Over the weekend, I watched a fascinating interview of Chamath Palihapitiya sharing some valuable wisdom on a number of topics of interest to entrepreneurs and investors. Admittedly, I had not heard of him before – but he is the guy responsible for Facebook’s growth and AOL before then; and now founder at Social Capital … and so has some credibility.
The video is posted below and if you can spare about 30 minutes, it is worth watching. I am also posting my thoughts and takeaways in case you want a quick overview or a little more detail to see if you think it is worth viewing.
Note: the interview was conducted by the Founder Institute. Mashauri and FI overlap in a competitive space, but we acknowledge the great work they are doing.
Thoughts on trends
Chamath discusses trends and likens them to a pendulum. His point is that the best ideas (and deals) are from companies who can adapt both sides of the extremes and still find a balance.
My personal takeaway was:
As founders, are we really building for the future? We tend to look at the mainstream companies in our industry and build something different to them and believe we are riding the future wave. I am not sure if we look hard enough at the future to see where that is going and try and build for that. Or using the one on my favourite metaphors, the skater Wayne Gretzky’s comment: “Skate to where he puck is going, not to where it is ….” Are you really building for where the puck will be?
Thoughts on investments
Chamath sees some sort of crash or at least an industry “reset” in about 3 years caused by some externality (he discusses a few). He makes some great points about companies not having to reach $1billion valuation to be successful as he discusses the craziness of the levels of investment in some B and C rounds. He shares some sensible thoughts about reaching a moment when it is time to just “buckle down and make this f$%^^ thing work” rather than chasing the next round of funding.
My favourite quote of the interview:
“Failure should be celebrated. Stupidity should not be”.
Thoughts on education
Chamath covers question at the end of the interview about education. He notes how it is now obvious that the US College system is fundamentally broken; but applauds the idea that Edtech is moving from a “save the seal” type mentality to one of recognising that it is about building and deploying human capital.
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