Work at a Place that’s Not Working

By editor on February 20, 2018 — 1 min read

I think everyone needs to work at a place that isn’t working. And the reason is because you’re forced to actually really be good. When things are really working, it’s like a combination of luck — a lot of luck, a lot of really good momentum, and pejoratively you can also call it inertia. But when things aren’t working, and literally like, nothing was working, you know, the merger was a disaster, there was all these inquiries among all these European antitrust guys, the DOJ was still looking at the AOL Time Warner merger…

All the good people were being fired, all the other good people were retiring, and so there was nobody left. And so you just had to figure out how to do something. And when you’re forced to do that, then you’re actually forced to try to be good at something.

And the thing that I latched onto was these kinds of businesses that all had these kind of interesting similar social-type properties, which was just about building really good features for individual users. Which, at the time, was not a paradigm that people understood. You built products at people. And this was the first time you started to build products for people. And now it’s kind of the norm. It just seems like a comical thing when you wouldn’t think about it that way, but at the time that wasn’t true. And making that phase shift was really interesting. (0:48)

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.