The NFX Podcast
The NFX Podcast
Jan 12, 2021
Jeff Lawson on Ask Your Developer, with Pete Flint
Play • 48 min
Jeff Lawson, software developer turned CEO of Twilio, creates a new playbook for unleashing the full potential of software developers in any organization, showing how to help management utilize this coveted and valuable workforce to enable growth, solve a wide range of business problems, and drive digital transformation. General Partner at NFX Pete Flint talks with Jeff about his new book, his Twilio Founder Journey, running a public company through a recession, decision frameworks, and much more. Jeff's new book is released on Tuesday, January 12th and discusses how to use the creativity of code to solve business problems. Developers are the creative workforce who can solve major business problems and create hit products for customers — not just grind through rote tasks. The landscape has shifted from the classic build vs. buy question to one of build vs. die. Companies have to get this right to survive. But how do they make this transition? Read more about Jeff's book here - Follow Jeff on Twitter here -
The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch
The Twenty Minute VC: Venture Capital | Startup Funding | The Pitch
Harry Stebbings
20VC: Klarna Founder Sebastian Siemiatkowski on Scaling Europe's Most Valuable Private Tech Company, How To Motivate and Challenge Your Team Most Effectively & The Biggest Lessons From Working with Mike Moritz
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the Founder and CEO @ Klarna, the company that makes online shopping simple, allowing you to buy what you need today and pay later. To date, Sebastian has raised over $2.1Bn for the company from the likes of Sequoia, Silver Lake, Blackrock, DST, Northzone, Creandum and even Snoop Dog to name a few. Klarna has been an incredible 16-year journey for Sebastian with it now being the most valuable private technology company in Europe with over 3,500 employees. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn: I. The Importance Of Learning To Learn Fast What is the best way to learn fast? “People talk about it like there's this learning curve, and the best spot is at the place where you're challenged to the precise point where you're almost giving up, but not entirely. That's exactly it. “And I have this amazing swim teacher for my children, her name is Petra, and she's just fantastic. I just love watching her because she has this ability of taking my children in the pool and pushing them to that exact point where they are almost, almost giving up, and they're learning at such a pace. And if I can recreate such an environment in Klarna, if I can create an environment, if I can be part of creating an environment where we put people in that position where they just are exactly at that curve where they are challenged, supported, and kind of at the edge and being given the ability to learn really fast and really discover what it means to have an impact.” Does Sebastian compare his work to other companies’? “I don't think that much about what other people or other companies or other things out there could have done different. And there's pros and cons to that. But the benefits of that is that it speeds up my learning. Because a lot of people – and I've realized that as I manage other people – is that because they're so obsessed with trying to think about what other people could have done differently, and why situations arose, and why it wasn't their responsibility and so forth, they spend a lot of time on that, because we've unfortunately been brought up in some kind of guilt that it's bad to do wrong, and it's bad if it's our fault, and you want to avoid that. “And these psychological constraints, unfortunately, hinder people from developing much faster, because if you go into every situation and say, the only thing that's relevant here is what I could have done differently, what I could have learned from this – if that's the only thing, it's just like, whatever, I accept my responsibilities. What could I have done differently? If you only focus on that, you just learn much faster.” How does Sebastian transform his self-doubt into a positive? “I think self-doubt is not nothing. It's not a bad thing, right? It's a very healthy thing, if it represents you continuously trying to understand, am I doing the right thing? Is this something that I want to do? Am I making the right decisions? So I think it's extremely healthy to do that. I'm not saying it's not painful or tough when you have it. But I think it's a very positive thing. “I'm much more worried when people tell me they have no self-doubt. And then I'm like, uh-oh, because that means that you're not really reflecting on your actions, and you're not learning from them. So I wish I could give you something more comforting than that, but I would actually say enjoy it. Be happy that you have it, and it's gonna make you a better person.” II. Sebastian’s Management Philosophy What does Sebastian believe companies can learn from soccer? “I love the fact that Michael Moritz wrote this book that I still haven't read, so it's kind of funny that I'm referring to it, but he wrote this book about Ferguson, that manager of Manchester United. And I think it's very relevant, because today, the saying is that for people to be motivated at work, they need to have a higher purpose, the company needs to do something good, and so forth. And I am not disputing that, that is very true that it contributes to people's sense of purpose, and so forth. But before you even get to that level, we have to ask ourselves, what is it really that makes people motivated and enjoy themselves? And I think when I think about that, I often look at sports, because why do people love soccer? What's the higher purpose of winning Champions League? People say, oh, there's a massive higher purpose, but not entirely, you're not really making the planet better by winning. Still, people are massively engaged in these things. Why? “Because it's a team effort, there are clear roles, you know exactly what you're supposed to do – I'm supposed to put the ball in that score. And then it's very clear how you win, there is a referee that stops people from cheating. And so there's a lot of things in that environment that makes it motivating, that makes people engaged, and those things are usually lacking in companies.” How do you know when someone is at that crucial point of the learning curve? “The problem with a company is that it's a much more complex environment with a lot of other things going on in parallel in people's lives. And so I have definitely occasionally missed to see that people are beyond that point.” “In Sweden, there's this course called Situation Adopted Management, which basically means that there is no single management technique. You look into the situation, you try to understand it from multiple angles. And then depending on where that individual is, and how you perceive the mental status, and the mood of that individual, and so forth, you try to adapt. Either you coach or you challenge or you instruct or you do different things. There's not a single methodology that will allow you to deal with those situations. But a lot of it is empathy. It's the ability to look at people and read them, and try to understand, and ask them questions, and understand where they are.” III. How Sebastian Manages Complexity At Scale What are Sebastian’s biggest lessons learned from Klarna growing to 3000+ people spread across multiple offices across the world? * It’s the manager’s job to deal with the complexity in a company * It’s not for everyone What role does Sebastian believe a manager should play in a company as it scales? “I think a lot of times as a company grows, what ends up happening is the thing just becomes so complex. So management tries to organize the company in a way that makes sense to them and that is easy to understand for them. But the consequence of that often, unfortunately, is it makes no sense for the person who's actually doing the job. So they lose the purpose. Why am I coming to work? What are we trying to achieve? All of these things get lost. “So what we said is, we have to do the exact opposite. The critical element is that the people who are actually supposed to do something – not the manager – the people actually supposed to do something, if they program or to do a marketing campaign, or whatever they're doing, they need to come to work every day and feel I know exactly why I'm coming, I know how I'm contributing, I know who I'm contributing for, I know what value I'm creating. “And if that thing creates tons of complexity for us, as managers, because the whole system becomes much more complex, then that's what we're getting paid for. That's the one. That's why we're getting a good salary. Because we need to manage that complexity.” What does Sebastian look for in talent? “Keep very close on the recruitment … Especially in a country like Sweden, a country where a typical saying is, alla ska komma med, which means, everyone should come, everyone should join. And it's very nice. And I appreciate that with Swedish culture, I'm not trying to really call it. I think it's fantastic and it's a fantastic society. But as a consequence, it took us some time to conclude something which maybe in the US o…
37 min
Evolving for the Next Billion by GGV Capital
Evolving for the Next Billion by GGV Capital
GGV Capital
Max Levchin of Affirm: Why I Built Affirm after PayPal
Today's episode was recorded back in 2019, way before Affirm became a 27 billion dollar public company, and the BNPL (that is buy now pay later) won over young consumers across the world. Before Affirm, Max was known as the co-founder of PayPal, where he designed the company's system to detect fraud. A "fintech nerd", as he called himself and serial entrepreneur, Max shared how Affirm was a product of his guiding principle in life, and how his wife was the voice of reason when defining what was fun for him. This episode is co-hosted by GGV managing partner Glenn Soloman and first appeared on Glenn's podcast Founder Real Talk. For the full transcript of the show, go to Join our listeners' community, go to Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or assets are for illustrative purposes only; such references do not constitute any recommendation to either buy or sell such securities or assets and are not intended to serve as the basis for any investment decision, nor do they constitute an offer to provide investment advisory services. Any information provided by third parties in this content does not reflect the views of GGV Capital and its subsidiaries or affiliates. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon, when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by GGV Capital. Any investment or portfolio company mentioned, referred to, or described is not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by GGV Capital, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results.
54 min
Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal
The New York Times Company
For the entire 20th Century, you’d be hard pressed to find a better business than an American newspaper — Warren Buffett famously described them as “franchises” — and no American newspaper stood taller than the New York Times. Controlled by a single family bound by a legal oath “to maintain the editorial independence and integrity of The New York Times and to continue it as an independent newspaper, entirely fearless, free of ulterior influence and unselfishly devoted to the public welfare”, the Times served as the paper of record for generations of Americans and people around the world. But no good thing lasts forever, and the dawn of the 21st Century saw both the Times and this once-mighty industry devastated by the dual disruptive forces of the internet and the 2008 financial crisis. And yet by 2021, The Times, essentially alone of its former peers, has reemerged from the American newspaper wreckage and transformed itself into a thriving digital business with an order of magnitude more subscribers than its print heyday. Curious how it all happened? We dive into 170 years of history to find out! If you love Acquired and want more, join our LP Community for access to over 50 LP-only episodes, monthly Zoom calls, and live access for big events like emergency pods and book club discussions with authors. We can't wait to see you there. Join here at: Sponsors: * Thanks to Tiny for being our presenting sponsor for all of Acquired Season 8. Tiny is building the "Berkshire Hathaway of the internet" — if you own a wonderful internet business that you want to sell, or know someone who does, you should get in touch with them. Unlike traditional buyers, they commit to quick, simple diligence, a 30-day or less process, and will leave your business to do its thing for the long term. You can learn more about Tiny here: * Thank you as well to Vouch and to Capchase. You can learn more about them at: * * The New York Times Company Playbook: (also available on our website at ) 1. When you find yourself sitting in front of a big approaching demand wave... ride it!! * The New York (Daily) Times was founded during the newspaper boom of the 1850s, and similarly Adolph Ochs took over the local Chattanooga paper at the start of that city’s mining boom. * The NYT made huge investments in its reporting during the two World Wars as the public’s appetite for news exploded, while its rivals missed the ball worrying over preserving advertising space. Likewise NYT launched The Daily (which would become the biggest podcast in the world) immediately following Trump’s inauguration in early 2017. * Arguably NYT’s biggest business mistake was missing the cable wave -- which Rupert Murdoch leveraged brilliantly to build Fox News into the most valuable news media franchise in the world. 2. Where there’s an entrepreneurial will, there’s an entrepreneurial way. * Adolph Ochs bought the Chattanooga Times with $250 and sellers’ notes, and then acquired The New York Times out of bankruptcy with no personal money down and $100k of real estate debt. And turned them both into successes on a level no one (even himself at times) believed possible. 3. Recurring Acquired theme: the media business is still the second-best business of all time, behind technology. * Media’s ability to generate dual revenue streams (advertising and subscription) from the same content product generates enormous leverage on investment, AND most of those costs are fixed vs. variable (especially in a digital environment). 4. This is why “content is king” has always been true in the media industry. * NYT’s version of this strategy has always been to invest more in high-quality journalism than any of its peers. It was true in 1896 when Ochs took over, true during the World Wars and the Pentagon Papers, and perhaps has never been more true than today when NYT employs 1,700 journalists around the world and pays them an average of >2x the rest of the industry. 5. That said, distribution is critical as well. To build a world-class media organization you must be great at both content AND distribution. * In the old media landscape, NYT built great distribution through its printing and delivery operations, as well as savvy investments like the Index which led to libraries and researchers across the country relying on the Times as the “paper of record”. * However in today’s media landscape, the task of building great distribution falls on the newsroom and journalists themselves. The job is no longer finished once you hit publish -- reporters and editors must own the responsibility of getting their work in front of readers via social media and shareable story elements. Links: * The 2014 NYT Innovation Report: * Mine Safety Disclosures’ NYT presentation: Carve Outs: Ben: * Titan by Ron Chernow: * Iteratively: David: * Sabaa Tahir’s Ember in the Ashes series: Episode Sources: * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *…
3 hr 5 min
Fintech Insider Podcast by 11:FS
Fintech Insider Podcast by 11:FS
506. News: The Kalifa Review: how can UK fintech stay ahead?
Our expert hosts, David Brear and Kate Moody, are joined by some great guests to talk about the most notable fintech, financial services and banking news from the past week. This week's guests include: Ron Kalifa, OBE, Chairman of Network International and Future Learn Charlotte Crosswell, CEO of Innovate Finance We cover the following stories from the fintech and financial services space: The Kalifa Fintech Review 03:22 Basiq brings Open Banking to bear on consumer BNPL debt as AfterPay teams up with Stripe 31:58 Former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney joins the board of Stripe 39:21 Brex files for bank charter 48:18 Michael Bolton wants you to break up with your brokerage 1:03:19 Banking as a Service is deconstructing the banking stack. It's enabling brands to embed finance more easily, and to tailor financial products to specific customer needs. This is presenting new opportunities for specialised providers and offers banks extra revenue streams. Download our report for a comprehensive, no BS view of what Banking as a Service is and what it means for the industry. Head to ( Fintech Insider by 11:FS is a podcast dedicated to all things fintech, banking, technology and financial services. Hosted by a rotation of 11:FS experts including David Brear, Simon Taylor, Jason Bates and Sarah Kocianski and joined by a range of brilliant guests, we cover the latest global news, bring you interviews from industry experts or take a deep dive into subject matters such as APIs, AI or digital banking. If you enjoyed this episode, don't forget to subscribe and please leave a review Follow us on Twitter: where you can ask the hosts questions, alternatively email! Special Guests: Charlotte Crosswell and Ron Kalifa.
1 hr 11 min
North Star Podcast
North Star Podcast
David Perell
Li Jin: Creating the Creator Economy
My guest today is Li Jin, the founder and managing partner at an early-stage venture capital firm called Atelier. She's known for her extensive writings about the Passion Economy. Her essays explore how people can make a living from their passions and creative skills. All of her writing is filtered through the lens of consumer startups and the technology industry. In this episode, we explore Li's perspective on the future of the creator economy. We talk about what it'll take to build a middle class for creators and how platforms should enable creator monetization. But then we venture beyond the world of work and discuss the novels of Jane Austen, what Li learned by growing up in Pittsburgh, and why she thinks social media and content creation are valuable pursuits. Please enjoy my conversation with Li Jin. Show Notes: 2:37 - How do content creators get users to migrate platforms and engage in unfamiliar apps? 5:44 - Why is some digital content more consumable than others? 13:07 - What is the driving force behind Li’s background in English literature? 17:34 - Why Jane Austen is so incredibly important to the world of modern creatives 21:56 - What has contributed to the alienation of gig workers in modern economy? 24:57 - Where does Li Jin’s technological optimism stem from? 28:32 - What is an “Angel Investor”, and how do they influence the modern world of content creation? 32:55 - What is the difference between an artist and a creator? 37:44 - How has the modern market created space for content creators? 42:19 - What causes creative burnout in the world of content creators? 50:01 - What are the implications of viral fame in the modern world of content creators? 57:46 - Which aspects of traditional and non-traditional education were most impactful on Li Jin? 1:08:55 - What are some things that both successful and aspiring content creators often misunderstand about the industry 1:14:20 - What are some of the parallels between the worlds of writing and investing? 1:18:08 - How Li Jin embodies the spirit of a malleable fate
1 hr 22 min
The Full Ratchet: VC | Venture Capital | Angel Investors | Startup Investing | Fundraising | Crowdfunding | Pitch | Private Equity | Business Loans
The Full Ratchet: VC | Venture Capital | Angel Investors | Startup Investing | Fundraising | Crowdfunding | Pitch | Private Equity | Business Loans
Nick Moran
271. LP Turned VC, Mistakes When Pitching to Allocators, and Managing Limited Partner Relationships (Marcelino Pantoja)
Marcelino Pantoja of Tribe Capital joins Nick to discuss LP Turned VC, Mistakes When Pitching to Allocators, and Managing Limited Partner Relationships. In this episode, we cover: * Walk us through your background and path to VC * Refresh on the thesis at Tribe? * Talk to us about the mindset of the allocator — what are their key objectives and what do they care about? * What are the biggest mistakes you see emerging managers making when pitching LPs? * Let's say an aspiring VC has a few years until they will raise from institutions... what should they be focusing on in order to create a really compelling offering in the medium term? * Let's say an emerging GP is raising from institutions imminently... what advice would you have for them? * Do you think it's significantly easier for an institution to make an investment in some coming from a large successful Tier 1 fund, spinoff, vs. a successful operator or angel? * What are the key challenge areas that the LP is really going to scrutinize on the spin-off and what are the areas under scrutiny for the operator? * Sometimes it's hard to get information on LPs from a distance... do you have any advice for fund managers that are trying to pre-qualify? * What is the difference between a good LP and one that may be a problem... how does a GP determine that early enough to avoid bringing on the wrong types of LPs? * In what ways is your job similar and different moving from LP to VC? * How do you compete against other firms for deals? I understand the value-add but the value has become competitive with a larger number of firms... how can you continue to win and do so at a price that makes sense for the return potential?
1 hr 6 min
My First Million
My First Million
The Hustle & Shaan Puri
#157 - Instagram Food Drops Making $200k a Week, Chrome Extensions That are Crushing It & Open Salaries
Sam Parr (@TheSamParr) and Shaan Puri (@ShaanVP): MFM #158 * Rewarding hustle: MFM is hiring two kids to do video production because they took the job without permission. They heard Sam complain about needing a recording studio and offered to do the work  * This is how you get the job you want. Don’t send a resume. Do the work instead. Don’t ask for permission. Food topics * The food companies of Instagram: Companies, 1-900-Ice-Cream, and Allie’s Banana Bread are crushing it on IG with food drops that sell out in seconds. * Why it’s big: These work because it’s at the intersection of many trends: cloud kitchens (no need for expensive restaurant infrastructure), DTC (no need to get costly distribution deals and shelf space) and have virality baked into them. * My Cookie Dealer is estimated to be doing $200k per weekly drop. This is a potential $10m business today. * Formula: Sam breaks down how these companies are going viral, and how you can copy. * Make a side ingredient the main thing (cheese, cookie dough) * Make it in an unusual color (rainbow bagel, rainbow kettle cork, green ketchup, cloud bread) * Make it huge (huge sundae, massive pizza cookie, sushi rito, massive kit kat) * Frankenfood: combine two different foods (cronut, pancake cereal, donut cereal, cream cheese, bell pepper, desert burger, ramen burger, spaghetti donuts, fairy bread) * Food allergy or remove stuff from it (vega ice cream, Banza) * Make junk food or simple food ultra-fancy (tater tots, mozzarella sticks) *  * Opportunities: So what’re the opportunities here? The guys break it down. * #1: Rolling up these brands like IMGM did for meme pages or Thrasio is doing for ecom. A collection of profitable IG food businesses lowers costs (everything can be done in the same kitchen) and lowers risk (if one fad food falls out of favor, the business doesn’t die). * #2: Guy Fieri of IG. Food reviews are extremely popular when paired with the right personality. Guy Fieri is the Gen X version of this. Dave Portnoy is the pizza version of this. Who will be the millennial/Gen Z IG/TikTok star? * #3: Cold chain. Cold chain demand is skyrocketing with the increase of foods being shipped. Further, any company that can make the process of shipping these foods easier, will win. * #4: “Eat this, Not That” for 2021. Extremely popular book series from ~15 years ago. There are similar pages doing this on social media today, but no one has made a big business out of it yet. Tiller money * Spreadsheet plugins: The guys have talked Chrome plugins and browser extensions in the past, but an overlooked niche is spreadsheet plugins. * Plugins are great businesses because they are sticky and capitalize on an existing platform and user base. They can be light, simple tools that can gain huge adoption quickly.  * Tiller Money ( Personal finance nerd Sam loves the simplicity of this plugin. Most people already manage their money on a spreadsheet...   See for privacy and opt-out information.
52 min
Creator Lab - interviews with entrepreneurs and startup founders
Creator Lab - interviews with entrepreneurs and startup founders
Bilal Zaidi
Ana Fabrega, Synthesis // The Future Of Education & Using Games To Educate Kids
Ana Lorena Fabrega is an EDUpreneur and former teacher known by little ones as Ms. Fab. She's currently the Chief Evangelist of Synthesis School, an innovative online enrichment club started by the director of Elon Musk’s experimental school at Space X. Synthesis helps students build decision-making & problem-solving skills through games. Let us know what you think on Twitter: @bzaidi & @anafabrega11 Watch on YouTube: After listening to this conversation, you'll understand: * why the current education system needs an overhaul * the skills we should be developing in kids * unlearning & the future of education * the role of technology in learning * forest schools, micro-schools & alternatives for parents to consider * how games can be good for your kids * the lindy effect & ideas that will stick around in education * remote vs online education * recommended books for kids Ana's Fab Friday Newsletter: Book Recommendations: * Wonder by R.J. Palacio: * The Man Who Walked Between The Towers by Mordicai Gerstein: * The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires: * Fantastically Great Woman who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst: * Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Keaty and David Roberts: * What do you do with an idea? By Kobi Yamada: * Zero and One by Kathryn Otoshi: * Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg:
1 hr 34 min
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