Inventing the Future
The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish
Josh Wolfe, co-founder of Lux Capital discusses how to unearth the unexplored ideas that will reshape our future. We also talk parenting, decision making, and which generation has the best rap. --- For comprehensive show notes on this episode, including a full edited transcript, go to https://fs.blog/podcast/ Is your brain hungry for more? Don't miss out! Sign up for our weekly "Brain Food" at https://fs.blog/newsletter/ Follow @farnamstreet on Twitter for mind-expanding content.
In this episode
- 00:51 - What does Josh Wolfe think about the future?
- 02:06 - What does Lux Capital do?
- 03:33 - How do you distinguish real visionaries from the charlatans?
- 06:16 - How do you get the best deals in venture capital?
- 07:56 - How do you get someone who are both great at science and business?
- 09:55 - What are the patterns of successful leaders and entrepreneurs?
- 12:04 - What is a big negative trait for a CEO?
- 14:20 - How can being a parent prepare you for being a better entrepreneur ?
- 15:41 - What is one key to success in life?
- 28:14 - What sucks?
- 30:42 - How do you go from knowing nothing to starting a company in a complex industry?
Smash Notes summary for this episode
What does Josh Wolfe think about the future?
Inventing the future is the best way to predict the future.
What does Lux Capital do?
Lux Capital is funding people who disagree with the consensus and have their own view of the future.
How do you distinguish real visionaries from the charlatans?
Most important companies that are going to exist, have not existed before, so to fund them one has to take risk ,and yet while technology changes, but human nature is a constant, and there's always going to be fraud. By funding scientists, which already go through publications and peer reviews, Lux gets to fund people who know how to backup findings with evidence.
How do you get the best deals in venture capital?
According to Josh Wolfe, the best way to get returns in venture is to have people agree with you, but later, meaning you'd want to seek out undiscovered teams, and convince them to take your money, while no one else is looking at them.
How do you get someone who are both great at science and business?
Some of the greatest entrepreneurs in history have never ran a business before, but they were passionate about their products and figured out the rest. In science, Lux is looking for brilliant people who also have an ego to feed, someone who knows what they are doing in science, and also want to be rich.
What are the patterns of successful leaders and entrepreneurs?
The best CEOs can tell great stories and inspire others to follow them.
But there are of course storytellers who are also excellent con artists.
What is a big negative trait for a CEO?
Control freaks who want to be involved in every decision don't often do well.
How can being a parent prepare you for being a better entrepreneur ?
Patience. You can try every technique and tactic in your arsenal, but your kids wouldn't budge. It helps to learn how to be patient in those situations.
What is one key to success in life?
Luck and timing play a huge role in success and failure. You might be in a good mood and write an investment check that you would not have done in bad mood. No way to control that, but you can maximize randomness and optionality and cheaply as possible, generating more chances of successes than failures.
The best of technologies start when someone sets to make a product that beats on that sucks.
How do you go from knowing nothing to starting a company in a complex industry?
The worst case scenario, you don't succeed, but otherwise it's mostly an upside. Talk to people, read, understand the field, do your diligent and grow your knowledge over time. Eventually you learn enough and you are no longer just a crazy person with an idea. You get to meet people who know it all, and eventually you put a team together to execute.