The NFX Podcast


We believe creating something of true significance starts with seeing things others do not.

The Founders' List: Your Life is Driven by Network Effects by James Currier
Trailer 49 min 29 sec

All Episodes

Nextdoor, the social media app for neighborhoods, which is actively used in 1 in 3 households in the U.S., was recently valued at $4.3B and listed on the NYSE last week (November 8, 2021) under the ticker symbol "KIND." Today’s episode is a glimpse into the thoughtful, humanist view of Sarah Friar, the CEO of Nextdoor, former CFO of Square, and board member of Slack. She cautions us not to disappear into the metaverse, and also encourages today’s and tomorrow’s Founders to cure gaps in the world — and do it with eyes wide open to consequences at scale. There’s more tension than there is harmony between “offline vs. online,” and yet one company is uniquely positioned to bridge the two for the benefit of us all.

Nov 18

48 min 7 sec

NFX has been increasingly active in LatAm over the last few years, largely drawn there by an incredibly talented pool of Founders in the region. To understand the unique challenges and opportunities of LatAm, James talked with Antonia Rojas, the youngest female partner at ALLVP and a rising star in the startup ecosystem there. They co-led the Nuvocargo Seed round together. Based in Mexico City, she has a “boots on the ground” view of Latin America that I love. Methods for building network effects there is not what one might think -- and as a result, go-to-market in Latin America demands building trust bridges and leveraging confidence networks. Understanding the psychology of LatAm consumers is a powerful unlock for new Founders entering the region.

Nov 10

35 min 39 sec

The Covid pandemic removed barriers to global hiring and remote team building. It exposed startups, by necessity, to all-new solutions for growing and bonding their teams. Most companies advanced through the pandemic by stages: first survival mode, then waiting it out -- and now they are ready to fundamentally shift their hiring strategies to reflect our new reality. It’s clear now that there are lasting shifts in the market, and that Founders and CEOs need to update their mental models for hiring. Our guest today, Eynat Guez, sees this recent change in strategy more clearly than most. She’s the Co-Founder and CEO of Papaya Global, a global people & payroll platform, now valued at $3.7 Billion. Eynat is also the first-ever female CEO of a unicorn company in Israel. Her insights on hiring are twofold. First, she builds from her own experience rapidly scaling her global team to unicorn status during the pandemic. Second, from working directly with Papaya’s clients to grow their teams. Today she shares with us her set of mental models for building a world-class team -- wherever it may be.

Oct 28

57 min 56 sec

The next evolution of companies will be created in public with early customers, partners, and supporters. They’ll be community-owned and operated, building upon the playbooks created by early NFT and play-to-earn projects. Because many of the web 3.0 advantages are hard to adopt as a large web 2.0 company, as a Founder you have to focus on the big ideas: ownership, collaboration, and community. In today's episode, NFX Partner Morgan Beller talks with Cuy Sheffield (head of crypto at Visa) and Micah Johnson (Bored Apes, CryptoPunks, and Aku and former professional baseball player) as they explore tactics for building community, no matter what industry you’re in. Listen to their conversation as they uncover why Founders can’t skip the community-building part anymore, as it’s essential to company building in today's ecosystem.

Oct 21

47 min 9 sec

Visionary Founders, instead of solving market failures or fixing problems that are clear, push market evolution. They commit to pushing society to the upward bend of the exponential technology curve. Today, our friend Azeem Azhar, former VC-backed Founder, creator of The Exponential View blog, and author of the new book The Exponential Age, gives Founders specific hooks and non-obvious ways of explaining how quickly something’s going to change — right before it does. For Founders, market needs are often a lagging indicator of technological progress. In many cases, like the iPhone, we didn’t even know that we needed a thing, until the thing made us want it. Read the full NFX Essay here -

Sep 14

45 min 41 sec

Today, Mammoth Biosciences announced their series C and D at more than a $1B valuation. Mammoth is a startup story that Founders should be following because there is so much to learn from their path from the lab to unicorn status. At no other time in modern history has the need for science to lead our society toward a better future been more apparent and immense. We can meet this need by investing in the next generation of tech-bio companies like Mammoth. NFX led Mammoth’s Pre-Seed and Seed rounds, co-led the Series A, and has invested in every round including today’s Series D. We even helped them name the company. Mammoth is the poster child for the NFX strategy of using network effects to build bio platforms — this approach to building tech-bio businesses should allow them to get 10x the size of a normal bio company. It’s also a great example of how NFX Bio supports Scientist-Founders as they become great Founders and CEOs after they leave the lab. Listen in with Omri Drory, head of NFX Bio, and Partner James Currier as they take an inside look with Mammoth’s Co-Founder & CEO Trevor Martin at his journey from idea to unicorn — for the benefit of up-and-coming Scientist-Founders worldwide.

Sep 9

27 min 12 sec

"We have all the technical and economic ingredients needed to build a massive economy in space. We’re not focused on Mars or the Moon, we’re singularly focused on building a space economy that makes life better on Earth.” Today NFX Partner Morgan Beller is joined by Andy Lapsa, Co-Founder & CEO of Stoke Space Technologies, a company building reusable second-stage rockets to seamlessly Earth and orbit. Founded in 2019 and based in Renton, Washington they have been focused on the reusability aspect of rocketry to make space access more available and frequent in our future lives. Lapsa was a former employee and award-winning rocket engineer at Bezos's Blue Origin, while the rest of their team come from SpaceX and other leading aerospace companies. As a lead investor, Morgan uncovers how they originally met, Andy's full Founder journey, why space is such an important industry to apply talented engineers to, and his overall decision to enter one of the most complex sectors in the world of tech. Visit their website -

Aug 4

40 min 54 sec

This is The Founders’ List – audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Network effect businesses are reshaping the world. Network effects are still the best and most powerful force we know to create persistent value for billions of people. However, we think that too little has been said about how society should adapt to these new network effect behemoths we’re helping create. NFX Partner James Currier outlines how the network economy works, and how power, wealth, and status all flow on the network. He then looks at the implications of this and finally specific ideas for Founders about what these new social contracts could look like. Read the full NFX essay here -

Jul 30

30 min 42 sec

This is an NFX Mashup, where we string thoughts from past episodes together under the same topic. Startups today have more options than ever before — much earlier in their life cycles — for entering the public markets. Founders are constantly looking for advice on how to think about traditional IPO vs. SPAC vs. direct listing — and how to even answer the question: Am I ready to be a public company? In this mashup, NFX Partner Pete Flint is joined by Eventbrite co-founder Kevin Hartz, Hippo founder Assaf Wand, and the IPO whisperer Lisa Buyer on their experience and advice around taking tech companies public.

Jul 29

20 min 53 sec

'Stoner Cats' is an adult animated series centered on five house cats who repeatedly save their beloved owner created by Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and friends, including the creative forces behind Toy Story 2, Spider-Verse, Happy Feet, and Cryptokitties. Users will be able to buy Stoner Cats NFTs and can use those tokens to access the comedy cartoon online. The show will be an estimated five minutes long per episode. The tokens purchased will go toward funding future episodes of the series. Today we have part of the Stoner Cats founding team including Morgan Beller (NFX Partner), Maaria Bajwa (Sound Ventures), Mack Flavelle (CryptoKitties), and Lisa Sterbakov (Orchard Farm Productions) to discuss the origin story of the show and the new future for content creation in Hollywood. Visit the site to learn more and buy an NFT -

Jul 23

50 min 52 sec

What few people see is that Trillion-Dollar Leadership focuses relentlessly on the “who.” Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt both aligned their companies around this question: Who are we serving and who is going to get us there? Today, Ann Hiatt (former Chief of Staff / Executive Business Partner to Bezos and then Schmidt for 14+ years) shares with NFX Partner James Currier her insider stories, analysis, and patterns of Bezos' and Schmidt's leadership principles and mental models. She gives us intimate insight to: - What crazy, long-term vision looks like, even in its earliest days - 3-part framework for value-alignment in $Trillion teams - How to hire and motivate people who will invent the future - Tthe leadership mental models she learned from working directly with Jeff Bezos and Eric Schmidt, for the benefit of Founders everywhere. Read the NFX essay here -

Jul 22

47 min 56 sec

This is The Founders’ List – audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. In this article (published in 2014) Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin challenges the Bitcoin maximalist movement a few different ways. Bitcoin maximalists believe that all other digital currencies are inferior to Bitcoin. The idea that an environment of multiple competing cryptocurrencies is undesirable and that it is both righteous and inevitable that the Bitcoin currency comes to take a monopoly position in the cryptocurrency scene. Maximalists argue that a single road—or a single cryptocurrency—will have more value because more people will have to use it. Vitalik does a deep dive into the technicals of launching a protocol, the network effects that take place, and the incentive/psychological arguments that can be had against the maximalist movement. Read the essay here -

Jul 21

30 min 9 sec

Over the past twenty years, tech entrepreneurs have created and captured enormous value by launching new marketplaces to the world. Today NFX Partner James Currier talks with Professor Scott Duke Kominers, who has been teaching the course 'Making Markets' along with other classes at Harvard Business School. With over 80 academic papers published, he is in the MBA Class of 1960 Associate Professor of Business Administration in the Entrepreneurial Management Unit, as well as a Faculty Affiliate of the Harvard Department of Economics, the Harvard Center of Mathematical Sciences & Applications, and a Research Economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Scott's course helps students identify and capitalize on marketplace design opportunities. James and Scott discuss attributes that determine whether and how marketplaces create value in the world as well as common causes of marketplace failure. They then present frameworks for designing marketplaces in response and discusses tactics for building trust and liquidity when launching new marketplaces. This is the ultimate course on marketplaces. Read the NFX essay -

Jul 19

51 min 45 sec

This is The Founders’ List – audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Everyone knows that KPIs are critical, but often Founders are not looking at KPIs from the right angle. As a General Partner at NFX, Gigi Levy-Weiss now asks three questions to every Founder he meets. Their responses speak volumes about their odds of success: - Do you diligently track KPIs? - What KPIs have you chosen to track? - Have you set appropriate goals based on your KPIs? Read the full NFX Essay here -

Jul 17

8 min 22 sec

This is The Founders’ List – audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. When the economy eventually normalizes, demand for labor will recover, and work will recover, but the shifts in supply and demand will result in a new and sizable set of unmet market needs for job placement. Online marketplaces will be a critical tool in getting people back to work quickly, efficiently, and at scale. They will also enable new ways for people to build the skills they need to succeed, and for them to work in an increasingly remote and distributed fashion. Listen to Pete Flint's essay on the 4 trends in the next generation of online labor marketplaces, including greater complexity, improved experience, tech-enabled labor, and re-skilling and upskilling. Read the full NFX essay here -

Jul 15

17 min 36 sec

In the face of a global pandemic and a financial meltdown, Founders are confronted with a new reality. If you are running a startup today, this will likely be one of the most challenging climates you’ll ever face. Launched in July 2012, Bizzabo is a SaaS All-in-One event success platform. They help organizers create successful events by empowering them to build amazing websites, sell tickets, grow communities, go mobile and maximize event experiences - using a beautiful, user-friendly platform. Despite Covid canceling all conferences and in-person events, Bizzabo was able to complete a funding round of $138 million. NFX Partner Gigi Levy-Weiss talks with Bizzabo Co-Founder & CEO Eran Ben-Shusham about their strategy during COVID including customer acquisition, fundraising, and overall growth during the downturn. Eran shares his mindset as a company leader and how he and his team navigated the crisis to come out the other side ahead in hypergrowth mode. Read the NFX article here -

Jul 12

44 min 20 sec

This is The Founders’ List – audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Fundraising is a learned skill – and VCs almost always have the upper hand because they deal with it all day, everyday. Over the years of founding, advising, and investing in companies, Gigi has learned that VCs are better at startup fundraising than entrepreneurs. In reality, knowing what to expect from VCs – the negotiation dynamics Founders are likely to encounter – is half the battle. Before you start communicating with VCs, take the time to learn how to detect and manage these 8 little-known fundraising dynamics. This is what we at NFX call “high leverage fundraising” – it gives you speed & clarity, while still helping cultivate strong, long-term relationships. Let’s dig in. Read the full NFX Essay -

Jun 30

13 min 46 sec

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Life is, by some measures, an infinite game, where the rules constantly change and winners turn into losers, and vice versa. This article is titled, “7 Principles of Game Design” and was written by The Design Gym - an NYC-based agency that has worked with top companies like Instagram, Netflix, Etsy, and many more. Setting up games, with clear goals and constraints helps focus our energies and efforts and can improve and clarify outcomes and motivate us to move forward to the next clearly defined challenge and reward cycle. Read the essay here -

Jun 29

5 min 6 sec

Saar Gur is one of the best investors in Silicon Valley and has a gift of identifying the next big consumer trends earlier than most. As a General Partner at CRV, he was recently highlighted as #34 in the Forbes Midas List of the World's Best Venture Capital Investors In 2021. Saar loves products that consumers and customers love and is passionate about helping his companies succeed. His early investment in the food delivery company DoorDash was in the 2013 seed round, which eventually resulted in the company going public last December. Gur made a similar early bet on smart home company Ring the same year; Amazon acquired that company for $1 billion in 2018. Gur is also an investor in multiple fast-growing tech startups like Patreon, which is now worth $3 billion, and Classpass, which is worth more than $700 million. Others include Niantic, Bird, and Dropbox. Today, longtime friend and NFX Partner James Currier talks with Saar to uncover these early investment stories and his pattern recognition in early-stage founders. James also uncovers who he is as a person, what he looks for in early-stage Founders, and how he sees the world as a whole.

Jun 28

39 min 45 sec

The team at C2i Genomics is combining cutting-edge genomics and sophisticated AI to provide the world’s first whole-genome cancer intelligence platform, transforming the way cancer is monitored and treated. C2i uses a blood test that can detect and quantify tiny amounts of residual cancer to better monitor cancer treatment, progression, and recurrence. NFX was an early stage investor in C2i due to their long-term vision and world-changing technology. Listen to NFX Partner Omri Amirav-Drory talk with Asaf Zviran, Co-founder & CEO of C2i Genomics, about the future of their company, their latest technological breakthroughs, and where the industry is headed in the near future. Asaf and Omri's conversation begins at 11:15 Visit C2i to learn more -

Jun 25

48 min 53 sec

It’s not often you get to see through the eyes of someone who created a product that you and hundreds of millions of other people use, hundreds of times a day, every single day, and have for a decade or more. Tony Fadell is the legendary inventor of the iPod, co-inventor with Steve Jobs of the iPhone, and Founder of Nest. Now he is the Principal at Future Shape, an investment and advisory firm coaching over 200+ startups. There’s almost an infinity of things to learn from Tony, but what we most wanted to uncover are his product frameworks and first principles for design. How can Founders think about designing products that are both high-utility and beloved -- that achieve dent-in-the-universe levels of adoption? As Tony puts it: For truly great designs, 50% of the design is the design. 50% of the design is the story behind the design. And it all begins with re-learning how to see.

Jun 22

39 min 34 sec

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. When Shishir Mehrotra left YouTube in 2014, a number of other company leaders wanted to understand how YouTube worked from the inside. He wrote this article summarizing their key rituals in a stage of hypergrowth. This article was originally published in 2015, but has since been expanded upon by Shishir. Read the full essay here -

Jun 17

11 min 41 sec

What started as a viral medium article from two years ago has now turned into 'Super Founders', a book on what data reveals about billion-dollar startups. Today on the NFX Podcast we have Ali Tamaseb (partner at DCVC) talking with James Currier about his data-driven approach to understanding what really differentiates billion-dollar startups from the rest. The book includes exclusive interviews with the founders/investors of Zoom, Instacart, PayPal, Nest, Github, Flatiron Health, Kite Pharma, Facebook, Stripe, Airbnb, YouTube, LinkedIn, Lyft, DoorDash, Coinbase, and Square, venture capital investors like Elad Gil, Peter Thiel, Alfred Lin, and Keith Rabois. Ali Tamaseb has spent thousands of hours manually amassing what may be the largest dataset ever collected on startups, comparing billion-dollar startups with those that failed to become one—30,000 data points on nearly every factor: number of competitors, market size, the founder’s age, his or her university’s ranking, quality of investors, fundraising time, and many, many more.

Jun 15

38 min 38 sec

Stanford GSB Dean Jon Levin joins NFX Partner Pete Flint to discuss his perspective on new Founders entering the industry, how Stanford encourages its students to solve real-world problems with technology, macroeconomics, and the overall state of capitalism. Jon Levin started teaching at Stanford in 2000. Has been Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business since Sept 2016 and is about to celebrate 5 years in that role. Levin received his BA and BS degrees from Stanford University in 1994, an MPhil in Economics from Oxford in 1996, and his PhD in Economics from MIT in 1999. Pete got to know Dean Levin from being on the GSB Management Board after graduating in 2005. He has also co-taught a number of cases at the GSB.

Jun 10

37 min 20 sec

Underlying Waze's journey is a little-known approach to product thinking, super-powerful data network effects, and a guiding north star metric. This is Waze's insider story, as told by their former CEO, Noam Bardin. NFX Partner Gigi Levy-Weiss recently sat down with Noam, where they discussed the step-by-step story of the company's growth, starting from their early days in 2008 with just 2,000 monthly active users, through being acquired by Google for $1B in 2013, and hitting 140M monthly active users at the time Noam stepped down in Feb 2021. Early-stage Founders are wise to study as many successful growth stories as they can. While there is no single playbook of best practices, each case contains deeply valuable learning that we at NFX aim to pass along from Founder to Founder. Read the full NFX Essay here -

Jun 2

1 hr 1 min

Speed is routinely acknowledged as a major advantage for startups. But startup speed is not sufficiently understood as an invaluable competency for society at large. Solv Health’s growth during the pandemic is a great example. Just 4 years old, the startup managed 5 million Covid tests in 2020, compared to 7 million tests by long-established CVS. Today NFX General Partner Pete Flint is joined by Heather Fernandez, Co-Founder and CEO of Solv Health and previously a leader with him at Trulia. They analyze mental models and hard tactics for using speed to convert chaos to growth — and good. Read the full NFX Essay here -

May 25

48 min 37 sec

The Great Online Game is an infinite video game that plays out constantly across the internet. It uses many of the mechanics of a video game, but removes the boundaries. You’re no longer playing as an avatar in Fortnite or Roblox; you’re playing as yourself across Twitter, YouTube, Discords, work, projects, and investments. Packy McCormick is the founder of the Not Boring Club, a newsletter on business strategy and pop culture. This episode is narrated by Packy himself. We were referred to this post by Li Jin, our most recent guest on the NFX Podcast. Read the full essay here -

May 21

20 min 18 sec

The "Passion Economy" as coined by Li Jin makes it easier for people to monetize their individuality through unique, creative work. This comes with a host of benefits, not the least of which is the emergence of new markets, a feeling of autonomy, and intrinsic satisfaction. To work through this and more, James Currier is joined by Li Jin herself -- former investment partner at A16Z, now Founder and Managing Partner at Atelier. They discuss how NFTs are changing the economics of the Creator Economy, what happens when everyone has to be a marketer, and how they look for ways to make platform participants into platform owners. Read the NFX Essay here -

May 18

44 min 6 sec

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This is, ‘Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants’ written by Marc Prensky. Marc Prensky is an American writer and speaker on education. He is best known as the creator of the terms "Digital native" and "digital immigrant" which he will expand on in this famous essay. Read by NFX. Read the full essay here -,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

May 14

15 min 49 sec

Lise Buyer, known as the IPO whisperer Pete Flint on the NFX Podcast to discuss all things taking a company public via traditional IPOs, Direct Listings, and SPACs. Lise consulted on Trulia’s IPO in back in 2012 when Pete was CEO and Co-Founder. Previously, Ms Buyer was the Director of Business Optimization for Google Inc. where she was one of the chief architects of the company’s innovative IPO. Lise shares her expert thoughts on: - What has changed in public markets - Why some companies should stay private - When to make the decision of going public as a company leader - What stays the same in a company after going public - Building the infrastructure to go public - & the differences between traditional IPO vs. Direct Listing vs. SPACs Read the full NFX Essay here -

May 11

53 min 28 sec

In December 2017, the white paper introducing Maker and the original decentralized Dai Stablecoin System was published.  It describes the exact design and features of the Dai launch, as well as a roadmap for the future of Dai. The Dai Stablecoin is a collateral-backed cryptocurrency whose value is stable relative to the US Dollar. You can also listen to the Bitcoin and Ethereum white papers on The Founders’ List, at - Read here -

May 10

33 min 14 sec

Julia and Kevin Hartz co-founded Eventbrite, a website that allows users to create, share, and join events worldwide. In this episode of the NFX Podcast, the two join NFX Partner Pete Flint to discuss their founder journey, financing, fundraising, scaling, unicorn status, and a deep dive on the little-known details of taking a tech company public via SPAC. Launched in 2006 and headquartered in San Francisco, Eventbrite has navigated through the pandemic with a refocused strategy and a leaner cost base. In September of 2018, Julia took Eventbrite public, making her among the few women to lead the successful initial public offering of a technology start-up.

May 5

42 min 29 sec

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. We’ve recently published a podcast and essay focused on Hamilton Helmer’s 7 Powers book, regarded as a core insight behind the success of companies like Spotify, Netflix, Stripe, and Twilio. For this episode of the Founders’ List, we’ll be sharing notes and personal thoughts on the book titled “Mind the Moat, a 7 Powers Review” by  Flo Crivelo, Founder & CEO of TeamFlow. Read Flo's essay here -

Apr 30

24 min 31 sec

In this special NFX Podcast episode, Jeff Lawson (Co-Founder & CEO at Twilio) interviews Hamilton Helmer to analyze the 7 Powers, getting at the core question: What is it about certain businesses that keeps the force of competition away? Helmer’s framework reveals that you can intentionally craft the conditions for persistent & durable differential returns. 7 Powers is Hamilton’s cognitive guide to building an enduringly great business and breaks fresh ground by constructing a comprehensive strategy toolset that is easy for you to learn, communicate and quickly apply. Hamilton has led over 200 strategy projects with major clients such as Adobe Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Netflix, Raychem, and Spotify. Jeff Lawson is a Co-Founder and CEO at Twilio, a cloud communications platform that adds messaging, voice and video to web and mobile apps. He is a serial inventor with over 15 years of entrepreneurial and product experience. Read the full NFX Essay here -

Apr 29

36 min 14 sec

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. "We’re on the precipice of a new era of the web. As infinite distractions compete for our attention, companies are learning to master new tactics to stay relevant in users’ minds and lives. The Hook Model is a way of describing a user’s interactions with a product as they pass through four phases: a trigger to begin using the product, an action to satisfy the trigger, a variable reward for the action, and some type of investment that, ultimately, makes the product more valuable to the user. As the user goes through these phases, he builds habits in the process." This essay was written and published by Nir Eyal, best-selling author & professor. Read the full article on Nir's blog here: Read the essay here -

Apr 28

8 min 16 sec

Insurtech is also a space that has become increasingly crowded and more high-profile in recent years. Hippo Insurance uses technology to help homeowners maintain their properties, creating a new standard of care and protection for homeowners. Hippo announced its intention to go public via SPAC in early March of this year that will now give Hippo a valuation of $5B, making it one of the largest insurtechs in the US. Co-Founder & CEO Assaf Wand sits down with NFX Partner Pete Flint to share his Founder story, product mindset, strategy behind the SPAC, and personal frameworks for taking Hippo from idea to IPO.

Apr 27

50 min 42 sec

The new American dream is underway. The current US educational industrial complex is not serving young people anymore, and entrepreneurs outside the system are creating new alternatives. Austen Allred, Co-Founder/CEO of Lambda School earned this perspective by dropping out of college, setting his own path, and now building a successful company and movement to change education in our country. Austen sees our educational past, present, and future in ways few others do. In this conversation, James Currier (NFX) and Austen break down traditional and contrarian thinking on how we are educated, challenging what has gone unquestioned for decades: - The Psychology of Traditional College: Why “Normal is a hell of a drug” - Faulty Mechanics: The problem with America’s “Single Model” education system - The New American Dream: How “permissionless learning” unlocks opportunity - & 2 Trends to Watch Read the NFX Essay here -

Apr 22

32 min 44 sec

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. In his final letter to shareholders, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Thursday laid out a broad vision for the future of the company, committing to extend Amazon’s famous obsession over its customers to the same level of care for its employees. Bezos also took steps to ease shareholders’ fears about what a reimagined focus for the company might mean for Amazon’s future. He reiterated that it “remains Day 1” and highlighted continued growth at Amazon. Read the letter here -

Apr 21

24 min 7 sec

Jeff Wilke (former CEO, Amazon's Worldwide Consumer Business) sheds light on a counter-intuitive driver behind unusual success: Focus on the inputs, not the outputs. Jeff shares the 3 drivers underlying the rise of Amazon, Prime, Alexa, and AWS, including: 1. "Mechanisms": Amazon's definition, two failure modes, and why they're harder to implement than it first appears 2. A Single-Page Culture: How Amazon's set of principles proved to be an inoculation against a drifting culture 3. Single-Threaded Invention In practice, operational excellence is the key driver to executing consistently for the long term. It is the secret for harnessing creativity that compounds value over time.

Apr 20

28 min 42 sec

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Amazon's approach to building sustainable long-term value should be a lesson to all companies - not just Internet companies. When Jeff Bezos took Amazon public 24 years ago, he sent this letter to all Shareholders and is still considered a playbook for building a great company - read by NFX. "1997 was indeed an incredible year. We at are grateful to our customers for their business and trust, to each other for our hard work, and to our shareholders for their support and encouragement."

Apr 20

11 min 10 sec

This is The Founders’ List – audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. "For a startup, understanding VCs’ mindsets is often as important as understanding the mindsets of your customers. With no capital most Founders will not win, so you’d better learn the language." VCs speak a different language, one that Founders must learn to be able to raise capital. Understand the psychological drivers and use them to evaluate your counterpart’s state of mind. And repeat the core narratives: we are low risk; we will be huge; others are interested and moving forward. Read the original NFX Essay here -

Apr 15

12 min 59 sec

The usual Silicon Valley response to regulation is to offer self-regulation instead — but only tech companies have the skills and speed to fix what they broke, unable to manage the influence over the public sphere they attained almost by accident. Unless the few who know how to actually build these tech networks speak out, it won’t just be technology that suffers - it will be the entire world. Having built, funded, and analyzed “unicorn” social networks for 25 years and former Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine, Chris Anderson and NFX Partner James Currier formulate a solution that resurrects a concept from the golden age of newspapers - the ombudsman. The ombudsman is another important node in the network that has proven itself in the past and is still missing. Listen as Chris and James outline together why these network problems require network solutions, here on the NFX Podcast.

Apr 12

47 min 25 sec

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. This is Valve’s new employee handbook, delivered to every new person working at the iconic gaming company. It is an abbreviated encapsulation of Valve's guiding principles. As Valve continues to grow, they hope that these principles will serve each new person joining the ranks as an employee. Read the full handbook here -

Apr 8

33 min 54 sec

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. "On Monday, October 21, 2013, I sent this letter to our entire team at Airbnb. I have decided to publish this in the event it is helpful to entrepreneurs building their cultures." In this famous memo from the early days of Aribnb, CEO Brian Chesky stresses the importance of having a succinct company outlook on culture. "Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. People can be independent and autonomous." Read the full letter here -

Mar 30

4 min 21 sec

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Pulled from a Quora post in 2015, Greg Brockman (former CTO at Stripe, now co-founder + CTO at Open AI) answers the question, "What is the engineering interview process like at Stripe?" Greg goes into detail around the frameworks and thinking behind the Stripe technical interviewing process and why they use this formula to build a world-class team at Stripe. Read the Quora post here -

Mar 30

5 min 19 sec

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. The data is clear – diverse teams win. Companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation, and 9% higher EBIT margins. Iman Abuzeid MD (CEO & Cofounder of Incredible Health) has gone through the full diligence process of the best of the best Series A funds in Silicon Valley and shares her findings in this essay. "We are coming to terms with what we have or have not done right in tech in relation to diversity. Data is one way Silicon Valley has won this far, and it’s the way we can keep winning. The data is clear – diverse teams win." Read the essay here -

Mar 30

28 min 12 sec

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. The old saying "one bad apple spoils the bunch" holds especially true for company culture. Keeping around any employee who is a bad culture fit can destroy your team's working environment. Below are some of the typical types of people who can hurt your culture: 1. The Jerk 2. The Whiner 3. Credit Taker 4. Charming Do Nothing 5. Loyalty Monger With culture fit, you should never compromise. This bar should be the highest for the most visible and most productive of your team. Read the essay here -

Mar 30

6 min 15 sec

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. Amazon has and operates by its own set of leadership principles--a set of principles referred to during company decision-making, problem-solving, simple brainstorming, and even hiring. Here are the 14 leadership principles Amazon workers refer to on a daily basis: - Customer Obsession - Ownership - Invent and Simplify - Are Right, A Lot - Learn and Be Curious - Hire and Develop the Best - Insist on the Highest Standards - Think Big - Bias for Action - Frugality - Earn Trust - Dive Deep - Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit - Deliver Results Read them here -

Mar 25

5 min

This is The Founders' List - audio versions of essays from technology’s most important leaders, selected by the founder community. In 2007, Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop (a former Microsoft executive) was planning radical action to revive the company's fortunes on what they will do to stem the loss of market share, notably in the smartphone market, where despite being the biggest player it has been unable to compete with incomers, notably Google's Android and Apple's iOS. "The first iPhone shipped in 2007, and we still don't have a product that is close to their experience. Android came on the scene just over 2 years ago, and this week they took our leadership position in smartphone volumes. Unbelievable."

Mar 18

8 min

Gabi Shalel is an amazing games founder - he understands the type of innovation, fast iteration, and quality required to create a successful games company. These things are also very valuable for every founder, every startup. So today, NFX General Partner Gigi Levy-Weiss talks to Gabi about the lessons he's learned from starting, growing, and selling Plarium for $500M that other founders can take and apply to their own startups, including: - Psychology of ultra-fast iterations - People and Hiring - Pivoting - Social in your product - Conversion tactics - much more Read the NFX essay here -

Mar 17

50 min 15 sec