Chronosphere cofounders Martin Mao, Rob Skillington, and me

November 5, 2019

One of my favorite stories about time and data is the 18th century quest to solve the longitude problem. Hundreds of years before measuring cloud metrics became the infrastructure problem of our time, the best scientists and engineers of the world were trying to figure out how to determine longitude at sea. Latitude (north/south) was relatively easy but longitude (east/west) was nearly impossible. On land, an engineer could use a clock and measure the time the sun hit “noon,” its highest point in the sky, and then calculate the time difference from “noon” at an origin city…


Instabase Founder Anant Bhardwaj and me

In a 1990 documentary for the Library of Congress, Steve Jobs said, “What a computer is to me is it’s the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with, and it’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.” Jobs was referencing a Scientific American study that compared locomotion efficiency for various species and how humans alone were far behind other animals like the most efficient condor but coupled with a tool like the bicycle, humans “blew the condor away, completely off the top of the charts.” Jobs’ insight that the personal computer could make the human brain more…


25 years ago, renowned author William Gibson said that “the future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” Over the ensuing decades, technology has transformed the daily lives of millions, but that quote is often interpreted to mean that inequalities in access and availability have prevented those advances from reaching ubiquity. As broadband, WiFi, and affordable smart phones spread, so will the future that is carried on the backs of these technologies.

The explosion of on-demand consumer services in recent years is proof the future has arrived. Services such as Uber, Instacart and Postmates, just to name…


Jerry Chen with the Rockset Team.

Finding the shortest path from data to applications

The ascent of mobile and cloud computing has created an explosion of data types and data sources. We can now track real time data from our cars, phones, toasters, and combine that with customer information and transaction data. Unfortunately, even with all the open source tools and cloud services that are available, it has gotten more complex and more expensive to build useful data-driven applications. Today’s applications need real-time data processing, cloud storage, and the the familiarity of SQL support even on semi-structured data. …


Notable Health Co-Founders Adam Ting, Pranay Kapadia and Justin White.

Our Seed and Series A Investments in Notable Health

When my colleague Saam Motamedi and I heard that Pranay Kapadia, Justin White, and Adam Ting decided to start Notable Health, Greylock was lucky enough to have the opportunity to become one of the first investors in the company when we led the seed round last December.

Health care is undergoing a digital transformation — the advent and rise of electronic health record (EHR) systems and the shift from paper to electronic records over the past decade illustrates the industry’s strong appetite for new technology to solve inefficiencies, reduce costs, and improve the patient/doctor experience.

When I went to see…


VC investment in any startup requires taking strategic risks. Every investor evaluates and understands the type of risk and what level of risk they are willing to underwrite and at what price. I personally break risk down into three categories: possibility, probability, and uncertainty.

Possibility, probability and uncertainty are applied differently to each company. Different investors will be comfortable taking different types of risk. As an investor, I look to build a portfolio that includes different risk profiles in the investment. Most importantly, I try to apply the right risk framework to every company, so I’m not evaluating a self-driving…


Founders and CEOs often ask me, “How do I build a defensible business model?” Strong defensive moats around your company are required to build a sustainable and profitable business. Building these moats is a difficult challenge for today’s leaders due to dramatic platform innovations.

Earlier this year I explained why systems of intelligence™ — AI powered applications — are the next defensible business model. I recently presented this topic and shared the slides below. …


Spoke Co-Founders Pratyus Patnaik, Jay Srinivasan and David Kaneda.

Over five years ago, before I joined Greylock, I was invited by several friends to angel invest in a smart phone app testing service called Appurify. Two short years later, Google acquired Appurify to build a cloud service for mobile developers. During the Appurify journey, I had the chance to work with with Jay Srinivasan, Pratyus Patnaik and David Kaneda. A lot of VCs and founders will say investing is “all about the team”. I agree, and I consider it one of the highest compliments that Jay and the team want to walk a second journey together.

One of…


The Blend Team.

In 2016, there was more than $2.1 trillion dollars in mortgages issued in the U.S. alone. Despite the staggering size of the mortgage market, it still runs on decade old technology and processes. As anyone who has ever applied for a mortgage can tell you, applications are completed using pen and paper, a patchwork of legacy software point solutions and involve 1,000 page long loan files. Mortgage lenders spend more than $8,000 in processing costs on each origination. Cost aside, the process results in significant redundant manual work and is highly error prone.

The inadequacy of the software stack powering…

Jerry Chen

Restless. Irreverent. Partner at @GreylockVC. www.jerrychen.com

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