291 David Sacks All In Podcast “Rain Man”/Top Tech VC on Armageddon, Ukraine/Russia, Biden, US Mid-terms, Free Speech & more
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US President Joe Biden recently warned about the possibility of Armageddon. He said “we have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.” On this episode of Christopher Lochhead: Follow Your Different, we discuss the current situation in the US and around the world with All In Podcast Rain Man, David Sacks.
David Sacks is a legendary entrepreneur, category and company builder, and now venture capitalist. He’s the founder of a VC firm called Craft Ventures. He was the founding Chief Operating Officer of PayPal founder and CEO of Yammer, which sold to Microsoft for well over a billion dollars. He has been an early investor in companies like Facebook, Twitter, Uber, SpaceX, Airbnb, Slack, and more. And today, he’s also incredibly well known as one of the CO hosts of the All In podcast.
So listen in to keep up with current affairs, and you might learn a thing or two on how to prepare for the future.
David Sacks on Biden’s comment about Armageddon
We begin on the recent comments that Biden made about Armageddon. When asked why he thinks Biden’s thoughts went that way, David’s reply was:
“My reaction to this was the man who can’t see two steps ahead, suddenly realizes where his policy is leading. We’re the ones who have refused to engage in any sort of diplomacy or any sort of negotiated settlement. Our strategy is not to provide them with an off ramp.” – David Sacks
But David also thinks that Biden acknowledging this is a step in the right direction.
“That being said, I still thought it was incredibly useful for Biden to say what he said, because the first step of getting out of a problem is acknowledging that you’re in one.” – David Sacks
David Sacks on Tactical Nukes & Risking Nuclear War
There has also been talks of using tactical nukes to quickly resolve the situation. David does not agree with this, saying that using nukes at this point just opens up the risk of a nuclear war.
“If a tactical nuclear weapon gets used in Ukraine, then the whole world will be different. This thing could escalate very quickly into a larger scale nuclear war.
You had Petraeus on the Sunday shows last weekend saying that if Putin uses attack nukes, the US should respond by hitting every Russian military target in Ukraine? Well, again, think two steps ahead. How do you think the Russians would react to that, given that they clearly don’t have the military might to stand up to the US in terms of conventional arms?” – David Sacks
If countries start using nukes, then it signals that the former agreements against it can be violated with impunity. And that is a dangerous ground to tread.
Prediction or Deterrent
Returning to Biden’s statement about Armageddon, David suggests that, rather than being a prediction, this statement, along with Petreaus’, could be interpreted as a warning or deterrent against Russia going nuclear.
The problem is that the reasons why the Russians might escalate to the use of nuclear weapons is because they’re losing the war by conventional means. Add to the fact that Putin doesn’t have an off ramp that lets him keep his reign. Because if he loses this war, or doesn’t gain anything significant from it, it is very likely that he will be forced out of office by the public.
Putin is pretty much acting like a cornered beast at this point. The scary part is that you don’t know what that cornered beast might do as a last-ditch effort to escape.
To hear more from David Sacks and the current situation of the world, download and listen to this episode.
David Sacks is co-founder and general partner at Craft. He has been a successful founder and investor for over two decades, building and investing in some of the most iconic companies in tech. He has invested in over 20 unicorns, including Affirm, AirBnB, Bird, ClickUp, Eventbrite, Facebook, Houzz, Lyft, OpenDoor, Palantir, Postmates, Reddit, Slack, SpaceX, Twitter, Uber, and Wish.
David is also co-host of the popular “All-In Podcast” with Chamath Palihapitiya, David Friedberg, and Jason Calacanis.
David first got involved in the technology industry in 1999 when he joined early-stage startup Confinity, later renamed PayPal. Serving as the company’s first product leader and then as COO, David built and ran many of the company’s key teams, including product management and design, sales and marketing, business development, international, customer service, fraud operations, and HR. He pivoted the product from beaming money on Palm Pilots to emailing money on the web, and introduced the business model. When the company IPO’d on the Nasdaq in 2002, David was 29 — the median age of the “PayPal Mafia” executives listed on the S-1. PayPal was later acquired by eBay and eventually spun back out into a publicly traded company (under ticker symbol PYPL).
In 2008, David founded enterprise collaboration company Yammer, which was one of the first SaaS startups to apply consumer growth tactics to enterprise software. Yammer’s viral approach made it one of the fastest-growing SaaS startups in history, exceeding eight million enterprise users in just four years. As Founder/CEO of Yammer, David grew the company to roughly $60 million in sales and 500 employees. In July 2012, Microsoft acquired Yammer for $1.2 billion. It remains one of the fastest unicorn exits in SaaS.
Since Yammer, David has continued to be involved in the SaaS world, with an emphasis on “Bottom Up SaaS,” the strategy he pioneered at Yammer by combining product-led growth with B2B sales. Bottom-up SaaS companies combine the growth potential of B2C with the enterprise budgets of B2B, leading to explosive outcomes when ARR goes viral.
David is well known in Silicon Valley for his product acumen. AngelList’s Naval Ravikant has called David “the world’s best product strategist.” David likes to begin pitch meetings by seeing a product demo.
Connect with David Sacks
Website | Bottom Up | All In Podcast | Twitter | LinkedIn
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