Chris Sacca on Coming Out of Retirement To Unf**k The Planet with Lowercarbon, How Chris Evaluates His Relationship To Money Today, Why We Have Bred a Generation of Ass**** Kids, Do VCs Provide Any Real Value and The True Unfiltered Opinion on Facebook | Twenty Minute VC with Harry Stebbings

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Key Takeaways

  • “It may be lucky but it’s not an accident” – Chris Sacca
    • Don’t dismiss your success, it will always be an unexpected combo of luck and hard work
  • “Training by way of tragedy. When things are going up you tend to correlate it with talent, when things are going down you tend to correlate it with luck.” – Chris Sacca
    • With more experience, you eventually invert this curve. You learn how to properly self-reflect on your own failures and successes
  • Let the large amount of good in the world outweigh the small amount of bad
    • When investing or decision making in general, don’t let the small potential for bad results overpower your ability to say yes
  • “There’s a surplus of assholes coming down the pipeline” – Chris Sacca
    • Many young adults growing up in computer science have never had a job that required human interaction, shaping their interpersonal capabilities often for the worse
    • The sheer ease of access to information is contributing to this as well as kids are not used to hearing no
  • Chris is leading the climate change firm Lowercarbon Capitol where every deal has the potential for more than 1 gigaton of carbon removal
    • Climate change efforts are not just charitable, they are profitable

Intro

  • Chris Sacca (@sacca) is an American venture investor recently focusing on making the world a better place through his firm Lowercarbon Capitol, also has made guest appearances on Shark Tank. Harry and Chris discuss venture capital, investing lessons, relationships, the next generation, feedback, and more!
  • Host: Harry Stebbings (@HarryStebbings)

Chris Sacca Early Career

  • His first venture check was when he sold a company called PhotoBucket for $330 million
    • Was a credit card check, not a cash check
  • The second investment was in Twitter for $25k
    • Often found himself working at Twitter on general tasks because he really needed the $25k back
  • Involved early on at Google, helped engineers without MBAs communicate with customers
    • After this, he embraced his generalist skills and entered into VC

Investing Lessons & Venture Capitol

  • Chris famously leveraged against his law school student loan debts to day-trade on margin
    • At one point he was up $12 million in 18 months but ended up down $4 million after getting too confident
      • “Training by way of tragedy. When things are going up you tend to correlate it with talent, when things are going down you tend to correlate it with luck” – Chris Sacca
        • With more experience, you eventually invert this curve. You learn how to properly self-reflect on your own failures and successes.
    • Even though he had early success in venture capital, he earned his discipline in the public markets first
  • “It may be lucky but it’s not an accident” – Chris Sacca
    • Don’t dismiss your success, it will always be an unexpected combo of luck and hard work
  • Let the large amount of good in the world outweigh the small amount of bad
    • Chris was skeptical of AirBnB at first because of the potential liabilities with host crimes, but this was a bad perspective
    • The law of big numbers – as populations get larger, they can distort relevant correlations with fractional possibility
  • Venture capital or entrepreneurship requires an obsessive interest in their product or industry
    • “If your hearts not really in it, it’s hard to be amazing at it” – Chris Sacca
    • Chris’ recent obsession is making a positive impact on climate change

Climate Change Initiative

  • Chris now puts his efforts towards worldly topics he wants to make an impact on rather than traditional venture capital, especially climate change with his firm Lowercarbon Capitol
    • He claims there is more money to be made in climate than in tech
    • Many forecasters of the future simply haven’t been to the lab in a while – there are feasible opportunities in the pipeline to make a positive impact on climate according to Chris
      • Every deal made at Lowercarbon Capitol has the potential for more than 1 gigaton of carbon removal
      • Researching sunlight reflection is critical, this will buy us more time as a planet
  • His biggest goal is to convince other investors/firms to care more about climate change and divert them towards the opinion that this effort can be profitable, not just charitable

Relationships – Partners, Family, Kids

  • The best couples work when they both are growing in some way
    • Doesn’t have to be in traditional business measurements but just in a way that matters to them
  • Chris and his wife gave a lot of money to family, not to give them an easy solution but to help them identify and fix their problems
  • The less formal education Chris’ friends have, the more he sees them aggressively emphasize it towards their kids
    • Over-specialization and intense competition has the potential to stifle growth for kids rather than stimulate
  • There are consequences on kids to the economies we are building
    • Many young adults growing up in computer science have never had a job that required human interaction, shaping their interpersonal capabilities
    • The sheer ease of access to information is contributing to this as well as kids are not used to hearing no
      • “There’s a surplus of assholes coming down the pipeline” – Chris Sacca

Feedback Loops

  • When someone is upset, repeat back to them exactly what they said and sigh
    • Reinforcement of confidence can simply come from listening with empathy
      • Then pose hypothetical questions that offer potential solutions, highlighting that there are paths out
      • Then ask what they are thinking going forward, encourage their ability to achieve solutions
  • People who suck, suck because of their effort, not their talent
    • Don’t be a B-teamer, effort will always come full circle

Quickfire Topics

  • Chris’ biggest strength and weakness:
    • Strength: Storytelling
    • Weakness: Talking too much and not asking enough questions
  • How has Chris and his wife, Crystal, maintained such a great relationship?
    • Mutual weirdness forever – be rough around the edges
    • Inviolate agreement – have a strong debating partner, someone who can call you out on your BS (respectfully)
      • These two things are engraved on their wedding rings
  • Facebook is flaunting their data that exposes their lack of empathy – doesn’t think FB makes the world a better place
20VC with Harry Stebbings : , , ,
Notes By Drew Waterstreet

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