Driving Change

Define the Alternative

If you want to do good things in the world, there’s just only so much time that one can spend being glass half empty. And so, I’m trying to live my life basically asking myself the question, is it incrementally better than the status quo? If it is, sniping and chiding from the sidelines is not constructive. So I guess what I would ask is, what is a better alternative?

I want a different class of people at the table. I also want people who are principals versus agents putting their own money on the line to actually reflect their worldview. I think that’s a much more constructive place than a highly entrenched, cloistered institutional class of agents working on behalf of other agents. That does not work because that is a system we have today.

https://www.marketplace.org/2017/12/19/tech/source-code-chamath-palihapitiya (9:30)


This reminds me of when at Facebook, I took four months off and I wrote my unified theory of relativity and no one read it. Actually, sorry, that didn’t happen because I was fucking working.

So you know, part of this is like, if I want to understand the views of social psychology — I mean, Jesus Christ, I’m working.

It’s pretty nutty.

https://www.recode.net/2017/8/28/16212318/venture-capital-chamath-palihapitiya-social-capital-investing-vc-kara-swisher-recode-decode-podcast (37:10)


We can be tweeting and we can be writing, or we can be building. We are builders, and when we build things that need to get built, we tend to do the right things and there’s so much more progress. And so I just think that, what you believe about him, it’s fine to do it in your spare time. I get a lot of popcorn material reading Twitter. I think it’s great. But at the end of the day, Monday morning I’m there to grind and to build and to help others grind and build.

This is what I mean by conventional capitalism will exacerbate these issues. A modern form of compassionate or ethical capitalism will do it in a very different way, but in order to do it you have to first get these businesses to success, and then have the partnership with an entrepreneur where they respect you for having helped them, where you can have this conversation.

Okay, how do we allocate autonomous cars? How are these markets built? Is it sort of this zero-sum game where we take everything to zero and only you win? There are so many different ways where you can construct markets, but all those nuances we don’t have time for, because he or she doesn’t have a partner.

So the first step is to get the teams to actually win. The second is because you have that social and political capital, to basically cash it in and have those discussions. That is what we need to do.

https://www.recode.net/2017/8/28/16212318/venture-capital-chamath-palihapitiya-social-capital-investing-vc-kara-swisher-recode-decode-podcast (1:12:03)

Get the Fucking Money

Get the money. Get the money, and then let’s get around a table, and let’s create new rules. Literally that simple: get the fucking money. I’m serious.

It is going to be made, it is going to be allocated, and you have a moral imperative to make sure that if you have a point of view that matters, and you want to reflect it, you get it.

It will be about a competition of views. Money drives the world, for better or for worse. Economic incentives drive entire swaths of populations to behave in very, very, predictable — and then when you take it away, unpredictable — ways.

If you control the capital, and you have a point of view, don’t be a sellout.

Spend time to think about what your worldview is, so that when you control some of these purse-strings, you push that view into the world. I will never judge you, and you should not judge me, for what the worldview is. But the point is, the more diversity of those views, the more rational actors we have, and the more of a balanced, fair system. That’s what diversity means to me.

There are people that have probably dealt with the same kind of life I’ve dealt with. You have a very unique worldview that matters. In the absence of capital, you’re irrelevant. With capital, you’re powerful.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMotykw0SIk (27:00)

Money’s Money

There’s a superficial sexiness of raising venture, of trying to be a technology company, and we lose sight of what’s really important. Venture is an asset class. At the end of the day, money’s money. You should build a company the best way that you think you know how, and it should come from wherever you think is the best, the people that help you the most, and get out of your way.

Venture, specifically, the way that it’s constructed comes with all of these reverse-implied odds that I think are really negative, and they force you to build companies in very specific ways that, in many ways, can be counterproductive to really achieving something substantial.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nqy6CcU84Xs (21:22)