Joe Lonsdale: American Optimist
The Secrets to Building Great Products with Tony Fadell, Creator of the iPod, iPhone, & Nest Thermostat

The Secrets to Building Great Products with Tony Fadell, Creator of the iPod, iPhone, & Nest Thermostat

May 20, 2022

Tony Fadell is one of the great engineers, designers, and business leaders of our time, responsible for creating the iPod, iPhone, and Nest Thermostat. He runs the investment firm Future Shape and recently released his memoir titled “Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making." In this episode, he discusses the lessons he learned at General Magic (which was building the iPhone 15 years too early) and Philips Electronics that paved the way for building some of the world's most popular devices at Apple. He explains why self-imposed constraints are essential to creating exceptional products and reveals where engineers and designers often go wrong. His passion for building is inspiring and informative for both business and everyday life.

Zach Latta: Building Hack Club & Inspiring the Next Generation of Coders

Zach Latta: Building Hack Club & Inspiring the Next Generation of Coders

April 27, 2022

Joe Lonsdale sits down with Zach Latta, Founder of Hack Club, a non-profit network of high school coding clubs with over 15,000 members worldwide. At age 15, Zach helped design one of the most popular apps in the world. At 16, he dropped out of high school to become a programmer before founding Hack Club. He then received a Thiel Fellowship and decided to forgo college to build Hack Club full-time. In this episode, he talks about rethinking education and challenges teenagers to look beyond conventional, safe paths and take full advantage of the Internet Age. He paints an inspiring picture of what our world would look like with more coders and builders -- and explains how Hack Club provides teens with the skills to improve society and realize their full potential. [Joe is a proud early supporter of Hack Club.]

Gene Berdichevsky and Sila’s Game-Changing Battery Technology

Gene Berdichevsky and Sila’s Game-Changing Battery Technology

April 21, 2022

Gene Berdichevsky is the co-founder and CEO of Sila, a next-gen battery technology company. Previously, he was the seventh employee at Tesla, where he served as Principal Engineer on the Roadster battery and led the development of the world’s first mass-produced lithium-ion car battery. In this episode, he explains how Sila's new battery chemistry innovations can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and help electrify the future. He discusses the challenges in mining rare metals, battery recycling, and what's needed to sustainably build batteries at scale. By mid-century, Berdichevsky is optimistic that EVs will become ubiquitous, and we'll be able to fully integrate renewables into the electric grid. [Joe's venture capital firm 8VC is an investor in Sila.]

Reprogramming Cells, Decentralizing Pharma, and Understanding the Biotech Revolution.

Reprogramming Cells, Decentralizing Pharma, and Understanding the Biotech Revolution.

April 18, 2022

Francisco Gimenez is Partner at 8VC and focuses on Bio-IT investments. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford in Biomedical Informatics and B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from UC Berkeley. In this episode, Francisco explains how breakthroughs in AI, gene editing, and cell therapies converged to jumpstart a new age in biology. He predicts that biomanufacturing platforms, armed with mountains of data and new tools, will bring down the costs of creating and commercializing drugs so smaller companies can treat rarer diseases and deliver more personalized cures. By decentralizing the pharma industry, Francisco is optimistic that the future of medicine will evolve from reactive care to preventative medicine that will help people fully self-actualize and lead their best, healthiest lives. [Joe is a founding partner of 8VC, his venture capital firm.]

The New Age of Nuclear: Oklo’s Amazing Small Reactor That Reuses Nuclear Waste

The New Age of Nuclear: Oklo’s Amazing Small Reactor That Reuses Nuclear Waste

April 6, 2022

Jacob DeWitte is the Co-Founder and CEO of Oklo, a nuclear energy startup building small advanced reactors that can reuse spent fuel from conventional reactors. In this episode, DeWitte explains how the regulatory state has stymied new reactor designs for decades, and how he's working to break through and bring game-changing nuclear power technology to market. Shortly after the initial conversation was filmed, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) denied Oklo's application for its new small reactor design -- evidence of the persistent regulatory challenges. Stay tuned to the end of the episode where Jake rejoins the show to explain how Oklo plans to address the NRC's findings and continue the process toward final approval. [Joe's venture capital firm 8VC is an investor in Oklo.]

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper: Why Russia’s Invasion Is Failing & How to Bring More Innovation to the Pentagon

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper: Why Russia’s Invasion Is Failing & How to Bring More Innovation to the Pentagon

March 30, 2022

Dr. Mark Esper served as the U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2019 to 2020 and Secretary of the Army from 2017 to 2019. He's currently the Distinguished Chair of the Modern War Institute at West Point and sits on the Board of Directors of Epirus [a defense startup co-founded by Joe]. His forthcoming memoir is titled "A Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Secretary of Defense During Extraordinary Times.” In this episode, he dissects Russia's military weaknesses and explains how its invasion of Ukraine may ultimately strengthen NATO and change China's calculations with regard to Taiwan. He and Joe also discuss the risk-averse, top-down management culture at the Pentagon and what needs to change to bring new, better technologies to the Department of Defense.

Free Housing Won’t Solve Homelessness. Judge Glock Explains What Will.

Free Housing Won’t Solve Homelessness. Judge Glock Explains What Will.

March 23, 2022

Judge Glock is the Director of Research and Policy at the Cicero Institute and an expert on housing and homelessness in the U.S. In this episode, Glock dissects the root causes of America's affordable housing shortage and explains how the right incentives can jumpstart development and bring down home costs for working-class families. He also exposes how policies like “Housing First” encourage the homeless to live and die on the streets while waiting for free and permanent housing, which won’t solve the root of their problems: addiction and mental illness. Instead, Glock explains how cities like San Diego combine bridge shelters with treatment and accountability to reduce homelessness -- a recipe that other state leaders can use to save lives and bring healing to hundreds of thousands of people. [Joe is the founder and Chairman of Cicero's 501c3 and 501c4 organizations.]

How the Renaissance Sparked an Entrepreneurial Explosion with Jeannette zu Fürstenberg

How the Renaissance Sparked an Entrepreneurial Explosion with Jeannette zu Fürstenberg

March 16, 2022

Dr. Jeannette zu Fürstenberg is Co-Founder and General Partner of “La Famiglia”, a Berlin-based Venture Capital fund, and holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy and Entrepreneurship from the Free University of Berlin. She’s also a princess of one of Europe’s oldest royal families by marriage, as well as a thoughtful leader in the innovation and business world. In this episode, she traces the birth of entrepreneurship from the Renaissance and explains how breaking down the silos of guilds led to a creative explosion -- and how we can apply those lessons today. Dr. Fürstenberg specializes in connecting old and new world industries and discusses how to transform the 21st century by moving from incremental to disruptive innovation.

How to Take on Big Healthcare & Other Entrenched Interests and Win with Jared Meyer

How to Take on Big Healthcare & Other Entrenched Interests and Win with Jared Meyer

March 9, 2022

Jared Meyer is the Executive Director of Cicero Action. In this episode, Jared discusses how special interests stifle competition and why Cicero Action is using the special interests' playbook against them to promote innovative, bottom-up reforms.  He explains the government affairs strategy that creates real policy changes in states across the country, from expanding telehealth and improving parole and probation reforms, to realigning higher education incentives and fixing homelessness.  This conversation shows how transparency, accountability, and competition are possible when political leaders have the tools—and the courage—to stand up to cronyism and entrenched interests. [Joe is the founder and Chairman of Cicero's 501c3 and 501c4 organizations.]

Unlearning Race and Restoring Liberalism with Thomas Chatterton Williams

Unlearning Race and Restoring Liberalism with Thomas Chatterton Williams

March 2, 2022

Thomas Chatterton Williams is a writer, cultural critic, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of two critically-acclaimed books on race in America, most recently "Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race."  In this episode, he discusses the dangers of Critical Race Theory and how to move beyond race-first, collectivist mindsets.  He also discusses his forthcoming book, "Nothing Was the Same," which traces the recent rise of illiberalism and polarization in the U.S.  Even though we may find certain ideas or theories (like CRT) noxious, Williams argues for more engagement and debate, not banning or censoring materials, as the best path toward progress. He also offers positive solutions, such as expanding access to high-quality early education, as a means to reduce inequality. [NOTE: This episode was recorded before Russia's invasion of Ukraine.]

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