🐕 Greg Gottesman. How one person started a dog-hotel revolution.
Family life with three kids, the rising costs of education and where AI and machine learning will take us. Venture Capitalist Greg Gottesman shares business stories, as well as tips on parenting and education. It's a blast!
Welcome to the redhead podcast.
This is your host,
my guest in the show's Greg Guardsmen.
Greg is a venture capitalists from Sunny Seattle,
and after doing a 20 year marathon at Madrona Capital,
Greg has recently started a fund of his own.
It's called Pioneers Career Labs,
and it's both era startup studio and a starter fund.
they come up with an idea for an exciting startup.
They tested to see whether there is a market,
and if they find that there's a market,
they fund the idea and take it to the moon.
this is one of the best things that has happened to Seattle startup Baker System in years. Rex, come on the show to talk about the lessons he's learned as a VC for over 20 years as well as being a dad. There's three wonderful kids and how those two worlds work together. Let's dive right in. Greg. Welcome to the show. Tell me why Seattle. Why not San Francisco of Silicon Valley?
For what we're doing, I can't think of a better place in Seattle to do it. Just the quality of the of the engineering talent here I think is second to none. I think there are some great entrepreneurs, but there's a lack of capital, and so way could be a piece of filling that hole a little bit. Then I think that's, you know, a great opportunity for us, and hopefully we can create some great
companies. How did the idea for the labs come
My background is that I was at my drone up for 20 years,
and while I was there,
I helped to start a bunch of companies from scratch.
So it was involved early days in Redfin,
On then started this company called rover dot com,
uh took place because of a really bad experience we had with our family dog at a local kennel.
Now the company will do $400 million you know,
in buildings through that through the marketplace,
and it's just it's just become the largest pet service's company in the world.
That was really,
really rewarding as an experience.
So one of the things that I went back to my partners at Madrona and I said I wonder if we could do this more systematically,
as opposed to ad hoc that was a then I started something at Madrona after that called Madrona Labs,
which essentially was Could we do more Rovers?
We do more red fitness. Can we do more Z two lives and we started creating companies from scratch and one of them first thing we did was a company called what was called spare five at the time. But now it's called mighty A I, which is a great company in the machine learning area. And way did another one, which was called reply. Yes, changed the name to message yesterday was sold to north from recently. And so the idea, though, was could we take what we were doing at Madrona Labs and really scale the scale it up much more significantly? And, um, I thought we could, and that was sort of the the initial sort of, uh,
colonel of the idea for what now is Pioneer Square Labs importantly and wanted to do it with some great people. And so So we have that initial team and off we went, raised money from a bunch of venture capital firms and and started the studio building these companies from scratch on dso. We've raised 27 little more than $27 million for the studio. And then we just raised a venture fund to go alongside the studio to invest both in the studio companies as well as in external companies that have nothing to do with the studio. We're trying to build a platform for great entrepreneurs here in the Pacific Northwest. That sort of Yeah, the idea seems like it's working. Yeah, I think it's working.
Let's step back for a second. How did you become a VC? You haven't undergrad degree from Stanford and Joint MBA and J D degree from horror it. That's a pretty impressive resume. And a lot of people with this background would probably go work on Wall Street or maybe consulting some like that. Why Venture capital?
I was going to go and work.
I wasn't one of these people that thought,
I want to be a V C.
That was not my,
the way I thought about it.
I've always been a person that that focus is really on being around great people.
That was my number One criterion was,
how can I early in my career,
put myself around just great people.
And so I have spent the last summer of my JD MBA at Goldman Sachs doing Tech a Manet and Banking,
and I really enjoyed it,
and I would have been very happy to go back.
I had an offer in both San Francisco and New York, but my wife, who's also from Seattle, said on She's an attorney and she's like, You're gonna at least try to find something in Seattle And I said Yes, yes, of course I'm happy to do that But, you know, I was gonna do a little bit more of a perfunctory search because I kind of thought it be fun to be in New York for a couple years. And so I talked with all the usual suspects. I got some actually really interesting job offers. And then I talked with this. This group called that point was Madrona Investment. It was not adventure fun fact. It was more of a private equity fund. They're doing,
you know, looking at sort of less technology deals at the time. Way had a relationship with the Basque group out of Texas, and we're looking at big, bigger business opportunities to leverage these four amazing individuals who had just historic accomplishments and business. Jerry Grinstein, Bill Ruckelshaus, Tom Wahlberg and Paul Goodrich. I thought to myself, Gosh, you know, I just really admire these four individuals. I think it was probably 1/3 of what I was gonna take it. Coben sacks in terms of the pay. But that wasn't just felt like the key was to be around again. People that I really felt like I could,
you know, aspire to be one day. And so I joined this group, and, um, you know, that was 20 years later, you know, I was still there, so it was because they're just really incredible people. And then I was sort of part of Tom. All Berg had made this investment in this company called Amazon, which wasn't Amazon at the time. And, uh, we started seeing a whole bunch of Maur business plans around tech,
and I sort of suggested that we should go and and we made we made a bunch of investments, were very successful, and I suggested we should think about raising a fund of outside money. Thio basically invested more of these companies more significantly, and we were successful in doing that. And, you know, looking back now in Madrid is raised over a 1,000,000,000 1/2 dollars have been really sort of a sort of the key venture firm here in the Northwest for for the last two decades. Really? So
you mentioned something very important that you know,
you didn't go,
the Goldman Sachs wrote.
And instead you just went to work with people who you admired him so you could learn from and just have Yes,
And that brings us kind of to college because that's in the way what you learned from college.
But I still remember my college days,
So that's probably the best part.
All the friends.
You meet him kind of how you work together.
the moment this changing college is becoming really expensive,
would you get out of it at the end of the day?
Is not entirely obvious,
except for the network may be right.
And then we have the Pioneer Square Labs where,
like if you know how to code and you want a job, you could probably better off just coming here in ST Greg. Do you have a job, right like I'm, like, 15 and I'm awesome at what I do. And you might have a really good experience, right? Better than college for some. So what do you think? Going forward, right? Going from where you were 20 years ago And what what that experience was like And maybe where do you think it's gonna go 20 years from now? How? How should people think about college versus all the other options we have
It's a great It's a great question,
and it's not an easy one time.
I did actually a Ted X talk on the topic of student loans,
which I think are have become oppressive.
I'm still a big fan of college.
I think not.
It's not just about what you learn in terms of functionally,
but I think there's a social element to it.
I think it's a timeto where you can find yourself.
you can go and explore a whole bunch of different areas that might be of interest to you.
So I still think,
college is the right choice for people that you know,
Oh, it I do think that we have to be open toe different types of options, But again, I'm a big fan of contract. I've taught the last 17 years at the University of Washington, in the computer science department and in the business school. I still think there's a massive role for universities and colleges to play in preparing all of us. For all the change that's happening, especially young people for the changes happening, and I don't think it's a good idea to just skip that. That being said, I think we have to rethink Rethink College a little bit. So, for example, one of the things I talk about it in that in that had X talk is that there's a stigma with regard to online education, for example,
and I think all of us have Thio decide at some point. Hey, you know, maybe for certain types of of students, that's actually a really good option, a better option and cheaper option on dhe. We a sort of employers need to sort of look at those options and take them seriously because this idea of of ratcheting up these incredible amounts of loans and basically saddling yourself for the next 20 years with loans that are very difficult to pay back doesn't make any sense. And so we've kind of gotten out of whack there. So I think we need to fix that. That being said, I still would always encourage someone to go to college if they, you know, if they can get in and and do it.
Actually, it's a great point. That brings me to another question. How do you help students or maybe encourage them to find their way, given how expensive colleges have become and the questionable return investment in many cases, um, on one hand, you can go and do science and engineering and make a lot of money right now. On the other hand, you might want to follow your passion and study history and French literature and arts, and maybe not make as much money would be happier, right? How do you How do you decide? Or, you know, what's your advice for students today? Who, uh, who are choosing their major, who are applying to colleges how to think about their future? Given these costs,
I think when we when you and I and people in our generation were thinking about schools,
it was expensive,
but it wasn't the same kind of expensive.
This'd idea of the amount of loans that people would take on where nowhere near what they are today.
So I think parents and students need to beam or thoughtful about not just what schools you could get into,
but also what what burdens are you taking on as part of going thio the school?
And does that make sense?
It's still very easy to get loans,
and the reason it's so easy to get loans as the student loan is the worst kind of loan that you can get in the world because you can't get rid of it.
It's You can't declare bankruptcy to get around it.
It follows you forever.
It's just a terrible,
terrible type of loan.
that's made it easy for lenders than t make these loans more accessible.
But the downside of that,
as his people that have abused both the lenders and then students and parents, have abused the amount of lungs that they take on. You have to be careful about that. I also think, you know, I think it's right to ask, are you studying on preparing yourself for the right kind of jobs of you major in French literature. There's nothing wrong with that. But if that if you're majoring in French literature and you're taking on 100 plus $1000 in loans that that probably doesn't make much sense, it's hard to say that. But that's just true. Your major majoring in computer science and taking on $100,000 of loans that actually it's more reasonable because the kinds of jobs and the payment and in the salaries for engineers is just so much higher than they are for other types of major. So just being thoughtful and smart about it, I do think that we're gonna go through in the next 20 years a very significant change as significant as the Industrial Revolution agricultural revolution as machine learning and artificial intelligence starts to take over Maur types of jobs, I think obviously truck drivers, post office workers,
distribution center workers, but also accountants compliance folks, there's, you know there's there's most jobs are going to be affected in some way by this this title wave called Machine Learning's you know, our artificial intelligence and I think there's gonna be a premium on people that can think, and so in some ways, I feel like the liberal arts education, which has kind of gone out of favor over the last 10 years. Where folks haven't started, really put a strong preference on the stem fields, which, and for good reason they're the best. Job engineer is sort of the new doctor lawyer. But my sense is is that as machines start to do more and more things, I think there's gonna be a renaissance for liberal arts. Andi just being able to think well, that being said, don't take on $100,000 in loans on major in something that where it's completely unclear whether or not you're gonna be able to
pay those back right. It's an interesting conundrum, right? Right. If you want to pay your loans quickly, then you should taken degree. That will do it soon, but if you want to think 20 years from now that maybe take the opposite path. But you have to decide for yourself which one is going to be right now, giving you a situation
or, for example, let's say you get into us tow estate school, and do you really want to study something that's more and a private school. That's much more expensive. If you want to study something, it's more, you know, and let's say in literature or something like that, then it may make more sense for you to consider both as parents and his studio, something where the loans are going to be less less overwhelming. You don't want to say that. You want to say, as a parent, just go to any school that you could get into the best one you could get into. We'll figure out a way to do it, Um, but for a lot of folks, that has turned into very difficult situation.
Hey there. At dads and moms and other listeners, this is just a quick commercial break we'll actually read that is completely commercial free. But this is a gentle reminder that if you're listening to this podcast and you like it, please go right. It's on iTunes or whatever you say. You're listening to your podcasts and let your friends know email them, tweet them slack, whatever. Wherever you are, just let them know about this podcast. It will really help spread the message, get more people here, and then I can spend a lot more time doing this podcast. And of course, if you know somebody who'd like to sponsor it and just send me a ton, a ton of money, let me know or let them know. All right, let's get back to our program.
I've really enjoyed every stage of,
of being a dad.
I have two boys and one girl and,
each each phase,
whether it's through kindergarten all the way through now,
High school has its own great rewards and challenges.
And I think I'm just glad that I,
made time to sort of experience each phase as much as I as I could.
I have this philosophy,
unlike they will share with you,
in life you get to pick two and 1/2 of these four things. Okay. One is family. One is worker school, another is friends. And then the fourth is hobby. So, uh, work slash school family, friends, hobby. And you get to pick two and 1/2. So but I don't think you get to pick off for some people think you get to pick off for and so you can pick off or you're just gonna be mediocre. It not all of them. And so I consciously chosen, you know,
work and family. Those were two. And then I do 1/2 probably for I don't even know if it's 1/2 terribly. It's like exercise and things like that. But so what that means is that I sacrifice friends so we do stuff with friends, but very, very occasionally
you can just hire friends, right?
But not as you know,
I know people that really that's an extremely important part of their life on guy.
And I totally I understand that you just have to make choices.
And so I don't think you can have an extremely active social life,
be a great parent,
work crazy hours and also,
have a serious hobby.
It just does not enough hours in the day.
So I think you have to choose.
And if you choose,
then I think you can really optimize around the things that you want to focus.
And so I'm probably my wife tells me I spent a lot of time on work.
I really enjoy love What I do.
the idea of being able to create companies from scratches like it's ridiculous that they passed that I'm getting paid to do this.
I'll do it for free.
So you're right. People are doing every every good point S o I love I love what I do. I really do love being a parent on those of the things that this phase of my life that I'm folks and maybe when the kids go away to school, then I'll have a whole new like and then try to find a hobby or something else that I can focus more time on. But right now, those are the things I'm focused on.
So you mentioned that before he gets that kids, your wife was an attorney while you were in the sea. But then, by the time you had your third kid, the family really needed her. And she made a decision to stay at home and raise the family instead of continuing with her job. Which emission was a difficult decision to make in a difficult transition. How'd you guys managed to keep the family together and going to keep the relationship together all these years? Giving that you got to keep your job and she had to switch Teoh to be a mom out of the job that she's still after the time.
No, I think I think just making sure that being supportive of each other's choices, I think is that is that is the hard part. And I don't think I do that perfectly. And But I tried to be supportive of her choices because I do think if you were attorney at, like a big firm like like Shannon Waas, I think there days where she probably thinks Gosh, you know And she sees some of her friends that have risen up now to partner and all these other things, and I think she probably wonder sometimes should did I choose the right path and I think, 99% of time, she probably I know she thinks that she did. But it's helpful to have a supportive spouse that that reminds her of, you know, that this is, you know, supportive of that of that choice that that was best for our family. I tried to do that, but I probably don't do that enough
because in the way there is no point in chasing some goals,
like like being a partner in a law firm.
that's that's great.
But that's because I think we've been trained especially,
going through school and university.
You're trained to try and achieve the eight grade,
and I try to catch up to your peers,
have surpassed them right,
And being a part of it is just a thing,
but they really like,
Was it meaningful?
In your case,
it's like raising a family is meaningful,
like now it's Ah, it's in many ways more important accomplishment and somebody being apartment important. There's just they jump through the hoops every other partner jumped through right. So it's like, How important is it? Really?
You are so 100% correct,
and I think as I've matured So you're coming to this,
But like the more you see the kids grab,
the more you realize how important that is.
And one thing that I I want to tell you is that the impact that parents have on their Children is,
much bigger than we'd like to believe,
and I even see that to myself.
The impact that my parents I have on my both positive and negative characteristics is huge um,
I think you're so many of us are fighting whether it's anxiety or stress or all those things.
And a lot of that comes from what happened to us,
not to get all Freudian here,
but But we have a really big influences on our Children,
and we can screw them up way can do good things.
I'm sure all of us, no matter how great of a parent you are, you're gonna script. You get a little bit because that's just part of the way this game is played. Andi think the goal is to try to do, you know, as little damage as you can and try to be supportive. But it's really hard. And and now that my oldest is about to go off to college, one of my one of the things I stay up late sometimes thinking about is Did I do everything that I could to be a great dad to Zach? I worry about that. Um, I tried, but there's so much more that I love, too. I just would love to have more time with him,
but you know he's ready, and it's time for him now to go off, and I'll still, of course, be his dad. But it'll be different. He'll be away on dhe, so you've got to really take advantage of that time that you have, as it happens really fast.
It's great to hear, because in the way you're one of the few dads who feels that way, or maybe wants to admit that you feel that way, right? Usually it's gonna put a mom said, like Moms will feel sad because kids leave. Or maybe it's because usually are. A lot of times, at least in American families, Mom's take care of kids so they feel more sad, right? But if you've been around enough, then you do feel
I'm gonna like I'm gonna be a wreck.
Shannon will be much.
She's gonna be probably much more.
She's more of a rock than I am.
I'm gonna be It's gonna be very difficult for me when my kids go away,
and they are just such an important part of the fabric of your life.
Even if you spend a lot of time at work,
it's sort of how you part of how you define yourself and what's important to you.
And you know another thing that I'll tell you that's been really interesting for me has been,
and you have two daughters.
So you get this.
I have two boys and a girl,
and the difference between raising boys and girls is is,
at least for me,
has been very significant.
Um, raising the boys has been a lot easier for me. I just my intuitions about parenting Boys are generally on point, my gut instincts about the right way to parent them. Whether that's punishment or audible way or whatever it is. I just you know, I rock and I get that I look at them and they're much closer to they think more like, I think I understand them when they say something makes sense to me with Ellie, my 16 year old daughter, my instincts are generally wrong now that what's weird is like, you would think, let's say that you were throwing darts on the dart board or like, you know, you could hit like 50% of the time, like my instincts on the boy's air like really high and like so you think I could get at least 50% right on the girls I'm like, No way,
I'm like, way less. And Shannon is such an incredible She's such an incredible parent to bolt that I think it comes much easier to her, especially parenting a girl. But like my instincts are just wrong in terms of what to say when duties when toe give her space when to do different things. And I'll be honest. It's in many ways, being a dad to a girl has been the most challenging, but also the most rewarding experience of my life for that reason, because it's kind of like, you know, like like you're doing a puzzle and it's really not that hard. Yeah, it's fun to complete the puzzle, but it's not the same. Is completing a really hard puzzle,
you know, And to me, raising a daughter is like a much more difficult puzzle, and so I just really enjoy the challenge of it. I'm not. It doesn't come naturally to me like it does. Raising the boys and, uh, yeah, she's been It's just been so interesting. Um,
you doing it mostly by a trail in a row. Go read books.
You should read more books.
A lot of it is learning from my wife,
who has a much better instincts making mistakes.
I think daughters and dads have a special relationship.
I'm so blessed and I don't use that word very often tohave both boys and girls.
But I think just having a girl and just having this experience has just been just really,
So I think part of what it is to I really we call it.
and we have these father daughter dates that we go on and really trying to make sure that I'm spending individual time with her versus just time.
All three of us,
like the boys,
like we could do stuff as a threesome,
you know, like go, you know, throw the ball around, play golf, you know, tennis or whatever it is. And it's like, you know, that sort of doesn't
they don't need individual attention
to Not as much,
we're at least the connection doesn't.
At least this is my perception.
But with my daughter like,
I think she really likes when we go out to like a breakfast together or do something like that,
So and I had to because of my interests are very different than hers.
Like she's very interested in,
in art And in,
crafts and just things that aren't appealing to me generally,
like sports or less interesting to her on Dhe. That's not a black girl thing. It's just, you know, it's Anneli Anneli universes. And so again, the types of things that my boys are interested in like watching sports playing sport. Doing that stuff is the same things I'm interested in someone easy with Ellie. You know, I think one of the tips is you got to kind of meet them where they are supposed trying to drag them into, I think where you are. And so one of the fun things that I did is when she was little. We did the, you know, this father, daughter,
Indian guides group, you know, and we went, and that was just a loan time I spent with her another bunch of dads and daughters. And we did stuff that the girls liked, you know, Um, and I remember it's interesting. I remember those those times because that was a really fun and it becomes harder I'll tell you this now that she's 16 and about start driving becomes harder to get those those times where you couldn't have one on one time and make sure if I had to do it all over again, I would have, I think, spent more one on one time with all of them. But especially with Ellie, because I think, uh, I think that's really important.
And I think you said something really important that I think you have to meet them where they are and understand them from their point of view and then kind of go from there because otherwise is a challenging relationship, right, as opposed to kind of with your voice, You just general basically because they just happily doing what you're
that is interesting.
I think it's a hard challenge to like.
could be a great athlete.
His fascist tall.
My wife and I originally would try toe do what we did with the boys,
is a taker of practice,
you know the soccer and try to force to do soccer and try to force you.
What was interesting was is She just didn't want to do the soccer.
She didn't want to do the softball. She didn't want me. That's that's not what you wanted it And so she just was there. She made it difficult for us to do those things with her, but like the reality was, we wanted her to go to some art class. She was more than happy to do that. It wasn't like her. It was us putting our but we wanted her to do, and I just don't think you have to make it so hard.
So do you think if one of your kids wanted to be an artist, right and go to school for it and then just continue being an artist, Not particularly very high income profession? You would encourage that you knowing what you know Now, would you still try to get a steer them into something where the money prospects the better? Because I know a lot of parents would say like, Yeah, you still have to be a doctor and a lawyer and save you arts for after school activities, right? But then there's other group of parents would say, Yeah, it doesn't matter. You just gotta be, Do what you like doing, and as long as you get good at it, you'll figure out a way. How to make money like I'm just curious where you stand.
probably more on the ladder.
By the way,
I think being an artist used to be something that you and I would say,
like That's not interesting.
Although we're paying designers now,
almost as much as we're paying our our our engineers and you're a great designer.
A great visual designer is one of the most sought after positions in Seattle right now.
So I mean,
these things kind of go up and down,
you know that's being a designer eyes different than maybe being an artist.
there's sometimes you can,
there are ways to monetize some of these skills that I think are really yeah,
you sort of take a just one step beyond the sort of the obvious and say,
Wow, you know, you can use that your interest in art and creativity in an area that's really, really good. Actually, in this case, the reason I say that is that Ellie, my daughter, is she does a lot of graphic design on dhe she's so passionate about. We don't have to tell her to do anything. She just naturally goes and finds opportunities and at school and other places. And it's just it's clearly just a passionate furs. And so my sense is that she's good at it, and she'll and part of the reason she's good at it. I think it's because she loves it. Way have certain sorts of rules at our house in terms of being what we prioritize.
And then we let I think more on the passions that so one of the things that we've said is as like school's important. That's your job. You do well in school or or not. You do well, more like you. Try your harvest. That's just a value that our family has. The other thing is important to us. The same kind of value is is that we support each other. You support your brother and sister. You support your you know your brothers are, and that there's not that's not up for discussion. We tried. One thing that my wife did that I think was so great was early on she decided that we would try to go to. She wants She had the school. She wanted it all seven continents as a family,
just the family before all this went to college. And so at some point during the year, we would try to go somewhere on some vacation, but try to do it and see if we could hit all seven continents. We're not gonna make it, but we're gonna so we're gonna go down until his admission. By here? Yeah, that's right. Delayed for a year. But no way will have hit every single continent but Antarctica. I don't really have a strong desire to go to Antarctica. Shannon does, and so eventually will probably hit Antarctica. But, like,
it was just kind of funny. Kind of almost became a little bit of a game. Okay, you know where we're gonna go and and we've taken those trips as a family. And I think that's brought us all closer together on glad that we did that.
But you said if you were to do it again in a way, you would see if you can put even more attention into your family, right? Because now you're sort of wondering, Why did you do everything. So it's like if you had to do it again, you would try it. You would try to do everything.
It's just so hard,
especially as they get older.
You'll see this as your girls girl up.
Once they start driving,
you don't see them as much anymore.
And so your ability to kind of be a dad,
You're more trying to parent in spots,
and that just is a little more difficult on,
uh and so I hope I'm trying my best.
But it was interesting.
I told my son because I had this epiphany about,
how much impact my parents had in my life.
you know, I want you to know that like, uh, you know where when I've been when I pushed you When I've done all these things, you know, here's sort of why I did it. Here's how I sort of thought about it. And I just tried to explain to him sort of where I was coming from, and I probably before he goes on more of those kinds of conversations because I really want him toe, understand? Sort of, you know, sort of what my philosophy about being his dad in particular has been and and it's been different for each kid. And just so at least he sort of knows When he goes away, he thinks back I go. Here's the yes context.
So maybe in hindsight, we knew in future appearance. It may be worse to do that early on. And like concurrently with parenting,
it's hard. I think one of my mistakes as a parent and I think it comes from my parents is I have very high expectations. So if you accomplish something, I probably don't celebrate, and I don't do this for myself, either. It's a weakness that I have. I don't sort of celebrate the accomplishments
any or is your bar for celebration is just a lot higher than
It's probably no,
it's just higher,
if they're writing a paper and I'm Sam proof reading a paper like I'm not one who is like this is a good paper here.
Some questions I'm more likely to say t really be critical of it,
and Thio Noto push them to try to do even better,
and I listen.
I think that's still the right way to do it.
But I think sometimes,
I think that that with that,
where that could end up is people think,
my Children thinking that they can't ever please their parents.
And that's not the intent, because I want them to know that, like, I am proud of them deeply proud. And that's and that's why I'm pushing so hard on. But it's just a very hard line to walk because, you know, if you you know, if nothing's ever good enough, then what do you think end up with us? Is Children that I think, uh, you know, we're always tryingto two, please in a way that I don't think it's a CZ productive as it might be. So I think that I think what you want to do is have people stripe rexes,
but for themselves not to please someone else. And I don't know that that's something that I trying to impart. Now it's like, you know, it's sort of that internal sense of of pride, sort of like when Steve Jobs said, you know, he asked his father, Why are we paying in the back side of the fence? Is as well as we paint the front side it, who's gonna ever know. And his dad said, You'll know it's like it's that it's like it's building that internal sense of. I want to do this great work for myself versus doing it for my father or for some other external thing. Yeah,
now that you have kids, right? Do you treat the world any different that you maybe did 20 years ago? And that said, Are you worried about where we're heading
there Too difficult questions?
I think being a father was the most religious experience of my or spiritual experience of my life.
It's hard to describe two people that haven't had Children.
at least for me,
how different I felt after becoming a father.
You and I think a lot of it is his biological changes,
your perspectives and on your goals.
I do believe that being a great dad is the most important job that I have.
Don't say that because it sounds good.
I really do believe that I'm worried about where we're headed,
but but more for macro reasons,
you know the way.
We don't seem to be taking care of our planet the way we're so short sighted about saddling this next generation with trillions of dollars of debt,
the way we are treating immigrants,
people not from our country.
And so those are some of those are some areas I think we could really improve on being more empathetic and and just even just for the immigrant one just even just being smart, you know, Historically, we've been the country that is, I think become great because we've been able to recruit the best and brightest to come to our universities. And somehow we lost sight of that. That's it, you know, in the core value of of being that place where people can go toe to create new great things. That being said, I'm optimistic, too. You know, I spent a lot of time teaching. There's so much brilliance in, you know,
that we have in in this next generation of folks. So I'm optimistic that will solve all these problems. But, um, in some ways I feel like we, as it our older generations have been, have been letting down our Children a little bit. And maybe the pendulum will swing back in the other direction. Uh, very these next elections. We started getting taking care of our planet watching, you know. But we're leaving these next generations
well, back Thio Day jobs. If you see, though, because venture capital needs to create returns it and in a fairly short term of the grand scheme of things, right, what you have like maybe five, maybe 10 years to return your fund. But all this challenges in terms of the environment, education are much longer. So not perhaps asking for a solution. But what do you think we can do better in order
to address those things? Well, I think we can, I think I think I think some of the issues around artificial intelligence and machine learning and all the changes that are going to come with that are much more political and societal than they are technological. And so I feel like I think our political system is There's not, I think, optimized for, uh the future the way it has evolved. And I don't know what we do about that exactly. You have politicians that used to be. I think the concept behind our democracy was citizen representatives that would go spend a couple of years and then come back to their communities. And the way it's evolved now is everyone cares so much about being reelected that they forget why they were put there in the first
place. Right? If you never come back from D. C that there's no point of fixing review came from right Or
just you start to worry more about who's giving you money and to win the next election. Then what's the right thing to do? S so my hope is that over time, yeah, we way fix that. I think we're good, you know, as a country, specifically, when you know when we get pushed in, I hope it's just not something catastrophic that pushes us to start to do the right things. I think most venture capitalists, they like big ideas. And I think pitching big, hairy, audacious ideas is much easier to get those funded in the small, short term wind ideas now getting climate change and things like that are harder to get fun because there's not technology around that. But around some of these big certainly on the information technology front and biotech front getting, I think the bigger the idea more audacious it is as long as you have the right people around that the easier it is to go in raise capital.
Speaking of big ideas, what do you think about Ethereum and Bitcoin and other Blockchain applications? Because that seems like a way for the young generation to come out and say, You know what? Instead of going to venture capital, we're just gonna take money our own way from people who believe in our years before we even build it. And then we're gonna build it and created. And then the community will benefit. What do you think about it?
I'm not a huge skeptic on Blockchain.
Uh seems like it's still mostly the domain of speculators.
I can't think of how Blockchain effects anything I do on a day to day basis.
There's no there's no activity that I'm engaged,
and I would argue that you're engaged in anyone's really engaged in where Blockchain really has any influence.
And so maybe it's coming,
I've looked at a you know,
1000 different ideas and Blockchain I'm still struggling to see where the advantages air so much greater that you know the kind of change that would require makes sense.
that people spent billions of dollars in these Kryptos,
and but again that feels almost like the side area,
where it's more about speculation than about really creating value from a business standpoint,
machine learning and a I,
by the way,
But I think in many ways under hyped because already everything we do, every search you make on Google, everything you buy, the recommendations you get on Amazon anything you see on Facebook machine learning driving a lot of that in almost every company has started Thio implement Machine learning into their into their business, and I think we're still very early on. But to me, that is the big You're sort of what are the big trends going on now in technology that I think are our most exciting? I'm skeptical of Blockchain. I'm skeptical of a RV are still I think it'll come, but I think it's just taking a lot longer. Has a lot of these technologies do tow? Make sense? I think you have to get the hardware, and right before, really, you know we'll take off in any meaningful way.
But M. L A. I is happening it's happening now, and I think it's going to be a big deal. I think that's gonna create a huge amount of opportunity for new technology companies. And I think Seattle actually is fortunate to be in the middle of a lot of the best town in those
areas. That sounds very optimistic in That's a great way to look at the future that all advancement technology, like machine learning any I and all the others will actually enable us to do more and better, as opposed to create any kind of problems and challenges so short of an existential crisis killing asshole. What do you think new parents should be paying particular attention to as they're raising their kids?
You're trusting your instincts.
This is a better parent than I am.
Just use a natural.
Just comes just her.
Her her instincts about what to say,
I really one of the great things about doing this with another person is I can't tell you how many times I I watch Shannon parent Andi think to myself was much better than I,
but it is better able to figure out the right things to say at the right times and you know how to comfort and how to be patient.
And I've learned a lot from her.
I think she's learned some things from you,
but not as many.
But I think,
I think so many people are looking for answers outside,
and a lot of times like Ah, you're really learning to trust your own instincts about what to do is really tends to be a good guy. So, for example, sleeping such a difficult thing, especially when you're young Children getting them to sleep. And there's all kinds of techniques and so forth. But we used, you know, I think we do different things for all three kids because each of the kids is different, and the techniques and the things that worked for one kid didn't work for another and the kinds of contraptions that one kid likes, You know, the other kid didn't like, and I think it just you know, you have fun with it and really, hopefully try toe trust your instincts,
everything. I think two that's really fun is just you're just embracing the challenge of it, laughing about the mistakes that you make and don't take. Don't take yourself too seriously. I think it's me. I think you just look back. Especially now that my kids are older. You think about the things that you stressed out about and realize how and significant they they were turned to do that in the moment. But like, one of my kids didn't make a select basketball team one year, and I really thought that he should have made it. And I was so upset. You know what? Why? I mean, he was he clearly wasn't gonna play either high school basketball or professional basketball.
So So why was I So because you're high achiever it it's important, you know that Maybe you experience this too. But like when it comes to your Children, like, you know, uh, much, Yeah, If I feel like my my Children didn't get a fair shake, I'm much more upset than him. I feel I didn't get a fair shake, and I think part of it it's too. It's just, you know, realizing that just let the small things kind of go.
Well, thanks. Great for coming. Thank you. Sharing your thoughts. It's been awesome.
And I don't claim any expertise other than it really has been incredible privilege to be a father for three through three kids.
So I really,
people ask me what I really recommend it.
I think it's one of those things where sometimes people like is this the right thing to do?
if you look at it like over the course of one year,
this is crazy.
But if you look at it and say,
you 20 years from now how am I gonna feel if I,
I have this this person in my life, this new person and the answer, I think for big decision I mean the answers. Big decisions are better made in the context of looking at it over many years, it was just that you're too You're you're not gonna get any sleep. So it's been just awesome. And and now that they're again older, I just can't wait for, you know, for these next listen space right before college, which is a really fun phase two
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