What's Your Problem?

What's Your Problem?

Every week on What’s Your Problem, entrepreneurs and engineers talk about the future they’re trying to build – and the problems they have to solve to get there. How do you take a drone delivery service you’ve built in Rwanda and make it work in North Carolina? How do you convince people to buy a house on the Internet? How do you sell thousands of dog ramps to weiner dogs all across America when a pandemic breaks the global supply chain? Hosted by former Planet Money host Jacob Goldstein, What’s Your Problem helps listeners understand the problems really smart people are trying to solve right now. iHeartMedia is the exclusive podcast partner of Pushkin Industries.

Episodes

July 18, 2024 41 mins

Sarah Rudd is the co-founder and CEO of the soccer analytics company src | ftbl (It’s pronounced “Source Football.”) Sarah’s problem is this: How do you model a sport as fluid and complex as soccer and translate the analytical insights from the model into meaningful changes on the pitch? 

This is the third and final episode of our series about people who are working at the frontiers of technology to help elite athletes perform bett...

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Jimmy Buffi is the CEO and co-founder of Reboot Motion, which uses biomechanics to help athletes in Major League Baseball and the NBA. Jimmy's problem is this: How do you turn data about how professional athletes move into knowledge that helps them perform better?

This is the second episode of our series about people who are working at the frontiers of technology to help elite athletes perform better.

Music: Let's Have Some Fruit (...

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On the next few episodes of What's Your Problem, Jacob Goldstein is talking with people working at the frontiers of technology to help elite athletes perform better. 

Today’s guest is Silvia Blemker, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia and the co-founder of Springbok Analytics.

Silvia's problem is this: How do you combine MRI scans and artificial intelligence to generate new insights that can ...

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June 27, 2024 42 mins

Laura Niklason is the co-founder and CEO of Humacyte. Laura's problem is this: How can you use human cells to create blood vessels that surgeons can pull out of a bag and implant into patients? Although still awaiting FDA approval in the U.S., Humacyte's vessels have already been used to treat wounded soldiers in Ukraine.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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June 20, 2024 45 mins

As demand for clean energy grows, engineers around the U.S. are working on a new generation of nuclear reactors. These designs reflect how nuclear energy could fit into the power grid – and our lives – in new ways. Yasir Arafat is the Chief Technology Officer at Aalo Atomics. Yasir’s problem is this: How do you mass produce nuclear reactors that are safe, scalable, and cheap?

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This week on Risky Business, Nate and Maria discuss whether Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor should retire, the perils of sports betting among professional athletes, and what the return of Roaring Kitty means for traditional market analysis. 

Further Reading:

“Sonia Sotomayor Should Retire Now” from The Atlantic

“Should Sonia Sotomayor Retire?” from Slate

“MLB bans Padres’ Tucupita Marcano permanently for betting on baseball” ...

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Tim Harford is joined by Jacob Goldstein to answer your questions. Does winning the lottery make you unhappy? Is Bitcoin bad for the economy? When does correlation imply causation? And what will Tim and Jacob do when the robot overlords come for their jobs? Enjoy this episode from Cautionary Tales, another Pushkin podcast.

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May 30, 2024 44 mins

Palm oil is a cheap and remarkably versatile vegetable oil. It’s in a ton of products, from food to cosmetics, detergent, and chewing gum. But producing so much palm oil is really bad for the planet. Shara Ticku is the co-founder and CEO of C16 Biosciences. Shara's problem is this: Can you get yeast to make an oil that is just as useful as palm oil – without clearing land to grow palm trees?

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May 23, 2024 34 mins

Last year, the FDA approved a treatment for sickle cell disease using a revolutionary new gene editing technology called CRISPR. Rachel Haurwitz conducted pioneering research on CRISPR as a graduate student. Now she’s the co-founder and CEO of Caribou Biosciences. Rachel's problem is this: How can you improve CRISPR and use it to engineer human immune cells to fight cancer? 

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Robert Langer has co-founded dozens of companies, holds over a thousand patents, and is a pioneering figure in drug delivery and tissue engineering. Robert has solved a lot of problems, and is working on many more with his lab at MIT. But there is one big problem that has stuck with Robert his whole career: How do you get discoveries out of the lab and into the world?

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Mateo Jaramillo is the co-founder and CEO of Form Energy. Mateo’s problem is this: How do you build batteries that can provide affordable backup power to the grid for days at a time? As it turns out, the basic technology was developed – and then mostly ignored – over 50 years ago.

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This March, doctors successfully transplanted a pig kidney into a person for the first time in history. Mike Curtis is the CEO of eGenesis, the company that raised the pig whose kidney was used for the procedure. Mike's problem is this: How do you genetically engineer pigs to provide organs – kidneys, hearts, livers – for people?

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

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April 25, 2024 37 mins

Imagine picking up your phone and ordering something from Walmart. Fifteen minutes later, a drone hovers over your yard, lowers your order down to you, and zips away. Adam Woodworth wants this to be so boring you don't even notice. He’s the CEO of Wing, a drone delivery company. His problem is this: How do you turn a flashy idea like a delivery drone into something as ubiquitous as a shopping cart?

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April 18, 2024 32 mins

Psychedelics are going mainstream. The FDA has approved ketamine for certain patients with depression, and may soon approve MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But a fundamental question remains unclear: How do psychedelics work?

Gul Dolen is a professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley. In a series of experiments, Gul has found evidence of a common mechanism that a wide range of psychedelics use to affect ...

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April 11, 2024 34 mins

Kai Marshland is the co-founder and chief product officer at WindBorne Systems. Kai's problem is this: How do you build weather balloons that can stay in the air for months at a time, and pair the data gathered by the balloons with AI to make weather forecasts that are way better than anything we have today?

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Jonathan Hurst is a professor at Oregon State University, and co-founder and chief robot officer at Agility Robotics. Jonathan's problem is this: How do you design a robot that can walk and do useful tasks that companies will pay for? The solution begins with trying to understand how birds walk.

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What does sickness sound like? Sometimes it’s obvious, like a cough, sniffle, or stuffy nose. But some conditions cause subtle changes that only a trained ear – or AI – can detect. Dr. Yael Bensoussan is a professor of otolaryngology and the director of the Health Voice Center at the University of South Florida. Her problem is this: How do you build a giant, public database of thousands of voice recordings, and use it to train AI t...

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Cement is, almost literally, everywhere. It is extraordinarily useful, which is why humanity makes 4 billion metric tons of it every year. But cement is also extremely carbon intensive to produce. Leah Ellis is the co-founder and CEO of Sublime Systems. Her problem is this: How can you make cement, at scale, without emitting carbon dioxide?

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Sam D'Amico is the founder and CEO of Impulse Labs, a company that makes induction stoves, with a clever twist. Sam’s problem is this: How do you build an electric cooktop that works just as well as gas, and can be installed without having to rewire the house? The solution that Sam found could eventually help transform not only kitchens, but the way homes draw power from the electrical grid. 

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February 22, 2024 36 mins

Tim Ellis is the co-founder and CEO of Relativity Space, a company with a unique approach to manufacturing rockets. Tim’s problem is this: How can you use 3D printing to make rockets more efficiently? Eventually, Tim wants to send a rocket – and printer – to Mars to build the first Martian industrial base. 

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