Welcome to American Optimist hosted by Joe Lonsdale, entrepreneur, investor, and founder of four multi-billion dollar companies and other mission-driven organizations. American Optimist is an alternative to the fear, cynicism, and zero-sum thinking in mainstream media. Learn from the innovators and leaders who are solving our nation's most pressing challenges -- and doing it in a way that will lift everyone up. Hope should dominate our discourse, and American Optimist will show you why.
Whole Foods Founder & CEO John Mackey: Conscious Capitalism and Repairing America‘s Division | Season 1 | Ep 15
In 1978, John Mackey co-founded his first natural foods store in Austin, Texas with only $45,000. Two years later, he and his business partners launched the first Whole Foods Market, which quickly became the nation's fastest-growing organic grocery store. In 2017, Amazon acquired the company for over $13 billion.
In this episode, the Whole Foods Founder and CEO discusses his journey from democratic socialism to "Conscious Capitalism" -- the title of his book in defense of free markets and how business, conducted properly, can elevate humanity. He also explains the cultural divide in America today as a clash of three worldviews - traditional, modern, and progressive - and describes how we can pull the best wisdom from each to bridge division and continue to move our society forward.
Jake Kloberdanz: Cause-Centric Commerce and the Art of Award-Winning Winemaking | Season 1 | Ep 14
Jake Kloberdanz is the CEO and Founder of ONEHOPE Wine, an award-winning vineyard located in the heart of Napa Valley. What sets ONEHOPE apart is its unique business model: every bottle of wine sold helps fund a charitable organization. Kloberdanz is a champion of cause-centric commerce, and to date, ONEHOPE has donated over seven million dollars to organizations that help disadvantaged communities break the cycle of poverty. In this episode, he describes his journey from selling wine out of the back of his car to building a world-class winery that also uplifts its community and advances the role of business in society.
Sal Churi, Keri Findley, and Wesley Chan: Innovators Changing Our World Right Now | Season 1 | Ep 13
This week's episode features three talented and successful innovators behind many game-changing technologies and companies. First is Sal Churi, a former law professor who is now general partner at Trust Ventures -- an Austin-based venture capital firm. Churi helps founders overcome the collision points of innovation and regulation, and explains how 3D printed houses, small modular nuclear reactors, and other breakthroughs can transform our country if we fix the outdated laws holding them back.
Next is Keri Findley, a top innovator in the finance industry who was the first female partner at Third Point, a prominent New York-based hedge fund. She discusses how technology is changing the finance sector in ways that will help working-class Americans better manage and grow their money. Finally, Wesley Chan is an engineer turned venture capitalist who was an early employee at Google. He shares some fascinating insights on the early days at Google, including how Gmail became the world’s number one email service and why it pays to think big.
Former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty: Courage, Accountability, Better Schools, and Safer Cities | Season 1 | Ep 12
Adrian Fenty is currently a founding managing partner at MaC Venture Capital, a former advisor at Andreessen Horowitz, and served as the Mayor of Washington, D.C. from 2007-2011. During his tenure as Mayor, he took on special interests and the teachers' unions, fought for accountability in government and greater opportunities for children while also overseeing a dramatic reduction in violent crime. His courage reshaped the direction of the city and is much needed in our nation today.
In this episode, he discusses his bold, CEO-like approach as Mayor, why he fought to bring performance metrics into government, and how education reform can break the cycle of poverty in the United States. He also shares the companies and innovation that excite him the most as an investor and why he's focused on bringing greater diversity to private equity.
Niall Ferguson: Why Civilizations Rise & Fall / Will Decentralized Finance Change the World... Again | Season 1 | Ep 11
Niall Ferguson is a renowned historian, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, and prolific author of more than a dozen best-selling works on economics, culture, and politics. His newest book, "Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe,” examines how our leaders and societies have dealt with disasters, including pandemics, and how we must learn from the past to better manage future crises.
In this episode, Ferguson explains why the rise and fall of civilizations do not fit into predictable patterns and cycles. He does not see American decline as inevitable and holds out that America’s best days may yet be ahead -- if it can stay on the right path. Ferguson also pulls back the curtain on the Chinese Communist Party, revealing the ways in which the CCP's strengths are exaggerated and why the United States’ support for smart policy and innovation will bolster its dominance in the years ahead.
Balaji Srinivasan: Bitcoin, China, the "Woke" Mob, and the Future of the Internet | Season 1 | Episode 10
Balaji Srinivasan is a bold and forward-thinking writer, investor, and entrepreneur, who was formerly the Chief Technology Officer of Coinbase and general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Currently, he's launching innovative ventures, such as his 1729 Project, while also advocating for cryptocurrency and the larger decentralized finance movement.
In this episode, Srinivasan explains how to understand the world by looking through the lenses of three competing factions: the Chinese Communist Party, the "woke" mob, and cryptocurrency maximalists. He also discusses topics ranging from decentralized social media and startup cities to network states and what makes him optimistic on aspects of American innovation.
Best quote, “The adolescent egos of the woke university crowd are not an alternative governing philosophy for any society”
Stephen Harper the realist who understood and promoted Canada’s interests and reputation on the international stage. Contrary to the governing fool today..
“I’m pretty awesome…”
Please have Ben Avery on the show. He’s a innovator in pig herding.