“It’s akin to having a lottery ticket”

In the movie business, January is a “dump month” as Mike Myers put it, on Saturday Night Live:

It’s easy to kill a movie.
Just move it to January.

Not just the movie industry. In enterprise software sales as well. Indeed, at SmartOps, we worked intensely in December, as most companies had their fiscal year as the calendar year, to get multi-million dollar deals done, sometimes until almost midnight on the last working day (Medtronic) of the year; other days, we would close two “two-comma” deals (Sun Chemical, Unilever); what a rush! Then, January is pretty dead.

Thus, in January, I do not expect anything substantial to happen.

Imagine then, my surprise, when I first received this email in early January.

Dear Sridhar,

Congratulations! We are pleased to inform you that your AISTATS 2021 submission ID 1151 and title “Causal Inference with Selectively Deconfounded Data” has been accepted for presentation at the conference..

That was cool, and I have discussed this earlier in the context of Drug Repositioning. Then, this email (from Bill L., the Director of The Best Documentary of DC Film Festival):

Hi:  I hope all is well with you and yours.  I am writing with a quick update about the film.  To start, the list of documentary films qualifying for consideration for the 2021 Oscars was published by “The Wrap.”  “WBCN and The American Revolution” is on it… Honestly, it’s akin to having a lottery ticket, but we’re in it, and just wanted to let everyone know where things stand.  

Oh, nice! Already, an exciting January. Then, this (from Tim W., CEO and Co-founder of Vendia, that I discussed earlier on Serverless Blockchain):


Looking forward to our discussion tomorrow! As we planned last time, Shruthi will share some of her thoughts on typical deal process/flow as well as a mental model for how we can compose sales crews to tackle channels & sectors. (She’ll share those docs separately.)

As a late-breaking update: We are finishing signatures on our Series A tonight and expect funding to be complete by the end of this week! That will make our advising discussions particularly pertinent, as we’ll want to start recruiting next week for our post Series A staffing. Thanks again for your flexibility in scheduling, by the way – moving out by a week enabled us to focus on driving the Series A over the finish line.

Some of you may wonder: So, what is this all about?

Let me give you all a “use case” from, no surprise, automotive industry (you know I love cars, see my post Ford v Ferrari). Consider the production of Rolls Royce, and we are ensuring that all components are properly accounted for. What we want is a mechanism to ensure that. So, look at the process map, and make sure that that all the parties are properly accommodated. What Vendia does is, in a decentralized trustworthy manner, ensure that the multiple parties are “kept honest” in an efficient manner.

Back to fun stuff, like movies.

As a cinephile, and Bond fan, what is the best Rolls Royce in the movies? Most recently, it is in Spectre, with Lea Seydoux as the Bond girl.

Other French Bond girls? Eva Green (“I am the Money”) and Sophie Marceau. Eva is cute, Sophie is dangerous, and Lea is smoldering. Fun French streaming show to watch? Lupin.

When did I last have such an exciting January, I wondered? Took me back more than a decade, when we closed Hewlett-Packard, in 2005, which was a consequential deal.

What about movies? Again, had to go back more than a decade, when Taken (written by Luc Besson, La Femme Nikita) opened in January (in 2008 or 2009), with Liam Neeson:

What I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career.

Happy New Year!

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