Chamath Palihapitiya

Understanding Yourself | Chamath Palihapitiya on The Knowledge Project with Shane Parrish

Check out The Knowledge Project Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • A good question to ask yourself: Are you living the life you want to live or the life others want you to live?   
    • “I think a lot of people have to do things that are motivated by other people’s perception of them and also motivated by the pressure that’s exerted by the people that are very closely around you” – Chamath Palihapitiya 
  • “We’re going to financialize everything. We’re going to fractionalize ownership of probably everything. And so, what there’s an opportunity now to do is to curate and cultivate a community around that, to help people.”Chamath Palihapitiya
    • You can buy shares in sneakers, art, trading cards, and just about everything else. There’s also a large community around each of those areas.
      • “The investable universe is growing”  
  • Climate change is a multiple decade and deca-trillion dollar opportunity: 
    • “The world’s first trillionaire will be somebody in climate change” Chamath Palihapitiya
  • “We are going to spend, in the next decade, tens of trillions of dollars to try to dig ourselves out of this unemployment and GDP hole that has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic” Chamath Palihapitiya
  • What is the 2020 election about?
    • “I think it comes down to political correctness versus cancel culture” – Chamath Palihapitiya
  • When it comes to being a great investor, you have to manage your own psychology:
    • “I think that when push comes to shove, what you’re always going to be fighting is yourself. Panicking, overreacting, underreacting, refusing to observe the present, living too much in the past, wanting too much to believe in the future.” – Chamath Palihapitiya
  • Chamath is still bullish on bitcoin:
    • “We are dismantling financial orthodoxy…and to have a small amount of insurance that’s uncorrelated to the orthodoxy is just a smart risk management thing”  – Chamath Palihapitiya
      • “It’s a smart thing to have under the mattress just in case”

Intro

Truth, Lies, & Speaking Your Mind

  • Why are so many people fans of Chamath? Because he speaks his mind.
    • “I think that most people are pretty guarded because they have to be. I don’t think they’re necessarily always in a position to be as candid as they want to be. I think that in moments of just clarity, I have constantly just tried to say what I feel. I think that resonates with a lot of people.”  Chamath Palihapitiya
  • A good question to ask yourself: Are you living the life you want to live or the life others want you to live?   
    • “I think a lot of people have to do things that are motivated by other people’s perception of them and also motivated by the pressure that’s exerted by the people that are very closely around you” Chamath Palihapitiya
  • “I learned to lie at a very young age because lying I think is one of the most simple coping mechanisms that we all have” Chamath Palihapitiya
    • Lying can turn into a pattern of evasiveness and avoidance 
      • To atone for the years of lies, Chamath started telling the truth every time he could 
        • “I had to almost go to the other end of the spectrum. Almost in a way of atoning for all of the years of lies and all of the accumulated mistruths or half-truths or evasiveness.” 
  • Saying the truth can feel uncomfortable, but that doesn’t mean you should stay quiet:
    • “Oftentimes what that means is saying the uncomfortable thing but it’s the thing that needs to be said” Chamath Palihapitiya

Positive & Negative Emotions

  • Chamath may be a billionaire, but he’s at his happiest when doing simple things:
    •  Playing with his kids
    • Traveling with his family
    • Playing poker with friends
  • Even at his level of success, Chamath still experiences imposter syndrome:
    • “It’s like this dragon I’ve been trying to slay my whole life and I haven’t been able to” – Chamath Palihapitiya
  • Men are often taught to not talk about their emotions and to keep everything inside:
    • “I found that, as a man, I was taught that talking is weak. I also found that, as an immigrant man, I was taught that talking about emotions was doubly weak. Then I was taught, in this industry, that talking is awkward.” Chamath Palihapitiya
      • However, that’s not the answer. Being open about your emotions is:
        • “The biggest thing that I found that has helped me is just talking, and being open”
  • “I like how I feel when I think that I am doing things that the younger version of me would be proud of” Chamath Palihapitiya
    • This motivates Chamath to keep grinding and getting better

The Investable Universe Is Growing

  • Lots of people can teach you how to make money and become free so you never have to work again, but only you can teach yourself to be happy
    • “The path to freedom is easily copied” – Chamath Palihapitiya
    • “The path to happiness is an internal process” 
  • “I think you’d be surprised at how many people are intellectually capable of achieving financial freedom on their own” Chamath Palihapitiya
  • “We’re going to financialize everything. We’re going to fractionalize ownership of probably everything. And so, what there’s an opportunity now to do is to curate and cultivate a community around that, to help people.”Chamath Palihapitiya
    • You can buy shares in sneakers, art, trading cards, and just about everything else. There’s also a large community around each of those areas.
      • “The investable universe is growing”  

Thoughts on Climate Change

  • “We’ve already essentially stopped burning coal and it’s just a matter of time till we stop burning fossil fuels”  – Chamath Palihapitiya
  • Climate change is a multiple decade and deca-trillion dollar opportunity: 
    • “The world’s first trillionaire will be somebody in climate change” Chamath Palihapitiya

Psychology & Mental Health

  • When it comes to being a great investor, you have to manage your own psychology:
    • “I think that when push comes to shove, what you’re always going to be fighting is yourself. Panicking, overreacting, underreacting, refusing to observe the present, living too much in the past, wanting too much to believe in the future.” – Chamath Palihapitiya
      • As an investor, you need to set certain rules that you follow so you don’t make an emotional decision over a previous logically sound decision  
  • “Being happy personally is the pathway to help everything else make sense and that is around mental health. I think the key unlock for mental health is just finding a resource to talk to.” – Chamath Palihapitiya
    • Chamath has two therapists that he talks to weekly
      • Just as flossing prevent plaque build-up, talking to someone and venting helps prevent mental breakdowns

What Does Chamath Look For In CEOs?

  • When interviewing CEOs, Chamath looks for integrity and mental agility
    • When I’m evaluating a CEO, those are the only two things that matter” – Chamath Palihapitiya
  • However, integrity can’t be assessed by just asking a few questions, you need to observe and spend time with the individual:
    • “It’s about subtle observations over a long period of time because people take a long time to reveal themselves”
      • Chamath observes how the CEO talks to everyone from himself to the waiter at the restaurant
  • When it comes to mental agility, you have to be able to handle open-ended questions and know a little bit about a lot
  • Who are the top 4 public CEOs in Chamath’s opinion?
    • Elon Musk
    • Jeff Bezos
    • Tobias Lütke
    • Jack Dorsey

Views on Bitcoin

  • Chamath is still bullish on bitcoin:
    • “We are dismantling financial orthodoxy…and to have a small amount of insurance that’s uncorrelated to the orthodoxy is just a smart risk management thing”  – Chamath Palihapitiya
      • “It’s a smart thing to have under the mattress just in case”

Additional Notes

  • “We are going to spend, in the next decade, tens of trillions of dollars to try to dig ourselves out of this unemployment and GDP hole that has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic” Chamath Palihapitiya
  • What is the 2020 election about?
    • “I think it comes down to political correctness versus cancel culture” – Chamath Palihapitiya
  • “I think that the government should really be plowing money into the next generation of industries. I think that the government should always be on the bleeding edge of not needing to make money in some critical, important industries for the future. And so, in the absence of doing that, we’ve lost touch with the things that have really propelled the United States forward.”  – Chamath Palihapitiya
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Notes By Alex Wiec

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