Passion and Ambition

By editor on February 20, 2018 — 1 min read

You have to have passion and you have to have ambition. And ambition is important. You have to be willing to fail at big things. You have to. And it may not be that you do that right away.

I wasn’t in a position, frankly, to have the courage or the psychological underpinning where I’d… It took me 13, 14 years to not give a shit what other people thought. Everybody takes their own amount of time to get there.

My framework was: I’m making enough now, I can give money to my folks, I can help my sisters, it’s great. I never thought, “Oh, well let me just go and totally throw all of it to the wind, let me double down on the equity…”

I don’t regret it. I made the decision when I was capable of making the right decision, and I had enough ambition where the scope of what Facebook’s potential represented to me overcame the remaining insecurity that I had.

But if I tried to make that decision in 2002 or 2001 or something else, I would not have made, maybe, the right decision. And so everybody has their own path. This is why I’m saying, it can’t now be all about you dropping out and you finding your 20-year-old buddy and starting something and going into an accelerator. It can’t also be about working at a company the rest of your life.

The point is, everybody has to find a different path, and I just think that right now, what we do is, we focus on one model at the exclusion of every other model. Instead what you need is you just need a diversity of different ways of getting to the right place.

But the thing that you need to have is ambition, and then you need to give a shit. And most people just don’t give a shit.

If you do anything important, in any field, it will initially not be understood. What’ll happen is, people will think you’re either crazy or stupid, and you will think you’re not good. (45:40)

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.