Changing the world can make you insane, but it doesn't have to (5 tips)


You can change the world, but it sometimes comes at a steep cost. It did for Ignaz Semmelweis, the first doctor to discover handwashing saved lives, especially mothers in his maternity ward. He made 5 key mistakes that you can avoid. And in doing so, I hope you'll be able to avoid the insane asylum. Everyone who makes something new gets hit back quickly with what is known now as the Semmelweis Reflex— people reject anything that challenges them out of hand. 

You can be prepared to face this. Here's the five ways steps: 
  1. Speak for yourself — 03:05 
  2. Persevere, and don’t ragequit — 04:26 
  3. Speak truth when you know you’re right — 05:34
  4. When they go low, we go high — 06:09
  5. The breakthrough is only half the work — 07:13  

Thanks for watching! I made this video last night in about 3 hours— I'm going for a video a week, and my goal is to just help future founders and people who are making things get to the next stage.


Metaprogram your own mind: A conversation with Cameron Yarbrough of Torch.io



Is it possible to reprogram your own mind? Yes, it is. Coaching, therapy, meditation, and group work are the keys to unlocking incredible potential. Trauma is a surprising common trait for many founders, and those who can overcome their past can truly build the future. Cameron Yarbrough was my coach for years before starting Torch.io, the best way to get exec coaching. We discuss the problems we've faced over the years, and how you're not alone. There is absolutely a way forward.  

I wish I worked on these things 10 years before I did— doing deep work will change your life if you let it. 

If you take care of your mental health and have a great executive coach, what you get to do is meta programming your own mind. And if you do that, you'll greatly increase the chances of your success.

00:59 Many founders have difficult childhoods that set them on the path to founderhood 
02:19 How difficult pasts can uniquely prepare founders for startup life 
03:26 Cameron was Garry's coach through many difficult periods in his business life 
03:53 Critical moments in your business career are driven by your own mental health 
04:49 Cameron could coach Garry because he had to overcome many of the same challenges 
07:10 Cameron's childhood impact on his early founder experiences 
07:59 Cameron's past leadership challenges drove him to seek therapy, meditation, and coaching 
08:47 It's extremely valuable for repeat founders to do deep internal work before diving back in 
10:05 The horse and rider allegory: Deep work lets the rider can better steer the horse 
10:37 You can work on mental health right now. 
11:01 YOU CAN DO THIS NOW. 
11:46 Executives who get their own mental health right will radiate this health to the whole org. 
12:47 Bibliotherapy 
13:37 Proper deep work is metaprogramming 
14:41 How to get behavior change 
15:25 Regular coaching and therapy enables breakthroughs 
16:45 On finding the right coach or therapist 
17:41 Even coaches have coaches
18:30 Radical candor enables winning leadership style 
20:12 What is the optimal organization? 
21:04 Your own experience is not universal 
22:02 Leadership and mental health in the time of COVID-19 
24:17 Wartime leadership requires more empathy, not less 
25:01 Cameron’s toughest COVID-19 crisis decision 
26:54 Why coaches are important even if you have lots of friends 
28:13 How to get help in group sessions 
29:46 You are not alone

Building General AI with D Scott Phoenix, founder of Vicarious


Can a computer be as smart as a human? Today we're sitting down with my friend and Initialized portfolio founder D Scott Phoenix. Vicarious has come up with a new type of machine learning based on the computational principles of the human brain. AGI. Artificial General Intelligence is coming. Let's go meet Scott.

00:59 How Garry and Scott met 
02:02 How Scott came up with the idea to work on AGI 
02:41 The time to build AGI is now 
03:10 Why work on AGI? 
04:26 What are the building blocks to building a general AI? 
04:49 What is a human-like learning system? 
06:15 Vicarious vs Deep Learning 
08:08 Traditional AI methods resemble insectoid or reptilian brain approaches 
09:43 New methods and models are more important than more money on training existing models 
11:52 Limits of narrow AI 
12:48 History and origins of the AI debate in philosophy and neuroscience 
14:45 Brute force methods require 14,000 years of training to do what children only need 2 years to learn 
15:28 Lessons from biology 
16:24 How do systems layer to generate more complex behavior? 
17:30 Is an ambitious project like AGI composable and iterable like SaaS software? 
20:01 Long term ambition is great, but what do you do along the way? 
20:38 Vicarious's first applied use case in robotics 
22:16 Vicarious vs other robotics approaches 
23:47 Building learning systems, not one-off point solutions 
24:51 Advice for builders just starting out 
25:17 How to tackle large problems and ambitious projects 
26:57 Technology is the ultimate lever for humans to create a better world 
29:14 How to be prepared for the long hard road

Six skills for startup success: What founders can do to improve their chances before they take the plunge


In this video, we talk about what skills a future founder can and should work on before they take the plunge into starting something. Let's get into it. 

Do you have the skills and do you have what it takes? First off, here's the list and it's pretty long. 

The more things out of this list you are actually familiar with, the more likely you will succeed. 

Timebox your way to startup product market fit

I have one tool to share with you. If you remember one thing from this video, it's this, you have a finite number of tries. But if you timebox your tries, you'll get to try a lot more things. And that will maximize your chance of success. Remember to timebox. Let's get into it. 

Masterclass on Remote Work: Management with empathy, fostering a values-based culture (Part 2 of 2)


How do you build a fast growing startup team that builds a world-class product? This is part two, focusing on management with empathy and how to build an organic remote work culture from scratch that is truly collaborative. 

My colleague Katelin Holloway (partner at Initialized, formerly head of people at multi-billion dollar startup Reddit) sits down with Shogun cofounders Finbarr Taylor (former engineer at Y Combinator) and Nick Raushenbush (former cofounder of famed video production co Glass & Marker) and they talk through all the things that they did to succeed.

Here is what we cover in this masterclass: 
01:00 Managing culture remotely 
01:54 Weekly check-ins and 1:1s with leadership 
02:29 Remote work requires trust by default 
03:45 How to run a 1:1 remotely 
04:52 Forming an organic remote culture 
08:53 How to communicate values 
11:39 How to handle management when things go wrong 
13:17 How to handle performance issues 
15:02 How to handle misalignment in values 
16:39 Rewards and recognition 
17:42 Approaching diversity and inclusion 
19:52 Remote work in the time of coronavirus

Should you work on that startup idea? Ask: Why me? Why now?

New vlog this morning:

Sometimes you just really nail that idea. It's something everyone wants. It's clearly the future. Like in this clip from Silicon Valley:

Nelson Bighetti: The user can control their Hooli phone solely with their neural impulses. Point, click, drag, even type, all using only brainwaves. Think it, and it happens.

Gavin Belson: Holy shit. Seriously?

Nelson Bighetti: Seriously.

Gavin Belson: This is great! Fuck yes, team! So, what's our timeline here? I mean, when can we start testing this? How long before we can integrate this into Nucleus?

Nelson Bighetti: Not long. It'll probably happen in our lifetime, we just have to figure out how to make it work. But I really believe that our grandchildren are going to grow up taking this technology for granted.

Gavin Belson: Our grandchildren?

Nelson Bighetti: I know you're single, but you might meet someone.

Gavin Belson: No... no!

It's not enough. Getting pointed in the right direction is just not enough. As you saw in that clip right there, Big Head in "Silicon Valley" found this out the hard way. You can't just point at the moon, you've got to build the goddamn spaceship. 

Masterclass on Remote Work: Hiring, recruiting, and essential tools (Part 1 of 2)

This is the first part of a two part masterclass on remote work, now live here:

01:46 Meet Shogun, the e-commerce page builder 
02:58 They started fully remote as a side project that became profitable 
04:23 The Tools: Hardware and software that enables remote work 
07:40 How to do learning & development 
08:29 On recruiting for remote teams 
11:35 Remote recruiting process 
19:43 How to legally hire remote candidates 
22:05 Onboarding remote employees

Watch the full video at YouTube here: https://youtube.com/garrytan — You can also read the full Shogun Remote Work guide at their blog here

I guess we're all working remotely right now, so who better to sit down with than a team that is the best at remote work that I've ever seen, Shogun?

Today's a master class in how to run remote work teams, from a team that has been working remotely from nearly the beginning. They've gone on to create one of the best products in the whole portfolio, and they did it through great recruiting, great management, great software, and great processes.

In this masterclass today, they sit down with Katelin Holloway Partner at Initialized and former head of people at Reddit to walk through all of the secrets they learned the hard way so you don't have to. Part one is about recruiting, tools, workflow— Let's get started.

Masterclass: How to sell to 20M software developers with an amazing onboarding experience

20M software developers in the world— if you can convince this set of people in the world to use your software, you've got a very very valuable startup. Today I wanted to sit down with the folks behind one of the best developer experiences I have ever seen and hear their lessons as they built it. 

Quick run of show—

01:15 Algolia is realtime fast customizable search, both backend and frontend 
02:02 Tech giants can put 100s of devs on search. Algolia democratizes that. 
03:34 Walking through the developer experience 
03:45 The homepage 
04:01 Evolving from self-serve to enterprise 
04:16 Even if you sell by enterprise, showing value to developers immediately is still key 
05:51 Garry's magical experience using Algolia 
06:12 The docs drive you directly to the tutorial: Interactive is better 
09:53 Design tip: Strong call to actions 
10:42 Developer docs are only effective when they make devs feel powerful 
11:56 How did Algolia implement their interactive developer docs? 
13:01 How to support 9 runtimes? 15 engineers out of 100 are devoted to dev xp 
14:43 Low bar high ceiling: the holy grail for products and services 
16:56 How Sylvain got into tech 
18:56 When your competition is 20 year old tech: Lucene and Sphinx 
20:05 Career advice for engineers starting out 

Transcript below

Stories from China Tech that don't get reported: A conversation with Rui Ma of Tech Buzz China

Today we're sitting down with Rui Ma. She is a very old friend of mine who also runs one of the top Chinese tech podcasts. Th ere are so many stories we never get to hear in the West, so I thought it would be fun to talk through a bunch of those narratives. It's a country of 1.4B people. People say China is either the future, or it copies the future. The reality is a little bit of both. 

Transcript below


The best podcast on Chinese technology— Tech Buzz China

00:30 Meet Rui Ma, Co-host of Tech Buzz China 
00:58 Tech in the West doesn't pay enough attention to China 
01:18 Why Rui started Tech Buzz China 
02:13 Luckin Coffee is an example of US tech media getting it wrong 
02:43 Media’s false equivalence: Luckin = Starbucks 

What's it called and how do we find it?

It's called Tech Buzz China, and then you can just go to any platform and we'll be there.

That's awesome, and what kind of stuff do you like to talk about?

Basically I talk about China tech, but it's with a heavy emphasis on internet. So, consumer internet primarily because that's really a lot of the big Chinese internet companies, that's what they're doing.

There's just so much happening in China and it feels like the media environment is completely separate. It doesn't make sense, it's worlds apart in sort of a sheer hardware platform, a sheer, like, software platform, but I don't think people pay attention to what's happening with Chinese companies nearly enough, and I'm glad for what you do. Thanks for doing that!

Oh, thank you.

Why did you start the podcast?

I thought there was an opportunity to more clearly bridge a divide that I saw between English coverage of Chinese tech companies and then what actually was happening on the ground in China. There are certain companies that are really popular in the media, or with the media here in the U.S., and are actually viewed quite skeptically in China, for example. There are other companies that are viewed very strongly in China that might not get a lot of airtime here in the U.S. but that are really interesting. And so, I look primarily at actually Chinese rich coverage, and I lived and worked in China for eight years, so, I tried to use my knowledge and cultural understanding to bring that, yeah.

That's super useful. What's the most extreme example of this?

One of the more extreme examples of recent years is a company called Luckin Coffee, which basically does delivery of their coffee. In China, there's a lot of skepticism about the company, but in the U.S., I think that they have, you know, there's some balanced coverage, but overall, I felt like that they were covered more favorably here.

How do you think that happens, that reporters here can't get access to the right people to sort of vet the story properly?

I think basically the reason why that happens is that there are certain narratives that come more naturally to Western audiences, so it's just more interesting because it's more familiar, whereas there are lots of things that are more unique to China that are just difficult to explain without have to provide a ton of context.

In the case of Luckin, they sort of just used one work to explain their business, and the word was Starbucks, which I think everyone here can understand, but if you take another company in China, like Kuaishou, which is a short-video app that does live-streaming e-commerce, all these other things, it's just much harder to explain 'cause there's no Western analog.