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Garry Tan — Building the world you want to live in

Garry Tan (@garrytan) is a designer and engineer turned early stage investor as a Managing Partner and co-founder at Initialized Capital. In 2019, Tan was listed at #21 on the Forbes Midas List having invested in Instacart, Coinbase, Flexport, Plangrid, Hellosign and many others. Prior to founding Initialized, Garry was a partner at Y Combinator for nearly five years where he advised and funded over 600 companies and more than a thousand founders. With all of that, Garry is incredibly talented and insightful, humble, thoughtful and empathetic.

In this episode, Garry talks about building the world he want to live in, how refugee ancestors has influenced his worldview, navigating the idea maze as a founder, his $200M mistake and how parenthood has changed his life.

Updated on April 17
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Key Smash Notes In This Episode

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Garry talks about how we should remember how our institutions reacted to the pandemic and how society's that respect science like South Korea and Taiwan but also individual liberty.

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Garry talks about what he and his partner Alexis refer to as the "fifth estate" or the rise of citizen journalism powered by the Internet to get better information, faster.

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Garry talks about Initialized's remote-first set up and software enabled voting.

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Garry talks about how an early love for computers changed the entire trajectory of his life and lifted him out of a tough upbringing.

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Garry talks about what he misses about being a founder and engineer now that he is a full-time investor.

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Garry shares a story about how he turned down the opportunity to start a company with his friends and Peter Thiel to stay at Microsoft and how that mistake cost him $200M.

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Garry talks about his worldview and why being an immigrant gives you certain advantages as a founder.

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Garry talks about his friend Chris Dixon's blog post about the idea maze and what's he's doing to help map it for founders.

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Garry talks about the challenges and rewards of balancing fatherhood and work.

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Garry talks about how he was inspired to start making YouTube videos to share advice with founders after meeting Casey Neistat.

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Kyle talks about a blog post he wrote in 2014 about a "high rate of learning" being the highest form of compensation at a startup and whether he still believes that today.

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Garry talks about how he believes the meme around there being "too much capital chasing too few ideas" is wrong.

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Garry shares a piece of advice he received from an early employer of his about not being limited by one job title.

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