As a VC in Pittsburgh I have gotten to be good at spotting buzzwords that make for bad investments. Here is a short sampling of my current list (believe me, the real list is much longer):
I have an aneurysm anytime I see these words independently, or yikes! – in combination – and I typically run away from those investments. Not that they frighten my scientific instincts – I can run with the best of the buzzers, with my PhD thesis entitled, “Mass Asymmetric Fission Barriers for Mo-98″. Rather, they frighten my business instincts, and make me question whether real customer problems are being addressed and real value created for some sort of a paying end-user.
These areas of research are intellectually very stimulating (I love watching TED talks!) but tend to be slowly evolving fields of study, and particularly unsuited for VC timescale investments.
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