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Matt Ocko_E39: A 360 View of Transformation [12/15/2021]

Matt Ocko, Managing Partner at DCVC in Silicon Valley [12/18/2021]


Note: References with links are listed at the end of the show notes.


1:00 Shares announcement of Embark Trucks, which just went public on the Nasdaq.

3:00 Talks about his early learnings as a Star Trek fan, and how it aligned him with equitable / human transformational thinking. Discusses the post economic future of Star Trek, versus a slavery and scarcity narrative with Star Wars. He ties this into transformation within the context of VC — overlapping with stakeholders. Matt hopes our transition to a better future will be so, without increases in violence.

SECTION1: The Science

4:00 Shares stories about his mother and father, with an emphasis on history, anthropology, and science. Points to early influences such as Archimedes, Newton, Faraday, and Einstein. The idea of individuals having curve bending abilities sparked him. His mother pointed him to overlooked female scientists such as Roselind Franklin, and Jocelyn Bell. (DNA and Astrophysics respectively, see sources below)

9:00 Talks about his foray into 60+ patents, and how engaging with his companies led to productization support and being asked to help. Discusses distributed supercomputing patents he’s proud of from the 2000s — and how they are evolving in the real world over time. This led him into developing a thesis around data centers, and ultra-high-speed computing. Talks about the efficiency of software over painstaking scientific experiments.

17:00 Shares passion for discovering people talented and intellectually superior. His early learnings in seeing people struggle, but outperform. Matt shares how he originated the term “Deep Tech” in the late 90’s/early 2000s in a thread within a thread with friend and investor, Steve Jurvetson.

SECTION2: Freedom and Resilience

24:00 Discusses his experience with early efficiency — through compute efficiency, in the Cleantech precursor arena. He notes his concern of costs for Cleantech and Greentech companies back in 1994 — with his example of working with power plant maintenance. Points to the dynamics of marketing societal impact, in a time when compute power was discounted as an efficiency driver.

33:00 Shares critique of a top-down approach to climate resiliency, and how market drivers in China have led to growth via software. Also discusses how human empathy needs to be included, in sharing sacrifices in a positive-sum game environment. Talks about behavior change needing to be incentivized to drive broader climate resiliency. We discuss how to rank moral imperatives in being an investor reducing what he calls externality dumping: he approaches trillion-dollar industries where time and equability are key priorities.


43:00 Shares the example of Pivot Bio, with an emphasis on food-climate impact. He talks about solutions being partial, when attacking massive problems. We run through sustainability impacts of some of their startups. Twelve: Company recycling C02 emissions from plastics / chemical plants, into feedstocks, materials, and fuels. CH4 Global: Animal safe / human safe, and cost effective platform for seaweed to reduce global cattle emissions by up to 10%.

50:00 Shares infallibility, in the face of how much the community can do for climate change.


-DCVC Fund: https://www.dcvc.com/

-Embark IPO: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-11-11/embark-trucks-embk-stock-now-public-led-by-26-year-old-ceo

-Rosalind Franklin: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosalind_Franklin

- Jocelyn Bell: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jocelyn_Bell_Burnell

-Servant leadership: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servant_leadership

-Twelve: https://www.twelve.co/

-RocketLab: https://www.rocketlabusa.com/

-CH4 Global: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20211006005246/en/CH4-Global-Announces-US13M-Series-A-Funding-to-Accelerate-Its-Mission-to-Dramatically-Reduce-Manmade-Methane-Emissions

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Song Credit: The Croft — By Joakim Karud

[ No Copyright on Music and Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0 ]



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A Community focused on Venture Scale Positive Impacts. Produced by Zecca Lehn. On Twitter @posi2ive.