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Village Global Podcast

  • Encore: Brad Feld on What Nietzsche Can Teach Entrepreneurs

    17 MAG 2024 · Brad Feld (@bfeld), VC at Foundry Group and co-author with Dave Jilk of The Entrepreneur’s Weekly Nietzsche, joined Village Global co-founder and partner Ben Casnocha to discuss: - Common misconceptions about Nietzsche and why being misunderstood makes him an especially interesting philosopher.   - What Nietzsche can teach entrepreneurs deciding whether to pivot or persevere. Brad says that founders should view their entrepreneurial journey not in terms of a single company, but as the next 30-50 years of their life. - Why Brad hates the term “passion” and says it’s overused in entrepreneurial circles. - Why to focus more on whether someone’s words and actions line up rather than the strength of their beliefs. - The lessons that Brad has for making decisions among groups today given Nietzsche’s aphorism that “insanity in individuals is rare, but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.” Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform.  Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal. Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
    50 min. 8 sec.
  • How to Nail Product-Market Fit and Scale a B2B Company with Thejo Kote of Airbase

    25 APR 2024 · Thejo Kote (@thejo) talks to Village partner Ben Casnocha. Thejo is a two-time founder and CEO. His current company, Airbase, is a spend management platform serving companies with 100 and 5,000 employees like Coda, 15Five, Front, Marqueta, CaptivateIQ, Abnormal, and more. Airbase has raised over $200 million, has tens of millions in ARR, and is consistently ranked as a top spend management company by G2. Highlights: - Rather than jumping into building Airbase, he built high-fidelity mockups and went back to prospective customers and asked if they’d buy it to “pre-sell” it. - In B2B, build for a specific, recognizable buyer. You want to sell to a specific role within the org who will be your champion. Ideally this is someone who also has influence within the org. - Select the kinds of customers who aren’t likely to switch in the early days. Team with early customers who actually want to be partners and are motivated by the relationship. Flatter them by asking: “are there any other innovative, forward-thinking leaders you know who I should also talk to?” - 6-8 months later after proving value and showing they could be a good partner, he said “hey, I want to get your feedback on our pricing model. Is this fair for the next set of customers?” 100% of the customers converted when he asked if they were willing to opt in to the pricing structure with a significant discount for their initial partnership. - When hiring salespeople, Thejo focuses more on personality traits rather than prior experience selling to the same segment. Also, if candidates are drawn to the liquid comp at a large, public company, they’re likely going to have a hard time transitioning to a startup. Find people who have been comfortable taking risks. - Airbase is fully remote and Thejo doesn’t think in terms of onshore vs. offshore within the company because that instantly creates a class system. Anyone anywhere in the world is part of their single, remote team, which has the internet as its headquarters. Each member of the team is “equitably inconvenienced” in his words. Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.
    57 min. 44 sec.
  • Encore: Cloudflare Co-Founder Michelle Zatlyn’s Advice on Hiring, Fundraising, Scaling, and more

    17 APR 2024 · Michelle Zatlyn (@zatlyn), co-founder, president, and COO of Cloudflare, joined Village Global co-founder and partner Ben Casnocha for a masterclass with our founders in late 2020.   They discussed:   - The origin story of Cloudflare, including how the co-founders met, and how Michelle realized that she too could start a company.   - Her advice on fundraising after raising more than $300M for Cloudflare, including why you should keep the rest of the VC partnership in mind, and how to show rather than tell in your pitch.   - How they found the best talent, including why their blog brought them plenty of inbound interest, and why searching far and wide around the globe for engineers helped them build their team quickly.   - Why they don’t use recruiters at Cloudflare.   - How to turn a weakness into a strength.   - How to process feedback and when it makes sense to ignore it.   - Stories of extreme frugality in the early days of the company, including building their own Ikea desks.   - How an emotional response by customers helped them know they had product-market fit.   Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform.    Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.   Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
    50 min. 25 sec.
  • Lessons from the Early Days at Uber and Advice for Founders with Kevin Novak

    5 APR 2024 · We're excited to launch a new EIR program for data science founders in partnership with Rackhouse Ventures, founded by Kevin Novak. Learn more about the program: https://www.villageglobal.vc/rackhouse-village-global-eir-program Kevin Novak (@novakkm), an early Uber employee, was instrumental in developing their data science program and was the creator of surge pricing. Highlights: - Kevin, originally a nuclear physicist, applied his analytical skills to develop Uber's first surge pricing model in three weeks—a task that would typically take six months in academia. - He says that founders shouldn’t wait until they have plenty of data to make decisions — instead, start with first principles thinking while also building a virtuous data cycle by ensuring you are collecting data that will inform future decisions. - He comments that AI might be “overhyped on average” at the moment. The first breakthrough product is essentially an API, which has led to incumbents responding more quickly and more aggressively. Kevin argues that if you are founding a generative AI company, you are effectively making the claim that incumbents won’t be able to respond and implement an LLM themselves. - Kevin cautions founders not to fall in love with any one idea too early. It’s better to hedge your bets and experiment with one or two. Through trial and error, you can eventually decide on one idea that has the potential to be a strong business.  - For the Village Global-Rackhouse EIR program, we’re looking for founders with deep passion for founding a company. We don’t require you to have your idea and team established.  Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform.  Check us out on the web at villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.
    46 min. 36 sec.
  • Encore Episode: John Donahoe’s Lessons on Leadership and Being a Better CEO

    15 MAR 2024 · This encore episode is a recording of a special masterclass roundtable session for our founders with John Donahoe. John is CEO of Nike and was previously CEO of ServiceNow and eBay. He is known as one of the most inspirational leaders in Silicon Valley and is a highly sought-after mentor to CEOs including Brian Chesky at Airbnb, Drew Houston at Dropbox, and Ben Silbermann at Pinterest. We’re honored to have him among our small group of world-class executives and collaborators whose time and expertise help power our network of founders at Village Global.   He shared advice on when to hire ahead, invest in and train, or replace personnel on your team and gave insight into his most common piece of advice on professional growth when advising CEOs.   Quotes From This Episode   "When you talk about priorities at an aspirational level, they overlap a lot. People start realizing we're more similar than we're dissimilar."   "Adversity never feels fun. I don't seek adversity. But I'm no longer scared of adversity. When it emerges, instead of trying to run from it, I now accept that it is a reality and I say, 'well, at least I'm going to learn and grow.'"   "My experience has been that around any issue that involves change, you have roughly 20-25% of people who want to be part of it, no matter what the topic is, you have 25-30% of people who want to fight it, and you have the 50% of people in the middle saying 'which side is going to win?'"   "[When someone is let go] The fear is humiliation usually. That's almost a bigger fear than actually leaving the company."   "We're never as good or as bad as labels make us out to be."   "I would say in general, for every 10 hours of business development conversations, 8 of them are a waste."   "I do gratitude practice driving into work every morning. It's proven in brain science that your brain becomes more negative over time. But it's also been proven in brain science that you can counteract that."   "The older I get, the more I've made friends with uncertainty. I don't avoid uncertainty. Uncertainty is as present to me today as it was before but I'm a little more comfortable with it today."   Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform.   Check us out on the web at villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.
    54 min. 13 sec.
  • Identifying 275M Unreported Genetic Variations To Improve Healthcare with NIH All of Us Program CTO Chris Lunt

    1 MAR 2024 · Chris Lunt is a technology executive with more than 25 years of experience building web services and data platforms. He is in his seventh year as the CTO for the NIH's All of Us Research Program. He joined the NIH from GetInsured, where he worked to improve health insurance shopping and enrollment systems. Previously Chris ran VC-backed internet startups, with one IPO. Highlights: - Chris is hopeful about Silicon Valley going back to its roots to create sociological change by uniting people and being thoughtful about what the world should look like. Over the last couple decades it has become more venal. - Chris believes in the power of investing public money to create opportunities. He says that Silicon Valley is largely the story of a public private partnership and that it’s hard to do certain fundamental research in a purely market-based economy. - Chris says that the initiatives around Web3 weren’t grounded in a realistic understanding of human nature and the result was not a good outcome. - Healthcare is one of the most conservative industries but a way to drag it into the future is for the government to mandate change. Health records are currently built for billing purposes rather than for improving health. It’s also not all that long ago that hospitals were using paper records until the Affordable Care Act required that they digitize. - There is a moment coming soon where there is an opportunity to completely reimagine healthcare delivery. A generalist will be able to help a person navigate between various providers and specialists instead of the current fragmented approach. Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.
    49 min. 7 sec.
  • Building Hardware Companies and Choosing Co-Founders with Michael Hochberg

    16 FEB 2024 · Michael Hochberg (https://www.linkedin.com/in/hochberg/) is a physicist and a founder of four successful startup companies in semiconductors and telecommunications, including Luxtera, acquired by Cisco in 2019, and Elenion, acquired by Nokia in 2020. He won the highest awards for young scientists in Singapore (NRF Fellowship) and the United States (PECASE), is an author on over 60 patents, and has been involved in the creation of over 30 companies in biotech and applications of silicon photonics. Highlights: - In college Michael would tie together clusters of Dell machines to replicate the performance of supercomputers. - The core of building a successful company in Michael’s view is hiring the best people. The best can solve really hard problems but hiring mediocre people results in even trivial problems being unsolvable. - Silicon photonics chips are replacing things that could previously only be done in silicon. Data centres and telecom systems are now dominated by silicon photonics. - There’s a fundamental difference between co-founders and early employees but that line can often be blurred, often at the peril of the founding team. - Michael says that founders don’t do enough diligence on their co-founders. Companies often last longer than most marriages so it’s important to throughly reference check your co-founders, ask specific and tactical open-ended questions of them, and see them deliver tangible results before you start a company together. - It’s important to be aligned on what success means to you and your co-founders. Two people may have very different definitions of what “a lot of money” means — that could be enough money to buy a house for one person and $100M for another. Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.
    57 min. 3 sec.
  • Secondaries with Matt Pellini of Hamilton Lane

    9 FEB 2024 · Matt Pellini, Managing Director at Hamilton Lane, joins Olga Serhiyevich on this episode. Highlights: - Matt says the secondaries market has grown over 5x from 15 years ago to now. - Selling in the secondary market used to be a sign of distress but is no longer. There are many different reasons for doing so and it’s mostly a sign of a manager being more active in the overall management of the fund. - Secondaries, in contrast to other asset classes in the private markets, are typically lower risk, shorter duration, and are more IRR-focused. - It’s key for LPs to understand the motivations behind a GP’s intentions to engage in secondaries transactions. There are very good reasons for doing so but transparency is key. - AI is in vogue but technology is only as good as the data that it’s using. The most sophisticated data analysis is not going to give a firm much of an edge if it's using incorrect data or publicly available data. Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.
    40 min. 18 sec.
  • Lessons Learned From Running CalSTRS with Chris Ailman

    2 FEB 2024 · Christopher Ailman (@CJAtheCIO), Chief Investment Officer at CalSTRS, joins Olga Serhiyevich on this episode. Highlights: - CalSTRS, the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, was created in 1913 and is actually older than Social Security. It has over 400 members who are over 100 years old who are still receiving their pension. - Chris says no bear market is alike and that the key is to have the discipline during that time period to actually start buying. - Chris says the key to success as an investor is in being intentional about the culture you create. When Chris is evaluating a portfolio manager he likes to and sit on the floor with the employees and see what the vibe is like. - A lot of investors take a lot of econ and business classes but should take more psychology classes to deal with the human side of things (vs. the numbers side). He says that selecting portfolio managers is much more difficult than picking stocks. - Chris says that the energy transition will dwarf all trends over the next fifteen years. He says that by 2035 parts of the earth will start to become uninhabitable and there will be mass migrations to other areas. Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.
    52 min. 37 sec.
  • Encore: Mark Pincus on Product Management, Raising Capital, and Building Zynga

    26 GEN 2024 · This encore episode is a recording of a special event where Mark Pincus (@markpinc) was interviewed by Ben Casnocha in San Francisco in front of a live audience of portfolio founders, friends of the firm, and LPs. Mark is co-founder and Executive Chairman of Zynga, and is an angel investor in Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and other companies. He talked about about raising venture capital, his philosophy of product management, the early days at Zynga, and much more. He also took time at the event to meet with Village Global founders to give them his advice on growing their companies. Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.
    1 h 10 min. 16 sec.
The Village Global podcast takes you inside the world of venture capital and technology, featuring enlightening interviews with entrepreneurs, investors and tech industry leaders. Learn more at www.villageglobal.vc.
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