Day: May 7, 2020

How COVID-19 is reversing economies of scale

For more than a decade, new technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and blockchain have been taking apart the large-scale industries of the 20th century and reinventing them in ways that are more lightweight, personalized, distributed, and resilient. This “unscaling” trend has been inescapable in every sector, as Silicon Valley venture capitalist Hemant Taneja and I wrote in our book on the subject, Unscaled.

Social distancing and lockdowns amid the COVID-19 crisis have taken a tremendous toll on small businesses and employees, but they’ve also shifted the unscaling trend into a higher gear — which, we can all hope, will create new opportunities as the economy rebounds. We’re already witnessing the rapid reinvention of industries such as healthcare, education, and  manufacturing, and a historical shift in the way we work.

As these unscaled realities take hold, mass markets and mass

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The First-Ever Live, Virtual Reality Comedy Special Could Only Happen Now


7 min read


The first thing you notice after strapping on a CEEK headset is that the seats in its simulated theater are empty, which is an eerie approximation of the atmosphere in shuttered concert venues and movie houses around the world. A product that was designed to simulate a commonplace, but often inaccessible, consumer experience — like attending a Lady Gaga concert at Madison Square Garden or witnessing U2 wow thousands at Rose Bowl Stadium, both CEEK offerings — has suddenly become its closest real-world designate.

This was not what the company’s founder and CEO, Mary Spio, had in mind when she launched CEEK in 2015. The venture was an entrepreneurial step in her career, which began with training as an Air Force engineer and evolved into groundbreaking work as a satellite-communications designer for NASA and Boeing. (The tech she helped pioneer for the

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