Jill Uchiyama: Leaving a Legacy

Jill Uchiyama

Jill Uchiyama is a teacher and film maker. She writes about feminism, philosophy, and Japan, where she spent part of her life. She is also the pioneer of Legacy film making, which seeks to capture the most important aspects of a person’s life.

In a past career, Jill worked as a counselor. She tells a fascinating story of why she became dispassionate about her hopes of being able to help clients. However, she continues to apply the skills she learned on that job on Quora, where she routinely provides useful life advice.

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David S. Rose: Angel Investing

Image result for david s rose

David S. Rose is an Angel Investor, Quora contributor, and author of the excellent book, “Angel Investing: The Gust Guide to Making Money“.  He’s the CEO of Gust, a platform that connects start-ups with investors. Through Gust, over $1.8 billion has been invested into start-ups.

David’s book is about investing in early-stage entrepreneurs. It may seem like this isn’t useful information for typical “main street” investors. Not true–it is a prescient topic. There are more entrepreneurs than ever before, because of such tools as Amazon Web Services, crowd funding, Google App Engine, easy-to-use frameworks such as Ruby on Rails, and advanced outsourcing tools.

It’s also worth simply mentioning the Internet itself. If you believe Metcalfe’s law, that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users in the system, then there is an immense amount of latent value waiting to be unlocked as the world becomes globalized. To capture this value, more and more entrepreneurs will spring up. Many of these entrepreneurs will need angel investors.

The amount of power endowed in a contemporary founder creates an undeniable value proposition for an investor looking for high upside. An investor could put $10,000 into an established company, and be taxed on all the slippage and slowness of an institution–or she could put $10,000 into a founder, who can get far more mileage on the dollar.

Notable topics David and I spoke about are angel investing, The Singularity, and several points on which he disagrees with Peter Thiel.

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Aaron Ellis: Creativity and Perseverance

Aaron Ellis

“Nobody likes a struggling artist until they’ve made it as an artist.”

Aaron Ellis is a screenwriter with a background in music and film criticism. Like myself, and many of the people I have interviewed on the Quoracast, Aaron is working to establish himself as an artist, while simultaneously plugging away in more conventional ways to pay the bills.  We talked about the friction between an artist’s desire to succeed at his craft, while also needing to stay employed.

After graduating from Berkeley, Aaron gave himself ten years to focus on screenwriting. During this time, he focused less on the content of his day jobs and more on his passion. Those ten years have passed, but Aaron continues to pursue screenwriting. Though he hasn’t had a glorious public success yet, I have no doubt that it is in his future. He has a voice of resolve, and I got a lot of solidarity out of speaking with him.

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Graeme Shimmin: A Kill in the Morning

Graeme Shimmin

After a successful career as an IT consultant, Graeme took his career in a completely different direction, and began focusing full-time on creative writing. His first published novel, A Kill in the Morning, is a well-researched recreation-history spy thriller, and an innovative work unlike anything I have read in the past.

Through the end of high school, I wanted to be a writer as well, but now find myself more interested in technology and business. In that sense, my pursuits have been an inverse of Graeme’s.

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Gary Teal: Republican

Gary Teal

Gary Teal simplifies his identity on Quora with one word: Republican. During our interview, we discussed the definition of that word, and his lasting interest in politics and government. Professionally, Gary is a political strategist and voter list expert.

Politics is not a subject I follow closely on Quora, or anywhere. Topics like science, engineering, and business tend to provide information that I can leverage more effectively in my day-to-day life. But despite this, I find Gary’s writing appealing enough to seek it out actively.

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David Leigh: Quantitative Music

David Leigh is an opera singer, teacher, and composer. I had a great time interviewing David and talking about music theory, composition, and how his background led him to becoming an opera singer and teacher. His quantitative approach to music appeals to me—I was particularly fascinated to learn how he approaches the “low level” aspects of opera by using a spectrograph and spreadsheets.

When it came to talking about Quora, David expressed an interesting criticism I had heretofore only associated with Wikipedia. How do you deal with answers that seem great, but may not be credible or authoritative?

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George Anders: Chronicles of Business


George Anders is a Pulitzer Prize winning writer for Forbes Magazine. He writes about careers, innovation, and unforgettable personalities. In our interview, we discussed why he became a writer, and how he ended up writing about business. George talked about “Rare Finds”, the peculiar individuals who can end up defining an organization, and he told me about Sequoia Capital, which was the subject of one of his recent pieces.

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Martin Ford: The Lights In The Tunnel

Martin Ford is a computer engineer and author of  The Lights In The Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology, and the Economy of the Future. In this episode, Martin discusses the far-reaching economic impact of automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence.

Admittedly, Martin has nothing to do with Quora. But his excellent material deserves more exposure, and much of the audience on Quora might find his work compelling.

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Marc Ettlinger: Linguistics, Scientific Journalism, and Jews



Marc Ettlinger has a PhD in Linguistics from Berkeley, and works as a research scientist at the US Department of Veterans Affairs. As an undergraduate, he studied mechanical engineering. We discussed his work, research, and Quora answers. Marc describes one of his motivations for Quora as being science journalism. In his opinion, there are two camps of science writing: 1) an article in the NYT/Wired focused around one scientist/idea asserting strongly how things work, and 2) the stark, unromantic truth. We also talked about his answer to the question “do Jews think that they are superior to other ethnic/religious groups?”

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