The NFX Podcast

By NFX

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We believe creating something of true significance starts with seeing things others do not.

Episode Date
The CEO That Jeff Bezos Called “His Teacher” with Jeff Wilke & James Currier
00:28:42
Jeff Wilke (former CEO, Amazon's Worldwide Consumer Business) sheds light on a counter-intuitive driver behind unusual success: Focus on the inputs, not the outputs. Jeff shares the 3 drivers underlying the rise of Amazon, Prime, Alexa, and AWS, including: 1. "Mechanisms": Amazon's definition, two failure modes, and why they're harder to implement than it first appears 2. A Single-Page Culture: How Amazon's set of principles proved to be an inoculation against a drifting culture 3. Single-Threaded Invention In practice, operational excellence is the key driver to executing consistently for the long term. It is the secret for harnessing creativity that compounds value over time.
Apr 20, 2021
The Founders' List: 1997 Letter to Amazon Shareholders
00:11:11
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Amazon's approach to building sustainable long-term value should be a lesson to all companies - not just Internet companies. When Jeff Bezos took Amazon public 24 years ago, he sent this letter to all Shareholders and is still considered a playbook for building a great company - read by NFX. "1997 was indeed an incredible year. We at Amazon.com are grateful to our customers for their business and trust, to each other for our hard work, and to our shareholders for their support and encouragement."
Apr 20, 2021
The Founders' List: Gigi Levy-Weiss on "How VCs Think: The Psychology That Drives Investing Decisions"
00:13:00
This is The Founders’ List – audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. "For a startup, understanding VCs’ mindsets is often as important as understanding the mindsets of your customers. With no capital most Founders will not win, so you’d better learn the language." VCs speak a different language, one that Founders must learn to be able to raise capital. Understand the psychological drivers and use them to evaluate your counterpart’s state of mind. And repeat the core narratives: we are low risk; we will be huge; others are interested and moving forward. Read the original NFX Essay here - https://www.nfx.com/post/how-vcs-think-investing-decisions/
Apr 15, 2021
A Proposal to Jack & Zuck: Chris Anderson (ex-WIRED) & James Currier on Regulating Social Media
00:47:26
The usual Silicon Valley response to regulation is to offer self-regulation instead — but only tech companies have the skills and speed to fix what they broke, unable to manage the influence over the public sphere they attained almost by accident. Unless the few who know how to actually build these tech networks speak out, it won’t just be technology that suffers - it will be the entire world. Having built, funded, and analyzed “unicorn” social networks for 25 years and former Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, Chris Anderson and NFX Partner James Currier formulate a solution that resurrects a concept from the golden age of newspapers - the ombudsman. The ombudsman is another important node in the network that has proven itself in the past and is still missing. Listen as Chris and James outline together why these network problems require network solutions, here on the NFX Podcast.
Apr 12, 2021
The Founders' List: Valve's New Employee Handbook
00:33:54
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This is Valve’s new employee handbook, delivered to every new person working at the iconic gaming company. It is an abbreviated encapsulation of Valve's guiding principles. As Valve continues to grow, they hope that these principles will serve each new person joining the ranks as an employee. Read the full handbook here - https://cdn.cloudflare.steamstatic.com/apps/valve/Valve_NewEmployeeHandbook.pdf
Apr 08, 2021
The Founders' List: The Interview Process at Stripe, Answered on Quora by Greg Brockman (Hiring Series)
00:05:20
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Pulled from a Quora post in 2015, Greg Brockman (former CTO at Stripe, now co-founder + CTO at Open AI) answers the question, "What is the engineering interview process like at Stripe?" Greg goes into detail around the frameworks and thinking behind the Stripe technical interviewing process and why they use this formula to build a world-class team at Stripe. Read the Quora post here - https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-engineering-interview-process-like-at-Stripe
Mar 30, 2021
The Founders' List: Internal Letter on Culture from Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb (Hiring Series)
00:04:21
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. "On Monday, October 21, 2013, I sent this letter to our entire team at Airbnb. I have decided to publish this in the event it is helpful to entrepreneurs building their cultures." In this famous memo from the early days of Aribnb, CEO Brian Chesky stresses the importance of having a succinct company outlook on culture. "Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. People can be independent and autonomous." Read the full letter here - https://medium.com/@bchesky/dont-fuck-up-the-culture-597cde9ee9d4
Mar 30, 2021
The Founders' List: Elad Gil on the 5 People Who Can Destroy Your Culture (Hiring Series)
00:06:15
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. The old saying "one bad apple spoils the bunch" holds especially true for company culture. Keeping around any employee who is a bad culture fit can destroy your team's working environment. Below are some of the typical types of people who can hurt your culture: 1. The Jerk 2. The Whiner 3. Credit Taker 4. Charming Do Nothing 5. Loyalty Monger With culture fit, you should never compromise. This bar should be the highest for the most visible and most productive of your team. Read the essay here - http://blog.eladgil.com/2014/01/5-people-who-destroy-your-culture.html
Mar 30, 2021
The Founders' List: Amazon's 14 Leadership Principles
00:05:00
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Amazon has and operates by its own set of leadership principles--a set of principles referred to during company decision-making, problem-solving, simple brainstorming, and even hiring. Here are the 14 leadership principles Amazon workers refer to on a daily basis: - Customer Obsession - Ownership - Invent and Simplify - Are Right, A Lot - Learn and Be Curious - Hire and Develop the Best - Insist on the Highest Standards - Think Big - Bias for Action - Frugality - Earn Trust - Dive Deep - Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit - Deliver Results Read them here - https://www.amazon.jobs/en/principles
Mar 25, 2021
The Founders' List: Nokia's CEO 'Burning Platform' Memo
00:08:00
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. In 2007, Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop (a former Microsoft executive) was planning radical action to revive the company's fortunes on what they will do to stem the loss of market share, notably in the smartphone market, where despite being the biggest player it has been unable to compete with incomers, notably Google's Android and Apple's iOS. "The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don't have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable."
Mar 18, 2021
Gaming Superpowers for Non-Game Founders with Gabi Shalel (Plarium) & Gigi Levy-Weiss
00:50:15
Gabi Shalel is an amazing games founder - he understands the type of innovation, fast iteration, and quality required to create a successful games company. These things are also very valuable for every founder, every startup. So today, NFX General Partner Gigi Levy-Weiss talks to Gabi about the lessons he's learned from starting, growing, and selling Plarium for $500M that other founders can take and apply to their own startups, including: - Psychology of ultra-fast iterations - People and Hiring - Pivoting - Social in your product - Conversion tactics - much more Read the NFX essay here - https://www.nfx.com/post/gaming-superpowers-plarium
Mar 17, 2021
The Founders' List: The Ethereum Whitepaper
00:53:08
This introductory paper was originally published in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, before the project's launch in 2015. It's worth noting that Ethereum, like many community-driven, open-source software projects, has evolved since its initial inception. While several years old, they maintain this paper because it continues to serve as a useful reference and an accurate representation of Ethereum and its vision. From humble beginnings, Ethereum has grown into a well-known and widely used platform. The platform has also been responsible for launching hundreds of other cryptocurrencies and decentralized projects in recent years through a new fundraising mechanism called an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Read the full paper here - https://ethereum.org/en/whitepaper/
Mar 11, 2021
The Founders' List: Berkshire Hathaway 2020 Annual Report from Warren Buffett
00:32:22
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A, BRK.B) held its 2020 annual meeting of shareholders as a livestream-only event originating from its headquarters city of Omaha, Nebraska on May 2. This is the report from 2020 sent to all shareholders. This is the letter he sent to all shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. “The company’s sitting on about $150 billion in cash right now and it has $25 billion of earnings power, and Buffett has not found a lot to do with Berkshire’s earnings the last couple years in terms of buying businesses or stock market investments.”
Mar 09, 2021
The Founders' List: Letter to Amazon Employees from Jeff Bezos
00:04:34
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Amazon's Jeff Bezos announced in February that he was stepping down as CEO of the e-commerce giant later this year. Bezos said he would transition to the executive chair of the company's board of directors and will focus on "new products and early initiatives. This is the letter he sent to all employees at Amazon. “Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming,” Bezos wrote in a letter to employees announcing his role change. “When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else.”
Mar 09, 2021
The Founders' List: Pete Flint on "How to Manage Hypercompetitive Markets"
00:14:34
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Inside the war rooms of companies locked in the battle for market leadership is an atmosphere of voracious competition. The stakes are high because whoever emerges on top can shape the future of an entire industry. It takes this competitive spirit to drive true innovation at scale, and the reality is that it’s often very cutthroat. Pete Flint (General Partner at NFX) shares 7 key strategies he has identified to help Founders manage a hypercompetitive market and get ahead, including: - Becoming an expert on pricing - Finding and dominating the most profitable market segments - Everything that can be copied, will be copied - Taking the high road with competitors - Using capital as a competitive weapon - Focusing on being uniquely better, not just on being different - Managing your psychology is key Hypercompetitive markets are tricky to navigate, but understanding the dynamics and having the right approach can make a big difference in outcome. Read the full NFX Essay here - https://www.nfx.com/post/hypercompetitive-markets/
Mar 04, 2021
BJ Fogg on Tiny Habits for Startup Founders with James Currier
00:55:11
BJ Fogg is an American behavior scientist who is currently an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University and a New York Times best-selling author. He is the founder and director of the Behavior Design Lab. BJ Fogg and James Currier talk to uncover how startup Founders can create better systems, both within themselves and within their companies and communities, so they can level up what we’re doing and put more good into the world. They cover topics like behavior design in tech and tech companies, mindset for Founders, examples of companies doing these things well, and tiny habits for Founders to focus on. Pick up BJ Fogg's popular book here - https://www.amazon.com/Tiny-Habits-Changes-Change-Everything/dp/0358003326 Follow BJ on Twitter - https://twitter.com/bjfogg
Mar 01, 2021
The Founders' List: The DoorDash Investment Memo from 2014
00:05:24
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. In the Summer of 2013, DoorDash had a dream of building a real-time local delivery network for local commerce. This episode is the reading of an internal memo by Sequoia Capital Partner Alfred Lin in 2014 focused on the market and business of DoorDash before their Series A partnership. DoorDash launched in Palo Alto, California in 2013. As of January 2020, it had the largest food delivery market share in the United States. DoorDash held its initial public offering on December 9, 2020.
Feb 25, 2021
Good vs. Great Leaders with Carole Robin & James Currier
00:26:17
Carole has been in the business of helping leaders grow for over 35 years. Before she co-founded and became the Head of Programs of Leaders in Tech, she taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) for 17 years, where she served as the Faculty Director of the Interpersonal Dynamics for High Performance Executives Program and Director of the Arbuckle Leadership Fellows program. Carole is well known for teaching the Interpersonal Dynamics course that most call the "Touchy Feely Class" (the most popular elective course at the GSB for over 45 years). Today NFX General Partner James Currier and Carole sit down and discuss a range of topics centered around startup Founders, relationships, her time teaching at Stanford, and her new book called 'Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends and Colleagues' with David Bradford. In Connect, they show readers how to take their relationships from shallow to exceptional by cultivating authenticity, vulnerability, and honesty, while being willing to ask for and offer help, share a commitment to growth, and deal productively with conflict. "That's why so many founders in the Valley are so exhausted because they're carrying everything. And somehow they've got this idea that unless they come to somebody and say, "Hey, I could use some help here," they're going to appear weak. That's just broken."
Feb 22, 2021
Vitalik Buterin on Space, Longevity, Mars & More ("The B- Side" with Morgan Beller)
00:22:27
Today we’re releasing the B-Side of our conversation with Vitalik Buterin, highlighting what may look strangely different in the coming decades. Here’s what great Founders know that others do not: What seems weird today may actually be signal of an outsized opportunity ahead. Last week, Vitalik and I took a synchronous-but-separate walk together for 3 hours. I was in San Francisco at 4 pm and Vitalik was in Singapore at 8 am the next day, living in the future in more ways than one. Read the full NFX Essay here - https://www.nfx.com/post/vitalik-buterin-the-b-sides/ Read the full NFX essay - https://www.nfx.com/post/vitalik-buterin-the-b-sides/
Feb 18, 2021
Vitalik Buterin on The Revolt of the Public ("The A-Side" with Morgan Beller)
00:48:43
Today we’re releasing the “A-Side” of a conversation with Vitalik Buterin, known as the creator of Ethereum and is a force behind much of the crypto movement. Vitalik shares his unique points of view on politics, crypto, Americanism, GameStop, and Wall Street Bets, Tesla, China, privacy, The Revolt of the Public, the decentralization of finance and so much more. But Vitalik is much more than just crypto. He is a close friend with a rare ability to see the present and future in a way few others do. With technology now at the forefront of society, the world is transforming faster than ever — and it’s incumbent on all of us to understand where we are, and where we’re going. Coming soon: The “B-Side” of our talk — the outtakes. The weird stuff. The good stuff you don’t get to hear when someone is on stage, on script, or in the media. Read the full NFX essay - https://www.nfx.com/post/vitalik-buterin-the-a-sides/
Feb 16, 2021
The Founders' List: Ashley Mayer on "It’s Okay That Your Startup Doesn’t Have a Communications Strategy"
00:11:30
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Ashley Mayer is the Senior Director of Communications at the beauty company, Glossier. She is also an active startup investor (angel and scout). Ashley previously ran all things Marketing at Social Capital from 2015-2018, where she worked with founders spanning healthcare, aerospace, climate, fintech, enterprise and education.  In this audio essay, Ashley demystifies what goes into building communications strategies from the bottom-up, and why tactics are your friends. "Don’t trust that others will take the time to understand the gravity of your news. Figure out how to signal its importance and timeliness, and let that effort take you in new and exciting directions." Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ashleymayer Follow her on Medium: https://medium.com/@ashleymayer
Feb 11, 2021
Adam Grant on Anti-Patterns of 10x Thinking with Pete Flint
00:40:26
"Doubt what you know, be curious about what you don't, and update your views based on new data." NFX partner Pete Flint recently got together with organizational psychologist and bestselling author Adam Grant to discuss his new book, Think Again, about the counterintuitive and competitive advantages of rethinking. Adam and Pete share the frameworks for: - Rethinking vs. Contrarian Thinking - Techniques from the World’s Best Superforecasters - Jeff Bezos’s 2×2 Decision Framework - The Top Killers of Co-founder Relationships - Why Confident Humility Is A Founder Superpower - & more Read the NFX Essay - https://www.nfx.com/post/anti-patterns-of-10x-thinking/
Feb 04, 2021
Launching NFX Bio and The Rise of the Scientist Founder
00:24:31
Today we're announcing NFX Bio, a new fund initiative led by some of biotech's most successful Founder/CEOs. Our mission is to back seed-stage companies building bio-platforms that solve the biggest challenges facing humanity. NFX Bio is led by Omri Amirav Drory, Ph.D., Founder/CEO of Genome Compiler (acquired by Twist Bioscience). Joining him on the Investment Committee is Emily LeProust, Ph.D., Co-Founder & CEO of Twist Bioscience (TWST - NASDAQ), as well as NFX GP's James Currier and Gigi Levy-Weiss. By combining software/data tech with biology, and by architecting businesses with a platform approach, a whole new future of possibilities is unlocked. Information technology has dominated human progress for forty years. And the next phase is going to be led by Scientist-Founders who build info-tech powered bio companies. The rise of the Scientist-Founder is now. In this closed-door conversation, Omri, Emily, and James break down what they’re looking for, and what Scientists need to master in order to be CEOs. Read the full NFX Essay here - https://www.nfx.com/post/launching-nfx-bio/
Feb 02, 2021
The Founders' List: James Currier (General Partner at NFX) on "The Psychology of Startup Growth"
00:09:42
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This essay was written and published by James Currier, General Partner at NFX. Read the full article here: https://www.nfx.com/post/psychology-startup-growth/
Jan 28, 2021
The Founders' List: Ash Maurya on "My Experiments in Lean Pricing" (Pricing Series)
00:10:06
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Alongside our latest NFX Essay "The Hidden World of Pricing: Uber, Trulia, Etsy, Superhuman & More with Madhavan Ramanujam", we decided to release supplemental pricing articles on The Founders' List. Ash Maurya is the author of Running Lean and the creator of the one-page business modelling tool Lean Canvas. His posts and advice have been featured in Inc., Forbes, and Fortune. He regularly hosts sold out workshops around the world and serves as a mentor to several accelerators including TechStars, MaRS, and Capital Factory. He serves on the advisory board of a number of startups and has consulted to new and established companies. Author, creator of Lean Canvas, and founder of LEANSTACK. Ash's featured article in this episode: - My Experiments in Lean Pricing Read the full NFX pricing essay here - https://www.nfx.com/post/the-hidden-world-of-pricing/
Jan 26, 2021
The Founders' List: Sean Ellis on "How to Determine the Optimal Price for Your Web Service" (Pricing Series)
00:06:51
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Alongside our latest NFX Essay "The Hidden World of Pricing: Uber, Trulia, Etsy, Superhuman & More with Madhavan Ramanujam", we decided to release supplemental pricing articles on The Founders' List. Sean Ellis is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and startup advisor. He is the CEO of GrowthHackers and was previously founder and CEO of Qualaroo, an automated user research tool. He attended the University of California, Davis and graduated in 1994. "An optimal price allows the startup to grow at the fastest possible rate by maximizing profitable investments in customer acquisition programs and/or offering a free version to drive broad user adoption." Sean's featured article in this episode: - How to Determine the Optimal Price for Your Web Service Read the full NFX pricing essay here - https://www.nfx.com/post/the-hidden-world-of-pricing/
Jan 26, 2021
The Founders' List: Tomasz Tunguz on "Ten Years Worth of Learnings About Pricing" & "There are Only 3 Pricing Strategies for Your Startup" (Pricing Series)
00:07:40
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Alongside our latest NFX Essay "The Hidden World of Pricing: Uber, Trulia, Etsy, Superhuman & More with Madhavan Ramanujam", we decided to release multiple supplemental pricing articles on The Founders' List. This is a two-part episode including two essays from Tomasz Tunguz (Venture Capitalist at Redpoint). He is also a board member of Looker, ERPLY, Electric imp, inc., AxialMarket, Quantifind, Expensify, and more. Prior to joining Redpoint, Tomasz was the product manager for Google's social media monetization team, including the Google-MySpace partnership. Tomasz's featured articles in this episode: - Ten Years Worth of Learnings About Pricing - There are Only 3 Pricing Strategies for Your Startup Read the full NFX pricing essay here - https://www.nfx.com/post/the-hidden-world-of-pricing/
Jan 26, 2021
The Founders' List: David Skok on "Scalable Pricing A Key Tool For SaaS Success" (Pricing Series)
00:09:31
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Alongside our latest NFX Essay "The Hidden World of Pricing: Uber, Trulia, Etsy, Superhuman & More with Madhavan Ramanujam", we decided to release multiple supplemental pricing articles on The Founders' List. David Skok joined Matrix Partners as a General Partner in May 2001. He has a wealth of experience running companies. David started his first company in 1977 at age 22. Since then David has founded a total of four separate companies and performed one turn-around. Three of these companies went public. This post looks at how to create scalable pricing using multiple pricing axes, and discusses the different types of axes that can be used. David's featured article in this episode: - Scalable Pricing: A Key Tool For SaaS Success Read the full NFX pricing essay here - https://www.nfx.com/post/the-hidden-world-of-pricing/
Jan 26, 2021
The Pricing Masterclass with Madhavan Ramanujam & Pete Flint
00:42:08
Madhavan Ramanujam is a legendary “pricing whisperer” among tech unicorns including Trulia, Etsy, Uber, Amazon, Evernote, and more. He is the author of 'Monetizing Innovation' and a partner at Simon-Kucher. Today, Madhavan and Pete (General Partner at NFX) are sharing the frameworks, tactics, and hidden truths Founders need to know about pricing - and how, when done correctly, it can dramatically lever-up growth. Madhavan and Pete discuss topics in the pricing world like how: - Pricing is a blindspot for startups. - How to Test Willingness-to-Pay - Acceptable, Expensive, or Prohibitively Expensive? - How To Think About Pricing During Extreme Swings - What to do when customer demand is spiking - What to do when you are losing demand - Think creatively about value and market share in a downturn - How You Charge > How Much You Charge - Five Monetization Models That Work, Time And Time Again - Subscription - Dynamic Pricing - Market-Based Pricing - Freemium - Why 72% of Attempts to Monetize Innovation Fail - The 4 Ways Your Monetization Fails - Feature Shock - Minivation - Hidden Gems - Undead - Frameworks for Avoiding Monetizing Innovation Failures - P.S. Pricing Principles Applied to Life Madhavan also walks us through some never before heard pricing case studies on companies he's worked with like: - Etsy - Uber - Amazon - Evernote
Jan 25, 2021
The Founders’ List: The Bitcoin White Paper by Satoshi Nakamoto
00:14:08
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Originally written under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s original white paper titled 'Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System' was released over 12 years ago. Considered the most seminal piece of work in the cryptocurrency movement, the Bitcoin White Paper outlines blockchain technology and the entire decentralized revolution. The content of this 9-page document incited what can only be described as a revolution in the world of fintech. More relevantly, Bitcoin’s white paper laid out an inspiring new definition of money at a time when faith in the traditional financial system was still being salvaged. Satoshi launched the first Bitcoin client in early 2009 and then handed the project off to the community in 2010, where it has since thrived as the open-source of study, work, and fascination for millions across the globe. Today we bring this infamous memo to The Founders' List so you have a chance to listen to his original outline of such a world-changing idea. Examining the white paper origins is a great exercise in understanding why Bitcoin has the influence it has in today's world. Satoshi Nakamoto’s blueprint is the official “birth certificate” of Bitcoin. Read the white paper here - https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
Jan 21, 2021
The Founders’ List: ‘The HP Way’ Speech by Dave Packard to Management (1960)
00:14:58
This is The Founders’ List – audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. In 1960, David Packard gave an informal speech to the managers at HP that wasn’t intended for the public to hear. The speech resurfaced during the merger talks between Hewlett-Packard and Compaq. Packard addressed the overarching question of 'why HP exists' and shares insights on how to manage effectively, financial responsibility, and much more for someone to absorb and have a successful career. You can find his speech in the book, 'The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company'.
Jan 14, 2021
Jeff Lawson on Ask Your Developer, with Pete Flint
00:47:51
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 - https://www.askyourdeveloper.com/ Follow Jeff on Twitter here - https://twitter.com/jeffiel
Jan 12, 2021
The Great Unbundling Of Housing & Jobs, with Jed Kolko and Pete Flint
00:36:01
Few people can see what Jed sees about the relationship between real estate and labor markets and the downstream effects of their recent untethering. And, ultimately, what this means for startup life after the pandemic. Now, and in the years to come, Founders will need to design their startup teams in all-new ways. Today is the beginning of building a new playbook for startup life. NFX General Partner Pete Flint talks with Jed to uncover this unbundling, covering key shifts like: - Unemployment Kickstarting Dislocation - The Continued Unbundling Of Where You Live And Where You Work - Commercial Real Estate, Reimagined - The Transportation Spiral - Cities Changing From Centers of Production to Destinations of Consumption - & New Considerations For Where To Live Jed is currently the Chief Economist at Indeed, the world’s largest online jobs site. Previously he was Chief Economist and VP of Analytics at Trulia, the online real estate site. Follow Jed on Twitter here - https://twitter.com/JedKolko
Jan 11, 2021
The Founders’ List: Email Exchange on Instagram Acquisition by Facebook (Kevin Systrom & Mark Zuckerberg)
00:16:18
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. The following is a reenactment of an email conversation between Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom about Facebook's acquisition of Instagram between the dates of March 20th and April 9th of 2012. They discuss concerns, how their pathways cross, and how the potential acquisition will benefit both companies in the long-run. Mark Zuckerberg - "I'm glad we got a chance to talk yesterday. I appreciate the open style you have for working through these issues. It makes me want to work with you even more. I was thinking about our conversation some more and wanted to share a few more thoughts..."
Jan 08, 2021
How To Compete with Big Tech and Win with Zeev Farbman & Gigi Levy-Weiss
00:59:57
Founded in January 2013, Lightricks is a company that develops video and image editing mobile apps, known particularly for its selfie-editing app, Facetune. Headquartered in Jerusalem, the firm has over 250 employees. As of 2019, its apps have been downloaded over 180 million times and have over 3 million paying subscribers. Zeev Farbman co-founded Lightricks along with Nir Pochter, Yaron Inger, Amit Goldstein and Itai Tsiddon. In July of 2019, Lightricks announced that it has raised $135 million in Series C financing round at a $1 billion valuation bringing Lightricks’ total funding to $205 million to date. Farbman received his PhD from Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Computer Science. In his spare time, he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Today NFX General Partner Gigi Levy-Weiss talks with Zeev about growing a Billion Dollar Company as a ”top layer” on other platforms, company leadership & navigation, and product strategy. They also discuss the future of content, what's trending now, and the possibilities in the near future.
Jan 04, 2021
Erik Torenberg & James Currier on being Citizens of the Internet
00:42:09
Erik Torenberg is an entrepreneur, investor, and most importantly a community builder. NFX General Partner James Currier connects with Erik on the intricacies of building online & offline communities, behavioral psychology of users, and useful tactics/frameworks for early-stage Founders to consider when building their company. Erik is originally from New Jersey and studied economics at the University of Michigan. investments His portfolio includes Rappi, Scale, Nurx, Lattice, Omni, Long-Term Stock Exchange, Winnie, Carrot, Kite, Cover, and ~80 more. He is a son of Israeli and Colombian immigrants and has worked to invest in those ecosystems as well. He was on the founding team of Product Hunt and hosts his podcast show, 'Venture Stories'. His latest venture outside of being Co-Founder & Partner at Village Global is called The On Deck Fellowship (ODF). The ODF is a 10-week virtual program where you'll have access to a network of 200+ talented founders from all over the world who are all in the early stages of working on their next company. Erik's love for community building and connecting humans is world-class and beneficial for Founders everywhere.
Dec 21, 2020
The Decision Frameworks Behind Fiverr's Success with Micha Kaufman and Gigi Levy-Weiss
00:50:24
Founders rarely get to hear the inside story of building a massive marketplace business from idea to IPO. Today we analyze the core startup decisions you need to make in the early days about your market, product, pricing and customers — and how those early decisions define your roadmap for the next 10 years or more. Today NFX General Partner Gigi Levy-Weiss sits down and has a conversation with Micha Kaufman, the Founder and CEO of Fiverr (FVRR). Fiverr’s stock price has soared since their 2019 IPO — posting an impressive 797% growth since last year — but this conversation makes evident that their DNA for success was set from day one. Micha gives us access to the early days at Fiverr and what startup lessons he learned while leading one of the world’s biggest marketplaces, including: When You’re Told The Idea Is Too Crazy To Work A 3-Part Framework For Finding The Right Market Fiverr’s Epiphany: Productizing Services Reverse Your Storytelling In Order To Build The Best v1 Supply Generates Demand: The Fiverr Law of Business Doing The Opposite Of What You’re Told For A Go-To-Market Strategy Keeping “Startup Speed” Even As A Public Company & more This is a tremendous resource for early-stage Founders everywhere as they make key decisions that will set their startups into motion. Read the essay here - https://www.nfx.com/post/fiverr-road-to-growth/
Dec 17, 2020
The Founders’ List: 10 Pieces of Manufacturing Advice from Tesla CEO, Elon Musk
00:05:34
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. From the outside, it's hard to understand what's going on at Tesla. Here are 10 quick examples of advice centered around the Model 3 production bottleneck pulled from real internal emails sent by Tesla CEO, Elon Musk. Topics include: - Always Start With The Good - Challenge, Demand, But Always Offer Help - Production only Moves as Fast as the Least Lucky - Don’t Be 10% Better, Be 10x Better, Seriously - Encourage Customers to Bring Out the Measuring Tape - If Molehills Turn to Mountains, Follow the Money Train - If You Can’t Explain it to A Five Year Old, You Don’t Understand it Well Enough - It Must Be Ok For People To Talk Directly And Just Make The Right Thing Happen - It Is Not Rude To Leave, It Is Rude To Make Someone Stay And Waste Their Time - Hold Contractors to the Same Standards of Your Employees "Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter. Meeting frequency should drop rapidly once the urgent matter is resolved. Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.”
Dec 16, 2020
"Don't Just Be the Best, Be the Only" with Kevin Kelly & James Currier
00:41:02
In this candid conversation with iconic tech thinker Kevin Kelly (founding Editor of Wired), we discuss inspirational and transformative advice for early-stage Founders reflecting on the work they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and how it all adds up in the long term. Kevin and NFX General Partner James Currier talk about: “You want to work on something that nobody has a name for.” You don’t just want to be the best -- you want to be the only. This applies to the companies you start, the projects you tackle, as well as to how you live your life. “It’s fine to focus on scaling a wall, but you need to make sure your ladder is leaning against the right wall.” Transforming from short-term founder to long-term steward is a mental shift that many Founders need to start making. “If you operate on a longer term perspective you have an advantage because everyone else is completely short sighted.” Why Wired? What was the reason for it to exist? We need to listen to the technology to see how people actually use it vs. how it was invented. Kevin Kelly is Senior Maverick at Wired magazine. He co-founded Wired in 1993, and served as its Executive Editor for its first seven years. His most recent book is called The Inevitable, and is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. He is also founding editor of the popular Cool Tools website, which has been reviewing tools daily since 2003. Every Sunday, he and the Cool Tools team mail out Recomendo, a free one-page list of 6 very brief recommendations of cool stuff.
Dec 15, 2020
The Founders’ List: "How To Make The Most Out Of Your Time And Your Life" by Nir Eyal (Author + Former Stanford Professor)
00:11:14
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. "Becoming indistractable requires an understanding of why you lose focus and learning the skills to do as you say. This guide is for people who want to harness the power of focus, but don’t have a lot of time. The more we respond to external triggers, the more we train our brain in a neverending stimulus-response loop." This is the audio version of Nir Eyal's focus guide, 'How To Make The Most Out Of Your Time And Your Life'. By reimagining a task, you can make anything more enjoyable and intrinsically rewarding because in our digital age, it's very difficult to “muster enough energy” to stay focused. Nir is a former instructor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and author of the bestseller, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.” 2013 His latest book, “Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life,” 2019 is out now. Check out his website and content at - https://www.nirandfar.com/
Dec 10, 2020
The Founders' List: Steve Job's Famous 'Thoughts on Flash' (Famous Memos)
00:10:08
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. 'Thoughts on Flash' is an open letter published by Steve Jobs, Co-Founder and then-CEO of Apple Inc. on April 29, 2010. The letter criticized Adobe Systems' Flash platform and outlined reasons why the technology would not be allowed on the company's iOS hardware products, specifically iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Now it's available to listen to on The Founders' List. Read the full memo here - https://www.nfx.com/post/founders-list-steve-jobs
Dec 03, 2020
The Irrational Truths Behind User Behavior, with Dan Ariely & Gigi Levy-Weiss
00:55:38
We all think we know how our users behave. It turns out, we don’t. Founders over-index on rational assumptions, but users most often behave irrationally. Behavioral economics, by contrast, is the practice of truly seeing your users' emotions, beliefs, and habits. This kind of vision is critically missing from product design at most startups. In this episode, NFX General Partner Gigi talks with Dan Ariely -- the world’s top expert in behavioral economics and a renowned professor at Duke -- as he breaks down the most common types of irrational user behavior and shares frameworks for predicting how your users will actually behave.
Nov 30, 2020
The Unusual Signs of a Billion Dollar Company with Elad Gil & James Currier
00:35:41
Can your company be a Billion-dollar business? When we look inside the early days of companies like Stripe, Airbnb, Coinbase, Instacart & Square, what are the patterns that may shed light on how great Founders beat incredible odds? In this episode of the NFX podcast, Elad Gil — one of the world's top angel investors in an astonishing number of Billion-dollar companies (Airbnb, Airtable, Anduril, Brex, Checkr, Coinbase, Flexport, Gitlab, Gusto, Instacart, Opendoor, PagerDuty, Pinterest, Samsara, Square, Stripe, & Wish) and cofounder of ColorGenomics— joins NFX partner James Currier to unearth what makes certain Founders and teams exponentially better. Together they examine the counterintuitive -- and often contrarian -- patterns that he has observed in many of the world’s best known Billion-dollar companies and their decision frameworks along the way. NFX Essay - https://www.nfx.com/post/unusual-signs-billion-dollar-companies Elad's Twitter - https://twitter.com/eladgil
Nov 23, 2020
The Founders' List: Steve Yegge's Famous Rant on 'Google vs Amazon' (Famous Memos)
00:22:49
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Longtime Googler Steve Yegge posted an insightful rant on his Google+ page about how Google is failing to make platforms for its products. He also shares some interesting little tidbits about his six-year stint at Amazon working for the 'Dread Pirate Bezos'. The rant was intended to be shared only with his Google coworkers, but was accidentally made public. Read the full memo here - https://gist.github.com/chitchcock/1281611
Nov 20, 2020
The New Growth Mindset with Sean Ellis & James Currier
00:25:25
In order to drive growth, you need to be data-driven and relentlessly creative. The difficult part of implementing growth in your company is finding someone who is good at both. Growth expert and thought leader Sean Ellis (Dropbox, Eventbrite, GrowthHackers, LogMeIn) sits down with NFX General Partner James Currier to share his thoughts and insights around: - The current stage of growth hacking - The digital growth evolution - The balance of data and creativity - Understanding the physics of growth - Importance of word of mouth Be sure to check out Sean’s latest project GoPractice! as well as his famous book ‘Hacking Growth’.
Nov 16, 2020
The Founders’ List: "Why Figma Wins" by Kevin Kwok (Former Investor at Greylock)
00:31:34
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. "Design is all of the conversations between designers and PMs about what to build. Building for this entire process doesn’t take away the importance of designers—it gives them a seat at the table for the core decisions a company makes. Companies that are successful in the long term are the ones that can repeatedly find the next loop." This is the audio version of Kevin Kwok's essay, 'Why Figma Wins'.  His analysis of the trajectory of Figma reflects the incremental product thinking & execution required to build this type of bottoms-up giant.  Kevin was formerly worked at Greylock Partners investing in marketplaces, autonomous vehicles, bottoms up productivity tools, and more. He is particularly interested in understanding the underlying structures that shape industries and the core loops that drive companies and writes on his popular site www.kwokchain.com. Read the full article here - https://kwokchain.com/2020/06/19/why-figma-wins/
Nov 12, 2020
Status Games with Eugene Wei (Product Lead at Amazon, Hulu, Erly, Flipboard, Oculus) and James Currier
00:49:27
Status can be a volatile, powerful driver of engagement. Status and one of its underlying mechanisms, scarcity must be considered by product designers in every category, as early on as possible. But it can also be a double-edged sword, as managing a network and the status dynamics within it is constantly recirculating, always shifting. For this reason, status that is more entertainment-based than utility-based can over time become precarious, as well as too restrictive for continued user growth. NFX partner James Currier sits down with Eugene Wei (Product Lead at Amazon, Hulu, Erly, Flipboard, Oculus) to draw from his original Status-as-a-Service article and expand to discuss status in entertainment, frameworks for emotional product design, video games as world leaders in defining scarcity, the future of virtual goods, and the underlying status games that drive us all -- in technology and in life.
Nov 10, 2020
The Future of Digital Advertising with Mikael Cho & Luke Chesser (Co-Founders of Unsplash)
00:40:54
"What's happening in general on the internet is an evolution to visual storytelling. The image is more powerful than ever, but it's also much harder to be seen than ever due to saturation. What's happening is the exchange is in social capital - the exchange is in being seen." NFX partner James Currier sits down and chats with Mikael Cho (CEO & Co-founder) and Luke Chesser (Head of Product & Co-founder) about their Founder journey to creating Unsplash, solving the chicken and egg problem within their marketplace, the psychology of their users, and what the future of digital advertising will look like.
Nov 09, 2020
The Founders’ List: Bill Gates' internal Microsoft Memo "The Internet Tidal Wave" (Famous Memos)
00:27:59
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Surfaced during the prolonged Justice Department antitrust action against Microsoft from 1998 to 2001, Bill Gates outlines a strategy internally for Microsoft to not only enter the internet, but to dominate it in his famous ‘Internet Tidal Wave’ memo. Read the full memo here - https://sriramk.com/memos/billgates-tidalwave.pdf
Nov 05, 2020
The Founders’ List: "The 3 Types of Platform Companies" by Elad Gil (Color Genomics & Twitter)
00:08:21
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. "Conflating what makes a platform work versus e.g. an infrastructure product can backfire and cause a team to have the wrong strategy for building a product or getting customers. These startups tend to fail." This is the audio version of Elad Gil's popular essay on The 3 Types of Platforms. Elad was the former Co-Founder/CEO of Color Genomics, Entrepreneur, Operating Executive at Twitter, and investor/advisor to companies like Airbnb, Stripe, Square, and Pinterest. Read the full article here - http://blog.eladgil.com/2015/01/the-3-types-of-platform-companies.html
Oct 29, 2020
The Competition For Your Attention with Sarah Frier (Bloomberg) & James Currier
00:40:53
"I think that everybody is getting attuned to strategic communication in a way that was not happening before social media. NFX partner James Currier talks with Sarah Frier, who reports on social media companies for Bloomberg News from San Francisco. Her stories have earned her a reputation as an expert on how Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter make business decisions that affect their future and our society as well as being the author of 'NO FILTER: The Inside Story of Instagram.' Sarah and James touch on a variety of subjects including the role and effect social media has on society and how to think about navigating your potential influence as an early-stage Founder.
Oct 26, 2020
The Founders’ List: “Don't Believe Your Own B.S.” by Pete Flint (General Partner at NFX)
00:16:11
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. "Superpowers cut both ways. They may spur meteoric growth, but without enough self-awareness, they can just as easily lead to a startup’s undoing." As a founder, it's important to be your startup’s biggest advocate, but it’s also important to create strong self-awareness and rise above your own ego. Listen as Pete Flint explains how to detect your own B.S. and allow your company to succeed. Pete is a general partner at NFX. Read the full article here - https://www.nfx.com/post/reality-distortion-field/
Oct 22, 2020
Focus Superpowers with Nir Eyal & James Currier
00:45:45
All early-stage companies are in search of traction. It’s notable that the opposite of traction is distraction and top Founders have an inverse response to distraction. As the world around them gets more distracting, what they see is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to break out from their competitors and win. NFX partner James Currier talks with Nir Eyal, former instructor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and author of the bestseller, “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.” 2013 His latest book, “Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life,” 2019 is out now. Nir walks us through his frameworks for product building, focus, traction, and building a culture centered around speed and growth. We’ve organized some of Nir’s insights from our podcast conversation for the benefit of focused Founders everywhere. Visit nirandfar.com for more.
Oct 19, 2020
The Golden Age of Simulation with Chris Anderson & James Currier
00:35:44
On this episode of the NFX Podcast we have one of the most generative people in Silicon Valley, Chris Anderson. He was famously Editor in Chief at Wired for over a decade during an insanely influential time in tech. He also is an author of The Long Tail, Free, and Makers. Chris has since founded 3DR, an American company headquartered in Berkeley, California that makes enterprise drone software for construction, engineering, and mining firms, along with government agencies. In this episode, we cover: - How regulations need to catch up with technology - What is Simulation - Why it’s the Golden Age of AI/Simulation - Virtual Reality for Robots - We’re transitioning to an abundance of data, are we using it right? - & different use cases for simulation
Oct 14, 2020
The Founders’ List: “Social Capital in Silicon Valley” by Alex Danco (Shopify & Social Capital)
00:19:39
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. "The 20s will see San Francisco face down some really big problems, and we’ll see if the city makes it out better or worse. But the wealth of social capital they’ve compounded will remain an undeniable asset to the tech community for a long time. " This is the audio version of Alex Danco's popular essay on Social Capital in Silicon Valley. Alex is currently head of Shopify Money and was a previous associate at Social Capital. Read the full article here - https://alexdanco.com/2020/01/23/social-capital-in-silicon-valley/
Oct 12, 2020
The Founders' List: Slack's Internal Memo 'We Don't Sell Saddles Here' (Famous Memos)
00:13:52
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. The memo below was sent to the team at Tiny Speck, the makers of Slack, on July 31st, 2013. It had been a little under seven months since development began and was two weeks before the launch of Slack’s ‘Preview Release’. "When you want something really bad, you will put up with a lot of flaws. But if you do not yet know you want something, your tolerance will be much lower." Read the full memo here - https://medium.com/@stewart/we-dont-sell-saddles-here-4c59524d650d
Oct 08, 2020
The Founders’ List: “The Guide to Unbundling Reddit” by Greg Isenberg (Late Checkout, Indicator Fund, TikTok Advisor, Previously WeWork/Islands/5by)
00:06:03
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. "The broad networks are everything to everyone, the niche ones are something special to a certain group." This is the audio version of Greg Isenberg's popular essay on The Unbundling of Reddit. Greg is a co-founder of Late Checkout, venture partner at Indicator Fund, and Growth advisor at TikTok. Previously he was the head of product strategy at WeWork and Founder of Islands & 5by. Read the full article here - https://latecheckout.substack.com/p/the-guide-to-unbundling-reddit
Sep 30, 2020
The Founders’ List: “Status as a Service (StaaS)” by Eugene Wei (Former Product Leader at Amazon, Hulu, Flipboard, Oculus)
01:35:16
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. A Must Listen for all Founders - audio version of Eugene Wei’s hugely popular essay on the role of status in product development. Eugene was a product leader at Amazon, Hulu, Flipboard, and Oculus. Read the full article here - https://www.eugenewei.com/blog/2019/2/19/status-as-a-service
Sep 24, 2020
Good vs. Great Companies: The Unseen Truths of Breakout Success with James Currier & Selina Tobaccowala
01:03:13
NFX partner James Currier talks with Selina Tobaccowala - co-founder of Evite, CTO and President of SurveyMonkey, and cofounder of the fitness app Gixo. It’s rare to get a candid view into what happens behind the scenes of companies that break out from the pack - and the hard decisions that lead to their success. In this episode, James and Selina talk about: - Knowing when and how to sell your company - The difference between selling Evite vs. selling Gixo - Why to build strategic relationships as early as possible - How to upfront the hard conversations - How to build and measure product virality - & more great advice for early-stage Founders Read the full essay here - https://www.nfx.com/post/good-vs-great-companies/
Sep 21, 2020
The Founders' List: James Currier (Managing Partner at NFX) on "The Psychology of Founders Who Win in Downturns"
00:04:40
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This essay was written and published by James Currier, General Partner at NFX. Read the full article here: https://www.nfx.com/post/psychology-winning-founders-downturns/
Sep 17, 2020
Prof. Tom Eisenmann (HBS) on Hidden Patterns of Startup Failure
00:53:12
NFX partner James Currier talks with professor Tom Eisenmann about why, exactly, over 75% of startups fail. Tom has been teaching entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School for more than a decade and has uncovered patterns of startup failure that we want every Founder to hear -- so you can avoid making these same mistakes yourself.
Sep 14, 2020
The Founders' List: Company Culture at Netflix (Famous Memos)
00:24:50
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Netflix’s memo on company culture on their employee website is geared toward those looking to join the company. Netflix's leadership outlines its values, company structure, communication style, and overall mission as a company and is widely regarded as a center of excellence with a strong culture in the tech industry. Read the full memo here - https://jobs.netflix.com/culture
Sep 10, 2020
Cyan Banister on the Future of AR/VR
00:38:53
Cyan Banister is an early stage investor in Uber, Niantic, SpaceX, many others. She’s a partner at Long Journey Ventures and spends most of her time dreaming about what the future could look like. In this NFX conversation with James Currier, they talk about the opportunities of AR, VR and the future of human connection.  Highlights from the conversation: - Allow yourself to become obsessed with something. Really obsess about the product and dream about what it can become. - Invest in things that will become part of your life.  - Futurism is more than being intellectual, it’s more about daydreaming, it’s about how you feel and how you live. - Silicon Valley is getting too serious. Where did the hacker mentality go? AR, and crypto are real frontier categories where there is still bright eyedness of “we don’t know what’s going to happen.” - Endless curiosity helps identify people who are solving problems that are actually real problems. - Be curious about how systems work. Analyze businesses and what makes them special. Try to figure out the economics of everything, anything. - Sometimes it makes sense to paint inside the lines, but sometimes you really have to paint outside the lines. Regarding the future of VR: There's no reason why you and I, if we want to hang out, that we have maybe 8 options… go to dinner, have a phone call, see a movie, maybe go for a walk… but why aren't there thousands of options? There should be so many, that's why Founders need to think bigger.
Sep 08, 2020
The Founders' List: Margaret Gould Stewart (VP of Product Design at Facebook) on "How a Single Conversation with my Boss Changed my View on Delegation and Failure"
00:03:58
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This essay was written and published on Aug 5, 2016 by Margaret Gould Stewart, VP of Product Design at Facebook. Read the full article on Medium here: https://medium.com/newco/how-a-single-conversation-with-my-boss-changed-my-view-on-delegation-and-failure-ae5376451c8d
Sep 03, 2020
Nir Erez from Moovit on Mobility as a Service (MaaS)
00:39:20
"Mobility as a service" is the idea of packaging together one person's entire portfolio of transportation options. Even if it’s a different mode of transportation for the first mile, the bulk of the journey, and for the last mile. Car, ferry, ride share, bike, scooter, whatever - all serviceable in the same app. This is the future that Nir Erz, CEO at Moovit, can see clearly, and why Intel bought Moovit for $900M. NFX partner Gigi Levy-Weiss sits down in Israel with Nir to discuss how Moovit beat Google Maps in data, why KPIs are pure gold, how to think globally when launching locally, and what the future of transportation looks like. Highlights from the conversation: 1. Building data and data network effects How to leverage your user base to build a volunteer workforce of data (the Wikipedia volunteer model) >> pseudo-automatic data capture Two tricks for launching in new markets: acknowledge to users that the app is not complete, and directly ask them for their help Why data is central to Moovit's product value (an important factor discussed in our essay on data network effects) How to build a verticalized data moat (public transit data) that allows you to compete and beat a big horizontal incumbent (aka Google Maps) 2. The Importance of KPIs - "KPIs are gold" Knowing what the right industry benchmarks are can be extremely valuable for your company. The right KPIs can save you from wasting time and effort. Why Founders should set clear success metrics for their company or quit "Guys, those are my best years and I'm not gonna waste my best years on a company that is not going to take off. So my only request to you is -- let's set measurable goals for every stage of the company. If we’re not going to hit those goals, I’m not going to stick around." 3. The future of transport and mobility The future of transport is multimodal Cities, in particular, will be multimodal, with different transportation for the first mile, the bulk of the journey, and the last mile. People will want one seamless solution that allows them to pay for various modes of transport. "Mobility as a service" is the idea of packaging one person's entire portfolio of transport options at one access point / platform
Aug 31, 2020
The Founders' List: Max Mullen (Co-Founder of Instacart) on "How to Run a Product Brainstorm"
00:03:51
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This essay was written and published on Oct 6, 2017 by Max Mullen, Co-Founder of Instacart. Read the full article on Medium here: https://medium.com/the-product-co-op/how-to-run-a-product-brainstorm-666a90a0986d
Aug 24, 2020
The Founders' List: Julie Zhuo (Former VP Product Design at Facebook & Co-Founder of Inspirit) on "How to be Strategic"
00:07:34
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This essay was written and published on Oct 2, 2018 by Julie Zhuo, Former VP Product Design at Facebook & Co-Founder of Inspirit. Read the full article on Medium here: https://medium.com/the-year-of-the-looking-glass/how-to-be-strategic-f6630a44f86b
Aug 24, 2020
The Founders' List: Joel Spolsky (Co-Founder of Trello & Stack Overflow) on "Strategy Letter I: Ben and Jerry’s vs. Amazon"
00:14:48
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This essay was written and published on May 12, 2000 by Joel Spolsky, Co-Founder of Trello & Stack Overflow. Read the full article here: https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2000/05/12/strategy-letter-i-ben-and-jerrys-vs-amazon/
Aug 24, 2020
The Founders' List: Dharmesh Shah (Co-Founder & CTO of HubSpot) on "Aligning Vectors: How To Optimize To Maximize Impact"
00:08:52
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This essay was written and published on Oct 16, 2017 by Dharmesh Shah, Co-Founder & CTO of HubSpot. Read the full article on Medium here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/aligning-vectors-how-optimize-impact-dharmesh-shah/?trackingId=AyxTmFVyQ7iCFm6409fYeA%3D%3D
Aug 24, 2020
The Founders' List: Elizabeth Yin (Co-Founder & General Partner at Hustle Fund) on "15 Annoying Things that VCs say or ask"
00:14:20
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This essay was written and published by Elizabeth Yin, Co-Founder & General Partner at Hustle Fund. Read the full article here: https://elizabethyin.com/2019/05/17/15-annoying-things-that-vcs-say-or-ask-and-how-to-think-about-them/
Aug 24, 2020
The Founders' List: Scott Belsky (Founder of Behance) on "Creativity is The New Productivity"
00:12:30
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This essay was written and published on Sep 9, 2019 by Scott Belsky, Founder of Behance. Read the full article on Medium here: https://marker.medium.com/creativity-is-the-new-productivity-d287d6ad7533
Aug 24, 2020
The Founders' List: Sean Ellis (Founder & CEO of GrowthHackers) on "The Growth Pyramid Revisited"
00:06:26
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This essay was written and published on Mar 15, 2018 by Sean Ellis, Founder & CEO of GrowthHackers. Read the full article here: seanellis.me
Aug 24, 2020
The Founders' List: 2004 Founder's IPO Letter from Google (Famous Memos)
00:23:21
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Google is not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one. It’s been more than 10 years since Google Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin wrote a long and personal “owner’s manual” for shareholders detailing their hopes and worries about taking Google public in 2004, and sharing the company’s ethos. Read the full memo here - https://abc.xyz/investor/founders-letters/2004-ipo-letter/
Aug 24, 2020
The Founders' List: Yahoo Memo: The 'Peanut Butter Manifesto' (Famous Memos)
00:11:49
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. In October 2006, Yahoo Senior Vice President Brad Garlinghouse wrote an internal memo, urging the company to narrow its focus and clarify its vision. The memo, now famously called the "Peanut Butter Manifesto," pointed out Yahoo's lack of focus, using peanut butter as a metaphor for spreading its resources too thinly. Read the full memo here - https://sriramk.com/memos/garlinghouse-peanut-butter.pdf
Aug 24, 2020
The Founders' List: James Currier (Managing Partner at NFX) on "Building Strong Companies with The No Politics Rule"
00:04:58
This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This essay was written and published by James Currier, General Partner at NFX. Read the full article here: https://www.nfx.com/post/building-strong-companies-the-no-politics-rule/
Aug 24, 2020
The Founders' List: Pete Flint (Managing Partner at NFX) on "Why Startup Timing is Everything"
00:08:52
Aug 24, 2020
Craig Newmark on Building Craigslist, Teamwork, & The Golden Rule
00:11:41
At NFX, we dig into network effects companies and their founding stories, so we emailed Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist. Craigslist is the purest example of a 2-sided network effect and has remained stronger than ever for the past 20+ years. NFX partner James Currier had a chance to sit down with Craig to talk and catch up. Craig handed over the operations of Craigslist in 2000 and is now more focused on his philanthropy, but when we catch up, we get to discuss his mental models for business and for life. Just like the product he built, his secret to success is simple - treat others the way you want to be treated and put service above all else.
Aug 13, 2020
Steve Blank on "Don't Waste A Good Crisis"
00:21:26
Speed is often the secret weapon, especially when adjusting to and tackling a crisis. Credited with launching the Lean Startup movement, eight-time entrepreneur-turned-educator Steve Blank joins NFX partner James Currier and shares counterintuitive advice for how startups should be thinking right now. Steve says "don't waste a good crisis" and discusses how to find opportunity in disruption. He's changed how startups are built, how entrepreneurship is taught, how science is commercialized, and how companies and the government innovate. Startups specifically need to speed up and put the pedal to the metal. It’s tough love time - if anyone at your organization is still operating under the old normal, consider one of the two P’s - pivot or part ways! Listen to how Steve breaks down how Founders can navigate an extended crisis and why now is the time to innovate. Read more at - www.nfx.com
Aug 05, 2020
George Dyson on Why Your Work Matters: Darwin, Machines, & The Future We're Building
00:34:20
As a Founder, having a strong sense of direction, purpose, and context for what you are doing every day gives you an advantage. Finding the deeper meaning gives you speed and power. Your work matters. But to see how it does clearly requires us to step outside of the caves of our day-to-day lives of running startups to understand how we all got here, and where we're going. There is a rich history you are building upon, and your work - whether a corner or floor of the cathedral - is a foundation that others will build on as we collectively build the future. Dyson is an exceptional mind. His perspective brings light to our greater purpose in building new technology. Read the full essay here - https://www.nfx.com/post/why-your-work-matters/
Aug 04, 2020
Garrett Smallwood & James Currier on the Founder Journey and Navigating Uncertainty
00:34:01
Garrett Smallwood (CEO of Wag!) joins NFX partner James Currier to share his thoughts on profitable and efficient management of companies, thoughtfully operating before and after COVID-19, and shifting your mental models to adapt to your current situation. Garrett has earned all the badges — having sold his company to Wag!, operating as VP of Product, Partnerships, and Corp Dev, before building the roadmap to CEO. Garrett's current roadmap at Wag! is centered around operational excellence, strategic advantages through services and density, how to navigate through uncertainties, and the importance of thinking deeply about the way you build your company.
Jul 31, 2020
April Underwood shares the Product Thinking That Built Slack & Twitter
01:01:30
Twitter and Slack are two of technology’s most talked-about companies. They are both category-defining products marked by hypergrowth, each amassing a large base of deeply loyal users and a valuation of more than $20B. But Founders rarely get access to the product decisions being made behind the scenes, or the strategy and frameworks that guided them. April Underwood was instrumental at both companies, first as Director of Product at Twitter and then as Chief Product Officer at Slack. She is a powerhouse product leader with an unusual depth of experience in growing both B2C and B2B products from 0 to 1 to ubiquity, and building world-class product teams along the way. April joins the NFX podcast to offer inside stories and lessons learned from leading product at Twitter and Slack. Founders and product leaders everywhere will benefit from the 3-part framework she developed at Slack for hiring great PMs, her insights about leveraging early adopters, and how product CEOs can stay close to their product teams without slowing them down. Read the full essay - www.nfx.com/post/product-thinking-slack-twitter-april-underwood/
Jul 13, 2020
Keith Rabois on how Contrarians Think: The Early Days of Square, Yelp, & PayPal
01:03:51
In this episode of the NFX Podcast, Keith Rabois and James Currier examine the rule deviation behind some of technology's greatest startup feats — PayPal, Square, Yelp, and even Apple, Tesla, and SpaceX. They discuss: - The 5 People You Spend the Most Time With: It's easy to be a contrarian. It's hard to be right. What are the environmental and psychological factors needed to really think for yourself? - The Extreme 1% of the Bell Curve: A framework for rule deviation that leads to invention, not replication. - Being a Founder is Like Chewing Glass: The 3 biggest factors Keith cites that made the early PayPal team so strong, going on to create YouTube, Tesla, SpaceX, LinkedIn, Yammer, & more. - Counterintuitive KPIs that Transformed Yelp, PayPal, & Square: The non-obvious (even ridiculous-at-first) KPIs that changed their trajectory. - & much more Read the essay - www.nfx.com/essays
Jun 30, 2020
Rahul Vohra shares the Frameworks Behind Superhuman (NFX Keynote Episode)
00:22:50
Rahul is the founder and CEO of Superhuman where he and his team are building the fastest email experience in the world. Before Superhuman, Rahul founded Rapportive, which was acquired by LinkedIn in 2014. We’re bringing you an NFX Keynote podcast that gives you a deep dive into Rahul Vohra’s mind. His strategic thinking on product-market fit is verging on legendary, and in this episode, Rahul shares his biggest learnings about customer onboarding, why products should be designed like games, and the frameworks he wants every founder to know about pricing and positioning. www.superhuman.com
Jun 18, 2020
The Google of Biology: Meet the Company that is Reading & Writing the Code of Life
00:42:09
Biology is the new frontier. At NFX, we’ve been investing in this space. And in this episode of the NFX podcast, we talk to Trevor Martin, the CEO and Co-Founder of Mammoth Biosciences, an NFX company, that is now the largest repository of CRISPR IP in the world. They are developing the Google of biology where they will help anyone find what they are looking for in the genome. They are also working on a rapid COVID-19 test that uses CRISPR. Today we will talk about the cutting edge of what’s happening and why the future will be defined by biology. Read more at - www.nfx.com/essays
Jun 08, 2020
The Insider Story of Houseparty with Ben Rubin & James Currier
00:53:40
This is the insider story of Houseparty. In the last two months, the video app has grown 1600% to become the #1 social app in 82 countries, including the U.S., with hundreds of millions of users. Its success, however, has been many years and trials in the making. In this episode, early investor & advisor James Currier joins Ben Rubin, the Founder of Houseparty to share the insider story of how the product went from zero-to-one to ubiquity. It’s the real story that most founders never get to hear. This episode is about the ups and downs of building Meerkat & Houseparty, and about his new work communications network, /Talk (Slash Talk). This is a masterclass in product, pivots and perseverance that every Founder will benefit from.
May 18, 2020
Josh Elman & James Currier on the Arrival of the Next Social Era
00:55:44
Today Josh Elman & James Currier discuss the history of social media, where it is today, and the next wave of social companies that may be a result of the current lockdown situation. Due to the massive behavioral changes over the last few months, Founders may have room to build and the 'Golden Age' of social media might see a resurfacing. Josh Elman has run product for top-tier companies like Robinhood, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and was a partner at Greylock. In this episode, we discuss: - A brief history of social media - The behavioral changes from COVID-19 - The 'New Wave' of social media platforms - The opportunity for founders to build companies - How social products reshape the human connection Be on the lookout for new episodes on The NFX Podcast and read more NFX content at - www.nfx.com/essays
May 04, 2020
The Founders' List: Your Life is Driven by Network Effects by James Currier
00:49:30
Working with network effects in our 100+ portfolio companies makes it impossible not to notice how the same mechanisms and math that create near-destiny for companies also create near-destiny for us as individuals. It’s mind-blowing once you see it. We will get to how the network force should guide your decision making in the 7 crossroads of your life, including: What Family You’re Born Into, your High School Network, your College Network, your First Job, Marriage/Choosing a Life Partner, Where You Live, and Reassessments. We all think we make these choices ourselves. It certainly feels like we’re in full control. But it turns out that our choices — both in our startups and in our lives — are more constrained than we think. Our networks are our most valuable resource. They are the way our lives express themselves. Those networks are made up of all the people you care about, the people you, inspire, move, and help to live their best lives.
Apr 30, 2020
How Reid Hoffman & James Currier See the Path Ahead for Founders during The Great Reset
00:33:39
Today Reid Hoffman & James Currier discuss the path ahead for Founders in a post-COVID world. What you need to learn and unlearn to get your company through a crisis, frameworks for the tough decisions Founders are facing today and the way they see the world changing forever - opening new opportunities for savvy founders. Reid is the co-Founder and was the executive chairman of LinkedIn, and is now a partner at Greylock. In this episode, we discuss: - How to be human first - The VC landscape post-COVID - How to make decisions around risk - The mental patterns Founders should unlearn - Founders & frugality - Silicon Valley's involvement in COVID-19 - Zero-sum thinking Be on the lookout for new episodes on The NFX Podcast and read more NFX content at - www.nfx.com/essays
Apr 16, 2020
David Sacks shares how PayPal & Trulia Navigated Downturns
00:45:26
Today we’re talking with David Sacks & Pete Flint about how to lead a company through an unforeseen downturn, and what it takes to adapt and survive in an unpredictable economy. David is a general partner at Craft Ventures and previously a Co-Founder of PayPal & Yammer. Both David and Pete founded iconic companies and led them through unstable markets to emerge with high growth and success. In this episode, we discuss: - The Founder mindset during a downturn - The Investor mindset during a downturn - Tactics/frameworks for founders - Happy Talk vs Hard Talk - Silicon Valley during COVID-19 Be on the lookout for new episodes on The NFX Podcast and read more NFX content at - www.nfx.com/essays
Apr 07, 2020
Stacy Brown-Philpot on Leading Startups Through Uncertainty
00:36:55
TaskRabbit invented the gig-economy in 2008 with a marketplace that matches freelance labor with local demand for everyday tasks. Stacy Brown-Philpot became CEO of TaskRabbit in 2016 and led the company through its acquisition by IKEA in 2017. In this episode, we discuss: - Leadership changes - Growth vs. profitability - Competition - Exits - Expanding - Regulation Be on the lookout for more Iconic Marketplace episodes on the NFX podcast in the near future and read more NFX content at - www.nfx.com/essays
Mar 18, 2020
How Iman Abuzeid (CEO of Incredible Health) Raised Venture Capital
00:24:47

After raising venture capital from NFX, Andreessen Horowitz, Obvious Ventures, and Precursor Ventures, CEO & Co-Founder Iman Abudzaid made her fundraising learnings, methodology, and frameworks public for the benefit of Founders everywhere.

Topics discussed with Iman include:

  • When to fundraise
  • Fundraising amount & goals
  • Personal insights & learnings
  • Personal fundraising process
  • Traction & metrics
  • Evolution of the pitch deck
  • And much more

Incredible Health - https://www.incrediblehealth.com/
TechCrunch article - https://techcrunch.com/2019/09/12/incredible-healths-hiring-platform-for-nurses-gets-15m-led-by-andreessen-horowitz/

Signal - https://signal.nfx.com/login
The Brief - https://thecompanybrief.com/

To read more essays and content on fundraising, network effects, growth, and frameworks visit - www.nfx.com

Jan 29, 2020
How Marco Zappacosta (Founder & CEO of Thumbtack) Built a Billion Dollar Marketplace
00:54:30

Marco Zappacosta (Co-founder & CEO of Thumbtack) talks with Pete Flint (NFX & founder of Trulia) about what it takes to build a billion-dollar marketplace and the lessons he's uncovered along the journey.

They discuss how they solved the chicken & egg problem, what he would have done differently as an early-stage marketplace, fundraising lessons, and how short-term metrics can actually hinder long-term retention.

Read more essays from NFX - www.nfx.com

Nov 11, 2019
The Founder List: 16 Non-Obvious Fundraising Lessons On Pitching (James Currier, Partner at NFX)
00:23:48

As Founders ourselves, we started 10 venture-backed companies that exited for over $10 Billion. During that time as Founders and now as VCs, we’ve seen 16 counterintuitive lessons in pitching VCs that increase your odds of success. Today we’re sharing them for the benefit of the entire founder community.

Learn more at - www.nfx.com
Start your Company Brief at - www.thecompanybrief.com

Oct 28, 2019
Scott Cook (Founder of Intuit) Shares Why Top Founders Understand Network Effects
00:48:00

About 2 years ago, Intuit Founder Scott Cook came to NFX to meet with James Currier to discuss their shared interest in network effects. It was one of the most compelling conversations James has had with anyone on the topic, and so we recently visited the Intuit HQ in Mountain View, CA to continue the conversation. Today we're making it public, for the benefit of Founders everywhere

Oct 08, 2019
The Founder List: The Hidden Patterns to Great Startup Ideas (James Currier, Partner at NFX)
00:08:00

It’s often said that success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. We disagree. This might be true at later stages, but at the initial stage of a startup, the core idea makes a huge difference. Small changes in your initial idea/direction will make a big difference to where you end up. In this episode of The NFX Podcast, James Currier uncovers the hidden pattern to great startup ideas.

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To read our essay on the The Hidden Pattern to Great Startup Ideas, visit -https://www.nfx.com/post/hidden-patterns-great-startup-ideas

Aug 22, 2019
The Founder List: 9 Habits of World Class Startups (James Currier, Partner at NFX)
00:09:08

Startups that grow into transformative companies do two things: (1) they nail the basics and (2) they cultivate the right habits (core operating principles). In this episode of The NFX Podcast, James Currier lists 9 habits that get investors to lean in and take special notice.

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To read our essay on the 9 Habits of World Class Startups, visit -https://www.nfx.com/post/9-habits-world-class-startups

For more NFX essays, visit - www.nfx.com

Aug 21, 2019
Manish Chandra (Founder & CEO) shares The Poshmark Story
00:49:29

They were rejected by 200+ investors. They were turned down by every single payment processor in the country. They discovered they were in violation of USPS regulations, and almost ran out of money.

Yet today, Poshmark is one of the most successful marketplaces of all time.

Be on the lookout for more Iconic Marketplace episodes on the NFX podcast in the near future and read more NFX content at - www.nfx.com/essays

Jun 18, 2019
The Founder List: Inside the Marketplace of Uber (James Currier, Partner at NFX)
00:11:12

James Currier of NFX outlines 5 important lessons you can learn from Uber and their growth over the last 10 years.

Check out our past Inside the Marketplace episode on Lyft here - https://soundcloud.com/nfxpodcast/idea-to-ipo-lyft-vs-uber-and-the-battle-for-ridesharing-dominance

May 02, 2019
Inside the Marketplace of Lyft with James Currier & Pete Flint (NFX Partners)
00:33:44

Pete Flint & James Currier of NFX discuss Lyft's upcoming IPO, the defensibility of the ridesharing business model, and what Lyft should do next.

Check out our past Inside the Marketplace episode on Lyft here - https://soundcloud.com/nfxpodcast/inside-the-marketplace-uber-nfx-podcast

Mar 25, 2019
Andy Johns & Pete Flint on "Why Growth Hacking Is Broken"
00:30:24

"Why Growth Hacking Is Broken" - Pete Flint & Andy Johns by NFX

Feb 13, 2019