Flux is a podcast about the pioneers building companies at the frontier of technology. This series of interviews goes beyond the soundbites, allowing some of the most interesting players in technology to share their insider expertise and explain the challenges they face in building the future.
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Jun 25, 2021

On today's episode I speak with Noor Siddiqui, the founder of Orchid, a company that quantifies the genetic risks of your future children. We discuss the plunge in genome sequencing costs and why Orchid's ability to predict polygenic diseases impacts so many families compared to predicting single-gene diseases. 

Noor reveals what it was like starting a company remotely during COVID, how her mother's own rare disease motivated her and what genetic privilege means. We discuss her path from doing a Thiel fellowship to teaching a crypto class at Stanford to doing genomics and AI research with Sebastian Thrun. Finally, we get into our contrarian views and why biology advances seem to provoke the strongest pushback. 

Full transcript on Medium. This episode was produced by Daniel Bouza.

Dec 28, 2020

In the last Flux episode of 2020, Alice talks with Kevin Caldwell, founder and CEO of Ossium Health, a company building the first bank of on-demand bone marrow stem cells and developing therapeutics to treat leukemia, blood cancer, and other diseases. 

Kevin discusses how he navigated his many career options and how his time with grandparents shaped his values. After graduating law school and getting degrees in physics and economics, working at McKinsey and at hedge funds, Kevin realized he wanted to have more impact and switched to life sciences. 

We discuss the history of stem cell therapy and why the potential for living drugs is so exciting. Kevin shares why no-one has used bone marrow from deceased donors, and how Ossium is building the first major procurement network to enable donor and recipient matches at scale. He gets into the business model, views on the future, and the advantages of raising from both life science and traditional tech investors.

Full transcript on Medium. This episode was produced by Daniel Bouza. 

Oct 23, 2020

Flux fandom. In today's episode Alice talks with Adam Arrigo, co-founder and CEO of Wave, a live virtual concert company.

Adam has been pushing the frontier of music his whole life, from touring as a musician to designing Rockband the game at Harmonix. In 2016 Adam and Aaron Lemke founded Wave. Along the way the company has evolved and worked with artists including Imogen Heap, Kill the Noise, Tokimonsta, Galantis, Rezz, John Legend and the Weeknd. Today Wave distributes imaginative, interactive shows across platforms, from MMO games to Twitch, Youtube and TikTok. Wave just closed a Series B with Justin Bieber and J Balvin investing. 

Adam gets into how the core insights around design and interactivity from the early days of VR are critical to the product today, and how he's reimagining the medium of concerts from the ground up. He explains how the pandemic has created a challenge for artists but also an opportunity for Wave to serve them.

Adam discusses business models and monetization, from virtual goods to tipping. We cover trends in Asia such as the VTuber phenomenon, how companies like Riot and Epic in the U.S. are pushing the industry forward, and the new crop of creative virtual IP startups.

Adam shares how the metaverse can be a beautiful and liberating place and gives advice to founders at the frontier—on how to build something that defies classification and how to find a team of passionate Avengers who align with your vision of the future. 

Full transcript on Medium. This episode was produced by Dan Bouza. 

Jun 9, 2020

Hi from Alice and the Flux team. We hope you are safe and well. 

In the latest episode I talk with Alex Bisignano, founder of Phosphorus is the second ever company to be approved by the FDA for at-home saliva testing to detect COVID-19. Alex has been on the frontlines of the pandemic in New York City. While most companies are using synthetic data, Alex and his team have collected live samples from patients in the lab.

Phosphorus has been able to rapidly develop virus and antibody test products, even though that wasn't the company's prior business. Alex shares how he thinks about supply chain reliability and how they are ramping up test manufacturing. We also get into genetics as a possible predictor for COVID-19 severity, which biological pathways may play a role, and what it would look like if we had large-scale biobanks.

If we are able to correctly identify who is at higher risk, what are the implications for employment and privacy policy? We get into the ethical questions around mandatory testing and disclosure and how countries like China have responded to the pandemic. Alex also reveals how he thinks Silicon Valley may shift in its attitude towards the hard sciences and biotech.

Full transcript on Medium. This episode was produced by Daniel Bouza.

Feb 13, 2020
Welcome back to Flux! In this episode I talk with Andy Coravos the co-founder of Elektra Labs, which is building a future of digital medicine that's data-driven and secure. Recently we’ve seen an explosion of wearables and sensors in healthcare. How accurate are these monitoring tools? How secure are they from hackers? Elektra is cataloguing these distributed devices and has created benchmarks for pharmaceutical companies, doctors and device makers. We're also now seeing the advent of digital therapeutics such as video games that help treat ADHD or PTSD. Is the FDA equipped to respond to these changes? How will doctors and pharmacies prescribe digital medicine? 
Andy shares her thoughts on the FDA and what she feels is the balance between proper regulation and advancing progress. She discusses what wearables she personally is comfortable using and why a Hippocratic Oath for devices is important. Andy tells me about her family of tinkerers and inventors, why she finds meditation critical, and how she got the courage to jump from private equity to startups. 
Full transcript on Medium. This episode was produced by Daniel Bouza.
Sep 16, 2019
In this episode we try out a new format. I talk remotely with LaTurbo Avedon, an online avatar who has been active as an artist and curator since 2008. Her responses have been run through a speech synthesizer.
Recently we've seen a wave of next-gen virtual stars rise up, from Lil Miquela in the west to pop-stars like Kizuna AI in the east. As real-time avatar representation becomes more accessible, what emergent behaviors will we see and what will our virtual relationships look like? LaTurbo was early to exploring these questions of identity and experimenting with telepresence. She has shape-shifted across media types, spending time in everything from AOL and chat rooms, to MMOs, virtual worlds and social media platforms. She shares her thoughts on how social networks have breached our trust, why a breakup is likely, and how users should take control of their data. We get into the rise of battle royale gaming, why multiplicity of self is important, and how we can better express agency and identity online.

This episode was produced by Adriene Lilly. Full transcript with links on Medium.

Aug 23, 2019

In this episode I talk with Matt Cauble the co-founder of Kin Euphorics, a functional beverage company that aims to reduce stress — “all bliss, no booze.” Matt was previously a co-founder of Soylent and he shares tales from the company’s early days, describing how they made one of the largest pivots in YC history from building software-defined radios to meal-replacement shakes. He explains why Soylent resonated and we get into co-founder Rob Rhinehart's latest interest in space settlement and the Mars industry event he hosted in the Mojave. Matt shares why he is now interested in wellness, how he's applying lessons from Soylent to building the Kin community, and why strong companies often look like new social movements. We get into the product’s formula, which includes nootropics and adaptogens, and what it means to challenge a ritual as ancient as alcohol.

Aug 15, 2019
Eric Marcotulli is the co-founder of Elysium, a life sciences company developing consumer-facing health products based on aging research. Elysium's first product is Basis, a supplement that increases NAD levels and activates sirtuins, boosting cellular health and longevity. 
In the latest episode of Flux we discuss why longevity companies like Sirtris Pharmaceuticals failed, which was initially bought for $720 million in 2008. Eric explains why going direct to consumer is the best strategy and what the current Basis user base looks like. He shares what its like working with eight nobel laureates on his science advisory board and how they decide what product research to pursue. He gets into the importance of bringing peer review rigor to the category, how he plans to build consumer trust, why cellular senescence is a particular area of interest, what his personal health routine is and how he thinks about the singularity. 
Jan 3, 2019

In the this episode I sit down with Isaac Cohen (Cabbibo), a fascinating creator at the forefront of VR and AR who has released a number of apps and experiences that push the boundaries - you can find some of his pieces on Steam. He has a background in physics and interface design, previously worked at Leap Motion, and has been an artist in residence at Unity and Adobe. Isaac shares his views on why realism in VR is the wrong approach and how developers need to approach it in a transformative rather than a derivative way. He describes the ARkit workflow, how he thinks about using AR to give users agency, and why emotional efficiency is important in computing. He gets into some of the UX insights he's picked up along the way, which creators inspire his work, what today's corporates can learn from the long-term research done at places like Xerox PARC, and the role artists play in pointing them towards the right questions.

Full transcript on Medium.
This episode was produced by Adriene Lilly and Allison Behringer. 
Nov 15, 2018

Alban Denoyel is the CEO of Sketchfab, a 3D hub to publish, share, buy and sell 3D, VR and AR content. We discuss the history of the business and what the company has learned from Youtube and why they are pursuing a distributed content strategy. Alban shares how power creators are using the platform to monetize content, the powerful role 3D plays in cultural heritage, and the importance of figuring out standards and formats in 3D. With Sketchfab crossing 1 billion cumulative page views, Google's Poly turning one, and Microsoft's Remix 3D turning two, it's an interesting moment to reflect where we are in the trajectory of the 3D web. 

Oct 31, 2018

Thomas Reardon is the cofounder and CEO of CTRL-labs, a company building an electromyography-based armband that decodes the brain's intentions, enabling users to control digital devices using their mind. 

In this fun and wide-ranging conversation we get into Reardon's early years at Microsoft, and how building a web startup in the 1990s and launching Internet Explorer has informed his thinking. He describes how he had a realization about changing his career path and decided later in life to study classics and computational neuroscience. Reardon explains why New York is the top place to build a machine learning based business right now and reveals how he recruits top talent. He shares how the company aims to translate cutting edge technology into mass-market use, and what developers can expect when CTRL-kit is shipped in Q1. He also explains how the CTRL-labs platform could radically impact immersive computing (VR/AR) and how if all goes to plan it will make the smartphone redundant.

A full transcript is available on Medium

This episode was produced by Adriene Lilly.

Sep 18, 2018

Assaf Glazer is the founder and CEO of Nanit, a baby monitor and human analytics company that helps parents navigate their child’s sleep. In this episode we get into Assaf's experience working in the Israeli defense and on chip manufacturing, and how he parlayed his computer vision background into building a New York startup. He discusses what he has learned about human centric design, and the pros and cons of manufacturing a consumer electronics product in China versus the United States. He also gets into why his product may help with retention in the workforce, the issues he sees in deep learning research, why behavioral neuroscience is critical in the next leap forward for machine learning, and how process control for chips is different than process control for babies.  

A full transcript is available on Medium:

This episode was produced by Allison Behringer. 

Jul 5, 2018

Austin Woolridge is the co-founder and CEO of Players Lounge, a site that allows casual gamers to compete against each other and win money in games like FIFA, Fortnight, Madden, NBA 2K, MLB, NHL, and Call of Duty. In this episode we get into Austin's path into entrepreneurship, co-founder Zach Dixon's impressive efforts pitching investors, how Y Combinator had such an impact on him and the team, and why New York had the special ingredients necessary to start his company. He reveals what he thinks the potential is for the casual eSports market, how the site handles user liquidity and adding new titles, how they have navigated the regulatory climate, and how he thinks about entering the Asia market in the future.

Full transcript with resources is available on Medium:

The episode was produced by Allison Behringer.    ᐧ


Dec 31, 2017

Dean Kamen is an engineer, businessman and inventor who holds over 400 patents. He is the man behind the Segway as well as the first wearable infusion pump. Through his R&D company DEKA he has continued to deliver one innovation after the other, from the iBOT a motorized wheelchair that climbs stairs, to the Slingshot water purifier for the developing world, as well as the Stirling generator which turns waste into power. In this episode we get into Dean's thoughts on inventing, why he thinks we have a cultural crisis in education, and DEKA's recent dive into biology and the world of regenerative medicine. He shares why he thinks the world is headed for catastrophe and what he thinks we can do to ensure that in the race between education and catastrophe, education wins.

A full transcript of the conversation can be found on Flux's Medium account. The episode was produced by Allison Behringer. 
Dec 24, 2017

Keller Rinaudo is the CEO of Zipline, a company building instant delivery that currently supplies 20% of Rwanda's national blood supply via drone. In this episode, we get into the future of autonomous infrastructure, the importance of government risk-taking when it comes to innovation, and what he thinks it will take for the U.S. to regain its entrepreneurial spirit. Keller also shares his thoughts on designing a full-stack hardware product and service, how his parents impacted his ability to be an entrepreneur, and how he has persevered in the face of naysayers.

An excerpt of this conversation is published in TechCrunch. The full transcript can be found on Flux's medium account. This episode was produced by Allison Behringer. 

Dec 6, 2017

Arthur Hayes is the CEO of Hong Kong based BitMEX, one of the first cryptocurrency derivatives exchanges that currently ranks #1 in bitcoin USD futures volume. This episode reveals the thinking of a trader who’s been at the forefront of the market for three years. Arthur discusses the structural issues he thinks the CME and CBOE may face when they launch crypto trading in the U.S. next week, why his perpetual 100X leverage swap products is the most popular, and why he thinks valuation models for crypto are an exercise in futility. He shares how BitMEX deals with asset forks as well as exchange security, why Korean trading is booming, what he believes is going on with the Chinese crackdown and miners, and dispels any fantasy that one can get rich trading crypto from the beach. 

An excerpt of this episode is published in Forbes. Full transcript will be available on Medium

The episode was produced by Allison Behringer. 

Jul 11, 2017

Kathleen Breitman is the co-founder and CEO of Tezos, a self-amending blockchain platform. In this episode Kathleen reveals how flaws in bitcoin's design inspired Tezos to bake governance mechanisms into the blockchain itself. She discusses the rationale around doing an uncapped crowdsale, why they chose to set up a non-profit in Switzerland to receive the funds, and how they have responded to DDOS and phishing attacks. Kathleen also discusses her identification as an anarchist-capitalist and its roots in cypherpunk, her love of Milton Friedman, her favorite bad TV, and what it's like being a husband wife founding team. 

Jul 5, 2017

Helen Greiner was the co-founder of iRobot, the company behind the Roomba and PackBot, and is now the founder of CyPhy Works, a leading commercial drone company. In this episode of Flux, Helen reveals why timing the market is so critical for founders, what she's learned about product iteration, and why she thinks the sky is a natural superhighway for drone delivery. Helen also gets into her work with the Pentagon using the PackBot to save lives to Iraq, how to get more women into technology, her love of Star Wars, and what happened when she tried to fly her drone on the White House lawn.

Full episode transcript on Medium.

This episode was produced by Allison Behringer.

May 30, 2017

Blake Scholl is the founder and CEO of Denver-based Boom, a supersonic jet company. Blake gets into how the Concorde business model was flawed, why it takes an outsider to re-ignite innovation in the industry, and how simulation software has greatly reduced the time and cost of plane design. Blake also reveals how he taught himself the basics of the business on Wikipedia, why dropping out of high school was one of the best things he did, and how bringing supersonic air travel to the masses will have an impact on everything from business, to leisure, to fundamental human relations.

Full episode transcript on Medium.

This episode was produced by Allison Behringer.

Apr 28, 2017

Bill Doyle is executive chairman of Novocure, an Israeli company using an entirely new method to fight cancer: electric fields. Bill tells the story of the founder of Novocure, his unorthodox approach to problem-solving, and how he was able to commercialize a therapy that was considered voodoo science. He also discusses why the research grant process is broken and the FDA's challenge balancing progress with safety.

Bill has had a wide-ranging career in healthcare, spanning his time running medical device research at Johnson & Johnson to his role as chairman of Blink Health, a startup lowering prescription drug prices. Bill gets into what he thinks it takes to win as an entrepreneur, how he's learned about invention from Segway creator Dean Kamen, and why we're entering a golden age for medical innovation.  
Full episode transcript on Medium.
This episode was produced by Allison Behringer. 
Apr 17, 2017

Natalya Bailey is co-founder and CEO of Accion Systems, an MIT spin-out commercializing miniature propulsion systems for satellites that enable them to maneuver in space.   

Natalya reveals why legacy manufacturers are unable to build these non-traditional engines, how she's handled the jump from academia to business, and what she's learned from Bill Swanson of Raytheon about managing a team. She also discusses how the Apollo mission helped push computing forward, her interest in aliens and why space exploration is critical for our survival.


Full episode transcript on Medium.

This episode was produced by Allison Behringer.

Apr 1, 2017

Gary Marcus, best-selling author and NYU professor, has spent decades studying how children learn and is a known critic of deep learning. Gary was the founder and CEO of Geometric Intelligence, which uses insights from cognitive psychology to build better AI systems. Gary discusses why we still have a long way to go to get to Strong AI and why his sparse data approach is so valuable. We also get into the challenges for AI startups competing with the resources of Google, how corporates aren't focused on what society actually needs from AI, his proposal to revamp the outdated Turing test, and why programming a robot to understand "harm" is so difficult. 

Full episode transcript on Medium.

This episode was produced by Allison Behringer.

Referenced Links:

TEDxCERN (Marcus) - Why toddlers are smarter than computers


The Verge - Driver in fatal Tesla Autopilot crash had seven seconds to take action

NYTimes - How Many Computers to Identify a Cat? 16,000

Scientific American (Marcus) - The Search for a New Test of Artificial Intelligence

NYTimes - For Sympathetic Ear, More Chinese Turn to Smartphone Program

Financial Times - Microsoft’s Tay back swearing on Twitter

Mar 18, 2017

Sophia Dominguez is co-founder and CEO of SVRF, a company making VR content discoverable. Sophia discusses how consumers are scared of the term "virtual reality", why nausea is critical in search rankings, how Snapchat will help bridge the gap to AR, and why Facebook's VR privacy policy is alarming. Sophia also reveals the challenges of being a woman in the industry, why building a company in New York is a better reality check than building in the Silicon Valley bubble, why VR zombies are a great alternative to coffee, and why VR art is amazing. 

Feb 27, 2017

Paul Dabrowski is co-founder and CEO of Synthego, a company building a platform of tools for scientists. Paul discusses why CRISPR is much more precise than other gene editing techniques, how China has been pushing ethical boundaries, what it's like building a company with your brother, and how his time at SpaceX shaped the way he thinks.

Feb 17, 2017


Balaji Srinivasan is CEO of 21, a company building the machine payable web. Balaji discusses how his software enables you to earn bitcoin for doing tasks on your phone, why ranking inbound email by most recent first is inefficient, how China's special economic zones had such an impact, why preserving your personal runway is so important, and how Silicon Valley is an exporter of innovation culture.

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