Something Ventured -- Silicon Valley Podcast

It is not a stretch to call Elad Gil one of Silicon Valley’s best investors.  In a world where one big hit can make a venture capitalists’ career, Elad has invested in…Well, here’s a partial list Airbnb, Airtable, Anduril, Brex, Checkr, Coinbase, Deel, Figma, Flexport, Gitlab, Gusto, Instacart, Notion, Opendoor, PagerDuty, Pinterest, Retool, Rippling, Samsara, Square, Stripe, TripActions, Wish.

It seems almost impossible.  But there it is. 

Elad’s career includes working at Google, founding a company acquired by Twitter, and founding Color Genomics (you probably heard about them during the COVID response).

He is also author of the book High Growth Handbook: Scaling Startups from 10 to 10,000 People.

In this wide-ranging discussion, Elad shares his thoughts on everything from building companies to crypto, AI, and more.


Elad’s home page:

Elad on Twitter:

Something Ventured: 


Direct download: Elad_Gil_--_Compressed_to_Upload_-_121422_10.26_AM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 2:36pm EDT

There are a few – very few –non-traditional paths into venture capital.  Adrian Fenty may have one of the most unusual ones.  Adrian was the Mayor of Washington D.C., winning that post at the age of 35 (making him Washington D.C.’s youngest mayor ever).

In this episode we discuss his path to becoming mayor of a major city and his refreshing style for governing in that office.  But being mayor of a major US city was just the beginning.

Adrian became a special advisor to the venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, where he had the chance to observe its founders in action.

Today, Adrian is a Managing Director of the venture firm he founded, MaC Venture Capital.

Direct download: Adrian_Fenty_--_Edited_to_Upload_-_102622_10.13_AM.m4a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:17pm EDT

Michelle Tandler is an entrepreneur – she founded  “Growth Path”, a provider of audio courses for professional development.  Her goal is to teach soft skills and management at scale.  She previously worked at tech firms Thumbtack and Yammer, as well as the venture capital firm Trinity.

In this episode we discuss her entrepreneurial journey, in which she gives us a pretty candid look at the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur.

Michelle has also become a (fairly popular) voice of reason concerning the state of affairs in San Francisco.  She regularly poses thoughtful questions about various policies while generally shedding light on the byzantine corners of San Francisco politics.  Here, she shares her thoughts on a range of issues, providing thoughtful solutions, and frank explanations of various head-spinning policies.



Something Ventured

Direct download: Edited_to_Upload_Michelle_Tandler_Garageband_-_81122_3.25_PM.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 6:50pm EDT

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