20VC: Scale’s Alex Wang on Why Data Not Compute is the Bottleneck to Foundation Model Performance, Why AI is the Greatest Military Asset Ever, Is China Really Two Years Behind the US in AI and The CCPs Industrial Approach is Better than Anyone Else’s

Posted on 12th June 2024 by Harry

Alex Wang is the Founder and CEO @ Scale.ai, the company that allows you to make the best models with the best data. To date, Alex has raised $1.6BN for the company with a last reported valuation of $14BN earlier this year. Scale tripled their ARR in 2023 and is expected to hit $1.4BN in ARR by the end of 2024. Their investors include Accel, Index, Thrive, Founders Fund, Meta and Nvidia to name a few.

In Today’s Show with Alex Wang We Discuss:

1. Foundation Models: Diminishing Returns:

  • What are the three core pillars that can meaningfully improve foundation models performance?
  • Why is data the single largest bottleneck to the performance of models today?
  • What data do we need to capture that we do not currently, that will have the biggest impact on model performance moving forward?
  • Will we see the largest companies in the world revert back to on-prem with the increasing security challenges of migrating all customer data to foundation models?

2. AI: A Military Asset in Global Conflict: China + Russia

  • Why does Alex believe that AI has the potential to be an even more powerful military asset than nuclear weapons?
  • If this is the case, should we have open systems? Do we not have to have closed systems?
  • Why does Alex believe that the CCP’s approach to industrial policy is better than anyone else’s?
  • How does Alex evaluate the rise of Chinese EV car manufacturers in the last few years?
  • Does Alex really believe that China is two years behind the US in the AI race?

3. “I Get Fairer Treatment in Congress than in the Press”:

  • Why does Alex believe that the best PR is no PR?
  • Why does Alex believe that he got fairer treatment in congress than he does in the media?
  • Why does Alex believe that all founders should look to own their own distribution channels today?

4. Alex Wang: AMA:

  • What are some of Alex’s biggest lessons from Patrick Collison on the impact that a hot company brand has on the ability for that company to hire the best?
  • Does Alex think Trump is going to win? What would be the impact if he were to?
  • Why does Alex believe that enterprise software will be changed forever in the next few years?
  • What question is Alex never asked that he thinks he should be asked?

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