Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

Max Chafkin is the author of “The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley's Pursuit of Power”.  Max is a technology reporter for Bloomberg Businessweek.  “The Contrarian” isn’t just about Thiel.  It’s about that, too, of course -- from PayPal to his Facebook investment to his failed hedge fund, etc.  But it’s also about “Silicon Valley’s political coming-of-age”, as the New York Times describes it.

We discuss how Peter Thiel came to wealth, and the many controversies surrounding him.  We also discuss the calculations that led him to back Donald Trump’s presidency, and ultimately take a role in Trump’s transition campaign.

Max Chafkin on Twitter

Something Ventured

The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley's Pursuit of Power

Direct download: Max_Chafkin_on_Peter_Thiel_Edited_to_Upload_-_61722_4.37_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:48pm EDT

Howard Morgan is one of those few – very few – people who have built multiple game-changing firms.  He is co-founder of Renaissance Technologies (sometimes known as “RenTec”).  While a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, he divined the opportunity to apply emerging computer technologies to investing.

The resulting firm – Renaissance Technologies -- is one of the most famous, and successful, hedge funds.  It pioneered systematic trading using quantitative models derived from mathematical models.  It famously hires people who are incredibly smart – but don’t have previous investing experience.

While some might consider that enough of a career for one lifetime – Howard went on to co-found First Round Capital with Josh Koppelman.  First Round is one of the most respected seed venture capital firms, with investments in firms like Notion, Roblox, Uber, and Square.

At last Howard is ready to retire….wait no.  No, Howard is now the chairman of B Capital, the global investment firm founded by Eduardo Saverin.

In this episode we discuss how this remarkable journey unfolded, and what he sees for the future.

B Capital Partners

Renaissance Technologies

First Round Capital

Something Ventured Podcast

Direct download: Howard_Morgan_Garageband_To_to_Upload_.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:31pm EDT

Jenny Lefcourt is a partner at Freestyle Capital, a seed stage venture firm overseeing $450 million in seed investments. Jenny dropped out of her Stanford MBA program – before that was cool -- to co-found online wedding registry startup (with classmate, Jessica Herrin)

After The Knot acquired, Jenny started another company – Bella Pictures – also subsequently acquired.  Today she is a partner at Freestyle Capital, and was recently named one of Barron’s “100 Women Shaping the World of U.S. Finance”.

In this conversation we discuss her path through these entrepreneurial experiences to becoming a prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist, and co-founder of All Raise. She shares what it’s like to join and then become partner of a venture firm that already has a couple high-profile partners; why she thinks entrepreneurs make great VCs, and the role of All Raise in Silicon Valley.

Freestyle Capital

Something Ventured Podcast

Direct download: Jenny_Lefcourt_MP4_iTunes_Plus__To_Upload_Compressed_-_32122_4.25_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27pm EDT

I talk to a lot of founders and CEOs in Silicon Valley.  They started telling me “you know, I couldn’t have done it without…” When I heard that multiple times, I just had to meet the guy they were talking about – Joe Hudson.

Turns out, Joe Hudson is a sought after executive coach and creator of The Art of Accomplishment, an online learning platform for personal development.  And get this – he quit his job as a venture capitalist to become a coach.

Yep -- as a venture capitalist Joe found that the most rewarding aspect, and the part he was most successful at, was the mentorship and coaching of the leadership of his portfolio companies. This insight moved him to his present role as a coach, business consultant and teacher.  He now coaches 12 CEOs and leaders in prominent companies and runs transformative programs for both individuals and businesses. He is says he is practicing a craft that makes big, lasting, and overwhelmingly positive impacts on the lives of people in his programs and in the companies he works with.

In this episode we discuss his journey, why he only coaches 12 people a year – and how you can participate (since you’re not one of those 12 people!) (Hint:  Go to and use code “VENTURED”)

The Art of Accomplishment.

Something Ventured Podcast

Direct download: Joe_Hudson_December_2021_--_Compressed_to_Upload.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 1:21pm EDT