Erik and co-host Anuj Abrol (@nujabrol) interview Keith Rabois (@rabois), newly announced GP at Founders Fund.
Keith starts out by talking about why he joined Founders Fund and the reason that the structure of VC means we don’t see more people moving from one fund to another. They talk about the future of venture and whether there will be more M&A in the space and where he sees things going in the next 10 years. Keith explains why being an effective VC is much more an art than a science.
Erik asks about Keith’s goals at this point after all that he has already accomplished and why it’s thus far not been possible to scale one’s investing model beyond one’s self. Keith also has a well-known theory about breaking down businesses into equations and Erik asks whether one can do the same with careers as well.
Keith recounts the story of working for Reid Hoffman and Peter Thiel at PayPal and how he has learned to trust his instincts in the absence of specific quantitative metrics. He talks about why being vertically integrated is important for a startup, why getting the timing right is part of a founder’s job (and can’t be a founder’s excuse for failure), and why in his view founder quality trumps all other factors when evaluating a business.
He also talks about some of his requests for startups, including an integrated fitness and nutrition company. They also talk about some of the places where he agrees or disagrees with prominent thinkers in tech and how Keith’s politics and contrarianism have evolved.
Quotable Lines From This Episode
"You want to solve your biggest risks first. Mediocre founders solve the easiest risks first. Take the three most risky things and conquer them. I always counsel a founder to address risks in order of difficulty not in order of ease."
"To me when a founder says they didn’t get the timing right, that means they just didn’t do their job."
"I focus all on the people and a lot less on the market, a lot less on the product and a hell of a lot less on the technology."
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Venture Stories is brought to you by Village Global and is hosted by co-founder and partner, Erik Torenberg. Colin Campbell is our audio engineer and the show is produced by Brett Bolkowy.