Day: November 24, 2020

Technology, Innovation, and Modern War – Class 13 – ONR– Rear Admiral Lorin Selby


This post is by steve blank from Steve Blank


We just held our thirteenth session of our new national security class Technology, Innovation and Modern WarJoe FelterRaj Shah and I designed a class to examine the new military systems, operational concepts and doctrines that will emerge from 21st century technologies – Space, Cyber, AI & Machine Learning and Autonomy.

Today’s topic was The Navy and Modern War.

Catch up with the class by reading our summaries of the previous twelve classes here.


Some of the readings for this week included Defense Primer: Dept of the Navy, Navy Lasers and Railguns, Navy Large Surface Combatants, Navy Force Structure and Shipbuilding Plans, Navy Large Unmanned Surface and Undersea Vehicles, China’s Navy Modernization.

Our guest speaker was Rear Admiral Lorin Selby, Chief of Naval Research, United States Navy.

Admiral Selby is responsible for the Naval Research Enterprise. It is the “venture capital” of the Navy and Marine Corps. It’s made up of ONR – the Office of Naval Research, ONR Global, the Naval Research Laboratory, and Special Projects (PMR 51.)

His insights on the future of the Navy and reimagining Naval power are insightful, innovative and exciting.

(ONR played a seminal role in the formation of Silicon Valley. Founded in August 1946 in the aftermath of World War II, ONR provided support of research projects at universities when government funding to universities had dried up. That same year, Fred Terman became Stanford’s dean of engineering, and he (Read more...)

Thoughts On Charles Duhigg’s New Yorker Piece



I saw this tweet in my feed yesterday and read the New Yorker piece when I woke up this morning:

Here’s what I think. There is more truth to that article than anyone in the venture capital industry wants to admit.

The idea that capital alone can create a strong company is a flawed idea that the VC industry pursued with a lot of passion for most of the last decade. The flameout of WeWork and the tarnished stories around other “fundraising as a strategy” startups will hopefully put an end to that approach of building companies, but I won’t hold my breath until that happens.

It is true that we VCs enable the bad behaviors outlined in that piece and we must look a little more carefully at ourselves in the mirror in the morning and, as the Gotham Gal likes to tell me, “get over ourselves.” I won’t hold my breath until that happens either.

All of that said, the vast majority of VC-backed companies are not WeWork. The vast majority of VC-backed companies are innovative, led by good people, and are creating value the old fashioned way, by supplying their customers with high quality products and services. We should not let a few bad (Read more...)