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Village Global's Venture Stories

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Village Global's Venture Stories takes you inside the world of venture capital and technology, featuring enlightening interviews with entrepreneurs, investors and tech industry leaders. The podcast is hosted by Village Global partner and co-founder Erik Torenberg. Check us out on the web at villageglobal.vc/podcast for more.
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John Katzman (@johnkatzman), CEO of Noodle, joins Erik on this episode to discuss:- John’s theory that tech has had less of an impact on education than people thought it would because it’s been grafted on rather than causing a rethinking of how education is delivered.- Why the “fundamentalist capitalists” were wrong about markets solving the problems with education.- His thoughts on income share agreements.- Why any degree should always involve active learning throughout a person’s life.- The fact that he thinks post-COVID no less than 50% of the grad school experience will remain online and will progress towards being completely virtual.- His requests for innovation in the space.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Pete Flint (@peteflint), partner at NFX, joins Erik on this episode. It was recorded as part of an On Deck Angels event. They discuss:- Pete’s journey from Trulia to investor.- Why over time he became less focused on the idea and strategy of a team and more on the team itself and its ability to execute.- Why it’s a mistake to have a portfolio of growth channels, and why instead a company should be world-class at one channel.- His information diet.- The two phases of PropTech and the problems worth solving today.- Why when it comes to content, frequency beats quality.- The new wave of marketplaces and why creating a UX that’s 5-10X is a great way to attract supply.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Delian Asparouhov (@zebulgar) of Varda and Founders Fund, and Chris Power (@2112Power), founder and CEO of Hadrian, join Erik on this episode to discuss:- What they're working on and how they're bringing tech to industrial manufacturing.- How Chris navigated the idea maze with Hadrian, a company with aims to build space and defense components 2X faster.- The three types of space companies: satellite operators, launch operators, and supply chain companies. - Where they would be investing in space today.- Their requests for startups, including a "Dell for satellites."- The challenges of low-frequency iteration cycles.- The aim to create software that provides "an API for the supply chain."- Why it's important to build full-stack solutions in low NPS industries.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Mercedes Bent (@mercebent), partner at Lightspeed, joins Erik and co-host Anne Dwane to discuss:- What Mercedes and the EdTech space in general learned from General Assembly, a company ahead of its time.- Her market map of EdTech and why she says it should perhaps be called LearnTech rather than EdTech.- The future of community and social-driven learning, including why peer-to-peer learning is so effective.- Her thoughts on corporations as credentializers and why she hasn’t been optimistic in the past about credentialling moving away from universities.- Mercedes, Anne, and Erik’s requests for startups in the space, including a TikTok-like community for career development, a ubiquitous child care company, and a talent marketplace that builds its own supply.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Andrew Wilkinson (@awilkinson) co-founder of Tiny, was interviewed by Andrew Barry of On Deck at a special event. They discussed:- His start as a designer and how great product and design became the common thread that runs through the businesses he tries to buy.- How to think about building a moat around you when you’re an individual versus a brand.- What he means when he says he “tries to buy businesses that are like New Zealand — in the middle of nowhere, quietly successful, and away from nuclear war.”- How he analyzes businesses and the diligence that he does on them.- How to think about customer acquisition when you don’t have a big budget.- His advice for first-time founders.- Why he’s excited about the podcasting space.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Richard Vedder, author of Restoring The Promise: Higher Education in America, joins Erik to discuss:- The origins of the myth that higher education is the key to career success.- The unintended consequences of student loans, including the fact that colleges raised tuition dramatically in response to the increase in borrowing.- The key pieces of government regulation that impacted higher education and why the GI Bill led to an explosion in the number of universities.- Where he agrees and disagrees with Bryan Caplan and Peter Thiel.- The history and evolution of colleges in the US.- The fact that the earnings gap between college and non-college educated workers is not due to what a student has learned but rather that they have demonstrated the determination to get in to college in the first place.- Why colleges have been so resilient.- What he would do if he was starting a new university from scratch today.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Yasmin Razavi (@yasminrazavi), GP at Spark Growth, and Alex Bouaziz (@ Bouazizalex), founder of Deel, join Erik on this episode to discuss:- The story of the founding of Deel and the "why now" for the business.- Advice for hiring remotely, and why you should be able to close someone in a week and a half.- What culture and team building looks like in a remote company.- How to keep remote employees from feeling like second-class citizens.- How remote work might change post-COVID.- How big companies going fully remote will trickle down to smaller companies.- How to think about compensation for remote employees.- What work will look like in 2035.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Kelly Hook (@KellyHook), program director of the On Deck Customer Success program, joins Erik on this episode to discuss:- How she got into customer success.- How the field of customer success got its start, just 25 years ago.- Common misconceptions about the field.- Why you need to have empathy, a collaborative spirit, and data analysis skills to be successful.- What the On Deck Customer Success program will look like and who it is for.- How customer success professionals can grow in their careers and how the field is evolving.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Ali Tamaseb (@alitamaseb), investor at DCVC and author of Super Founders: What Data Reveals About Billion-Dollar Startups joins Erik to discuss:- His learnings from gathering data on unicorns and comparing them to a random selection of startups that didn’t succeed.- Why the age of a founder doesn’t correlate to success.- Why successful founders aren’t necessarily solving personal problems and are often going through a deliberate ideation process.- How data could make someone a better investor.- Why competition is actually good for startups.- Why successful founders are often opportunistic.- Why there is resistance to these conclusions.- Why being a solo founder doesn’t make you less likely to succeed.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Scott Belsky (@scottbelsky), angel investor and Chief Product Officer at Adobe, joined Erik for an On Deck Angels event to discuss:- How he came to make his first investments in Uber and Pinterest.- How his thinking on investing has evolved and the principles he’s picked up over time.- Why being an operator-investor is the greatest opportunity in the space today, and why founders are drawn to operator angels.- Why he gravitates to the pre-momentum stage — Scott says he likes to focus on the potential of a team rather than the present.- His requests for startups, including for a social network based on receipts, a newsfeed that lets you follow a story, and a way to give developers more credit for their work across the web, and more.- He also talks about which areas he's bearish on, including productivity tools and video for work.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Andrew Yu (@andrewcyu), who is running the On Deck Product Management program, joins Erik on this episode to discuss:- His non-traditional route to becoming a product manager. (Fun fact: He recently worked on the Biden campaign and inauguration).- What the ODPM program will look like, including the “intentional networking” they have planned.- What “productizing yourself” as a product manager looks like.- How the field has evolved over time.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Rex Woodbury (@rex_woodbury) of Index Ventures joins Erik on this episode to discuss:- Where he’s looking to invest in the creator economy.- Why authenticity and vulnerability are replacing performative and status-driven social media.- The shift away from an ad-based model on the web.- Why we won’t see mega-celebrities like Oprah ever again.- What the financialization of culture means and how NFTs and staking fits into it.- His learnings as a student of meme culture.- The future of work and education as work gets disaggregated.- Why gaming is underrated.- His requests for startups.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Katherine Boyle (@KTmBoyle), partner at General Catalyst, joins Erik on this episode recorded as part of an event for Villagers. Due to technical difficulties, Mustafa Khan, part of the team at Village Global, conducted the first part of the interview. They discuss:- Katherine’s focus on narrative when evaluating founders: “who’s the protagonist and what are they solving?”- The fact that Katherine doesn’t have strong frameworks for investing — for her it’s about how the story makes her feel.- How she spots extraordinary founders by looking for people who “don’t have a talk track.” These founders think about everything from first principles.- Katherine’s idea that: “The most extraordinary founders are also historians. They get information obsessively because they are so paranoid they might be missing something." - Why founders shouldn’t be afraid to be serious. "You know you're being serious when people are laughing at you."- Why founders should always be transparent about the state of the business. “Authentically owning what is weak but having a plan for making it not weak is something I don't see enough in founders,” Katherine says.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Kyla Scanlon (@kylascan) and Tom White (@ TomJWhiteIV), who are running On Deck Investing, join Erik on this episode to discuss:- Why managing your own psychology is as important as your asset allocation.- How to think about your own “life portfolio” holistically, instead of just paying attention to your investment portfolio.- Why it’s “never been a better or worse time to be an investor” and how On Deck Investing can help.- Why investing is like a liberal art, and how you can become a better investor by learning from economics, psychology, philosophy, and more.- What they wish they knew about investing when they got started.- What the On Deck Investing program will look like and who is a good fit for it.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Julia Galef (@juliagalef), author of The Scout Mindset, joins Erik on this episode to discuss:- Why everyone, including entrepreneurs, should want to see reality more clearly.- The fact that the bottleneck to more rationality is not lack of knowledge, but lack of motivation to see the world as it really is.- Why the “soldier mindset” is the default mindset and why signalling keeps it that way.- Why thinking probabilistically has a calming psychological effect.- How to adopt the scout mindset by thinking in bets, considering what you’d do if another person was in your shoes, and noticing where you’re defensive of your beliefs.- How to get your organization to adopt a scout mindset.- Her thoughts on changing minds with mistake theory vs. conflict theory.- The evolution of the rationality space over time.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Pete Flint (@peteflint), partner at NFX, joins Erik on this episode. It was recorded as part of an event for Villagers. They discuss:- How to gain ground in a downturn as a startup by doubling down on the things that are working.- Lessons from starting Trulia during the Great Recession, when no one was buying homes.- How and why to “turn all fixed costs to variable costs.”- Ideas for how to do teambuilding in an all-remote environment.- Predictions for the future of work post-COVID.- The differences in the fundraising landscape during COVID.- Why founders should be transparent about the state of their business with their investors and board.- How to go from a product manager (founder) to company manager (CEO).- Where he’s investing these days and why he’s excited about labor marketplaces.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Austin Rief (@austin_rief), co-founder of Morning Brew, and Nik Sharma (@mrsharma), investor, advisor, and operator at Sharma Brands, join Erik to discuss:- Their direct-to-consumer investment theses.- Interesting ways that media companies are starting to get into commerce, like the hockey podcast that created a bestselling flavored vodka.- Why it's a "game of audience in the direct-to-consumer world." They say that distribution is the key now.- The difference between community and fandom and why people often confuse the two.- Where the whitespace is and their requests for startups.- The three stages of direct-to-consumer and examples of great DTC 3.0 brands.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Justin Kan (@justinkan), investor and entrepreneur, joins Erik on this episode. It was recorded as part of a special event for Villagers. They discuss:- The evolution of how Justin approached mental health.- His playbook for being happier.- Why he decided to pull the plug at Atrium with money in the bank.- Why you should “go slow to go fast later” when you’re running an early-stage company.- How to know if you’re hiring at the right speed.- Why you should regularly do a calendar audit.- How to deal with an employee who is unhappy.- How to be authentic and transparent at work.Check out Justin's podcast at https://listen.justin.quest and YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfRtwc6K_VU9N4OjNnU2P7gThanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Emmanuel Straschnov (@estraschnov), founder and co-CEO of Bubble, and KP (@thisiskp_) of On Deck, join Erik on this episode to discuss:- The story of Bubble, which was founded in 2012.- How no-code is changing the creation process for startups and the fact that they've seen companies raise millions of dollars without a single engineer.- The phases of the evolution of no-code.- Why they hope that in five years people don't talk about no-code as a separate category anymore.- Some of the cool projects started by On Deck No-Code Fellows.- Their advice on getting started in no-code.- Where they would be investing if they were running a fund focused on the space.Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
Eli Dourado (@elidourado) of the Center for Growth and Opportunity, joins Erik on this episode to discuss:- Why Eli wants to radically increase GDP per capita and the current bottlenecks to achieving that.- Why he thinks the 2020s will be the decade of atoms.- Why amazing scientific breakthroughs like CRISPR haven't translated into new products or treatments.- Why he's excited about geothermal power and how it could change geopolitics if its potential is realized.- His breakdown of his position as a technological optimist and cultural pessimist.- Where he agrees or disagrees with Tyler Cowen, Bryan Caplan, Peter Thiel, and Samuel Hammond.- Why entrepreneurs shouldn't shy away from areas with regulatory risk, since "that's where all the action happens."Thanks for listening — if you like what you hear, please review us on your favorite podcast platform. Check us out on the web at www.villageglobal.vc or get in touch with us on Twitter @villageglobal.Want to get updates from us? Subscribe to get a peek inside the Village. We’ll send you reading recommendations, exclusive event invites, and commentary on the latest happenings in Silicon Valley. www.villageglobal.vc/signup
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Comments (4)

Underdog Underdog

the audio quality when played at higher speeds sucks...

Nov 26th
Reply

Peter Monien

Great book. Ordered it and loved it. Regarding 1:37h and "participatory politics": I would have a suggestion how to achieve this even if the incumbent parties don't support it: https://upgradingdemocracy.com/.

Nov 24th
Reply

Fabiano PS

1:53:00 Stillman will be remembered longer than Ghandi, because he shipped. It's hugely about the moral purity that can rally followers up. Like Vitalik does

May 3rd
Reply

Ryan Thomas

the Bitcoin block reward isn't running out in 20 years... it's 120 years 😒

Sep 10th
Reply
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