Betting the Farm

By editor on February 20, 2018 — 1 min read

I live by a very simple philosophy, and it’s not mine. I was flying home from Vegas with Vinod Khosla on his jet. VK says, “Chamath, look over here.” We’re flying into San Jose, and he says, “Look over this side.” It’s all this land. He says, “See all that land?” I’m like, “Yup.”

And this was like, eight years ago, ten years ago, something… and he says, “I own all that land. You know how much that land is worth?” I say, I don’t know. He says, it’s probably worth $200 million. And I say, okay. And he said, “You know how much I’m worth?” And he said some number, three or four billion… and he said, “I’m gonna take that three or four, and it’s either gonna be worth 40, or it’s gonna be worth zero. And if it’s worth zero, I got that [land].”

And he went and funded alternative energy, genetics — just amazing, amazing, groundbreaking, risk-seeking stuff. I was not in a position to think, or act, or do any of that. Until about three or four years ago. I want to try to live like that.

A lot of the money that I have is gonna come back to [Waterloo], and this place is gonna be the nuts. Like, it’s gonna keep getting better, and better, and better. The rest of it is going to go into genetics work. It’s not going to my kids, it’s all gonna go away.

I’m just gonna free roll it all, and I’m gonna end up with a ton of it that’ll go back into the world and do a lot of good, a lot of it in hopefully folks like your hands.

And so that’s how I view it; I’m a risk-seeking individual.

You know this from poker. The best thing that my parents taught me about growing up poor is they were never ashamed about being poor. I was ashamed about being poor, they were not. (46:30)

Posted in: Life

Editor's Note

These are Chamath Palihapitiya's words. They are probably some of the best thoughts on VC, business, and life, but were scattered around the Internet. They live now in this archive.