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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.
533 Episodes
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Kevin Leland (@kmleland), founder and CEO of Halo, and Phil Taylor, Bayer’s Open Innovation Lead, join Erik to discuss:- Why the current RFP process resembles recruiting in the 1990s pre-LinkedIn and Monster, and how Halo can change that.- What open innovation is and some of its success stories.- How to connect companies and scientists to drive innovation.- How to create an innovation ecosystem.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
Noah Smith (@noahpinion), Bloomberg Opinion writer and author of the Noahpinion Substack, joins Erik to discuss:- Why colleges should try to emulate the Cal State and CUNY systems, which Noah says provide the best value for dollars in education.- Why the US should want to copy the Japanese and Korean healthcare systems, and the power that a national health insurance program has to drive cost down.- Why the oil shock precipitated the great stagnation, and the evolution (and non-evolution) of energy sources over the years.- What climate economics got wrong and why the revolution in green energy is will not only be about reducing carbon emissions but rather the abundance of cheap energy.- What people get wrong about inflation and monetary policy and how the fed really works.- What the US should do to increase innovation, and Noah’s take on whether science and commercialization of discoveries is slowing down or not.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
Caleb Watney (@calebwatney), Director of Innovation Policy at Progressive Policy Institute, joins Erik to discuss:- How views have changed on whether we are in a great stagnation, and what someone from the 1970s who was brought to 2021 would think about the technological changes in the interim.- Whether a technological slowdown is inevitable or a choice that a society makes.- The fact that COVID drastically accelerated adoption of technology that was already in existence.- Caleb’s view that there has been a slowdown in both the pace of scientific discoveries as well as the commercialization of those discoveries.- The decline of the industrial research lab and the fact that there is more competition in technology today.- Whether certain institutions need to be “retired” after a certain period of time.- The incentives that distort immigration policy and the possibility of turning immigration officers into “talent scouts.” - Why fertility rates are falling and how to allow people to have the number of kids that they say they want to have.- The power of agglomeration clusters and what portion of work will revert back to in-person once the pandemic ends.
Chris Toy (@ChrisToy), co-founder and CEO of MarketerHire, joined Anne Dwane in a special session for Villagers. They discussed:- Why if you don’t know who your customer demo is, you need a marketer on your team earlier than you think.- The misconception that marketing is something to be done at a later stage, or is expensive, or is only about customer acquisition.- Why marketing is part of the de-risking process for your company.- The tech stack to use at the early stage.- The ideal marketing budget 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
Emily Anhalt (@dremilyanhalt), co-founder of Coa, joins Erik to discuss:- Why people should have a proactive approach to emotional fitness and should think of it like to going to a gym on a regular basis, rather than only seeking help when things go wrong.- The seven traits of emotional fitness and how to get them.- Why the true mechanism of healing is relationships.- The fact that sometimes a founder’s biggest strength and can become a weakness.- Why so many founders aren’t happy even after achieving significant success.- Therapy vs. coaching and the main schools of thought in therapy today.- Why group therapy is effective and the fact that people in group therapy actually find that helping others was the most helpful part of going to therapy.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
Brad Feld (@bfeld), VC at Foundry Group and co-author of The Entrepreneur’s Weekly Nietzsche with Dave Jilk, joins Ben Casnocha to discuss:- Common misconceptions about Nietzsche and why being misunderstood makes him an especially interesting philosopher.- What Nietzsche can teach entrepreneurs deciding whether to pivot or persevere. Brad says that founders should view their entrepreneurial journey not in terms of a single company, but as the next 30-50 years of their life.- Why Brad hates the term “passion” and says it’s overused in entrepreneurial circles.- Why to focus more on whether someone’s words and actions line up rather than the strength of their beliefs.- The lessons that Brad has for making decisions among groups today given Nietzsche’s aphorism that “insanity in individuals is rare, but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it is the rule.”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
This is a special cross-posted episode of The Deep End, a new podcast from On Deck. Erik Torenberg is interviewed by Marshall Kosloff about:- What’s causing incumbent universities to fail.- The opportunities that exist for new institutions to chart a different path.- Unbundling and cost disease in education.- Talent identification and credentialism.Subscribe to The Deep End: https://ideas.beondeck.com
Addie Lerner (@addielerner), founder of Avid Ventures, joins Erik to discuss:- Why she started Avid Ventures and how her experiences at growth-stage funds influences her investing strategy at earlier stages.- Her take on the “great barbell” in venture capital and how she thinks about investing in an environment with outsized valuations. She says that firms are now investing in seed stage companies at Series B prices.- The origins of her bullishness on fintech and why “every company is becoming a fintech company.”- Why she thinks there can be multiple winners in the global remote work space.- Why X for Y businesses in international geographies can work, if there is a local angle to the business that makes it uniquely suited for a particular geography.- How she thinks about crypto and why she’s looking to back eldercare companies.- Her investment thesis and why she wants to back founders who "believe they were put on earth to build their company."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
Jason Brennan, author of Cracks in the Ivory Tower, joins Erik to discuss:- The fact that students who finish college are actually more pro-market than students who don’t.- Why general education requirements are often pushed by departments that are struggling, and how that leads to rent-seeking.- The idea of “transfer of learning” and why students don’t transfer lessons from their English Literature classes to become better writers in the workplace, even though in theory they should.- Why the cost of college has gone up so much and the incentives that prompt administrators to hire more administrators.- Where he agrees or disagrees with Richard Vedder and Bryan Caplan.- What Jason thinks should happen versus what he thinks will happen to higher ed in the next ten years.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
Todd Zywicki (@ToddZywicki), law professor and author of Unprofitable Schooling: Examining Causes of, and Fixes for, America’s Broken Ivory Tower, joins Erik on this episode to discuss:- The fact that 65% of funding increases to colleges gets passed through to students. - How the accreditation system got its start after the GI Bill incentivized diploma mills.- Why student loan defaults are inversely correlated to the amount of debt a student has taken on.- Why proposals from both sides of the political aisle to address student debt have serious drawbacks, and why Todd would propose a one-time payment to all individuals instead.- Why ISAs work for a subset of people but won't fix the overall problem, which is that a lot of people are going to college who shouldn't be.- Todd's hope that eventually the labor market and skills-based certification will replace the current "credentialism arms race." 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
Keith Rabois (@rabois), partner at Founders Fund, joins Erik on this episode to discuss:- Why he decided to move to Miami and why it’s made him 30-40% happier.- The benefits of clustering when you’re at the earliest stages of building a company, and why remote works better for a later-stage company.- Why he suggests you don’t visit a place you’re considering moving to for just a weekend and instead you go for a full Monday to Friday cycle.- What he’s learned from people organizing digitally to make change in the physical world.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
Ash Fontana (@ashfontana), author of The AI-First Company and partner at Zetta Venture Partners, joined Erik for a fireside chat for Villagers in May 2021. They discussed:- Why AI creates defensibility and a true, compounding, first-mover advantage.- Why AI should be part of all conversations at your startup: about products to build, people to hire, what price to charge — it should all involve AI.- The difference between Lean Startup and Lean AI.- Common mistakes that early AI companies make, like spending too much on marketing and not enough on sales.- The impacts of AI on hiring and the differences between a data PM and an ordinary PM.- What you can do tomorrow to get started building an AI-first company.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
James Currier (@JamesCurrier), partner at NFX, joins Erik on this episode. It was recorded as part of an On Deck Angels event. They discuss:- Why founders are more authentic at the accelerator stage than at the seed stage.- Why San Francisco will remain the centre of tech in the future, just as New York and LA have remained the centre of banking and movie-making, respectively.- James’s thesis that founders in consumer social need to be a really special type of person — someone great at the analytical side of things as well as at language and psychology.- Why there will always be plenty more marketplaces to be created, but why he’s skeptical about B2B marketplaces and fitness marketplaces.- How they think about investments and make decisions at NFX.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
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
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Comments (4)

Underdog Underdog

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

Nov 26th
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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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