Conversations with Tyler — Reid Hoffman

On: Systems, Levers, and Quixotic Quests.

Episode: 85

Date: January 2020

Background: Internet entrepreneur (PayPal, LinkedIn), venture capitalist and author.

Key Subjects:

  • System thinking and change.
    • Archimedean levers: how to most effectively change the system.
    • Multiple means: ideas, incentives, culture, leaders, institutions.
  • Problem with elites:
    • Not: presence of extraordinary people.
    • But: incompetent people try to lock in their own position, prestige, and power.
  • Importance of language.
    • Core to who we are and who we become.
    • How we form identity and community, how we see each other.
    • Not everybody needs to be different or contrarian (Musk, Thiel) to move discussion forward.
  • Entrepreneurs should write down:
    • World view: vision of what the world is and will become.
    • Idea: how their idea fits in with this world view.
    • Ability: unique capabilities to make it happen.
  • Big Tech.
    • Once you become part of the social infrastructure, you need to be accountable.
    • For instance FB (amplifies spread of negative stuff, increases overall agitation in society).
  • Be a good competitor:
    • Recognize when you need to compete (zero sum).
    • Seek out non-zero games where possible.
  • Permanent beta: learn and keep learning.
  • Network validation: references (from knowledgeable sources) are more important than interviews.
  • Tragedy: how we respond is the great question of how we derive meaning, what is our character.
  • Education = certification, credentials = cheapest signals of talent we have at the moment.
  • Mysticism = being more open minded, acknowledging uncertainty.
  • 8/10

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