Fear is the wrong response to technological unemployment. Focusing on economic flexibility and adaptability - with special attention to eliminating the barriers we've accidentally created to the mobility of the working classes - is the right response to technological disruption.
Wealth is only ever actually created from the bottom-up, with free people employing their distinctly human creativity and finding ways to serve and employ others.
America faces a mounting transportation crisis, and the primary culprit is road congestion. Traffic makes us unhealthy, wastes enormous amounts of time, and cripples national productivity. America needs expanded roads and transportation infrastructure, but traditional gas tax funding is no longer available.
The convertible note is a useful and common financing structure in Silicon Valley. It's a form of debt that is really more a type of equity - one where the valuation hasn't been determined yet.
We use convertible notes a lot at our fund - 8VC - so often that we just call them 'notes' to save time.
In my experience, it's common that deep truths exist at both extremes of a dialectic, and the wisest stance on an issue will incorporate 'both of the opposites within itself.'
Being a great founder or early team member is a difficult dialectic - you have to be a bit overconfident, and a big ego isn't always a bad thing. To change the world requires pushing really, really hard and believing you and your team know something others don't.
Our philosophy at 8VC is that many of the companies that present the greatest economic opportunities also create the greatest value for society.
Creating efficiencies in private markets is a huge win for the economy.
Those who serve in our armed forces do so from a profound sense of duty to secure liberty for their fellow Americans. They enlist to serve their fellow citizens who express their will through elected representatives, not an unaccountable defense establishment.
Palantir owes much of its success to the amazing talent of the first 30-40 technologists who joined the company, as well as to the internal leadership that helped motivate this core group to achieve its ambitious goals and to continue to attract extraordinary people.
The degree to which society creates wealth, I think, is largely determined by government and financial systems.
There are people who are better managers than I am. I aspire to be a really good manager, but it's not my natural personality to do the same thing for 14 hours a day. I have a lot of different interests. I really like product and strategy and business strategy, and I think I'm not bad at it.
We founded Palantir in 2003-2004 because we perceived a giant gap between how the defense and intelligence community was harnessing technology to achieve its goals and what we had seen was possible in Silicon Valley over the last decade.
Hard work enables us to improve ourselves and the world around us, to combat injustice, reduce suffering, and increase human freedom.
A true leader must strive towards a grand vision of human progress, but remember that the minor details of her everyday life really matter to those who look up to her as a role model.
Inasmuch as there is a useful purpose to what we do as VCs, I tend to think it's our duty not only to mentor entrepreneurs and executive teams, but also to learn from them and the others involved. We can then pass on lessons to aid the startup ecosystem and help businesses succeed and grow their impact.
The reason we have so much talent in Silicon Valley building and investing in for-profit technology companies is that markets richly reward successful ideas, no matter who invents them. But to remain competitive in a free market, companies must exercise discipline to meet quantitative goals and eventually become cashflow positive.
In their infancy, startups need geniuses who fit their current tight-knit culture and will iterate quickly as they push towards an ambitious vision - and they need a scaffolding of advisors, strategists, early users, and product-thinkers around these savants to guide them.
Our best and brightest must conceive of themselves as stewards of our society and confront the critical challenges of our time. It's the best bet for our society, for entrepreneurs, and for the investors who believe in them.