Finding startup opportunities in the pandemic; Windows 11 launch; Defending the Blue Yeti mic

A global pandemic might seem like the wrong time to pursue a new startup idea, given all the uncertainties, but in many ways, the timing couldn’t be better.

That’s one of the insights from our GeekWire Podcast conversation this week with Seattle-area entrepreneur and investor Shirish Nadkarni, author of the book From Startup to Exit: An Insider’s Guide to Launching and Scaling your Tech Business. 

Shirish Nadkarni

The changes in user behavior and tech platform shifts caused by the pandemic dovetail with one of the lessons Nadkarni is hoping to get across to entrepreneurs.

“Look for opportunities where there is either some major technology shift or some macro trend that either surfaces an old problem, or enables you to build a solution in a unique fashion that could not be done before,” Nadkarni says. “I think those are the best opportunities for an idea to succeed.”

We also talk about startup opportunities in artificial intelligence and machine learning; the impact of the IPO and SPAC craze on startup psychology; and the effect of remote work on investing and recruiting.

Nadkarni founded mobile wireless email pioneer TeamOn Systems, acquired by Blackberry in 2002, and co-founded language learning site Livemocha, acquired by RosettaStone in 2013. He began his career at Microsoft, working on Windows development tools, overseeing MSN’s transition into a web portal, and leading Microsoft’s Hotmail acquisition.

In the news this week …

  • Microsoft announced an Oct. 5 release date for Windows 11, but said it won’t be making Android apps available on the new OS until a later date, under a partnership with Amazon.
  • Seattle-based money remittance company Remitly disclosed key financial results on its path to its upcoming IPO. It posted $257 million in revenue and a $32.5 million net loss in 2020.
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And in our final segment, we hear from a loyal listener, Steve Case (no, not the AOL founder), with feedback on our recent behind-the-scenes episode about the audio technology we use for the show. I had critical things to say about the Blue Yeti mic on the show, to which Steve gave this response:

I like and use the Blue Yeti (with an external pop filter). It was the logical choice when I was doing a bit of voiceover, and pondering podcasting. The Yeti is perfect for podcasting because of its three condenser capsules and four modes, so it’s good for one person (cardioid mode) or interviewing someone in person (bi-directional mode). Of course that was back in the pre-quarantine days when we might actually sit on the other side of a microphone from someone outside of our household.

Many people who use these for podcasts, YouTube videos and the like, don’t seem to understand the modes – or even which side to talk into. This is a side-address microphone, but I see people talking into the end of it, or even into the back side when using cardioid mode. Then there are the folks way too close to the mic, without a pop guard, and the gain set to full. The built-in gain control is a great feature, but with the power to change gain at the microphone comes the responsibility to set it appropriately.

Noted! Thanks to Steve for his insights. You can reach us at [email protected] with your thoughts on mic technology or anything else we discuss on the show.

Listen to this week’s episode above, or subscribe in any podcast app.

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Audio editing by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

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