What Andy Jassy and Steve Ballmer have in common

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Andy Jassy’s surprise appearance on Amazon’s earnings call this week was remarkably “Ballmer-esque,” observes angel investor Charles Fitzgerald, who was a Microsoft GM during Steve Ballmer’s tenure as the company’s CEO.  

  • Fitzgerald’s tweet prompted us to go back and find Ballmer’s rare cameo on Microsoft’s earnings call in January 2009, during the Great Recession.

  • “Certainly while the size and scope of this economic dislocation is unprecedented and may delay some technology adoption in the industry at large, I don’t think there is any stopping the forward march of our industry or of Microsoft,” Ballmer said at the time.

  • Sound familiar? Read the Ballmer transcript here, and Jassy’s remarks here, and reply to this email to let us know what you think.

Popular methods of artificial intelligence have an "explainability problem" — the inability to see exactly what's happening between input and output, and this challenge will prevent major new AI advances from neural networks.

  • That's one of the predictions for 2023 from Mark R. Anderson, founding chair and CEO of Strategic News Service (SNS) and the Future in Review Conferences, and our guest on this week’s GeekWire Podcast.

  • Anderson acknowledges a vested interest in his take on neural networks, as the CEO of machine learning company Pattern Computer, which uses an alternative approach, focusing on pattern recognition. 

  • Read more and listen here, or subscribe to GeekWire in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Founded in 2017 by former Boeing engineer Christie Lagally, Rebellyous just raised $9.5 million to make more plant-based faux chicken products.

  • The Seattle startup serves 108 major U.S. school districts and plans to add more. “School lunch has been a fantastic place for us because it’s a good match for our model of price parity and profitability,” Legally said. “And you can’t fool kids — it has to be high quality.” Read more

Are quantum computers ready for prime time? 

  • Researchers say no, and the timeline for development is fuzzy. It seems as if the more you talk to computer scientists involved in the quantum computing quest, the less certain the answers become. Read more

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend. — GeekWire co-founder Todd Bishop, todd@geekwire.com, and managing editor Taylor Soper, taylor@geekwire.com.

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