This week, Cory speaks to product veteran and venture capitalist Josh Elman, who is best known for his integral roles in designing, building and scaling consumer products at Robinbood, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, & Zazzle. Josh is also a Venture Partner at Greylock. In this weeks episode, Josh talks about the early days of the dot com era, his roles at LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, what it was like working with what are now the icons of the industry and what are the questions and qualities he looks in a founder before writing a check.
Venture capitalist and Greylock Partners investor Josh Elman (@joshelman) has built a successful career on finding new trends worth investing in, and using his skills and interests to move those trends forward. Before becoming an investor, Elman worked as a product manager for iconic companies in their early days, including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
Cory Levy talks with Josh on OFF RCRD about his journey from product manager to an investor, discovering what’s going to be the next big thing and his advice for startup founders and others who might not know what they want to do yet. “I think part of this whole startup journey is finding these things that you might believe 100 million people will use or you can actually cause this behavior change that will happen that most other people don’t believe,” says Josh.
If you don’t yet know what idea you’re going to pursue as an entrepreneur or what company you would like to join, Josh recommends answering this question; “what do you believe will happen in the world in the next 10 years that you would love to be a part of making?” Josh says, “if you believe that something (could become) really, really big, you’re going to have more fun and work harder to try to make that happen every day.” After you figure out what that is, find a way to get started working in that field and on that trend you think could become “really, really big.”
Capitalizing on a trend as Josh mentions in the interview with Cory Levy doesn’t have to be through entrepreneurship. There are hundreds if not thousands of companies working on problems that you’d like to solve and in industries, you’re interested in. Josh found these opportunities consistently throughout his career while finding new companies to work with. “If you pick the right trends and you pick the right mission, you can even jump from company to company like I did, from LinkedIn to Facebook and Twitter, and still come out with a great set of outcomes and be very proud of the work you did.” Other than regretting how early he left LinkedIn, Josh has few regrets in a successful career in tech. Asked what has contributed most to his success, Josh said that there are two things.
The first is clearly luck.
The second is this constant curiosity where I’m trying to guess what I believe the world could be in the future and trying to actually go work on that.