Notes for TWiST ep.622 — Alec Ross, frm Sen. Advisor Innovation for SecState Hillary Clinton on “Industries of the Future”

Alec Ross, Fmr. Sen. Adv for Innovation, Sec. of State Hillary Clinton

A discussion on politics and the future of the world is up on ThisWeekInStartups with host Jason and his guest Alec Ross former Senior Advisor for innovation for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, presenting his new book “Industries of the Future”.

Not the best episode ever but certainly different and interesting with the point of view of an insider at home behind the curtains of politics.

Spoiler alert: the next world trillion dollar industry will be based on genetic code.

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Hillary Clinton

  • Alec Ross was senior advisor for Innovation for Secretary Hillary Clinton for 4 years
  • She’s a smart, brilliant person
  • She has a great talent networking with people (Jason)
  • In New York Jason met her at a Technologists networking event
  • She wrote down the names of every person in the meeting and started to ask everybody what was the most important issue in New York for the technology scene
  • She wrote down a word near every name and then drew line between people with the same issues and was great at connecting people helping them to discuss
  • She knew her staff wouldn’t go home until she was in the office so she would go home to allow her staff to go home at eat with their families — but she would still keep working from home
  • “Don’t go home before the boss, even if the boss tells you so” (Jason)
  • Jason would vote for Hillary

Hillary’s email scandal

  • Nothing substantial there to believe she screwed up the Secretary of the State


  • The book is available on Audible (long-time sponsor of TWiST)
  • 40% of Ross’ sales comes from Audible and Kindle
  • Jason asks his friends if they finished a book to tell if a book is good
  • He buys 10 books at a time, listens to them in the car or when he takes his — daughter to do stuff and has to wait


  • Unemployment in the US has gone down, from 8% to 4%
  • There hasn’t been social unrest in the US cause the are not the conditions like persistent unemployment, persistent under-employment
  • That’s because the US provides the headquarters of the industries of the future
  • Robotics displaces labor, many jobs will be eliminated in the low end by robots — best way to make your way out of it it’s to be at the center of innovation, imagination
  • You want to be the one selling those robots to the other 195 countries on planet Earth
  • Robots has historically done work that’s menial and repetitive
  • Because of AI robots will do also cognitive and non-routine (low white-collar jobs)
  • It’s nothing new, look at agriculture. It used to employ 50% of the workforce now it employs less than 2% producing more, high-quality food than ever
  • Fear of automation are not new: mechanization of farming was supposed to cause mass poverty
  • It’s been proven in the past 200 years that labor when displaced eventually finds more productive uses elsewhere

Massive wealth in the hands of few

  • What’s changed is not just how great wealth few people have amassed but how the standard of living for poorer people have increased
  • When it first came out, color tv could be afforded only by the rich, now poorer people can afford bib flat screens
  • As long as they give it away like Bill Gates is doing, they are fixing the problem themselves

Immigration law

  • Obama wanted to pass it, but passing Obama care costed too much political favors and he was left with not enough currency
  • 40% of the Fortune 500 was funded by immigrants or children of immigrants
  • The problem with letting immigrants in: xenophobia
  • It comes down to melanine in skin: if you are darker than white (ie brown) — you can’t get in

Donald Trump

  • If he wins, we are all screwed
  • He’s just a narcissit who’ll say and believe anything to be voted
  • It’s a possibilities he’ll win

His biggest concerns in today’s world

  • Vladimir Putin having nuclear weapons and the less than 1% chance he could use them is the #1 concern he has — Putin likes conflicts and he has an immense power
  • Pakistan is #2: “the average person in the streets hates Americans” and they have nuclear weapons
  • They hid Osama Bin Laden and sold nuclear secrets to North Corea


  • Social media has allowed ISIS to recruit people that wake up everyday and ask themselves: “how do I kill westerns?” through very well made videos
  • They promise young Muslims they’ll get laid if the join ISIS: dozens of virgins if they die, sex slaves if they live
  • The majority of muslims are moderate: they are the key to solve the problem of terrorism


  • Solar energy is cheaper than ever, utilities are limiting the amount of solar power you can install and trying to figure out what’s going to happen to them in the future
  • Oil is under 30 dollars a barrel — the whole world is flooding the market with oil
  • Shale oil and fracking were the game changer: the US is now a net exporter of energy
  • Russia has to export as much oil as possible to stay aflot with their economic problems
  • Saudi Arabia pumping like there’s no tomorrow to keep the price down and compete with Iran’s oil
  • Low oil prices are due the abundance of supply

Commercialization of genomics

  • The world next trillion dollar will come genetic code
  • People will get 3–5 more years of life expectancy thanks to the ability of diagnosis of illnesses earlier (cancer) using genetic
  • The creation of precision medicine will be available— custom made medicines tailored to the individual (2–3 years away from being commercialized)

Iraqi War 2

It was a mistake we are still paying the consequences of it

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