I am not by any means a philosopher, although I have worked with some talented people in the discipline. But certain philosophical concepts deeply inform the way I think about the world. The idea of 'opposing truths at extremes' is a powerful concept that I came to appreciate in my twenties.
The inability of middle-class people to receive loans in developing countries has had a stifling effect on economic growth and prosperity around the globe.
One of the fun things about venture capital is you are constantly learning new ideas and strategies from one business and then applying them to others.
CEOs shouldn't worry about their budget all the time - on a day-to-day basis, they should work on managing their company, building an awesome product, developing key relationships, identifying distribution channels, etc.
When I spend a lot of time reading, discussing, or thinking about an area, I'll often really appreciate why a strong viewpoint is true and come to very firm conclusions. But if I am later exposed to a strong opposing view, I frequently find this countervailing view persuasive as well.
There's no substitute for experiencing ups and downs - seeing how it's okay that things are overwhelming or broken sometimes and how companies recover from mistakes.
Applying smarter IT to genomic data may offer the potential to cure many types of cancer and other diseases.
A lot of the companies that I am inclined to get involved in have a mission to fix something that is 'broken' in the world.
What would I advise an aspiring young entrepreneur? Certainly I'd say read the works of great entrepreneurs and investors like Ben Horowitz, Peter Thiel, and many others. But what's more important is to get real experience at a great startup.
America faces a mounting transportation crisis, and the primary culprit is road congestion. Traffic makes us unhealthy, wastes enormous amounts of time, and cripples national productivity. America needs expanded roads and transportation infrastructure, but traditional gas tax funding is no longer available.
A talented executive whose interests are aligned with the firm's and is confident in her role will always recruit stars who exceed herself in various ways, but one who is worried about her value to the firm will not.
Creating efficiencies in private markets is a huge win for the economy.
For me, seed investing isn't just a good return area but a big part of how we network in Silicon Valley. A lot of our best deals have come from being active in the seed stage.
The convertible note is a useful and common financing structure in Silicon Valley. It's a form of debt that is really more a type of equity - one where the valuation hasn't been determined yet.
If you can make finance more functional, make it a tiny percent better, you create a great deal of resources, which you can use for other things like education and healthcare.
Creating a billion-dollar company is hard, but being a truly great leader is even harder.
A common mistake among new entrepreneurs who have raised large rounds is that they have essentially infinite resources.
There are hundreds of millions of people around the globe who could safely repay loans but nonetheless do not have access to a line of credit. Financial institutions in developing economies are broken and inefficient, and hard-working people have not been given the chance to establish a credit history.
I was really lucky about two things about my life as a kid: I had awesome parents, and I had awesome peers.
Government officials and citizens care about many causes - and they all require resources. For example, I am personally passionate about ending the human trafficking that still occurs within our borders.
The degree to which society creates wealth, I think, is largely determined by government and financial systems.
Being a great founder or early team member is a difficult dialectic - you have to be a bit overconfident, and a big ego isn't always a bad thing. To change the world requires pushing really, really hard and believing you and your team know something others don't.
Marketing is your battle plan for the sales team - it's about defining the landscape. Marketing is doing cohort analysis and understanding exactly what possible customers are out there. It's understanding not only which customers will respond to what messages, but also how customers will become clients if you include certain product features.
My personal experience with companies in the PayPal ecosystem taught me that a superb engineering culture is indispensable to building a winning business.
Hours wasted in traffic represent not only lost wages but enormous amounts of economic activity that might have happened. Congestion indirectly increases consumer prices, makes travel times unreliable for commuters and truckers, and precludes many people from accessing jobs in urban hubs.
Those who serve in our armed forces do so from a profound sense of duty to secure liberty for their fellow Americans. They enlist to serve their fellow citizens who express their will through elected representatives, not an unaccountable defense establishment.
Not everybody has to work on the big problems, but if nobody does, they don't get solved.
Great leaders inspire incredible loyalty in their followers and subordinates.
While it can be overwhelming to realize how many problems there are to solve in the world, it's always inspiring to see so many talented people willing to spend their time and energy in hopes of making a difference.
Funding has not kept pace with demand for expanded lanes and well-maintained roadways.
Keeping government running really well, to me, is incredibly important.
It always struck me as pretty cool that people who changed the world often knew each other. After reading them separately, hearing that David Hume and Adam Smith were friends made sense.
When you solve big, hard problems, problems that fundamentally improve how an industry works, financial returns follow, giving you resources to do more of the same.
In their infancy, startups need geniuses who fit their current tight-knit culture and will iterate quickly as they push towards an ambitious vision - and they need a scaffolding of advisors, strategists, early users, and product-thinkers around these savants to guide them.
Because the private sector has evolved processes and metrics for growth over many generations, for-profit models are more likely to efficiently accomplish their goals.
The human mind and body remains the most complex, powerful machine on the planet, and we will adapt and thrive in a world of accelerating technological change.
Those who ultimately shake up an industry are often outsiders who don't know any better.
A great leader should make it clear to her team members that as a matter of culture, her job is to replace herself. A new hire should know from the outset that she will ultimately have to bring in new talent to replace herself so that she can personally better herself and achieve loftier goals.
I have seen a lot of now-great companies at their earliest stages, and these early-stage startups are not built by the senior people who know how to run and scale big-company machines.
Traditional hackathons are fun and focused on skill and competition, but we believe that events which focus on the positive social impact of technology engage a wider and more diverse set of participants.
In my experience, it's common that deep truths exist at both extremes of a dialectic, and the wisest stance on an issue will incorporate 'both of the opposites within itself.'
We want to inspire everyone to recognize the positive social impact they can have if they choose to become technologists.
A recipe I've seen work in early-stage startups is a small tight-knit group of passionate people who are obsessed with their vision of how to fix a particular industry. Conversely, teams composed of people with a lot of specialized experience at running a large business are not as likely to do very well in the first year or two of a startup.
If our society was a lot wealthier, I think we'd also probably have better education systems - this is pretty intuitive, I think, to make as a claim.
In an increasingly competitive technology world, VCs must work more and more closely with portfolio companies to develop superior technology, talent, and operations.
We adapt to technological progress by raising our minimum standards of living and working to stay above this rising threshold.