good. Obviously.

My second pick for you is a movie called The Social Network. It is an oldie but a goodie. It tells the story of the founding of Facebook, and the subsequent lawsuit between the founding team: Mark Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss Twins.

The Winklevoss twins are the founders of Gemini, one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges, and they are billionaires several times over. They are still big influences in the tech world, so you’ll see their origin story, as well as Mark Zuckerberg’s.

I like The Social Network movie because you can watch this with literally anyone: your friends and your family know what Facebook is, and again, the creation of it and the founder spat makes for an interesting story. Facebook, now Meta, has literally changed the world, and this move gives you an insight into its early days, although of course it is dramatised.

The Social Network is also an exploration of human relationships and what happens to them when money is at stake, and in the case of Facebook, big money was at stake, right?

You can watch this movie with your family and then discuss who got the bad deal at the end of it all. Or, if you’re watching this with your fiancé, this could lead to a prenup conversation, which could be very useful.

My third pick for you today is also on the topic of Facebook, but this one is a documentary called The Social Dilemma. It’s on Netflix and it talks about how social media products are built and what effects they have on our brains and on society.

On this podcast, I have previously taught lessons on how to make habit forming products, in other words, how to make addictive apps. This is what social media companies are expert at.

But, turning something into a habit can be a very good thing or a bad thing. For example, I use the Headspace app and it has made meditation a habit for me. I am really happy with this habit.

I am less happy with the amount of time I’m spending on TikTok, and would like to reduce that habit in 2024.

The point is, understanding how something is built is useful, because you can use lessons from somebody else’s success for your own endeavours, which is why I recommend The Social Dilemma documentary. And, the more we understand how technology, and social media in particular, have changed the world around us, the better decisions we can make about it.

And my fourth pick for you today is a beautifully shot Hollywood movie called Ex Machina. Again, this is something you can watch with your friends and family, and you won’t feel like you’re getting a tech lesson.

Although this movie came out in 2014, it is absolutely perfect to watch in the year that ChatGPT took the world by storm.

It’s basically Pygmalion, but in the age of AI. A guy makes a female robot, she develops and consciousness and then…well, I’m not going to tell you. You have to watch the movie!

I loved Ex Machina, and think you will too.

So, to sum up, here my four picks for you:
Bad Blood, the podcast series. It is absolutely gripping
The Social Network, a movie about the founding of Facebook and what happens between founding teams when big money is at stake (spoiler alert: nothing good)
The Social Dilemma, a Netflix documentary about how social media products are made the effects they have on the world
Ex Machina, a visually stimulating movie about what happens when a beautiful robot develops consciousness

And, my dear Smart Listener, this is your final reminder about Early Bird pricing for the Design for Growth workshop: Early Bird rates end on 31 December 2023. So, give yourself the gift of investing in your knowledge and professional success, and be smart about it: get the early bird rate before prices go up.

The link to sign up is in the show notes or just go to techfornontechies.co/events

After you’ve signed up, go and enjoy Ex Machina or Bad Blood, get some rest and I’ll speak to you in 2024! Isn’t that exciting.

Happy New Year to you, my dear smart listener. I’m so glad that you’re on this journey with me. From the bottom of my hear, thank you.

See you next year.


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