Writings

Ideas only become valuable through evolutionary pressure, and the writing process is the first chance for refinement and synthesis before exposing one’s thoughts to the marketplace. The concept of the dialectic – the establishment of the truth through reasoned discourse – has been a constant in my career, with writing as the chief catalyst. This process has been especially vital when taking on missions that necessitate making difficult moral judgments. The inherent goodness of a cause does not remove the obligation to ask, and answer, difficult questions – in fact, quite the opposite is true. I’ve found that writing is the best way to grapple with such questions without sacrificing nuance or clarity. Another benefit of writing is that it is often the most representative record of a given period in time, and thus offers a unique chance to both critique and engage in dialogue with our younger selves.

What are dialectics, and why are they important/useful?

I am not by any means a philosopher although I have worked with some talented people in the …
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Western civilisation is an idea worth defending—and reapplying

We need liberal values of freedom and markets more than ever, says Joe Lonsdale, an entrepreneur and investor …
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Libertarianism is Dysfunctional, but Liberty is Great

American libertarianism has become a useless, purely performative sort of politics. Many libertarians I know seem blinded to the fact that the...
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Lessons from Peter Thiel

These lessons summarize what Joe Lonsdale learned from working over many years with Peter Thiel, our chairman and one of our founders....
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Did Palantir’s founders consider the ethical implications of their work?

This post originally appeared on Quora. “Did Palantir’s founders consider the ethical implications of their work? Do they …
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America Needs More Innovation, Not Expropriation

Tesla would never have become a global leader of innovation, with an immense gravitational pull on the world's top talent, had Elon...
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Opinion: Innovation can pull Texas health care back from the brink

The Lone Star State needs a health care cost fix, and soon. Health care spending in Texas is rising by 6% per...
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Steering American Healthcare From the Brink

Since we published our proposal on “How to Save $900B Annually in American Healthcare” three years ago, the crisis facing the US...
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The 1-Hour Board Meeting

Founders who keep their investors informed and run disciplined meetings are those who get the most out of their board members.  Too...
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Looking Forward: A Newcomer’s Hope for Texas

All four of the cardinal virtues offer us wisdom to this day, but my favorite of the four – and one that’s...
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California, Love It and Leave It

I love California, but I had to leave. I grew up in Fremont, attended Stanford, and have spent most of my adult...
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Why we built Palantir

We started Palantir in 2003 with the vision to take the top technologists in the world, and apply them to the most...
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The Wealth Tax is a Terrible Idea

The presidential campaigns of Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren sparked national debate about many progressive policies that failed to gain...
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Private Philanthropy has Many Lessons for Government

America’s nonprofit sector is booming. There are now over one and a half million nonprofits registered with the IRS, contributing nearly one...
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Capture the Flag

American capitalism is under siege. Nationalist-Right politicians defend reincarnations of 20th century industrial policy and blame weak wage growth on immigrants and...
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Regulating Speech Won’t Fix Our Politics

No matter who holds power, individuals and groups have the right to spend money to communicate their ideas.
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Why the Public Should See PBM Prices

Price-signaling is the backbone of a free market. Prices allow customers, businesses, and investors to decide when there is too much or...
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The Soviet Temptation: A Note to the Board of the AEI

Our government is plagued by polarization, gridlock, and special interest capture which — combined with an overgrown administrative state and poor policy in many...
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8 Signs You Should Not Bet on a CEO

We have had the privilege of investing in dozens of great entrepreneurs, but we have passed on investments in thousands of others....
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Esper is the Future of Governance

8VC traditionally invests in companies that tackle industry-wide problems by reimagining traditional paradigms and helping modernize some of our oldest technological infrastructure.
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Fix the International Price Index for Part B Drugs

American drug spending is out of control. At $330B a year, American expenditures on prescription drugs subsidize pharmaceutical R&D for the rest...
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How to Save $900 Billion Annually in American Healthcare

The American health care industry wastes $1T by some estimates,[1] and possibly as much as 30% of health care …
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For-Profit College Incomes Should Mirror Student Outcomes

America should harness entrepreneurial innovation in higher education by financially rewarding for-profit colleges only if they help students succeed in the American...
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The Dialysis Industry is Failing America

America’s reactive model of kidney care enriches an oligopolistic dialysis industry, wastes billions of dollars a year, and creates worse health outcomes...
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Align Incentives to Solve Recidivism

State governments should competitively reimburse private prisons that are most effective at reducing recidivism and helping prisoners reintegrate into normal American life....
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A Note for Startup CEOs on Budget Chats

CEOs shouldn’t worry about their budget all the time — on a day-to-day basis they should work on managing their company, building an awesome...
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Innocent Until Proven Guilty

Most of our generation lacks historical perspective on justice and persecution, so we’ve put together a brief paper on how these ideas...
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Tax Reform: A Silicon Valley Perspective

When an employee of a privately held technology company leaves the company and exercises her stock options, she typically has 3 months...
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In Defense of Private Equity

The only way to create prosperity is to do more with less. In economic terms, an increase in productivity is an increase...
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Don’t Just Donate, Innovate

For most, the word “charity” evokes concepts of altruism and justice completely divorced from considerations of efficiency and profit. The distinction between...
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Announcing Terminal

Hello, World! Announcing Terminal, by Joe Lonsdale and Jack Abraham Talent is the technology ecosystem’s most precious resource. Innovation occurs when gifted...
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Kleiner’s Laws

Good things happen in eights. In 1957, Eugene Kleiner and seven other engineers quit their jobs at Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. Kleiner, a...
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Dialectical Wisdom

I am not by any means a philosopher although I have worked with some talented people in the discipline. But certain philosophical...
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The Future of Labor pt. II – New Job Creation

An increasingly popular concern is that robots will eat up labor’s share of income at an accelerating rate, leaving ordinary workers impoverished...
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The Future of Labor pt. I – Keynes

In 1930 the economist John Maynard Keynes wrote a short, influential essay entitled Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren. The Depression had not yet...
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Who’s Your Replacement?

I want the loss of anyone in the company to hurt us, but not fatally, including the likes of me. Every job...
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8 Essential Skills of a VC

We recently put together a speech outlining the major functions of a modern Venture Capitalist. These notes from the speech articulate our...
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Bring in the “Adults”?

This blog addresses a recurring topic for our CEOs — how to think about the value of experience at a technology startup, the seniority...
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A Deficit of Leadership

Our age is not short of great ideas — of ways new technology can be applied to fix global industries and increase prosperity. But...
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Tech Bubble or Golden Age?

Since the recovery from the dot-com crash, doomsday prophets have consistently warned of a bubble in the private technology company ecosystem. This...
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Mentorship and Problem Solving with Secretary George Shultz  

Secretary Shultz is one of the great men of our age, and I am lucky to have gotten to know him over...
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Pittsburgh: A New Tech Hub?

Pittsburgh, which was founded two centuries ago in 1816, was one of the great economic centers of the United States. It was...
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Practice Safe Financing

The convertible note is a useful and common financing structure in Silicon Valley. It’s a form of debt that is really more...
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Real World Parallels to Last Night’s Episode of Silicon Valley

Although certain TV portrayals are clearly unrealistic or over the top for comedic value, this episode dealt with a lot of issues...
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Why Blend is Awesome

Some of the most talented people I used to work with at Palantir founded Blend, and it exemplifies much of what we...
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It’s Time to Open the Pentagon’s Books

Congress gives the Pentagon $600 billion a year: our largest non-entitlement expense. In return, the military must spend money efficiently and report...
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8VC – Our Values

We believe the technologists and entrepreneurs of our generation are in a position to have a more widespread, positive impact on the...
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Nine Lessons From a Living Legend, Ambassador Andy Young

Ambassador Andy Young is one of the great men of our times. It was an honor to get to spend part of...
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A Few Ideas from the Trenches — Part 2

Lately I’ve had a strong sense that we’re living at a particularly important time in history, and I feel really lucky to...
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A Few Ideas from the Trenches

One of the fun things about venture capital is you are constantly learning new ideas and strategies from one business and then...
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On the Founding and Mission of OpenGov

Technology is not reaching its full potential, but we think that world-changing applications are closer (and different) than people realize. Information technology...
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Announcing our Investment in Branch

There are hundreds of millions of people around the globe who could safely repay loans but nonetheless do not have access to...
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The Quiet SMB Revolution of the 2010s

There are 5.7 million businesses in the United States, 89.9% of which have fewer than twenty employees. In aggregate, small and medium...
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Advice for Entrepreneurs in UK Magazine

Entrepreneurship isn’t easy but if anyone has made it look that way it is Joe Lonsdale, founder of Palantir. Here is his...
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Technologists’ Duty Can Go Beyond For-Profit Industries

Early last year, I wrote an article explaining how our team views the concept of duty for leaders in the technology ecosystem....
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Building an Engineering Culture

Building an engineering- and technology-led culture is the hardest and most important challenge faced by entrepreneurs building tech companies. Great technology companies...
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Why Oscar Is The Most Important Startup In NY

Healthcare consumes more than 17% of US GDP, and our government is on course to go bankrupt based on promises it’s made...
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The Conventionalization of Big Data

The term ‘big data’ is a pervasive Silicon Valley colloquialism. The expression now describes a range of technologies, from back-end infrastructure to...
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B2G: The Excitement Of An Old-Line Industry

Government represents one of the most challenging sectors in which to build a business. Yet the challenges represent opportunities for those bold...
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Platform Plays

How does one build a defensible business? In today’s startup ecosystem, where seed financing is abundant and the barriers to building scalable IT...
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The Smart Enterprise Wave

Over the last hundred years, five major trends have dominated Silicon Valley (SV): “Electronic Tools,” “Semiconductor,” “Enterprise,” “Telecom,” and “Consumer.” A sixth...
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Angel Investing

Please see the attached notes on seed-stage or “angel” investing. I hope this document proves a useful guide and perhaps it will...
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The Coming Transformation

The global economy will transform in the next decade. The present post-industrial economy, in which developed countries experience the limits of extensive...
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Then the Gods Gave Me Pride

By the time that Alexander the Great’s armies had conquered most of the known world, it had become much harder to get...
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