How founders can build Trust & Safety teams

Steve Kirkham and Eric Levine were the early builders at Airbnb that created the Trust and Safety team. They fought for billions of dollars of transactions and beat scammers day in and day out. Learn how they built that team and how you can use their newest product Berbix to protect your online platforms and build marketplaces like Airbnb that matter. Every business in the world is moving online— and the smarter founders can be about building Trust and Safety within their companies, the faster that will happen. 

00:00 Intro 
01:25 Building Trust and Safety at Airbnb 
03:01 Knowing who you're doing business with is the first step 
04:52 Empathy for fraudsters 
06:08 Verify identity around key points 
07:11 Why the incumbents like Jumio are terrible 
07:48 Why Steve and Eric started Berbix 
09:13 Instant software-only verification unlocks all new marketplaces 
11:03 Fundamental need: Sybil resistance 
11:39 When founders should build Trust & Safety teams 
12:50 Types of bad actors 
14:36 How to thwart bad actors 
16:34 ID checks are a strong deterrent 
17:31 Berbix can help you with your trust and safety problems 
18:11 Advice for future founders 
20:45 Conclusion: You can't do business with people if you don't know who they are!

 Learn more about Berbix at

Micromanagement is toxic: Delegation is the cure (6 simple steps)

One of my direct reports once told me in a 1:1 early in my career as a founder: "I've never felt so disrespected in my career." This was a wake-up call. I wasn't delegating, and we weren't aligned on goals and values. I was micromanaging, and second guessing everything. In this video we talk about what it takes to be a great leader: a conductor of people who drive greatness. 

00:00 Intro: My management mistake 
00:58 Hire and delegate to get more time 
02:59 How to delegate in 6 simple steps 
04:38 Delegation's shadow: Micromanagement 
05:39 If delegation fails, ask the deeper questions 
06:21 I was a terrible manager at times when I failed to delegate or align 
07:04 Conclusion: Be a conductor of people

Sell? Die? No. Grow profitably. How Ooshma Garg and Gobble did it and why default alive matters

Picture this... You're burning more than a million dollars a month You're growing great but your biggest splashiest competitor just had one of the worst IPOs of the entire year. and they're taking down the whole space with them. 

What do you do? For many founders that means selling, going out of business, or recapping the business. Not for Ooshma though. 

We're going to go talk to Ooshma Garg— my friend, and founder of Gobble. Not only did she get profitable, she doubled the business in less than a quarter and now they're putting out real cashflow. It's one of the coolest stories I've ever seen, and I've seen it up close because I'm on the board. Stay tuned. Let's get started.

00:00 Intro 
01:35 How Gobble got started in 2011 
02:04 First idea: peer to peer lasagna 
03:08 The breakthrough 
03:40 Food tech must nail the food too 
05:13 The secret of long term retention for food IP 
07:50 Easier and tastier = best lifetime value 
08:33 Gobble's 1000 days to innovation: How they got product market fit 
08:50 $6M ARR overnight 
09:47 What to do when a worse competitor raises more money 
11:44 Markets are voting machines early and weighing machines later 
12:15 On burning $1M/mo to earning nearly that much 
13:54 When you can't raise, get profitable 
14:57 Digital ad buying lessons: ROI and market depth 
17:12 You don't know if you can be profitable until you try 
18:36 Default alive gives you control 
20:49 The future of Gobble after profitability: re-investment 
22:56 Great food businesses generate cash 
24:37 Ooshma's hardest lessons she wishes she knew when she was 22

Hans Tung and the 16 unicorns: How a global venture capitalist funds billion dollar startups

Hans Tung has funded some of the most iconic billion dollar startups: Bytedance, Airbnb, Wish and Affirm just to name a few. He's been on the Forbes Midas List for 7 years straight now, this year at #10. He has seen it all, and we discuss war stories (don't miss the discussion of Alibaba in a global financial crisis and pandemic!), founders, and the future of food tech, software, and robotics.

00:00 Intro 
00:50 Hans's journey to venture capital 
03:18 Hans met iconic founders very early 
05:00 The Alibaba story in 2003: Pandemic and global financial crisis with 5 months of runway (MUST WATCH) 
08:18 The perseverance of Brian Chesky and Airbnb 
09:23 The perseverance of Peloton 
10:36 Global consumer trends now first emerge outside of the US 
13:06 Software eats the world is a one-time shift 
13:45 Foodtech in China: Darkstores and clean data 
16:14 Global food tech trends: Automation 
17:06 All food distribution will be automated and tech enabled: better, faster, cheaper 
18:20 What Uber did to consolidate taxis (a fragmented, no-tech business) will happen everywhere 
20:19 Software in business: first back-office, then front-office, now whole-office 
21:10 Each successive wave of software is more powerful than the last. We're on the 5th or 6th wave now. 
21:59 On founder-market fit 
23:36 Max Levchin and founder-distribution fit at Slide 
24:16 Platform shifts create distribution opps that open, then close quickly 
25:02 5G and the future of distributed computing 
25:33 Timing your startup idea 
26:22 WeChat as a growth channel for Pinduoduo 
27:55 Autonomy and our robotic future 
28:53 Characteristics of great founders 
31:24 What Hans wishes he knew at 18 or 22

How Postel's Law enabled the proto-Internet and set the culture for the future of humanity

00:00 Intro
00:37 What is Postel's Law?
01:39 How Jon Postel became the god of the Internet
02:03 How did Postel's Law create the Internet as we know it?
02:57 Postel's Law in Product Design
04:03 How to apply Postel's Law in your own life (remote work-edition)
06:00 Postel's Law for managers: How to make a user manual for your own protocols 
05:56 Conclusion: You need Postel's Law in your life

Everyone knows the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. But do you know Postel's Law? It's what allows the internet to actually work, set forth by someone who some call the God of the Internet. 

The Golden Rule is necessary to be a good person. But Postel's Law is necessary for creating something truly great. Let's get started. 

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

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, 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. 
11:46 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.