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Robert Mondavi Winery Visit

Today I visited the Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley, CA. I looked forward to this visit, as the winery is modern in its look. The founder Robert Mondavi is also a proponent on New World Wines. This forward-thinking mindset interests me. The winery is huge in area, covering 400+ acres in Napa Valley. The Robert Mondavi Corporation’s market cap was 1B+ (acquired in 2004) with 3 brands producing 10M+ cases (12 bottles / case) per year.

The success owes to the founder Robert Mondavi, a 1st generation Italian American. I was struck when our tour guide explained Robert Mondavi’s philosophy (paraphrased):

He would be open to sharing with others his recipe for success. He would not hide his secrets to success and try to be the only winner. He is community-oriented, in that he believes by collaborating, they can achieve a greater future together as wine makers in the U.S.

I appreciate this collaborative mindset. Meanwhile, it’s easier to unite, when a group has a common foe.

Startup Class: Lecture 7: How to Build Products Users Love

Video link. This is part of Sam Altman’s startup class at Stanford. This class is by Kevin Hale.


How to figure out product direction?

Look at support tickets. Figure out the underlining reason of why a customer requested this? Iterate as fast as possible to validate hypothesis.


How to handle discussions?

If difference in opinion cannot be resolved in 15 minutes, table the item until end of week. Usually the problems are resolved itself, by people sleeping on it.



Quartz: We’re ruining our kids with Minecraft: The case for unstructured play

This post argues that Minecraft is not teaching “open-ended” problem-solving skills to the children. After thinking about it, I agree. Minecraft is very repetitive. All it takes is to discover materials, combine them into new objects, and combine further. What’s needed is to optimize for the learning experience, which is all the different ways of doing things. This principal is practiced in programming, for example. DRY – Don’t Repeat Yourself asks for abstracting out redundant code to make future tasks easier. This is also the role of technology. Tools/new methods are invented to make creating new tools/methods easier. This acceleration effect is exponential.

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