The Dialysis Industry is Failing America
October 29, 2018
America’s reactive model of kidney care enriches an oligopolistic dialysis industry, wastes billions of dollars a year, and creates worse health outcomes for millions of Americans each decade
Align Incentives to Solve Recidivism
May 15, 2018
State governments should competitively reimburse private prisons that are most effective at reducing recidivism and helping prisoners reintegrate into normal American life. Only by rewiring incentives can we attract the best and brightest entrepreneurs to solving America's mass incarceration nightmare.
Tax Reform: A Silicon Valley Perspective
November 10, 2017
When an employee of a privately held technology company leaves the company and exercises her stock options, she typically has 3 months to qualify for favorable tax treatment.
In Defense of Private Equity
October 17, 2017
The only way to create prosperity is to do more with less. In economic terms, an increase in productivity is an increase in the amount or quality of output generated for each unit of input. Jobs do not make society wealthier – productivity does.
A Deficit of Leadership
August 6, 2016
Our age is not short of great ideas — of ways new technology can be applied to fix global industries and increase prosperity. But we are starting to notice a serious deficit in Silicon Valley: a shortage of great leaders. A common refrain from startup entrepreneurs is that they have no problem attracting high-energy contributors, but are having difficulty finding talented, driven executives who can lead and inspire. It is growing harder to ignore SV’s leadership deficit as one of the central challenges for companies fighting to scale — and as a central question for Silicon Valley’s impact on the world at large.
Tech Bubble or Golden Age?
July 27, 2016
Since the recovery from the dot-com crash, doomsday prophets have consistently warned of a bubble in the private technology company ecosystem. This may sound like a valid concern to Silicon Valley-outsiders confronted with a spectacle of far-fetched startup ideas, wild blow-ups, and the transfer of large sums of money into the hands of audacious twenty-somethings. But we are not in a tech bubble. Iterative, trial and error experimentation is the mechanism by which firms drive the evolution of the market economy; it is the natural adaptation of industry to new technological paradigms. Moreover the amount of money involved in this vital discovery process is a tiny fraction of total economic output. Like any industrial revolution, the present era is one of rapid flux of the economy in response to new technological possibilities. Economic historians looking back on the present period will characterize it as the early innings of Golden Age of the information technology revolution.
Mentorship and Problem Solving with Secretary George Shultz
July 7, 2016
Secretary Shultz is one of the great men of our age, and I am lucky to have gotten to know him over the past several years during his time at the Hoover Institute at Stanford. Born in 1920, he has lived an extraordinary life and is still actively working on some of the most important problems of our time including nuclear non-proliferation and mentorship of government leaders.
Pittsburgh: A New Tech Hub?
July 6, 2016
Pittsburgh, which was founded two centuries ago in 1816, was one of the great economic centers of the United States. It was the 8th biggest city by population in 1920, and it peaked at over 700,000 in the 1940s. A geographic center where the rail lines met between cities including Chicago, Cleveland, DC, and New York, Pittsburgh was the home of great industrialists including Mellon, Heinz, Frick and Westinghouse, to name a few who many of us still recognize today. During the second world war, Pittsburgh itself produced as much steel as each Axis power and was at the heart of American industrial success.
Practice Safe Financing
April 26, 2016
The convertible note is a useful and common financing structure in Silicon Valley. It’s a form of debt that is really more a type of equity — one where the valuation hasn’t been determined yet.
Why Blend is Awesome
January 19, 2016
Some of the most talented people I used to work with at Palantir founded Blend, and it exemplifies much of what we have written about at Formation 8 and now 8VC (www.8vc.com). Blend aligns with our views about how to create a top technology culture and focus on an uncrowded, yet critical, vertical. It also exemplifies the ‘Smart Enterprise’ theme, as it replaces legacy infrastructure with deep Silicon Valley technology to help an underserved industry and create tremendous value for American lenders and borrowers alike.
It's Time to Open the Pentagon's Books
January 17, 2016
Congress gives the Pentagon $600 billion a year: our largest non-entitlement expense. In return, the military must spend money efficiently and report back to civilian leaders. Fulfilling these obligations builds trust and ensures every dollar in the defense budget benefits America and our sons and daughters who protect us.
A Few Ideas from the Trenches — Part 2
August 3, 2015
Lately I’ve had a strong sense that we’re living at a particularly important time in history, and I feel really lucky to get be able to interact with a lot of the actors firsthand.
Building an Engineering Culture
September 11, 2014
Building an engineering- and technology-led culture is the hardest and most important challenge faced by entrepreneurs building tech companies. Great technology companies are valuable not because of their IP but because they are engines equipped to discover and build the tools necessary to solve hard problems and achieve their vision. People power these engines, and getting culture right in a young, fast-growing company requires a significant, ongoing investment in strategy and tactics that involves the entire team. We’ve noticed many of the great technology companies share several key characteristics and want to share what we’ve observed as well as highlight three foundational principles that lead to top engineering cultures.