Craig Cannon on Podcasting with Adora Cheung | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Craig Cannon on Podcasting with Adora Cheung".
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Adora's intro (00:00)
Welcome. I'm a Dora Chung. I'm a partner at Y Combinator and I am here interviewing Craig Cannon. How's it going? Good. How are you doing? I'm doing very well. Great. Thanks for being here. Thanks for being on your own podcast. No problem. I had a great time setting it all up. And so Craig is the head of marketing at Y Combinator and also the extraordinary host of this great Y Combinator podcast. And he actually asked me a few weeks ago on topics I was interested in and doing on a podcast. So I thought about things I wanted to learn more about. And one of those things is actually podcasting itself. It's hitting it stride, I think, and who better to ask than someone like yourself. So I once been most of the time talking about podcasting trends, what you think about it, how to do it correctly, things like that, and about the Y Combinator podcast itself. But maybe you could start off with telling us, you know, people, people, lots of people listen to you, you know, what, two to three times a week. Yeah, it depends on you. I don't think they know anything about you. So why don't you start off with, who's Craig Cannon? Where are you from? You know, how did you, what's your background? How did you, how did you learn about YC? And how did you even end up here? Yeah, that's a, that's a big question. I'll do the quick version.
Podcasting: Creation, Execution, & Tools
Craig's intro (01:05)
So, yeah, hi, my name's Craig. I'm from Boston or near Boston. I went to school at NYU and I was an English major. So I was like the guy, all you people, all you CS engineers made fun of. And I was about to graduate and I realized that I was like moderately unemployable. I didn't have very many skills, but I was running the comedy magazine at NYU. And so I was like, well, maybe I can get a job at this place called the Onion. And so I just sent out an application and like that was the one thing I got. So I started working there. And while I was there, I actually started reading HN and programming on the site. And after a few years there, I started this hackathon series called Comedy Hack Day, where developers and engineers or developers and comedians made stuff together. So that like, it was like, literally hackathon. Oh, that's funny. Yeah, yeah, because I was, I was going to hackathons and realizing that they were mostly presentation competitions, not really programming competition. What's an example of something that coupled each time one of these things. So one of the early ones was called Timesify. And it was a Chrome extension that would allow you to turn any website, usually a junk news website, like Buzzfeed, into a site that looked like the New York Times, but it would inject the article into it. And then like you could click the ads and it would basically create a slideshow of all the images. Yep. So that was great. And there are a ton of them. Yeah, so I did that for like four years with a few of my friends and I had gotten into cycling when I was out here. And I found this thing, this like world record that I wanted to go for and I did it and it worked out. And people started treating me differently. And it was really weird. And I like started feeling this like pending doom of my youth and vitality fading away. It was the world record yet. It was most elevation climbed in 48 hours. Oh, wow. Well, mine was like 97,000 feet. Got it. Yeah. So, so yeah, so people were treating me differently. And I was like, Oh, shit, I'm not going to be young forever. And so I quit. And I went on like a five month bike tour. And I was like out of the country and I went to Japan and Vietnam and New Zealand. And I came back and I had no job and I had no idea what I was going to do. And then Luke Eisman, who used to work here, called me up and asked me if I wanted to do a contract for the blog. And so that started, you know, three years ago. Okay. Okay. So you start with the blog. And then so what were the steps into how you eventually started this YC podcast and why even the podcast?
Starting the YC podcast (03:45)
Yeah. So it should be said that Aaron did a YC podcast a few years ago called Start of Score Radio. And yeah, I wanted actually, I didn't care as much about making a podcast. I wanted to make a YouTube channel because YouTube, I think a lot of people know now has great SEO and podcasts of terrible SEO. And so I was like, all right, what's the easiest way for us to create a ton of content for a YouTube channel and then title it all in a way that, you know, like our founders get attention, like stuff we want to talk about gets attention. And more importantly, it doesn't fade away. And so I was like, well, podcast is a good way to do that. And yeah, we just started from there. Oh, so podcast is the way to get the content. And then YouTube is the way to spread it. Well, because we do both. But I think it was like 2014 or 2015, when I started following Joe Rogan. And I just saw this like massive growth happening. And people were like clipping his videos and creating like fan channels. And now I think his YouTube channel gets as many views as a podcast gets downloads, which isn't true for ours. But yeah, if you look for a door or a chug online, like I'm sure you've Google yourself like you show up. Yeah. So to calibrate a list, to calibrate us a little bit.
Podcast metrics (05:00)
So the Y comment account, how do you like, how many views do we get? Or, you know, how do you how do you even calculate this? Or what metric actually matters? And so let me let's talk about that. Yeah. So the thing that ultimately really matters is like, we kind of have two goals. So one is to help educate founders and people who are in the startup game. And two is to bring other founders in. So the way we're trying to calculate this, and it's still pretty loose is by driving applications. And that's like the main thing. But in terms of like sheer metrics, you know, we started out just like possibly a little bit bigger than other shows by having like maybe two or 3,000 people automatically subscribe. And now we're maybe like 40 ish thousand. Give or take, you know, five or 10,000 every episode, plus YouTube. So YouTube can go from like 1000 to 100,000, depending on who the person is. Yep. Yeah. So all right. So I wanted to get into how you create a podcast, essentially, in your tips there.
Tips on creating a podcast (06:00)
So let's pretend I'm I want to do a podcast. And so I have a topic that I want to do. How do I decide if that's actually a good idea or not to even work on it? Do you have an idea in mind? Well, I can come up with a theoretical idea. So one I've always just joked around doing, which I think actually might be a good idea, is to do a podcast where I ask little kids like deeply philosophical questions just because I think they will they actually have great insight into the world in which we are unaware of. You've seen that show, right? Can say the darnest things? Yes. People have told me about that. I have not seen it, but I've seen clips of it. I've seen like little clips of it. Yes. Yes. So right off the bat, there's clearly an audience already for this. Like that show worked. The first question is honestly, do you want to do the thing? And I think another question that a lot of people don't ask is, am I willing to even create like a time box around this and say, I'm okay if I make 10 episodes? Because one of the hardest parts about podcasting, in particular, if it's not your job, like with YC, I'm just like, okay, we'll just keep banging out every week. If it's not your job, it can become a real grind, because those metrics don't go up that quickly. You know, getting from like 30,000 to 40,000 and 50,000 can take years for certain people. So assuming that you really want to do the thing, think, what could I maybe make like eight of these? Like Alexis Madrigal did that with the container podcast? I don't know if you listened to that one. Yeah. It was super cool. And it's like the short version. I thought that was a great idea. So then I would, would this be scripted in any way? Probably not, but I would have to probably edit a lot. Yeah. Okay. So what I would suggest doing that is just getting like a basic, basic setup and then just going and recording a bunch. Like don't even release. Got it. Cool. And so the YC podcast has every every episode has its own topics. So how do you come up with those topics? Yeah. So in many ways, it's about like stuff I'm interested in.
Picking episode topics (08:10)
I don't know. I hit this point where, you know, we hang out other, we, you hang out with other people by sea and people who are in tech. And I just found that there wasn't really any tech podcast that interested me because it all feels very inside baseball. And I was like, maybe other founders aren't interested in this either because they talk about it all the time. So I thought, okay, perhaps we could focus on technology as a core as like a pillar, but also do, you know, art in science and in entrepreneurship. And then it's just been like getting a mix of these people. So yeah, a big driver is obviously if they have a following. Got it. But then yeah. So you have a topic for the episode, then you obviously need to find someone to interview.
Order of operations for finding guests (09:00)
Usually goes the other way. Oh, okay. Yeah. So tell me, yeah, tell me the order operations of how you put together a whole entire podcast. Okay. So a common one is I ask someone at YC like you, hey, who do you want to do a podcast with? You know, Kevin Hale has done a few recently. That's what that was. There are other ones. For instance, I did an episode with John Preskill, who's a quantum physicist at Caltech. And he suggested other people. So he was like, oh, man, you got to get like Scott Aronson, Leonard Susskin, all those people. And so that's a really common thing. Yeah, it's just finding trends, finding things that are interesting and going from there. In his booking guests, easy, hard or what are reasons why people don't want to do it? Because I'm sure some people said, not really. The more common no is not replying. Got it. Yeah. But there are there are some fringe ones for sure where people say, I don't know if I want to be on a YC podcast. Interesting. Because there are sort of brand connotations. Interesting. Yeah. Okay. You're making this actually to do a podcast sounds like almost like starting a startup. Like you need to validate your audience. You know, you need there's a lot of hard long days of work to do. And you know, maybe there's a lot of cold emailing cold outreach, essentially, and just like keep asking people to do it until they actually keep learning too. I think thinking about content in the same way you think about product is just like, great, there you go. You can apply all the same ideas. Cool.
Preparing for interviews (10:30)
All right. So how do you prepare for interviews? In particular, you have some interviews that involve topics which you're probably not an expert in, like quantum physics, these kind of things. But you actually ask really good questions. So yeah, how do you do that? So I think I would probably break apart the episode types. So there there's episodes like Office Hours with a door. Okay. I know you I know the kinds of questions that come in. I don't really have to prep for that one. There's a middle level, which is a founder of a company like say Ryan Peterson of Flexport. I kind of know what Flexport does. I've seen Ryan talk before. In that instance, what I would do is find every podcast he's ever done and listen to all of them at like two x speed. So you're like, okay, this is the stuff he's excited about. These are the anecdotes he's used a million times. Avoid anything that he's going to like have these really easy places to go. And the last category are the quantum physics type episodes, which yeah, to confirm your belief, I'm not an expert in. Yeah. How long does it take like the for example, that episode itself that you like these some of these, you don't have to you barely have to do any prep for this one, like did it take weeks or days or the first quantum physics episode with well, there was a hard one before that too with Ron out of car about gravitational waves. But the quantum one was more difficult. That probably took two and a half days between listening to John's talks and reading articles he's written, you know, with with other people, Scott Aronson, I read his whole book, and you just like take notes on that kind of thing. But but ultimately the goal is actually not to become an expert. The goal is to become informed enough that I know more than maybe the average listener, but not so informed that we fill it with jargon and talk about stuff that like no one really knows about or cares about. That makes sense. Yeah. But there are examples like the SUSK and episode, which is one of the most popular ones. We had planned for months and then the week before, I hadn't done any prep yet. The week before, I'm like, all right, you know, we're going to meet here. No reply. Usually when that happens, it means that he's ghosting me. And so I didn't do any prep. And so I'm like, all right, he's ghosting me. He's ghosting me. He's ghosting me. We're doing the interview on Monday. He emails me Sunday night and I'm like, Oh shit. I have to like cram it in. So possibly the YouTube comments reflect my level of fairness, but which is a separate thing to deal with. Was that the most? Well, what was the most challenging one? The, I would say the, so John Preskill was particularly difficult because he's also very chill. And so keeping it upbeat, keeping it interesting, keeping it fun. But I would say the one I bombed hardest on was Jocko Willink and Mike Sirelli. I don't know if you listen. Oh, the Navy's, the Navy's seal episode. Yeah. I think I was just too nervous. I have this thing where when I get nervous, I laugh and it was fine. But it was, you know, like we hung out afterwards and it's like, yeah, this is much better than before. So on the topic of keeping a podcast or an episode engaging, how do you, like you said, some people are just really chill and maybe they're mottness or whatnot. How do you push them to keep it engaging?
How to keep an episode engaging (13:50)
So usually there's, this doesn't come out in the podcast, but we talk before we start recording. Right. And so you kind of feed them what they should think about, how they should act like, you know, basically like, these are the norms of the show. And most of it's just about making them really comfortable. And we do a slight amount of editing, usually almost none. But if I edit anything, it's often the first five minutes, I'll just cut the whole first five minutes off because you're like, Oh, Adora really got warmed up and she was into it at this point. And I can mix in an intro. Like people think this matters, but like, the intro doesn't really matter. I don't know. It's not a big thing that I care about. And actually, one of the best podcasters in this regard is Russ Roberts from econ talk. Oh, I love that one. Yeah. Yeah. So if you look, if you pay attention to his show, he always starts with not a controversial question, but a question that's not a softball. And I think that's a really great way to start the show. Got it. Because you want to give them something that's interesting to them, but you don't want to confront them. And this is something that a lot of podcasts host and I fall prey to it too. You don't want to offend someone. And so you're really nice. So you ask them all these like softball questions, but you don't really go anywhere. And that's what that's how you end up with like the Joe Rogan Elon Musk episode. Did you see that one? Yeah, it was so bad. It was like Joe Rogan's great. And Elon Musk is capable of giving good answers. But because he knows so much more than Rogan and Rogan didn't prep that much, he just dodged him the whole time. And he was fanboying. So yeah, yeah. Those get obvious after the first 10 minutes. It's like, okay, this is going down the, yeah, not gonna learn much here. Do you listen to full episodes normally? Or do you have any of any podcasts? I try if I'm going, I try listening to Joe Rogan. I love, I like his. So do I listen whole? Maybe once a week, I'll listen to one whole week. In other shows, you listen to the whole thing. Other shows, I listen to yours. Thanks. Those are maybe the only two where I regularly listen to the whole thing. Yeah, I guess not much. Because this is something that I often think about, because of metrics, or not the metrics, the analytics are so bad.
You don't really go like, man, should I just be cutting this down to? Yeah. I think they're just different. It's not like you two where you can see where they just dropped off. Well, you have Apple Analytics, but they're not very good. And it's only a percentage of the market. Yeah. Okay. I want to talk about analytics in a second. But actually, let's just talk about analytics. So, Apple Analytics, there's nothing like Mixpanel or Amplitude or any. It's like Google, Google Analytics version 0.1. That's where Apple Analytics gets you. Because you, I think what might not be obvious to people is that podcasts aren't like YouTube videos. You don't upload your podcast to iTunes. You upload your podcast to a host, and then the host serves the podcast from an RSS feed. And because that's the way it works, what information you can get is like serves. It's been downloaded basically X amount of times, but you don't have any kind of that retention data that you have. Unless you're using Apple, or you're using an embedded player. So, if you listen, for instance, on the YC blog in the embed thing, then I know. But that's it. Yeah. So, really only these podcast players might know, well, they will know it given what that went for that episode, I guess, that it's actually played on their podcast. But I guess the players have, you're seeing fragmentation amongst players now. I've heard something like 60% is Apple. Okay. Apple podcast. Okay. Got it. So, it's pretty big share. But then after that, I think there's a dominant player on Android. I don't have an Android. I forget what it's called. And then there's a bunch of other ones. Yeah, I use Castbox on Android. Oh. But I don't know. It's actually not that one. Oh, I just Google for that one. Yeah. Well, that was a YC company. And that was like when they applied, I was like, no way, the podcast app. There's the podcast app. It's like such a great name. Yeah. Yeah. Such a good idea. Okay. Cool. So, what are other tools that are indispensable for the podcast? So, maybe you would start with software and then you've got a lot of gear. But what I'll say is, so I did my research and I listened to before this, I listened to a lot of your first episodes. Oh, no. And so, you can, and which is actually pretty good quality. But then if you listen to the last 10 episodes that you just did, you can hear the sound quality. Like, there's less echo. You can hear the voice more clear. Yeah. So, yeah, maybe walk me through like how, what did you start with? And what's the gear that, like, what's the MVP gear you need to get going?
And then what do you have today? The MVP gear is this. This is your phone. You can record a podcast on your phone. And don't let your gear disqualify you from doing it. That's my main point. But what I started with, back in the, I did a podcast before YC too. Oh, what was it? It was called, it was great. It was called Salt of the Earth. It's still on iTunes. And it was really funny in contrast to the YC podcast because it was in relation to tech entrepreneurs getting so much attention. My friend and I were, we went to college together and we both grew up in New England. And none of our role models were tech entrepreneurs. They were like local electricians and stuff. And so we said, dude, why isn't there a podcast with these guys? Because, and ladies who are often very funny. And so, we, it's like really hard to find these people, but funny, successful, small business entrepreneurs. So we did that. And, you know, we maxed out like 2000 downloads in episode or something like that. But we had really simple gear. And so that was a, a zoom recorder. So it has like four inputs. Totally great. And ensure mics that were like, you know, 50 bucks each in the zoom recorder. I don't know, it's like 100 bucks. So there also USB. There's this thing called the Blue Yeti, which you can just plug into your laptop and record. Got it. Cool. And then, Oh, yeah. In the gear now. Yeah. Oh, yeah. So, I don't know if you're listening to this on a podcast, Craig, like when he does an episode, he, he actually has a lot of stuff. And one of the things he does is he takes down our walls. These portable walls that are in another room. And then he like drags them into like a really small conference room. So I guess that's for sound. But yeah, and I think it actually ends up looking better too. In a weird, in a weird way. But, yeah. So, okay. So what happened there was I realized after I started doing this podcast, in this room, that this is not the best room in the world to record a podcast. But actually, our office doesn't have many great rooms for that because you don't, you definitely don't want a street window. But it also needs to like not be in use all the time. And so I was basically left with like this room. So yeah. So I have these like sound blocking things to eliminate echo because my voice was getting picked up on your microphone. And now it's a little bit, you still get it, but it's a little bit less because we don't do the headphones. You've probably seen that before. Yes. Yeah. I tried it and everyone freaked out. I hate headphones. Exactly. Yeah. I used to do when I was in college, you had a radio show. Really? And I was, I, because you just, you're hearing yourself talking and I was the one who like was the annoying one and just. You're the host? No, no, no, no. Well, it was like a talk show. So it was like just gabbing. It was like old school podcasts, I guess. What was it about? It was just it was a we talked about news in the school and just regular politics and stuff like that. I really hope this was not recorded. It does not exist anymore. Oh, that was my next question. Oh, dude, that's awesome. But yeah, it was a local college news station. Okay, cool. Yeah. Yeah, that's hard. That's a separate question that someone asked that we should talk about hearing your voice. But yeah, so now we use these are sure SM seven B mics. These are like 300 bucks. The biggest upgrade was the recorder, which was actually from a YouTube comment. This is called a mixed pre six sound devices to make these sure Mike sound good. You need a bunch of what they call clean gain and our zoom recorder didn't really do that. This thing does that. And then we record on like Canon DSLRs. So they're like, you know, less than a thousand bucks each. Okay. So your suggestion step one, just use an iPhone, because that's good quality anyway. Well, I wouldn't suggest iPhone as doing it. Okay. But I was like, you can conceivably do it with an iPhone. Got it. But what I would suggest is if you're going to move around locations all the time, and even if you're not, if you're going to do the interviews in person, get a recorder like a zoom, h4n, something like that, get sure mics SM 58, whatever, they're like 60 bucks and XLR cables to the cables to plug them in. And you can take it anywhere. If you're going to interview people remotely, get a USB mic, like a blue Yeti. And then just and then do it over Skype. So yeah, there's a I've used it one time. I forget. I'm bummed out that I remember what it's called does podcasting software you can record online. Okay. But if you just Google it.
Okay. Got it. Cool. All right. And then how do you and then what's the sorry? This is really new questions. But like, so you record it, you're editing it. Do you use software to edit? Oh, yeah. So we definitely use software to edit. There's free software called Audacity. Okay. Again, you can take the file from your iPhone, put it into Audacity. You're good to go. We use because we have video, we actually just edit the video and then export the video audio to a podcast. And then if you've heard it before, but like I record a an intro thing. Right. Got it. Yeah, which is what I like. But other people like songs, other people like little clips from the show, whatever. Yeah. Cool. And then you have to serve it. And we use backtracks for that. Got it. Okay. Cool. All right. So you mentioned your voice. Do you think your voice sounds awful when you listen to it? Well, I mean, man, you can use to it. That's my answer. Okay. Yeah. Because you have to because you're the one editing to see you have to play back every day.
Listening to your own voice (23:55)
Okay. So you just get used to it. Well, because yeah, my answer to this question is actually like, well, what do you feel about your voice? I generally don't like it. Yeah. But it sounds different than when I'm like when I'm hearing myself, I sound very different than when I hear it on a recorded version. Is it lower higher? How does it sound here? It's just not what I expect. It's a little bit lower, I think. Okay. I think I don't know. Yeah. It's tricky because actually, some people have figured out ways to manipulate in like post production, their voice to make it sound closer to what it sounds like in their head, which is, you know, like I often think about this. I did an episode of another podcast and it was bassier than we normally record on. And I was like, Oh man, that sounds like more like my actual voice. But yeah, personally, I don't really like the NPR tone. Like, you know, really like soft. Oh yeah. I don't really like it. So I'm okay with it. But you get a, my voice in my head is lower. But as soon as you start recording yourself on video all the time, you're like, Oh man, that's what I look like. And then you feel like way worse about that. So yeah, I got over it. Okay, cool. So let's move to what you've learned from the YC podcast itself. Sure. Okay. So let's start off with actually what has been, what's been the best interview, your favorite interview so far?
Podcast Experiences & Learning Outcomes
Favorite interviews (25:20)
So my favorite interview. So the most popular one is Leonard Suscans. Okay. So that's, yeah, that's the most popular one. But I've actually learned a lot from different people. I really liked the Michelle Kuo interview with Kat. So that was about art and technology. Oh, that's right. I watched that. That was a fun one. She's awesome. Then Ryan Peterson interview was a great one. He's got this like cool, like hustle, but not annoying vibe, which I really like. The Roseland Watts, the psilocybin, the mushroom interview. Oh, that's right. Yeah. That was like, I mean, I had heard about it, but I didn't know it in that detail. That was awesome. And then maybe some of the ones with my friends have been really fun. Cool. It's like, like my friend Matt Hackett started this company with Casey Neistat. So I like that one. Oh, that was pretty cool. Yeah. Yeah. All right. And what's the most surprising thing you've learned about startups after joining YC and interviewing so many founders like Ryan? Yeah. I mean, this is definitely one that you should answer to. But I think like a core part of it that wasn't obvious to me from the outside was how important confidence is and how big of it, how big of a role it plays in just doing the thing.
Most surprising things Craig's learned about startups on the podcast (26:20)
A lot of people, oftentimes when I meet them and they're interested in about YC, they make up these things in their heads that disqualify themselves from starting. And a lot of the successful founders don't do that ever. And then they also have gotten into YC or some other thing. And they like have a little bit of like kind of wind behind them. And so they have just like the confidence to do the thing. And I would say that's like a learned trait. And that's a skill that you can develop. And a lot of people might not think it is, but I really do think it is. So yeah, I would just tell people like just do the thing and like know that you're good enough because they're just normal. I don't know what do you say? No, I think that's a good observation. I think it's hard to, you know, one of the things as working with startups now that I do is doing office hours, for example, is just keep the optimism of where this could go at a realistic but high level. Meaning like the ground every day, you would not think it's going anywhere fast. But so it's always, I like to remind people like this is where you started this for this reason. And this reason could be bigger than what you even thought about what you thought it could be. But regardless, you know, you should always think about why you're doing something. That's a really good thing too. Like bigger than you think it could be. This is a big, it's a core thing in Silicon Valley that like gets some criticism and because you could say like, all right, not everything is venture fundable nor should it be. But there's another way to think about that, which is it's not as risky as you think it is. And it's actually often easier to find people to work with if you're like, I'm just going to build rockets now. And you really stand out, whereas like doing these like, I don't want to put it down, but like hackathon level like SaaS tools isn't as compelling to people. That was been a big takeaway for me as well. All right, so I'm just, I'm going to start going through questions that Twitter has. Twitter was great. I didn't have to prepare much for this interview. So what have you learned from any of your guests that you've put into practice?
What has Craig learned from guests that he's put into practice? (29:00)
I think like the honest to God main thing is, it's just gotten me super anxious about doing my own thing. You must do a startup now or something. Yeah, because you can only interview so many people where you're like, I mean, this is fun to do. But being the host, it just it kind of sinks into your mind as I mean, kind of reviewing YC applications too, as this observer of trends happening, of things happening. And you realize that you're just like this passing moment in someone else's life and it's cool and everything, but they're like getting right back to their thing. So I really admire that. That's been a big thing. Sam encouraged me to just like do the thing, which is like always good. And he's very helpful there. Mushroom interview, very interesting. And you can do your own research privately in different countries if you want to do that. Tim Wong, he did the container book with me. Oh, that's right. Yeah. And he's been on twice. He's the AI policy guy. Yeah. I remember. Okay. Yeah. Tim's awesome. And so Tim is one of the only people I know who has been able to maintain cool jobs, but also have all the like little side hustle projects going on. And like his work ethic is unprecedented in my mind for that kind of thing. And I think maybe the last one is just realizing like it doesn't take that much to generate a pretty real following online by writing and communicating clearly. I think like YC, that's at the core of YC, right? Like PG's essays or content marketing. I mean, they're cool. They're obviously like valuable, but it's, you know, and, you know, like Andrew Cortina from Venmo, that's how I found out about him. And even like Michael, like cycles essays are great and really help him. So yeah. I like them when they're to the point. Yeah. I mean, this is tricky, right? Like that's just a style thing. Yeah. Like who are your favorite writers right now? I guess in that, in that scene. In the tech scene. I don't, you know, you don't read it. I don't read them. That's what I'm saying. This is the podcast too. Yeah. Exactly what I'm saying. I wish PG would write more essays is what I secretly hinting at that anyway. All right. So what are the, what are the most counterintuitive or maybe non-consensus things you've learned about building successful startups after interviewing so many founders? I think, well, okay. I also, I want your answer on all of these. These are like, these are really cool questions.
Non-consensus things about building startups (31:40)
There's definitely no one model for a successful startup. They're usually not writing some trend in the middle of the wave. They're like, wait early. So it seems weird. They're not doing like AI blockchain, dada, dada right now. That's definitely a thing. And then I think they like often are more focused on finding these really big problems than they are on just focusing on like doing a startup or a company. And they're definitely not attached to a solution. A lot of these people with that in mind, in my experience, like there aren't a lot of crazy pivots, like 180 degree pivots. They come in and they're like, hey, I found this thing. And then all of a sudden they realize that it's like quite large or they change degree a little bit, you know, but it's not like a total turn. Yeah. And then the last thing is like, they're just normal people. I don't know. I think they get built up so much. Yeah, I agree with that. Cool. What's your answer? Oh, I agree with. It's a good question. Hi, you know, I actually agree with the whole. What did you say about the AI blockchain, though, thing? Oh, they're not in the like the middle of a big trendy wave early. Oh, okay. So no, what I was thinking was, I think the best ideas are when you can explain the problem and even the solution without seeing jargon, like without saying AI or blockchain. So I think some investors are, when you say those words, they're like, I'm in. But for me, it's, I think if you can articulate it without actually describing the new tech you're doing, like that's never, that's always like the mechanism of which you're solving the problem, but that's never, you know, I don't think that's the problem you're solving, if that makes sense. I totally. I mean, it's this question is like, what more do you need, man? It's a tool's question. Right. Yeah. But it's not a product question. And that's the answer. Like I said, content, product, same thing. Like, do you make a good podcast? Do you make a good app or whatever you might be making? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So now that you've done podcasting for many years, if you had to start one again from scratch, how would you structure it? Okay. So I have a couple notes on this, but the thing is, I kind of did start this podcast from scratch.
If Craig had to start a podcast from scratch, how would he structure it? (34:00)
So in many ways, it reflects my personal taste and how I like shows to go. If I were to do my own thing, like not why see related from scratch. So that like the main constraint here has been this is still my job. Right. And so in that way, I think in real life, I would have real life in like a non YC podcast, I'd have more like really strange people, like weird, like definitely do not fit in this podcast. What's an example of that? Well, he's not. Okay. So one, one friend comes to mind. He's not actually weird, not that weird, but he is an off the grid guy in the middle of Vermont. And so he's like built his whole cabin in the woods. He's homeschooled all of his kids. He is solar powered, like all that stuff, but he's also a teacher at a college. And so he's super smart, but a sweetheart and like living this very weird different life that I think appeals to a lot of people. So like stuff like that, there have been moments where I'm like, could I, is this like a YC episode? And whatever. And maybe not. I mean, even like the Casey and I said episode, I was a little bit like, I don't know if this is gonna fly. So there's like a little bit of a branding thing you have to think about. Is that where you're talking? Well, well, yeah, I mean, this is like a separate conversation, but given that the podcast has grown a little bit, you know, I have like 18 bosses. Yeah, that sounds awful. Everyone, everyone who I see is cool, but like, at any given moment, I can get emails from anyone. Yeah. And like, this is how I feel about the podcast. And usually, it's an expression of personal taste. And this is something that you have to get used to with creative work, right? It's like differentiating. Oh, this is objectively good feedback, even if it hurts versus, oh, they just have a personal opinion. It feels that they feel that way. And both strategies can work, which is really hard. So yeah, so the answer to the question is like, I would make it more weird. I would have like maybe like, sillier people on, but I would definitely still do YouTube, do transcripts, do the podcast, like clip the show as much as you can. Like, I'm really bad at that, but like clipping it for YouTube. And then like pro tips, big names still work. Yeah, like trends still work. I don't do a lot of trends stuff, big names work. Do you see when you talk about clipping, do you see, does that in whole unique wise, unique listener wise anyway, get you more lessons than people just listening it from the audio stream?
Clipping the show (36:40)
So what's tricky? Oh, yeah, this is a learning. We have two YouTube channels. Subscribe. We have Y Combinator and Y Combinator clips. Because what happened was initially, I was like, oh, I'll just clip the show because this is great. It's great for SEO, right? You title like, you know, Jessica Livingston on finding a co-founder rather than Jessica Livingston with Sam Altman. Right. And then you can make like five clips from one episode, which is cool. But when I put out all like seven videos on one day, everyone freaked out on the YouTube comments like, what are you doing, man? Like you're clogging my feed. So it's like, okay, fine. I'll make a clips channel. The problem there is like the clips channel doesn't have that like flywheel effect. So in the long run, you see this with Joe Rogan. Like there are in aggregate, like his show clipped out will do more than an individual episode. But you need an audience before. Right. Yeah. Which requires like, yeah, bigger names helping that way. Right. Makes sense. Yeah. One question. Why are more podcasts not actually videos on YouTube? Because people are dumb. By people you mean. Podcasters? No. No, it's it's more work. Right. And I think this is actually like a fairly new revelation. Like some people have been doing it for a while, but I don't think it's been as obvious to people that you can even just like upload a still image of you and then the audio. And that would be a thing. Yeah. But it's interesting that you actually thought a reverse. Like I want to start a YouTube channel because that's where the audience is. Yeah. And then I podcasting is an excuse to get that content. Yeah. What's that smart? Well, the question was, I met with Michael in this room when we were talking about it and we were like, where are the youth hanging out? You know what I mean? And I was like, man, it's, I don't know. Like a lot of these other mediums are kind of feel aging to me. Whereas YouTube is just going to be young or it's still as young. Yeah. Oh, and then you guys started Instagram. Yeah, that's another thing I'm bad at. So thanks for my. Yeah. It's like, you ever do Snapchat to we didn't do Snapchat. I held out because people were like, Oh, you want to be like the YC personality on Snapchat? No, we had just done for that. Yeah. Yeah. But we clip the podcast on YouTube on Instagram. That actually does really well too. It just takes work. All right. Yeah. All right. So what patterns have you recognized in just from your, just from YC, but when a YC podcast, when an episode gets popular viral, what are the reasons for that? Like besides like big name. Yeah, big name is like an easy one. Usually it's some certain like cohort of influencers grab it online and then it just goes like, this has been true. And I won't go so far as to say any of the episodes have gone viral. Yeah. Okay. Definitely not. But one of the strategies for the physics episodes was we want more people to apply who are studying physics. And there aren't that many big names in those communities. Therefore, if we get the biggest names in those communities, we can get them to at least know about YC. Right. And so what I realized there was like those communities, again, not viral, but as soon as anything is shared within those communities, everyone shares it. And so you have like John Preskle will share it, but then like Sean Carroll will share it. And then, you know, like Scott Aronson will share it. And it's like one, two, three, four, five, six. And so, yeah, like finding these like small, but really tightly network communities works really well. It's almost like you want guests that are maybe not within startup tech itself, but it kind of adjacent. Just just my personal opinion. Yeah. This is like how I different. Yeah. No, it makes sense because I'm like, okay, I'm actually a really good example of that is Mr. Money Massash. Do you listen to that one? What was that one? So that was about personal finance and like saving money. Okay. So this has been a crazy trend happening in the past maybe 10 years about people saving high, high, high percentages of their income in quote retiring early. Right. So I think Pete that this guy, Mr. Money Massash saved up like something like 600k and owned his house outright. And then he, you know, quote retired at 30. And it's become, he's become like a figurehead and a cult cult later. I mean, yeah, the episode is called Don't Start a Blog, Start a Cult. And this comes from one of his talks. And but people at YC were like, dude, what are you talking about like starting a cult? But if he has this like passionate following of in large part software engineers, because they earn so much money, it's very easy to save 50% of your income. And so yeah, I was like, oh, this is tech adjacent. This physics thing is tech adjacent. People like taking mushrooms. That's tech adjacent. That was more of a trend thing, actually. Yeah. But yeah. Cool. All right. So in terms of the future of podcasting, so it seems like it's taking off now. And one of the primary problems, I guess, is it's hard to make money.
Podcasting Landscape: Monetization, Saturation, & Influencers
Monetizing podcasts (42:00)
Yeah. I mean, it starts with it's hard to measure, but what one is hard to make money. What do you think is the future of podcast monetization? I think there are a few possible avenues. I tweeted this out recently, but with the Spotify gimlet anchor deal, right? It's conceivable that a lot of these podcasters get on contracts with big companies like Spotify and are just paid, because for the majority of them, like they're not making more than a thousand bucks a month off of ads. Like if you're not a big podcaster, a lot of them aren't making any money. And they actually don't care all that much about having maximum distribution, which is different than Rogan, because Rogan wants to sell comedy shows. He's monetized his podcast. This is why comedians dominate podcasts. Like they have a business plan right here. This is all marketing and their content super interesting. So they figured it out. The people who have had products on the side have figured this out for a long time. I think we're going to see a decrease in CPM around podcast advertising, because it's been like a racket. And now it's I think it's really thinned out. As in it was more lucrative than it is now. I see it was higher than it would have what it actually performed because it was just made up, right? So you're like, hey, MailChimp, I want 20 grand. I see. And they're like, okay, fine. That's how it goes. So yeah, and so I think that'll be a trend. I think we're going to see some kind of Patreon model workout in some way. I wouldn't be surprised if we saw more like tipping happening. That will probably be a new app. Stuff like Himalaya and China for sure. Yes. Tons of education content. Yeah, that's a great one. Yeah. And one thing that I've really been surprised at that doesn't exist yet is super expensive podcasts. Huh, like like $10 an episode type. It's more like it's so you listen to hardcore history. I have. Yes. That could be 50 bucks in an episode. Yeah. Easily. Like you see this stuff like masterclass happen. Like why isn't hardcore history expensive? What's the right and then you're saying more, I guess we pay for audio books. Yeah. So I guess there's you're saying there's something in the middle between audio books, which we pay a lot for and free podcasts. There's like I heard the staff last year, but I'm not sure if it's totally true. But last year or whenever it was quoted, the audiobook market was $3 billion. In the same year, the podcast market advertising was $300 million. And then when I talked to my friends like, wait a second, there's this huge gap here, because most people are actually listening to podcasts, not audiobooks. So there has to be some kind of thing in the middle, especially around educational content, where people will pay a lot of money to have you and like teaching them, educating them, because I think there probably is like a definitively best American history teacher and a definitively best Mandarin teacher. Right. Yeah. And you, I don't know, I pay a thousand dollars for their podcast or whatever. Have you heard of the great courses? Yeah. Yeah. That seems like kind of in that spectrum. But it's like it's like internet 2.0 though. I think there's like a new, like a bigger version that will happen. Yeah. Cool. The Himalayas actually, I think, if you don't know about it, you should check it out. I'm trying to get the last new podcast on it right now. Oh, really? I was like this big complicated thing. All right. So, do you think, okay, so there are so many podcasts out there. Do you think it will become saturated like the music industry? Or do you think the music industry is saturated?
Will podcasts become saturated? (45:30)
No, I thought that question was like a false premise. I don't think music or like is YouTube saturated? I don't think so. Is blogging saturated? Yeah. I mean, there are a lot, there's a lot, but that doesn't mean like, you know, like you said like PG doesn't write an essay a day for you. Like, and yeah. Yeah. And would that be enough? Maybe not even. Yeah.
What's missing in the podcast world? (46:00)
What do you think is missing in the podcast world? I guess we talked about the educational content. Yeah. I mean, there's like a lot of missing stuff around monetization for sure. But I think in many ways, it's like going to be about people committing. Like a lot of people do it on the side, or they've already had a product, right? So I think shifting that model to be like, hey, this is valuable. You should pay for it. I'm making really great content. And that might require some kind of like basic income salary from Spotify. So if I'm like, hey, Adora, you want to make kids say the darnest things. Here's whatever 30 grand year. And that's enough for you to get really motivated to make all this stuff. Because oftentimes like, you don't see it because iTunes doesn't make it obvious. But iTunes has hundreds of thousands of dead podcasts. And they just like never get it going enough to commit. Right. Yeah. It's after three or four. And then it just kind of doesn't go anywhere. Yeah. And then you're done. Yeah. And then you quit. And so like, that's a good idea. So you thought, Oh, so maybe, so what you're saying Spotify might do the Netflix model of or what you would hope is that the Netflix model where they commit you to a certain number of episodes, and then you just go for it. And then if it does well, you just redo. Well, because like think about it, right? So I heard that Jerry Seinfeld signed a hundred million dollar deal with Netflix for communities and cars plus some other stuff. Okay. How much could Netflix or Spotify sign a door for probably less than 100? And so, you know, you could imagine a world where like they hire a hundred podcasters at 30 grand a year. They all work from anywhere in the world. And they just make stuff that people are really into for Spotify. Because like, at 30 grand per person, that's actually not nearly as much, you know, as like paying for all the, I don't know, Lady Gaga royalties. So yeah, I could see that happening. In terms of podcasters, so you've obviously you listened to lots of podcasts.
Influential podcasters (48:00)
What has been you talk a lot about Joe Rogan, but who else has been like the most influential for you? I think Russ Roberts is great. When I started the YC podcast, I just heard about EconTalk. He's been doing it for a long time. Ever. I still don't know why that show is not bigger. Yeah, it's pretty big, but it could be bigger. I wanted to do a combination of EconTalk and Rogan, where it's like interesting people who are technical, but it's also fun. Because like, EconTalk can be a little dry sometimes. I really like those, but I have a dude, I have like this whole list I wrote down of other shows I listened to. So another dead, so there are a ton of dead podcasts that are still good. There's one called Seventh Avenue Projects. So this is by this guy, Robert Polly, who lives in SF somewhere, or nearby SF. It's basically like an NPR science show. And the interviews are great. They're like an hour long. It's got it's got an NPR vibe, but if you can get past that, it's cool. There's another podcast I listened to called Barbell Medicine. So have you ever gotten into lifting weights at all? Not really. Okay. So I got into it last year because I hurt my back. And I was like, how do I fix this? And people said, well, you should lift. And I was like, okay, cool. So this podcast called Barbell Medicine. And it's two doctors who talk about medical research as it relates to exercise. And so they like read a bunch of papers and say like, oh, you know, like creatine is good, or like this protein's like garbage. And like this type of exercise does nothing. And this is why you should train like, you know, three sets of five versus something else. Surprisingly interesting. Dead authors podcast. You listen to that one. This one's also dead. It's a Paul F. Tomkins, bringing on comedians who imitate dead authors. And they have like, it's like an interview show. They do it in their voice too. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But it's, I mean, it's all goof. Like oftentimes you don't really know who, what their voice sounds like. But the bore has one with Nick Crowell is amazing. If you want to check it out. Berkshire Hathaway. So Yahoo got the rights to the Berkshire Hathaway board meeting, or the not the board meeting, the conference shareholder meeting. That's a podcast. Oh, wow. Which is awesome. I have a couple more. The nine club, if you're into skateboarding growing up, nine club is amazing. Okay. They interview like a bunch of skateboarders from back in the day. My buddy Spencer does one called prepared. That's about manufacturing. I did an episode on that. And startup school podcast by Seth Godin. Did you ever hear that one? No. Same name. Yeah. Yeah. It's from like 2012. Okay. It's actually really good. Cool. All right. That's my list. I'll check out all of those. How did you discover the dead podcast or? Dead author podcast. I subscribe when it was still active. Or I mean like the dead because because I have a topic that I'm interested in. I'll go and search for it. And then that's how I discover somebody's podcast that don't really exist anymore. Yeah. So what ones are you into that are dead? Well, I'm not into it. I just listen to the one episode. Yeah. I don't actually have you checked out. Listen notes. Yes. Someone's listening notes. Awesome. Because they index everything. Yeah. Yeah. That's a big thing. But I mean, it should be said discoveries totally broken. Yes. Which is why the clipping. This is what I think will happen. Like there will be some version of a podcast app that resembles YouTube clipping. That's a podcast app. And so what happens with YouTube clipping is you just get in this like five to 10 minute clip one after the next after the next and like Himalay is much more like that. Right. Then the standard model of things and stuff. Yeah. Yeah. More Twitter questions. I mean, these are these these are trying to get unrelated, but we'll just finish off with some unrelated ones. But what podcast you listen to? I had the YC one. I listened to Jigra. I do listen to Econ Talk.
Adora's podcast picks (51:50)
I listen to Tyler Cohen. Cohen has a good one. I listened to Rico decode. Okay. That one. That one's why do you listen to podcast? What? Well, I I will preface with I actually listen to audiobooks much more. Oh, okay. And so when I'm kind of tired of listening to the audiobook, I will either switch to music or podcast. Okay. And so it's kind of my other thing that I listen to. But are you kind of tuned out when you're listening? You're like doing something else? No, I if I'm doing something else, I'll listen to music. Yeah. But I never listen to like it's hard to listen to audiobooks, especially, but also podcasts when you're tuned out. Yeah. The tech ones are actually because it's like, you know, it's not listening. Yeah, I guess I'm not learning anything entirely new. And so you can just listen it to while you're doing something else. Yeah. So that's what I do. Okay. Yeah. I'm similar. Yeah.
Patrick Bender asks - What idea do you believe in that your social group would think is crazy? (52:50)
Patrick Bender asks, what idea do you believe in that your social group, what think is crazy? Oh, yeah. Okay. So this is why I'm glad we got this question beforehand. I had like a moment to think about it. I think cushy internet jobs are bad for innovation. Okay. Like what's an example of that? Any like fang job where you just like show up and kind of do work. Got it. And for that reason, I think jobs should have term limits on them, unless you're like the founder. So like basically reverse vesting. Yeah. So it's like, hey, Adora, you've been a partner at YC for five years. See you later. Yep. And you, yeah. That's actually not a bad idea. And it's kind of implied that like, you know, if you go join Sequoia or something, you're like, okay, fine. Yeah. Because I've, it's related to this, uh, early retirement thing, but I see a lot of people like maximizing that and just staying on at big companies. And it makes me mad because they have so much talent and they like, they have safety nets. They could go do stuff. So interesting. I think maybe somewhat related to that, I think there should be forced, um, sabbaticals. Totally. After you work for so many years, you should take time off to like just do something else, to like get the, because I think if you work at a company, especially if it's like just one position and one team, you just kind of get stuck and you that, you know, that creativity flow and just thinking outside the box gets a little bit harder after some time. I've been surprised that that's not like a bigger employee retention thing. Yeah. I know some companies do it, but it's after like quite a while. Yeah. Um, how? So Kat did one last year. Yes. Kat who's also a YC partner. Yeah. And she came back because she had all these thoughts, right? And then she came back and she was like, super excited and really happy. And I was like, you know what? I kind of didn't feel like doing anything. And that was okay too. Yeah. Like I got off my phone and to her point, that's totally fair. Yep. But I do feel like that the force sabbatical would need to be longer than the company. Oh, no, yes. I haven't thought about how long should be at least six months. Yeah. Three, six months, three, six months. I think it's such a good idea. Yeah. If there was an even greater incentive for them to basically what I'm saying is like, I want people to leave their jobs. But like, if they were like, you know, we will decrease your salary if you return or like, we'll give you some seed funding or something. But then you see this stuff happening at Google, right? Where they're like funding internal startup e-things. And it just feels like employee retention. Right. Yeah. I don't know. Yeah. I don't have thought through the right mechanism for that is. Yeah. Well, because I'm curious about you. Like if you, how long have you been to YC? Two and a three, almost three years. Yeah. We started roughly around the same time. Yeah. Yeah. Like how much time do you think you would want to like really consider? Yeah. That's yeah. Three to six months is probably, I think. Because then I think it lets you just focus on other things that, again, will help you with your job actually. And anyway. But yeah, this is the thing. Like a lot of people don't know this about you at YC, but you've jumped around between a bunch of stuff within YC. Yeah. That's right. Whereas like, some other people haven't. Right. Right. And so you're kind of like always looking for a new version of ADD. Yeah. Yeah. Totally. And is that also in the back of your head? Like, maybe I want to start a city or maybe I want to do this on my own. Yeah. I, we'll see. I, I, and back my head is always, what's the next startup? Sure. Yeah. So that's always, and I think we talked about this in our episode. Probably. Maybe. Whatever the case. I don't know. You know, it's on one hand being at YC is great because you, you're with all these founders and you're motivated about startups in general. And there's so many ideas. On the other hand, it's like one, one week I'm obsessed with this one idea, and then I talked to another founder, then I just like ping pong around ideas. And so it's very hard to stay focused on your own. It's tricky, right? Because you, I can see it going both ways. Because with all of this stuff, like it's all good. There's no like objective right answer. But yeah, I can see that, that intellectual like game being really compelling. Yes. But then you're addictive too. Totally. But you're also like a maker, right? Yeah. And so that, that, that, that, that just might happen. Yeah. Watching people build and you're on the sideline, not building is really rough. So you have to come up with at least hobbies, side projects that often go uncompleted, unfortunately. All right. So Zachary Cannon asks, oh, okay. So, so, this is one of the application questions.
Personal Perspectives & Unique Experiences
Zachary Canann asks - Please tell us about the time you most successfully hacked some (non-computer) system to your advantage. (57:50)
Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Please tell us about the time you most successfully hacked some non computer system to your advantage. So I kind of mulled over this one for a while. And I think that the, that silly world record actually might be the best one, because it had like the largest outcome. So basically what happened was there was this trend in cycling, whatever I did, it was like four years ago, where people were climbing the height of Everest on their bike, and they called it Everesting. And I was like, ah, I could probably do that. Meanwhile, like I'm not, I mean, I'm heavier now than I was then, but even then I was like 170 pounds, which in cycling is like heavy. Like you're, you're the fattest cyclist. If 170, what's the typical weight? I mean, the guys who win are like one 30, five, 140, and they're taller than me. Wow. So they're stronger than me too. They, they do the levery. They all look very tall and skinny. They look like skeletons. Yeah. So like you, you're looking at probably like 5, 11, 107, 137 pounds, something like that. And they're stronger than me. And so I'm like 170 pounds. And yeah, not, not that skinny. So yeah. So basically what I did is like, I did that Everesting thing, and it worked. And I was like, Oh, I could do more of this. And so then I created a spreadsheet of all the hills in the East Bay, where I could like maximize how much elevation I could get in like the shortest distance, while also being like close to a bathroom, close to like not having enough trap or not having too much traffic, like something that my friends could get to. So they could like help me out. And yeah, through that spreadsheet, I like unlock this place that just worked for me. And so that's basically how it happened. Oh, wow. Yeah, that's pretty cool. It was pretty cool. And you achieved your role. Hey, she's my goal of Everesting. Exactly. And then my life was over. I am raptor. You had a quarter life prices. Yeah, yeah, basically. And then I like left the country. All right. Cool. So last question. What? So you obviously talked a lot of founders and being at YCE, similar to myself.
Being at YC, do Craig and Adora feel pressured to go start a company? (59:50)
Do you ever feel the pressure to just go start a company? And if you're going to start a company, what would what would the problem be that you want to offer? For this one? For yourself? Okay, I'll answer first one. The answer is yes, I do feel. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Okay. So yeah, the answer, that's a leading question totally. Yes. That's another thing that's not really talked about much on the podcast or in public at all. But working at YCE and managing YCE is a weird kind of like cat wrangling, where like the default personality type is like solo founder kind of vibe. And like they ever just wants to be doing their own thing all the time. And so like boxing people and it's kind of you got a bunch of CEOs. Yeah. More CEOs basically with very different styles, which is actually kind of interesting. Like it hasn't been selected for like one vibe. But yeah, anyway, I think the answer is definitely yes. And where I'm kind of focusing right now is I'm I'm getting this impression that like people want freer lives. And I think you see this with early retirement, but I also think you see it on the other side with like basic income. And then I think you see it in the middle with like Marie Kondo. And so there's like, there's just this vibe that people want like potentially less stuff, potentially simple lives, potentially like more freedom. And so I think I would probably develop a product in that space around one of the things that's like most expensive. So like probably a housing thing, where it's like a ton of your income goes into this, but it's like this aspirational thing that leads you to leaving to leading a freer life. Interesting. Yeah. So it would be a. Okay, I think I understand. Well, I mean, I mean, like, I'm a little big because I think I might end up doing it. But like, yeah. Cool. All right. Anything else about you? There's like, there's tons of adora knowledge that hasn't been on the podcast. You've only done it like twice, right? Yeah, I think I've done it twice. Right. Three times. I did once talking about startup school and then once random questions from the internet. Yeah. Right. Yeah. I probably should do more podcasts or do more writing or something. Yeah. If you want. So what's your like, what attracts you as an idea right now or like a market? I don't know. It's a question. There are a bunch of things. I think anything related to making life in a city better, anything from starting new cities to just mobility and housing and stuff like that, I'm interested in. So we're funding more of those things at YC. That's cool. I'm very on the other polar opposite. So it's kind of ironic. I'm also interested in this is remote collaboration and remote work stuff. Yeah. And trying to figure out what are the tools that can help kind of replicate the, you know, I think a lot of like slack and video and stuff like that, that's all that's all well and good. But the thing that you still get is the serendipitous nature of living in a city. And is that possible when you're not, you know, actually physically together? And I think if we can get, if we can build something that get there, then, you know, maybe cities aren't as needed. But yeah, anyway, that would go in the face of 2000 years of, you know, of why cities are great and why it spurs innovation and if an alien showed up, it would be, oh, humans build these things. Like that's like our one goal. Yeah. So those are two topics. Come on. I'm starting looking to brain computers and stuff like that. Oh, like a neural link type stuff. Yeah, yeah, stuff like that. Really? But yeah, I'm just, I'm just starting. Is there anything cool happening right now? Like anything working? I'm such a beginner. Yeah. Yeah. But what else? Yeah. And then a lot of stuff in emerging markets. There's just a lot of good engineers that are starting like good engineering talent that's popping up and not like obviously Indian, China are the obvious ones, but places like Jakarta, we have a company in Iraq, this, this, this batch. And so they're just building a lot of basic, I mean, it's probably to us in America, it's kind of basic and digital infrastructure stuff. Okay. But I think it's what's going to spur innovation and in spur of the economy of a lot of these places. Would you? Yeah. I mean, I think it's cool. Like obviously there's a lot of arbitrage stuff people can do with so much engineering talent, but like, would you build homejoy in Iraq? Like, would you be excited to do that thing again? If you like. I don't think that would work there. But yeah, I've pretty much decided I don't think I want to work. Like the next company I build is not going to be in the O2O space, like heavy operations. It's like it's going to be more in software and stuff like that. Yeah. But I don't know. It depends. Like I want to work on a really good problem though, first and foremost and how I go about solving it, it's whatever. So if it ends up being that, then it ends up being that. So my mind doesn't first go to that. And also I think it requires local talent to get that stuff right. And so I'm more interested in the position I'm now, which is helping them. Yeah. Do like start things and think about how to go about, you know, setting up operations and how to think about metrics and stuff like that and getting it off the ground. But yeah. So I prefer to work on that level in emerging markets. But it's fascinating to me. So when is an opportunity going to be good enough for you to feel that it's right?
Career Opportunities & Transitions
When is an opportunity good enough to quit your current job? (01:06:00)
I think one is, I mean, I think on two levels, one is people you work with. And so finding the right team to work with again. And then to the problem again, it's something that where I don't get distracted from. So it has to be really compelling to me, right? Like if I can come up with this while I'm at YC, that'd be amazing because I get distracted very often with new cool ideas. And so yeah, I think those are two criteria for me. Yeah. I want for you a lot of things. I'm just like, I'm not going to go full like Luke Eisman and like scream at you, quit your job immediately. But it's always a thing like it's something I care about. Yeah. So yeah. All right. Well, that has been a fun, long podcast. Thank you very much for doing this. And I hope others have learned. Okay. Thanks. All right.