The Exciting Journey of Podcasting: From Curiosity to Global Impact.
Naveen Jain on Why Curiosity Will Save the World | Impact Theory | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Naveen Jain on Why Curiosity Will Save the World | Impact Theory".
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- Everybody, welcome to Impact Theory. You are here, my friends, because you believe that human potential is nearly limitless, but you know that having potential is not the same as actually doing something with it. So our goal with this show and company is to introduce you to the people and ideas that will help you actually execute on your dreams. All right, today's guest is an entrepreneur, and philanthropist who came to this country with five bucks in his pocket and turned it into billions. Armed with energy, enthusiasm, and undying optimism, he has proven that if you wanna make a billion dollars, all you have to do is be crazy enough to think that you can solve a 10 billion dollar problem and then actually solve it. You don't have to be an expert or have a PhD, you just have to be curious, willing to learn, and willing to work your ass off. And this guy's obsessive focus on solving big problems has made him not only wealthy, but also one of the most important voices in entrepreneurship today. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for XPRIZE, and I've had the very good fortune of getting to know him personally, and he is a phenomenal team builder, and is the founder of some seriously audacious and seriously successful companies, including Intellis, Infospace, and Moon Express, the first private company to be granted the right to leave Earth some gravity and land on the moon. He was named Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year, Silicon India's most admired serial entrepreneur, and he received the Albert Einstein technology medal for his pioneering achievements in technology. And on top of all of that, at a time when he could buy a fleet of Ferraris and retire somewhere warm, he has instead founded Blue Dot Innovation Factory, which seeks to make good on the dazzling innovations coming out of the US national laboratories. His first project is the jaw-dropping company, Viome, which aims to make illness a choice, and prove that philanthropic ideals can come in the form of self-sustaining economic vehicles that people value for their products rather than just the tax write-off. So please help me in welcoming the man who believes our only limitation is our imagination, and is planning to launch a lunar mission by the end of this year, Naveen Jane. - Thanks for coming on the show. - Well Tom, it's always a pleasure, you know that. - Good to have you back. And since our last meeting, I've really gotten to know each other quite a bit better, which has been amazing. What I wanna dive right into, 'cause I am fiendishly passionate about this, and I know that you are as well, talk to me about millennial guilt over profits and how you see that being either good or bad for where we're headed as a society.
Understanding Business Principles And Key Strategies
Millenial guilt over profit (02:39)
- So the millennials is starting to feel that, you know, they're coming off their parents, which became the me society, me, me, me, and they're having that thing and say, they wanna rebel against it. So they wanna convert the me into V, V, V, and they believe the way they can change the world is somehow become a liberal society. We are no longer, we care about ourselves, but we care about everyone else. What they don't realize is that doing good and doing well don't have to be mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact, even if you're the richest man in the world, you can only do a small good before you run out of the money. The only way you can do a large good is to actually create a profitable venture. If you care enough to solve the problem, then build a business that actually solves the problem. And if you make it profitable enough, you can go out and expand that and take it to billions of people around the world, or else you'll always be stuck for 100,000 people or 10,000 people or a million people. - Yeah, it's interesting. The notion of scale for me is so important, and I think so few people think at scale and really think about the grand challenges. And what freaks me out about the shift that I feel happening culturally is that the very fact that you're making profit somehow is a bad thing. And I've heard you say, and I really agree with this, that that mentality is holding us back. - That is correct. See, when people are afraid to say that they make money, because somehow make them feel guilty, and it's part of it is a fault of the society. Because you know what made this country so great was, it welcomed the best and the brightest from around the world. And we welcomed them in open arms and gave them so much opportunity in this country that we call this a land of opportunity. And when these people succeeded, we opened them up and we looked up to them, and today is completely reverse. We don't want the immigrants in our country. We take away every opportunity they could possibly have, and when they succeed, we call them 1%. They don't belong to our society, and then we guilt them. We guilt them into thinking they must have done something wrong because they succeeded. To me, the profit engine is the oil, the oil for doing good. If you can't make profit, how can you possibly impact the lives of billions of people? So the way you need to think about it is that if you really care about something, then you go.
Ask Yourself One Question (05:20)
The day you start a company, ask yourself the first question. God forbid, if I'm actually successful in doing what I'm doing, how is it going to impact a billion people? And if it's not, why would you do that? So if you start a company, there are very few things you have to do. Ask yourself, what are you willing to die for? And then live for it. And if you can do that, you will find your calling. You will find the things that you actually care about. And when you care about something deep enough, you will go out and solve the problem. And if you can make it profitable venture, then you will actually make a serious impact in the world. - All right, now let's make it really tangible. You told a really cool story in one of the articles that you wrote about a woman who ran a women's shelter, if I'm not mistaken. - Yes. - And she was living donation to donation, and she came to you looking for advice, and your advice is pretty, I would say powerful, but definitely counterintuitive and not what she expected. What was the setup and what did you tell her? - Sure, so in today's world, the philanthropy is considered where you give the money to someone. And if you don't give the money, you are a bad person. Somehow you don't care enough. And to me, philanthropy should never be about giving money. And philanthropy should be about solving a problem. So this lady came to me saying, "We have done such a good job in our current homeless shelter. "We really outgrown it, and now we need to expand it, "and we have this capital need, "and we want you to donate to it." And I said, "Instead of asking for a donation, "why don't you start to think about like a business? "And I am a venture capitalist." And if you came to me saying that, "Give me this money that is gonna go out "and do something with it." There are only two choices you're giving me. Either you're gonna fail in doing what you're doing, in that case the money is wasted. And if you do succeed, you're gonna come back and ask me for more money. So how is that going to be a sustainable business model? And she said, "What do you really mean?" I said, "Ask yourself a question "just like any other business. "What is your product and who is your customer?" She looked at me, all she wanted to do is write a chat. Not be interviewed. And she said, "It's really simple. "All I'm selling is the homeless shelter, "the place in the homeless shelter "and my customers are my women who come there. "And I say, young lady, you have a broken business model." And she said, "Why?" I said, "Your customers don't pay you." I said, "They're not your customer. "They are your users." And she said, "How else would you think about it?" And I said, "What if, just like a Facebook?" The social networking is not their product. The people who use social networking is the product. You and I are the product. And the customer is the advertisers. In the same way in a women's shelter, the women are the product and local businesses are your customers. And the more products you have, the more you can cater to the local businesses. So why don't you go to local businesses and say, "I have this amazing product. "The women who are so driven "that they would go out and do the things "you want them to do. "You will have a loyal employee. "You will teach them their skills "and you will have these people working. "You'll be doing good for the society "and you'll have a loyal employee." And if you do that, the more people you have in your shelter, the higher revenue you're going to have and you'll be continuing to expand that. And just that thought process, she implemented and suddenly now they're growing everywhere. - She actually did it? - She actually did it. - Whoa, I did not think that was gonna be the punchline. - So my point is this is how entrepreneurs really need to be thinking about. And I can give you several examples of that. The problem that is obvious to you may not necessarily be the solution that exists in that problem. For example, is everybody knows the lack of fresh water is a problem. And a lot of people go out and try to clean the water because thinking the fresh water is really the scarce resources. Until you start to dig into it, what varies the fresh water being used? And suddenly you realize the majority of the fresh water is used in the agriculture. All you have to do is solve the agriculture problem and whether you use the aeroponic or aquaponic or other mechanism or even lightly salted water that could solve the agriculture problem, suddenly you have abundance of fresh water and then you feel really good about yourself until you realize majority of the agriculture is used for cattle. And all you have to do is somehow find a way to create beef without growing cattle. And so now suddenly you can have a biophatries, you can take a stem cell from a cow and just simply create muscle tissues that people can eat. Now suddenly a fresh water problem, the solution lies in the synthetic biology in the creating the meat. - All right, so it's a strategy to use it, I think it's really smart, which is don't solve the symptoms, solve the actual problems. Before we get to that, I wanna understand how you systematize breaking it down to actually find a problem and get beyond the symptoms. But first I wanna make sure that entrepreneurs heard what you were saying about philanthropy. So I think philanthropy is incredibly important from an ideological standpoint where you're saying, "Hey, I really wanna help people."
Should We Be Teaching The Principles of Business in School? (10:32)
And I make a huge demand of myself as a business person that my companies can't be parasitic, they have to be adding value that people's lives have to be better for having touched my company. That's something here at Impact Theory. - Like only the good, right? - So only reason we got in business was to make sure that that was true. But to your point, like if you really wanna solve the problem, if you want a sustaining vehicle, if you don't wanna be coming to the world and begging, people who took a different path and acquired the resources. And that's the disconnect that I think people miss, is if you do a traditional philanthropy, you're putting yourself at the mercy of people who have built a business that is a self-sustaining economic engine. So rather than have this weird sort of middleman exchange that doesn't make a lot of sense, learn the principles of business. And do you think that we should be teaching the principles of business in school? - I mean, to me, really, as I say, doing good and doing well comes together. So every single problem can really boil down to a failure of a correct business model. There is no reason why people shouldn't be building great businesses by solving the great problem. What are the biggest problems? Education, healthcare, scarcity of food, not having abundance of agriculture. And all of these problems are nothing but a great entrepreneurial hurdles. And anyone who solves them is gonna create hundreds of billions of dollars to companies. And someone is going to solve a healthcare problem. Someone is going to solve a problem around education. And I can tell you that an entrepreneurs today are going to become the superpowers of tomorrow. I believe the entrepreneurs are going to be so powerful to make the nation states completely irrelevant.
Problems that used to be the domain of nation-states (12:26)
And there are three or four reasons why that is already starting to happen. - All right, now you have to tell us what the three or four reasons are. - Yeah, so if you think about the number one reason is entrepreneurs now are solving the problems that used to be the domain of nation states. What were those? National security, healthcare, education. And all of these problems are now being solved by great entrepreneurs. So whether you look at the space, it's Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson or even our moon express that's completely changing the way people look at space. Healthcare is completely being redone as opposed to really looking at the symptom of the problem and solving the symptom is completely preventing from disease from happening. And that's my new venture called Wyoming where we are actually believed that disease can actually be just a choice, not a matter of bad luck. It could be just a matter of choice. And we are going to make that happen. Second reason what's happening is the entrepreneurs can be held responsible every single day, not every election cycle. In an election cycle, you elect an idiot, you're stuck with that idiot, right? An entrepreneur can be held accountable every day. So remember when we were, people were protesting against immigration ban, Uber sent the drivers to the airport. Guess what happened? That day, 200,000 people deleted Uber and Travis quit the advisory board of our Trump. And that tells you how we can be held accountable. The third thing is the resources no longer can be geographically, need to be geographically located. The nation states tend to be very geographically bound. Today as an entrepreneur, I find a great resource in India, China, Europe. I work with them and it doesn't matter. Location is no longer the boundaries that we need to be limit by. And that's last thing is really the capital resources. The capital is not patriotic. Capital goes where the opportunities are. So when we created Moon Express as an audacious goal, the entrepreneurs from China funded us, entrepreneurs from Russia funded us, entrepreneurs from India funded us, entrepreneurs from Europe funded us, and entrepreneurs from America funded us. So point is, capital will never be patriotic. All we have to do is create an opportunity and it will come to us. And that's the reason I believe the entrepreneurs of today are going to be the superpowers of tomorrow, making the nation states and the presidents irrelevant.
The fourth superpower (14:48)
- That's pretty impressive man. When you launch by the end of this year to the Moon, you'd be the fourth superpower essentially to do that, right? - So we are the first company and the only company that have the permission to leave the Earth orbit and land on any celestial body. So you may really be thinking, you know, Elon Musk and all these people are going to the space. They're stuck in the low Earth orbit. I want them to challenge themselves to say, why do we have to be stuck on a single spacecraft called Planet Earth? We all are destined to be a dinosaur because sooner or later we're going to get hit by an asteroid and you don't want us to be a dinosaur, right? So we really have to create a multi-planetary society. So you talk about an audacious goal of saving humanity from extinction. - Not bad, yeah, that's thinking big, I'd say. All right, so if I buy into that and I'm really just beginning my entrepreneurial journey and I get, I want to look at a big problem and that's really the way to build something big and that even if my ends are sort of philanthropic and I want to do something to really help humanity, I need to make it a self-sustaining vehicle, but how do I make sure that I don't get stopped at the symptom and that I've actually gone all the way down to the problem? What's your systematic approach to making sure you get to that baseline issue?
Understand the root cause (15:57)
- So understanding the root cause of the problem, right? And healthcare, what happened is, you know, system really starts out with a really good goal. You know, one of the problems we face in our society is that any time a system starts, it's always have a noble purpose and it really does well for the time it was invented for. And over time, either the cause becomes irrelevant or the system becomes irrelevant to the cause. So if you think about what happened in the education system, there's nothing broken about it. It was designed for the time when people needed skills and education system was designed to teach you skill that you could use for rest of your life and life was good. Now we have exponential technologies, that means every skill you learn becomes obsolete every five to 10 years and you get the chronic unemployment, right? That means now we have to redo the education system as opposed to teaching you skill, which you can learn on Google, you have to teach them learning to learn. How do you apply interdisciplinary approach to solving a problem? And the problem solving is the thing what you need to teach them, not when the Abraham Lincoln was born. But let's go to the second part of the thing, like similarly in the healthcare system, it was designed for a time when people were dying from infectious diseases. So if system was designed, you were sick, you go to the hospital, they gave you medicine, you come back and life was good. What do we have today? The chronic diseases, that means you're always sick. System wasn't designed for you to be always sick. And here is the irony of the situation. The cure for the infectious diseases, the antibiotics is the one that actually caused all the chronic diseases. Our belief was that somehow the human being needs to be sterile. All we have to do is get rid of all the viruses and bacteria from our system and will be a perfect healthy human being. What they didn't realize was we as humans are primarily an ecosystem more microbial than human. And here's what surprised me to under you a lot. Less than 1% of our genes actually come from our DNA. What? Less than 1%, 99% of the genes expressed in our body come from the microorganism that live inside our gut. Wow. I knew the number was high. I had no idea that it was that high. And really what we have to do now to stay healthy is to understand we are an ecosystem. And if our gut is healthy, actually all these chronic diseases disappear. So think about chronic diseases don't happen overnight. They happen over time. And they happen because we have constant inflammation in our body. And it happens because we're not feeding the right nutrients to ourselves. So what I realized is that what people think is a healthy diet may not be healthy for you. It may be healthy for someone else. When you look at our DNA, 99% of our DNA is same. When you look at our microorganisms in our gut, less than 5% is the same. So how can the same diet be good for you and me? So if anyone who's selling you go on this Atkins diet or Palaeo diet or ketogenic diet or that diet or this diet, it may work for someone, not for everyone. And even if it works for you today, it may not work for you three months from now. And that's-- Based on what's happening to my microbiome. Exactly. So all you have to do is keep your guests happy and they will keep you healthy. Because they produce all the nutrients that our body needs. So I am just so super psyched on that coming from the point of saying, we're going to become our legacy would have been going to the moon. And when I started to look at what I'm about to do with health care, it's going to change the lives of billions of people. Imagine if we can create a world where no one ever has to be sick. And if we can do that together simply using the artificial intelligence and the technology that is available now to be able to analyze everything that's happening inside our body and personalized the simple diet and nutrition, no pharmaceuticals will ever be needed. And if we can create that world, you and I, both will go down on history and do something big. All right.
Become the expert (20:31)
So I need to give you guys a little background. So off camera, I told this guy, you're full of shit. There is no way. So we know each other relatively well. And the first time that he pitched me, Viome, I was like, no offense. But what do you know about the microbiome? I'm like, it is so complicated. And so I kept pushing him. I know just enough to be dangerous. I kept pushing you. You would have an answer for that. You'd have an answer for that. And then finally, I was like, where the fuck have you learned all of this? And this is where this got interesting for me. And I really learned something about you in this is you said that once you decided that you had found a real problem, that you began reading voraciously on the topic, how do you approach-- in fact, give us the real example of this. Like when you decide that you're going to get into that, how do you learn about it? Like your knowledge on this subject now is huge. So anytime-- you know, remember, if you are an expert in that field, my best advice is not to go do something in this space that you know a lot about. If you are an expert, you are only able to make an incremental improvement to the things that are already being done. So I always tend to-- this is my seventh-- Because you've limited your own way of thinking? Because you take many of the things as granted. That means the foundational things that you have, you take them as granted. You don't have a question. You don't even question them. That is how it is done. When you come from outside the industry, you're able to question every single thing that people have taken it for granted. So if you think about this is my seventh company, and I've never started, it's no two companies that have ever been in the same industry. When I started space, I had no idea how somebody is going to go to the moon. My first question when somebody asked me that was, I have no idea. It keeps moving. Every time I target it moves. Then I understood there is orbital dynamics around it. That became really easy. So I was known as the space junkie, because I started to learn about space. And then when I saw this technology at Los Alamos National Lab, that they're able to analyze the body, every single thing that's going inside. It was fascinating enough. Then I say, you know what? I am going to go start reading. And when I go, my first approach is to go find 10, 20 books that I can read. I never like to read one book, because then you are more or less that person's belief system becomes your belief system. So what I do is I read 20 different authors, because then I want to see where the people differ from. So I can form the opinion, because now I know what everyone else is saying. Then I start reading all the science journals.
What to do when you do not know (23:12)
What do you do when you encounter something that you don't understand? So the microbiome is so vast. So the thing is, you need to understand the basic vocabulary. So as you know, I'm also on the board of Singularity University. And being on the board of Singularity University, it gives me the basic background of what is genetics, what is epigenetics, what is the nanotechnology what is the neuroscience. And the basic vocabulary, once you have that, you're able to make a lot more sense when you read the articles, when you read the books. And then what I do is, in each subject, that when I'm learning, I set my Twitter feed only for the science journal, only in that field. That means I'm going to be looking at the science magazine, the new scientist, and every single science magazine that has the articles about that subject. And then wake up in the morning, I get up around 4.30 in the morning. And I spend the first 2 hours just going through every science journal, what has come out since I went to bed. I love that. And then once I know that, then I start to learn and start to ask people, I would call the authors of the book, I'll meet the people. Do they take your call because you're in a vinjain, though? Or could anybody do it? So more often than not, you reach out to them on social media. And I would say 90% of it. How about socially savvy words, awesome. 90% of the time you reach out to people on LinkedIn, you reach out to them on Facebook, or you reach out to them on Twitter and say, "I just finished reading your book, really left the following section. I have one thought, I want to run it by you and see what you think of it." Very rarely is somebody is going to say, "No, I don't want to talk to you." So people will say, "Send me your thought, here's my email." And that's how you start the conversation, right? And I think the trick really is to be able to reach out generally wanting to learn, and generally wanting to contribute, and most people will respond. Once you get that point, then you set out an audacious goal. This is what I'm going to do, and if I do succeed, how it's going to change the trajectory of how humanity lives. And once you set that goal out, you start to attract amazing talent. And that is what happened at Wyoming.
Wyomings process (25:22)
All right, you're going to have to explain that. And I know enough about it that I could just roll, but I think it's important for people listening. What are you guys doing differently? Why is it important the way that you're scanning versus the way it's normally done? So today, what happens is a lot of people say, "Well, I know about microbiome. I got my test done." And they probably send these tests to the current microbiome technology company, and whether it's the Ubiome or American gut project. The fact is, it's complete snake oil. What they do is they use the technology, it's called 16S. All it can do is probably find 50 to 70% of bacteria only, and only at a genus level. And most people who don't know what genus level is. So Tom says, "Now, me and you are from India. Can you tell me about India at a genus level?" I would say, "Oh, of course, Tom. There are some men. There are some women. There are some children. And there are some young people. And there are some old people." And he said, "Well, that's just like America." And I said, "Well, at a genus level, we all look the same." So when you go do the microbiome test today, through Ubiome or any other companies, what you get is the 97% of the things are same between any two people. What this technology that we received from Los Alamos, by the way, they spend hundreds of millions of dollars doing it for national security. What it does is not just looks at the bacteria at a genus level, not even a species level. It looks at the strain level, and not just the bacteria, it gets all the viruses. Whether it's an RNA virus, DNA virus, or phages, and then yeast, and the mold, and the fungus, and even the human RNA, and every Eukroites. So it's a single cell thing, right? Every single organism in your gut, not only knows what they are, but most importantly, since we look at the RNA, we know they are alive, but most importantly, what are they doing? That means, are they producing short chain fatty acids? Are they producing vitamin K? Are they producing any other nutrient that body needs? If not, then you have to take it externally, right? So the technology does is looks at in extremely detail at that level, less than 5% of the things are seen between two of us. Wow. And then we look at the metabolic side on your body, and then we look at the blood transcriptome, that means we look at, by the way, your mitochondria. So we look at all the inflammatory biomarkers. So we look at all the transcripts that are generated for CRP, cytokines, all the inflammation. So once we know what is causing inflammation, we know what's not working right, we look at all the carob cycle and say what things are not working, and then we can tell you, here are the enzymes you need, here are the vitamins you need, here are the foods you need, and pre-biotics you need, the probiotics you need, and then once your body gets into balance, all the inflammation goes down. And every disease now has been proven to be influenced by microbiome. I don't know if you know or not. Parkinson's now been proven to start in your gut, not in your brain. Autism, Alzheimer. They've actually had studies come out of that effect. So if you just Google Parkinson's in the gut, you will see the research. They have the same research on autism, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity. In fact, even the cure for cancer, whether it works or does not work, it depends on your microorganism. So autoimmune disease, allergies, asthma, all of them now proven to have a direct link to your microbiome. So all the chronic diseases are because your gut, your microbiome is not tuning your immune system and your host is responding poorly. The important thing here for people to realize, you don't have a medical background.
How can you learn from your team (28:59)
So for you, this is completely learned. Yes. So I have no science background. And by the way, my first company was a computer background. When I started that, I didn't even seen the computer in my life. So I have no computer science background. When I started a space company, I have no idea how rockets work. I have no idea of astronomy. I have no idea how orbits work. Is that I go and learn and then I surround myself with the smartest people and then I question them. Why can't we do it this way? And every time you question an expert, why can't we do it this way? And the first answer they always tell you is, it just won't work. And you see, tell me why it won't work. And they always say, do you know much about it? No, but why don't you explain that to me then? And by that time, I'm just finished explaining, oh, it just might work. Right. And that is the thing is surround yourself with an expert and you keep questioning every single thing they are asking you to do. How did you get the self-confidence to know that you could go in and maybe not become a rocket scientist, but be able to be in a group, not be bamboozled by them, be able to get them past their own limiting beliefs so that you can build this extraordinary company or in Vyum. So I think it's just idea of bootstrapping. So bootstrapping is you learn a little bit and then you learn more from because you learned a little bit. So once you get the basic foundation and the basic vocabulary of a particular subject, then you start reading book and then you get a lot more knowledge and that allows you to learn a little bit more about a science paper. And you don't have to know a lot. And then I can go and today every time I read a science paper, I don't understand 80% of it. Then I go ask my guys and say, can you look at this science paper and explain that to me in real English? What is it that they're trying to say? Right.
The most important trait (30:53)
And now tell me what is it that we can learn from it that we can apply? What do you think is the most important trait that an entrepreneur could have? The most important trait you can have in your children and in yourself is to have intellectual curiosity. I thought you'd say that that's so powerful. Like listening to you talk about this, I'm like, man, because you find this stuff interesting, you're willing to like go out there and learn and learn and learn and learn. And that's like interesting when it's your uncle and he knows a lot of weird facts about stuff. It's really interesting when it's somebody that's built these massive companies around things that he knew nothing about right before he gets into the company. So intellectual curiosity is what makes us who we are. The day we stop being intellectually curious is the day we die. And then we become zombies. And you know so many zombies in this world, they have absolutely no interest in anything else.
Dont worry (31:46)
So you've made a great analogy in the past, which is don't worry about whether or not when you lead the horse to water, it will drink, focus on making the horse thirsty. Yes. I know there's a lot of parents watching this. How do you make your kids especially like thirsty for knowledge? And I think that's really interesting is that you know most parents and the teachers think their job is to take them to the water and then hoping and pursuing them to hopefully they can drink the water. Our job as a parent should be is to make them thirsty and never take them to the water because once you make them thirsty they will find the water. And the way you make them thirsty is by allowing them to be intellectually curious. The minute you start to teach them how much fun it is to learn about something, to be able to go out and do something with it. And if you can start to show them that it is not the money that drives the society or who they are. So this is couple of things I can tell you about in our children as you know we have three wonderful children. And one of the things we told our children is there is no amount of money. The success can never be about the amount of money you have in the bank. It is about how many people's lives have you been able to touch. And at the same time is your self-worth is never about what you own. Your self-worth comes from what you create. And there are lots of people in Middle East who may be stinking rich. But as I am concerned they are worthless and useless because they haven't created anything. And the third thing to remember is the only way for you to know when you become successful is when you become humble. Because if you still have arrogance left in you then you are always trying to prove something to someone or yourself. And our president is a great example that someone who will never be successful. Because he is trying to prove something. He is trying to prove always telling you how much money I have. You know how smart I am. You know how big my hand is.
The Significance Of Money, Power, And Entrepreneurship
Why people love money and power (33:44)
Why do you think people like buying to that? Like people, the young entrepreneurs especially and just like a lot of young people like they are drawn like a moth to the flame around people's wealth. Like people love to showcase your money and they would love to show all your toys and all that stuff. Like what is it that keeps bringing people back to that? So I think it is just a flashy thing. It is instant gratification that the money brings them is what they are attracted to. And you realize that anything that generally brings an instant gratification is probably the wrong thing to do in the long term. So I would say that if you think about happiness you will find that most people who have tremendous wealth rarely have the happiness. Rarely have the happiness. Because they have been chasing money. Because they are chasing money. So to me making money is like having an orgasm. If you focus on it you will never get it. So you have to let it happen. Just enjoy the process. Not bad. I like that. What is it? Like I hear that a lot about wealthy people really struggling to find happiness. There is no amount of material thing that can bring you happiness. Even if you buy whatever the thing today is the latest thing somebody has more than that. And if you constantly think having the latest thing is going to make you happy you will always be unhappy because someone has the later things. And the minute you buy something guess what happens? It no longer matters. And you always keep chasing the next thing and the next thing and you keep collecting the toys. And I think to some extent happiness comes from being satisfied with what you have. At the same time driving to use what you have whether skills or financial resources to go out and do tremendous good in the world. And always know that when you are going to go out and solve the problem that helps a billion people. In the meantime we are creating a ten billion dollar business.
XPRIZE Women's Safety (35:54)
That is going to give you even more resources to solve even more audacious problems. Tell us a little bit about what you are doing with the girls and women's safety X prize. What brought that about? Why are you so passionate about that? What do you want to come out of it? Well you know again we start to look at the stuff and say everybody talks about the women equality. And we talk about women empowerment. The foundation of that again the root cause of why women are actually and especially developing countries. And you are even on our own campuses if they do not feel safe how can they go out and feel empowered. So even in college campuses the amount of sexual harassment is unbelievable. And there is very little solution that exists. So we launched a prize. They say we are going to give a million dollar to anyone who can come up with a small enough sensor that could be anywhere. It could be on your earring, it could be in your pendant, it could be anywhere in your body. And as soon as you feel unsafe you press it. Not only it informs all your roommates, your parents, your all the relatives, the cops. At the same time it starts to do the audio video recording. So everybody knows what is going on. And the perpetrator knows that somehow it goes to the court everybody knows what happened. And that actually detracts people from doing things that they shouldn't be doing. So our thinking is that by using the incentive prizes and using the crowdsourcing innovation a million dollar prize is going to go out and solve a problem with billions of women around the world could feel safe. And once they feel safe they can go out and be educated. They can go out and actually work. And once they are able to be educated and work that's what's going to bring the empowerment to women not by simply activism. So my problem with a lot of the young people is they become activists. Activists means they do activity. And they run in the circle and they think they're doing something. And just running in the circle is an activity. And entrepreneurs want to move forward. And that means you actually find a path and you keep going down that path and not go caught up on the activism.
How To Celebrate Entrepreneurs (38:08)
Do you have any ideas on how we can better celebrate entrepreneurs to make people? Because you said that that's one of the keys. How do we do that? Of course. So the thing is to really is we get the behavior that we incentivize and the behavior that we celebrate. So what happens is today you see who are we celebrating? The Hollywood actors, the celebrities, right? The musician and the athletes. That is the celebrity that we look up to. What if those celebrities were every entrepreneur who actually tried something even if they failed? The fact they tried something is makes them a hero better than any celebrity will ever be. And how do we pull that off? It would be simple. Every single neighborhood you take the person who is going to be an entrepreneur, you start putting their poster up in every wall and say, "Here is the hero of my Beverly Hill Drive. Here is a hero." And you make them the heroes and every kid going to the school looking at that and say, "I want my name there next time." And you start to celebrate the people who go out and do these things, right? So if you want someone to succeed, allow them to dream. Allow them to dream so big that people think they are crazy and know that entrepreneurs never fail. The ideas may or may not work. And every idea that does not work is simply a stepping stone to a bigger idea and a bigger success. So never be afraid to fail because you only fail in life when you give up. Everything else is just a pivot.
How to Build a Strong Foundation (39:50)
What advice do you have for somebody that is daring to dream so big, people tell them that they are crazy, but inside they are not sure. They are like, "Maybe I am crazy. How do you guide them?" The day before, if any breakthrough is a crazy idea. And the day after the breakthrough is always an obvious idea. So today when I tell people, "Hey, we are going to go land on the moon." You know the first question they ask me, "What are you going to bring back and how much are you going to bring back?" It is no longer the question of, "Holy shit, you will be the first company to land on the moon." It is given. It is obvious you are going to be able to land on the moon. So my point is the conversation shifts. It is not a crazy idea anymore. Now they are thinking, "How big is it?" Right. But do you have, you have already done the mental gyrations to really build a strong foundation. You know how to think about things. You know how to learn. But if one of your kids came to you and said, "Dad, look, I have really got this big idea." You hear the idea and it is like, "Wow, that really is pretty far out there." How do you help them navigate whether they know what they need to know in order to actually execute? It is very simple. You always take an audacious big idea and that becomes your not-star that you are trying to reach to. And then you take that idea and slice them into smaller slices that you start to execute against. Are some people better at knowing where those slices are than others? Well, it is the milestone. So you know you are going to go from LA to New York. And then you say, "Alright, I need to go cross the second city."
Real Examples from Moon Express (41:24)
Give me some real examples from the moon express. So moon express, we knew to land on the moon, one of the things we have to do is to be able to reduce the cost. The launch or the device itself? The total cost. So if we are going to go out in the way that things are currently being done, you will have to buy a massive rocket that can go all the way to the moon. And the cost of that is going to be about $3, $400 million. Wow. Even the SpaceX that brought the cost down to $70 million, that is too much. So we rethought that and say, "What if we can use a small rocket that only costs $3 or $4 million?" And it does not go all the way to the Earth orbit, but it can go to the low Earth orbit. And can we build another lender that can actually boost ourselves from there? Because no longer are you going from Earth gravity, the gravity is much lower here. And that is exactly what we did. And our cost of lending on the moon, a marginal cost is under $10 million. Wow. Under $10 million. So imagine the first time when we landed on the moon, cost us $25 billion. In 1969, that will be today's $250 billion. Jesus. The sensor that used to cost $2 million now costs under $100 because the LiDAR, the laser radars, are being used in the self-driving cars. So cost used to be custom cost of $2 million. Now it is $2,000. Wow. So it is just these costs are coming down so significantly. And the same way, you know, you look at the health, it's exactly the same thing, Tom, is the technology that we have applied would have cost $10,000 per test. Now we are doing the same test for $19. Wow. So imagine how fast the things are coming down and you have to, when you start a company, start them to see are you on that exponential curve because it's going to take you one, two or three years to get there. And if you can find the right exponential curve, you know you start to move forward and the technology will be ready for you. Now that's great advice. So give us a little more advice.
The 2 Main Goals of College You Shouldnt Ignore (43:30)
What do you think about, obviously all of your kids went to traditional university. Is that the path that you think most people should take? How should people in an environment where it's exponential technology and your skill sets changing every five to 10 years, how should people think about getting educated, staying educated maybe more importantly and picking a wise path? I'm a firm believer that no one should ever escape education. Going to college is a plan B of life. In life shit happens. Even if you are the best high wire act, you still want a safety net under you. And education is that safety net. People can take away everything from you. They can never take your knowledge and education. So my thinking you should always go get the education. And the main reason for doing that are two things. Going to the traditional colleges, one is to learn, remember we talked about the basic vocabulary of different subjects. And that allows you to constantly keep learning about the exponential technology in the new subjects because they always built on the top of each other. The second thing that really helps is when you go to these Ivy League colleges, it's not that education is any better there. In fact, I would argue is mediocre education. But they are self selective people. That means they select the cream of the society who go there. And suddenly you are surrounding yourself with the best mind the college has. And surrounding yourself, the great minds is really what it's all about learning. And creating this lifelong friendship that you have with these great minds. Go out to do great things and you can not plug yourself into the ecosystem. So to me, my advice is go to the greatest college not because they are going to teach you any better than your community college. It's because you are going to be surrounded by the great people. And the more you can focus when you are young in building the foundation and the basic vocabulary and constantly learning. Use Twitter not to find out what Paris Hilton is doing or what Kim Kardashian is doing. Use the social media to understand and learn about what is going on in the fields. Every single field because some idea will trigger and say, "Oh, if they are doing that in rocket science, I can apply that to healthcare." "Oh my God, if they are doing in healthcare, why can I apply that to agriculture?" So the idea is to keep connecting the dots when you see the dots and say, "How do I connect that dot to something I care about?" So whatever your passion is, find your passion. And the way you find your passion is two ways. One is to start thinking about if you had everything that you always wanted in your life. A billion dollars. A great family. What would you do? And if you do that today, you will get everything that you want. The second thing that you and I talked about is find something that you are willing to die for and live for it. And I think most people with us, where they fail, they are willing to die for something but they don't live for it. I love that. All right, before I hit you in my last question, where can these guys find you? They can always find me. They can email it to me, firstname.lastname@example.org and they can find me on Facebook. They can find me on LinkedIn. They can find me on Twitter. I answer all of them. That's incredible, man.
The Vision Of Mement
The Impact Mement Wants To Have On The world (47:02)
All right, what's the impact that you want to have on the world? My impact on the world is going to be if I can inspire every single person who is watching this episode to find their own moon shot. So if you're watching this, find what is it that you will do. Imagine I am the person who grew up poor with nothing. I came to this country with nothing. If I can dream so big and to be able to land on the moon, what would you do? I love that. Navine, thank you so much for coming on this episode. Thank you, Seth. Thank you. All right, guys. I really hope that you noticed one thing in all of that. It is the way that he thinks that makes him special. I cannot stress that enough. Watch this episode again and pay attention to one thing and one thing only. The way his mind works, how he dissects a problem. That's why I don't normally ask people such highly tactical stuff over and over, but I wanted you guys to see the way that he breaks down problems. I wanted you to see the way that he conceptualizes business as philanthropy. The philanthropy has to be a self-sustaining engine, not because there's any moral imperative for it to be that way, but because that's how the world works. And if it's going to be something that's going to be able to go on and work at scale and touch as many lives as anybody in philanthropy would want it to do, it has to have that economic vehicle behind it. When the woman came to him and said the product is the women or the product is a shelter and the customer are the women that are in the shelter and he got her to rethink that. That's him really trying to ask the question, how does it sustain? How does it grow? How does it meet scale? And you can, in the answers that he gives, you can literally watch his mind working. Again, go back and watch it. Watch how he breaks problems down. That is why I think education should be taught with an entrepreneurial mindset in mind. Once people are able to look at the world that way, a willingness to dream big, understanding how to learn from your failures, the ability to identify not just the symptoms, but the actual root cause problem. And then say, how do I turn that into a business opportunity? Those to me are the fundamental questions and you don't have to want to actually start your own company. He's got amazing people on his teams. And in fact, one of the things that he's greatest at, that he hinted at in the interview, is his ability to get other people excited about his vision. And you're going to need people around you. So whether you want to be the number one, you want to be number 10, number 20 on a great team doing something amazing is irrelevant. If you think like that, you'll be able to contribute to solving some of the biggest problems that we face as a society. I don't think anybody encapsulates that better than this man. So, Naveen, thank you so much. Thank you, Tom. All of the pleasure. Yes, my friend, definitely. Guys, it's a weekly show. So if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe. And until next time, my friends, be legendary. Take care. Hey, everybody. Thanks so much for joining us for another episode of Impact Theory.
Show Rating And Review
Rating and Reviewing The SHOW!!! (49:50)
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