keith rabois

Keith Rabois on Miami and Company-Building in 2021 | Village Global’s Venture Stories with Erik Torenberg

Check out The  Venture Stories Podcast Page

Key Takeaways

  • The biggest question for Keith when considering Miami was “Can we build a technology hub?”
  • People who moved to Miami have reported being happier
  • Looking at the history of startup ecosystems you can reverse-engineer some of their common ingredients
    • You need a mix of different skills (investors, designers, coders, and VCs)
    • It is usually a bottom-up dynamic, so you can’t control it from the top
    • You can try putting the ingredients together and see what happens
    • Once you get initial momentum, you need to leverage network effects to maintain it or amplify it
  • Keith prefers to build his teams in the same location, especially in the early days
    • Especially for young people, the workplace provides the opportunity to socialize, which they wouldn’t get remotely
    • Sharing the physical space opens to the opportunity of learning by osmosis, which would be hard to do remotely
  • Just as startups emulate other successful companies, if Miami’s mayor does well, we’ll see more mayors doing the same thing

Intro

  • Keith Rabois (@rabois) is a member of the Paypal Mafia, the founder of Opendoor, and a General Partner at Founders Fund
    • Notes from Keith’s last appearance on Venture Stories
    • Podcast Notes (Part 1 and Part 2) from Keith’s appearance on This Week in Startups
  • Host: Erik Torenberg (@eriktorenberg)
  • In this chat, Keith Rabois talks about moving to Miami, creating a startup ecosystem, and building a company in today’s environment

Moving to Miami

  • Keith had been frustrated with California for a while but hadn’t considered moving until the pandemic hit
  • The biggest question for Keith when considering Miami was “Can we build a technology hub?”
    • While Miami provides a competitive advantage to start entertainment and consumer-oriented companies, it is also a great place for technology
      • There already are robotics and database companies in Miami
  • People who moved to Miami have reported being happier
    • Because of its weather, cuisine, activities, and the way the city handled COVID
    • “You can’t put a price on your happiness” Peter Thiel
  • When making job offers for his new startup, OpenStore, Keith found that most people were happy to move to Miami from the Bay Area

What Does It Take to Get a Startup Ecosystem Off the Ground?

  • For a long time, people talked about the value of clustering and how hard it is to create new startup ecosystems
  • Looking at the history of startup ecosystems you can reverse-engineer some of their common ingredients
    • You need a mix of different skills (investors, designers, coders, and VCs)
    • It is usually a bottom-up dynamic, so you can’t control it from the top
    • You can try putting the ingredients together and see what happens
  • Twitter proved to be a powerful tool for social mobilization
    • Keith’s announcement to move to Miami blew up on Twitter sparked lots of interest
    • Even Miami’s mayor responded, clearly welcoming technologists to move there
      • This caused even more people to move there
  • Once you get initial momentum, you need to leverage network effects to maintain it or amplify it
    • Each person who moves to Miami can encourage some friends to do the same

Distributed vs Co-located Teams

  • There is no one size fits all
    • Different companies in different industries will have different needs
  • We will see some examples of best practices for each model
  • Moving back and forth with different models can’t work well
    • You have to make a decision of how you want to build your team and stick to it
  • Keith prefers to build his teams in the same location, especially in the early days
    • Especially for young people, the workplace provides the opportunity to socialize, which they wouldn’t get remotely
    • Sharing the physical space opens to the opportunity of learning by osmosis, which would be hard to do remotely

The Future of Cities

  • The data of people leaving cities has been surely affected by COVID-related policies and the changes may not be as dramatic in the long term
    • There will surely be more emphasis on open, green spaces, and gyms
  • Just as startups emulate other successful companies, if Miami’s mayor does well, we’ll see more mayors doing the same thing
  • Finding the balance between bringing new people in and keeping existing people happy
    • Refusing to build housing in the Bay area caused prices to keep rising
    • Miami is still 20-25% built, and there is still room to accommodate more people
  • It will probably take a crisis before San Francisco makes significant changes

Additional Notes

  • OpenStore buys up small Shopify businesses providing immediate liquidity to its owners
  • When recruiting people, Keith advises them to spend at least one to three weeks in Miami
    • Spending just a weekend will feel like a vacation
      • It won’t get you a real feeling of what it’s like living there
Venture Stories : ,
Notes By Giorgio Parlato

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 12,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks