Why I invested in Visual Labs
I’m really excited to have been able to invest in Visual Labs. Based in Menlo Park, Visual Labs is the body camera company that does not make body cameras. With technology designed by Stanford University computer science graduates, Visual Labs provides “body worn computer” solutions that are hardware-agnostic for police, private security, and sports teams. Their focus is on superior software with unique, critical functionality such as live streaming, real-time location tracking, and analytics.
The company was started by a founder who went to my high school (and college) and who has pursued this vision since his senior project. He has built out a complex product with multiple interworking components and interfaces, and it’s actually being used in production in many police departments and even in this year’s Super Bowl. Having a smartphone (which also happens to have a camera) provides many advantages over a more clunky/dedicated/proprietary hardware device and allows the Visual Labs software to keep improving over time and providing more critically useful functionality to police and security teams worldwide.
I’m personally excited about the company because I believe this sort of focus on software is much more scalable as a business and effective for the end-user over the long run. I love seeing a team work tirelessly over years to get a product out and adopted in the field (especially in difficult, demanding use cases like police/security). I also think the company has a strong positive impact on the safety and effectiveness of the officers who serve our community.
Here is recent press coverage on the company:
CBS, ABC, Fox, Ars Technica, Police Mag
What I love:
As we were touring way too many preschools, I got to take a peek into many of their teacher and parent libraries (or their directors' offices), and one book I kept seeing was Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky. I got a chance to read it recently, and I found it has a good concise summary of much of the research on childhood learning to date and many of the lessons I had read in other books. I personally learned more from Einstein Never Used Flashcards by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek (whom Ellen cites many times in her book), but Ellen's book was still informative and interesting.
The parts that I found most useful were the concrete examples of games and activities that can help develop some of the "essential life skills" she mentions. It's always a balancing act between letting kids just follow their own self-directed learning adventures and coming up with suggestions of activities or games as the parent. This book provides lots of ideas to consider when needing to be more of a guide or when helping to foster a child's personal interest, which Galinsky calls the child's personal "lemonade stand."
My full notes on the book are below.