This Week In Startups #864: Chamath Palihapitiya

  • A lot of my success was rooted in a massive inferiority complex I had - you pack on all this baggage over the years. It can be instrumental in motivating you. It was very motivating for me. [2:32] 

  • In years 6, 7, and 8 of Social Capital, I got distracted. I started with the mission of working on really important companies and ideas. Working with founders for decades. I thought that was what was necessary to solve important problems. [3:07]

  • Next thing I’m flying all over the world (London, Paris, New York, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh) meeting with people who you think are important. As with most things in mythology, you get close to the myth and it disappears. You realize there is not much there. The emperor has no clothes. They are just normal people with the same weaknesses and faults that we all have. I was unhappy. . .I was building a business that I didn’t want to be building. [3:43]

  • I had zero sense of worth. I chased everyone else’s definition of what worth and success should mean. [6:07]

  • I realized I’m building somebody else’s company. I’m sure all of you other founders have felt that moment: Am I building the thing that I want or am I building the thing that someone else wants? [6:44]

  • Until we shut it down, I was running a top 2% hedge fund in the world. [11:40]

  • Everybody wants to feel validated. In the absence of being able to validate oneself from within, you will seek others to validate you. [12:19]

  • What is dangerous about the world that we live in- the world of technology and entrepreneurship- is everyone wants to be in it, around it, associated with it. So it is a very intoxicating, shiny object. [12:30] 

  • It would probably shock you that 40 cents of every venture dollar goes back to Facebook, Google, and Amazon. Do you think that is all profitable growth? [23:33] 

  • This charade is dangerous to you as founders. At some point the whole grow, grow, grow at all costs runs out of juice. You can no longer acquire (customers) profitably. These are fundamentally broken business concepts. They only work if the money never stops. [33:04]

  • I’d like to be like Jeff Bezos. He’s in his 50s, he’s ripped, he’s rich as fuck and he’s a genius. That guy basically grew at 25% a year for 25 years. [35:05]

  • Full podcast here.