By editor on February 20, 2018 — 2 mins read

Who cares about diversity? I think it’s kind of stupid, the whole term is stupid. I think what’s not stupid is this idea that you very inherently believe that all people are roughly equal and that you inherently believe that, independent of your economic situation, you may have actually a really good idea so it can’t just be rich people deciding for everybody else. And that you believe that there are things that are worth working on that span, not just the most obvious money making things, but things that are nascent today that could become really important in the future. That’s what I mean: there’s a diverse way of thinking, it’s an eclecticism in how you surround yourself, it’s an open-mindedness to different experiences.

So, it’s not a checkbox, you can’t have a person with the rule, it’s just how you have to live. You know, in Waterloo the biggest thing that I lacked the most was any of that. I had maybe two or three electives. My entire time here. It’s limiting, because there’s just so much of the world that I just didn’t understand. I would not have said that I was an open-minded as I am today. And by having gone to San Francisco, which probably is the most extreme form of open-mindedness possible, I was forced to confront a lot of the biases that I’ve had. And what I realize is now, the people that I surround myself with today are so different than the people that I surrounded myself with earlier on and I’m so much better for it.

So there has to be mechanisms where, at a very young age, you push yourself out of your comfort zone. I remember in Waterloo, there were all these Indian people and all they would do is hang out with each other.

I just found it so stupid. If I wanted that, my parents should never have left Sri Lanka. I could have been as happy as — what was the point? I remember when Brigette and I first started dating it was just so uncommon because you have this Asian, and a South Asian. And now it’s much more common. You just have to force yourself into states of discomfort so you can expose these boundary conditions. Otherwise you are just emotionally and intellectually stunted. And I think you’re never going to achieve your potential that way. (9:20)

Posted in: Leadership

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.