No. 175: State of Startups, Dr. Leonardo and woolly mammoths in a post-truth world

Rainy day and Monday: Yes, but count your blessings. Hawaii’s Big Island got 30 inches of snow and an ice advisory over the weekend.

Welcome new readers Jon, Sergy, Edna and W.T. Happy to have you aboard. Collectively, don’t forget to send story ideas, news tips, calendar and people items, carps, comments and corrections to

It’s Dec. 5, on which Aaron Allen patented the folding theater chair in 1854. The first practical pipe wrench – the Stillson – followed in 1876.

Birthdays: George Custer, Walt Disney, Joan Didion, Little Richard, Frankie Muniz and Martin Van Buren. (Flash quiz: Which of them played drums?)

But first, this: The annual State of Startups report is out, featuring the opinions of 700 tech entrepreneurs and making it plain that the sector still has a bit of work to do. Some highlights:

9 in 10 said it’s a great time to start a startup, even though 57 percent think we’re in a tech bubble.

Strutting the unbridled optimism for which entrepreneurs are famous, 18 percent of respondents said they were building a unicorn, a company that would be worth at least $1 billion.

Among those who don’t make it, more entrepreneurs want to be bought out by Google than by any other firm. More than twice as many as Facebook or Amazon.

But most named Elon Musk as their most-admired tech exec.

Toughest hire: Head of engineering.

Second toughest: Sales manager.

61 percent said their boards are all male. 2 percent are all female.

Women entrepreneurs blame tech’s diversity problem on unconscious bias by men in the industry; men overwhelmingly blame the problem on the low number of women and minorities entering the sector.

Respondents think the industry will reach full diversity around 2030.

(See note about unbridled optimism above.)

The full survey is here.


Tristan Whitworth thought his Miller Place store was just a cool way to indulge his love of vintage video games. Until kids from the spectrum started showing up.

Fresh off a successful $12,000 Kickstarter campaign, Bayport-based Benji’s Farm is ready to bring your pooch locally made, hand-crafted, organic, plant-based doggie treats. (Because even dogs need their veggies.)

Dr. Leonardo headlines the high-profile lineup at Friday’s Long Island Capital Alliance health care pitch forum.

LISTnet’s long-awaited Tech Showcase is Thursday at the Digital Ballpark. Free but register.

AVZ unveils its economic poll and survey, Jan. 5, 8 to 10 a.m. at Crest Hollow. $45 for seats, $300 for a display. Info here.

The rest of the Innovate calendar is here.

Missed a newsletter? A full year’s worth is archived here.

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A new frontier: Virgin Galactic has completed the first test glide of Unity, a replacement to the spaceship lost in a 2014 crash. It only hit Mach 0.6, but all systems looked good. They add rockets next year.

Old school: Builders VC is launching a $200 million fund to disrupt “antiquated industries.” Investment board includes lots of big names, including NYC’s Patrick Finn.

Snap judgment: The NFL has loosened up some of its most onerous social media rules, which have banned teams from posting videos and GIFs during games. Fines of up to $100,000 for offending remaining rules are still in effect

The bone conduction headphones are cool: 120 gifts for the tech and gadget lovers on your list.

Let’s roll: The autonomous Travelmate robotic suitcase can follow you through crowded airports at speeds of up to 6.75 mph. Comes in three sizes starting at $399, now on Indiegogo.

Would’ve never guessed: The Egyptian pyramids were 1,000 years old before the wooly mammoth became extinct.

Because lots and cheap? Why America loves Costco.

ICYMI: Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year for 2016 is post-truth, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

An open letter: To the guy who made neck ties de rigueur.

Flash quiz: “Malcolm in the Middle” star Frankie Muniz later played drums in a band called Kingsfoil.

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Compiled by John Kominicki. Thanks for reading.