By editor on January 28, 2018 — 2 mins read

I think that we’re at an age where it’s kind of naïve to expect the government to act on most of these fundamental issues that will really impact our society.

Let’s take something that’s really provocative, like gun control. We had this terrible tragedy again, this young guy, nine people killed, nine people injured. We can debate gun control all day long, the reality is nothing’s going to happen. That’s the honest to God truth, in legislation.

The practical solution that some of us could take is to actually try to create a system that solves mental health. There’s a lot of amazing benefits to cognitive behavioral therapy and other things that are non-toxicological. You can deliver that through your mobile phone or through immediate counseling over RTC or WebRTC. There’s all these things that we can build.

What I’m trying to say is that we can go to some of these fundamental threshold issues where there’s just so many people on both sides that it’s just so unlikely that something will change, or we can go to a different place that says, “Okay let’s just go to first principles and practically solve a problem.” Let’s MacGyver this thing.

Let’s maybe not wait for gun control legislation, because we may be waiting for Godot. In the meantime let’s build some substantive products in mental health and maybe that’s the boundary condition for a progressive government to be able to pass that legislation before they pass gun control.

Let’s take a different issue, like childhood obesity. We could spend all of our time trying to legislate a better solution to food stamps. We could say let’s replace food stamps with actual food. And let’s find a way to productize low-cost, highly nutrient-complete food, and let’s make that food stamps.

Instead of it being stamps, let’s make food, food. It’s a very conceptually beautiful idea, largely intractable from a policy perspective. What did we do?

We invested in Sprig. Our perspective was, if we can get one of these good companies to scale, we could vertically integrate the food chain and be able to deliver low cost food in the urban parts of Detroit, subsidized by the $20 meals that potentially are being bought by people in San Francisco. I think everybody would be fine with that.

There are these practical solutions that are calling out for people to support them, and I think we should just go and solve those things.

All the districting, all the gerrymandering, has created such extremism in politics. It’s not going to change in our lifetime. (58:00)

Posted in: Society

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.