76. No Fun Allowed, Part 2 (Jonathon Triest & Brett DeMarrais)

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Today we cover Part 2 of No Fun Allowed with Jonathon Triest & Brett DeMarrais of Ludlow Ventures. In this segment we address:

  • Peter thiel has famously asked the question: “What’ something you believe to be true, that no one else does?” I’m going to flip it around here an ask, “What’s something you don’t believe be true, that everyone else does?”
  • Who wins the biggest nerd trophy at the next annual Ludlow investment team awards?
  • The Mount Rushmore of Venture Capital has just been commissioned. Who’s on it and who’s most jealous not to be on it?Brett DeMarrais No Fun Allowed
  • There is a curtain. Behind the curtain are three people. You have to marry one of them after asking one question. What’s the one question you would ask?
  • If we could cover any topic related to venture, what do you think should be addressed?

Guest Links:

Key Takeaways:

1- The Slack Stack
Brett made a serious and interesting point when we were discussing unicorns… he mentioned an indicator he’s seen where billion dollar companies have become companies worth tens of billions. Startups that have built a platform upon which other startups are now building businesses. We have seen this many times before, both with private and public companies. Apple built a mobile platform upon which many mobile-based startups were founded. Amazon built a platform that spawned many product and ecommerce companies that wouldn’t otherwise exist. And, pick your social network, many have thriving ecosystems of startups. Brett’s observation is that he’s now seing a number of startup pitches that are building businesses on Slack. And while these businesses may be creating their own value, they are also significantly enhancing the value of Slack itself. Closed systems can only build value organically. But open systems can democratize innovation and crowd-source their growth.
2- Different Strokes for Different Folks
Everyone has their own strengths and approach toward investing. When asked about investor similarities to superheroes, Jonathan compared Naval Ravikant to Yoda and Brad Feld to Professor Xavier. Admittedly, there have been times where I’ve thought: I’ll never be as philosophical as Naval or as knowledgeable as Brad. And today’s discussion was a good reminder that we all have unique strengths and areas of focus. Even Jonathon and Brett have clearly carved out their own niche of being friendly, approachable, fun and team-oriented when it comes to startup investing.
3- “Moonshots” Welcome; Just No Moonshots
The final takeaway today relates to Jonathon’s story about a startup trying to raise multiple billions to advertise on the moon. This is now one of a number of moon-focused startups discussed on the podcast. Off the top of my head, I also recall Charlie O’Donnell citing a startup that was planning to build a bridge to the moon. Look, moonshots are great. We all love hearing about very ambitious ideas w/ 100+x return potential. But let’s not take the “shoot for the moon” suggestions too literal. If you’re a phd astrophysicist proposing a space startup, let’s talk. Otherwise it’s probably best to keep both feet on the ground. And this is related to this week’s tip, which is:

Tip of the Week:   Give Me a Reason to Believe

*Please excuse any errors in the below transcript