Video Of The Week: Albert and Peter Kafka

This isn’t actually video, it’s audio, but it’s a good one and so I’m making it the video of the week. My partner Albert and Peter Kafka talked a few weeks ago on the Recode Decode Podcast. Peter is one of my favorite tech journalists. He’s been around for a long time, he knows his stuff, and he asks hard questions and is appropriately cynical. He’s the real deal.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    how long is it? i gotta go out.

    1. William Mougayar

      about 35 mins. i had it bookmarked to listen to already 🙂

      1. jason wright

        thanks William. i’ll listen later.

        1. jason wright

          ok, i listened to the first 5 minutes.Albert: “Good businesses are bought, bad businesses are sold”.i’m out of here!

      2. awaldstein

        listened in the gym.loving podcasts as a medium.

  2. William Mougayar

    This will embed it:<iframe src=”…” height=”281″ width=”600″ allowfullscreen=”” frameborder=”0″></iframe>

    1. fredwilson

      but autoplay is on. i can’t do that.

      1. vruz

        UPDATED . Try this

        1. William Mougayar

          that works vruz. cool…but it doesn’t show the image preview

  3. vruz

    Paste the following HTML in the HTML editor*UPDATED

    1. fredwilson

      thanks!! i’ve updated the post. i love this community.

      1. Mario Cantin

        Not bad for flies attracted to honey, LOL! Sorry, I couldn’t resist getting back at ya on that one. He he he…And yep, it’s a great community.

  4. awaldstein

    Cued to listen at the gym.Funny I woke up at 4am and wrote about podcasts as a storytelling medium.

    1. Richard

      As a huge podcast fan, fast curation continues to be a problem waiting for a solution.

      1. awaldstein

        New convert here.One hour a day in the gym.Gonna gobble up a lot of content this year.

        1. Richard

          Podcasts are a lot like going to the gym (for a lot of people): making the decision to go is sometimes hard, the first 5 minutes feels like you aren’t going to accomplish much, the next 45 minutes get better and better and feel like meditation, the last five minutes leave you hungry for more.PS not sure what exercises you are doing at the gym, but give compression sleeves a try, they will have you feeling 20 years younger.

          1. awaldstein

            Will look into it.i feel great but I’ll take another 20 years any way i can get it.

          2. Richard

            If it’s good enough for 20 year old pro athletes …..

  5. Richard

    First half of program was great inside baseball. Tumbler: if tumbler charged for its service, what would it need to charge to be profitable?

  6. LE

    When I hear Albert talk about the public benefit corps and USV’s interest and investment in them, I can’t help but think what a smart marketing angle that is for USV. Brilliant strategy actually.In theory other investors and VC’s would be less interested in greenlighting PBC’s [1] which would therefore allow USV to get better terms for themselves because of less competition and deal inflation as an unintended consequence. It further allows USV to differentiate themselves as the go to place for these Ben&Jerry esq. entrepreneurs.To wit:…Incorporating as a benefit corporation can have a dramatic effect on funding. It might be a positive effect, if your business is likely to attract the types of investors who are either eager or at least willing to invest in a benefit corporation. But it will probably be a very negative effect if you want to have a broad base of potential investors.And:Delaware B corps were actively championed by investors like Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures, so I assume that if this structure made sense in the context of a particular venture, it would be a positive for him.Noting that the USV website doesn’t seem to have any particular mention about investments in public benefit corps which it probably should at this point.[1] Either because they want a more profit hungry entrepreneur or simply because they don’t fully understand the concept.

  7. LE

    I like Albert’s common sense approach to privacy actually. Have good processes in place to allow access with appropriate checks and balances (my words) not all or nothing.

  8. LE

    I don’t agree (with Albert) that there is a “broad” distrust of government. [1] If there is a distrust of government it comes basically from the media, blogs and hacker bias spouted online in places (as only one example) Hacker News which is a great brainwashing ground for young people who are being told that there is literally nothing that the government can do right. Not from people’s actual (and this is important) personal experiences with the government. They are told directly and indirectly that the government is always out to get you and will use any and all info they can slurp up to put you in jail on, say, drug charges. And that all police who want to question you will certainly pin the crime that they are investigating on you if you talk to them. And that cops shoot blacks on a almost regular and daily basis (and have quotas for that). (Last point is for impact of course…)[1] There may be a broad feeling that the government is lame and does stupid things of course. But this mainly occurs when people are affected personally (the redtape at a government agency or the snow doesn’t get cleared or they read about a $200 hammer) they will lash out at the most visible target and place blame accordingly. Of course in whatever they do at their jobs they don’t make any mistakes at all or have any faults.

    1. JLM

      .I doubt I could possibly disagree more.There is broad distrust of the gov’t even by those who are sucking off its big fat tits.It is structural and it is geographic.The upper classes — hate that term but we’re just chatting — think the gov’t is bleeding them to fund all the liberal programs they consider to be unnecessary and an exercise in buying votes.Anybody who had health insurance coverage before the implementation of Obamacare hates them for the increased premiums, insane deductibles, and the disruption. It is organic and it is at the shoe tops.Anyone who has dealings with the government (except for the Texas DL renewal operation in Pflugerville, which is incredible) hates them. You can’t get a straight answer on anything.Anybody working with their muscles is livid about all the low wage expectation illegal immigrant labor that is flooding into the country or is already here or is just killing their pocketbook.These folks delivered the 2014 knockout blow on behalf of the Republicans. It was not “Republicans.” It was muscle workers. It will be the same in 2016.The lowest classes are just angry over the normal things — not getting enough free shit, whitey, racial everything, and normal law enforcement hassles. White cops killing black men — right or wrong, it is what they perceive it is.Last, the people with brains are sitting here wondering how we ever got into the mess in the Middle East, turned against success, fucked up healthcare, and managed to do nothing substantive about terrorism, Russia, or China.Couple that with the stock market which used to cover a multitude of sins and I am the only happy person left on the planet. And that’s solely because I am a simpleton content to eat BBQ, TexMex, drink Deep Eddy vodka, wallow in past glories, and write (not my commentary here, my real writings).No, America is a freakin’ tinderbox getting ready to explode before, during, or after the election.But, hey, have a nice damn day, y’all.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. JLM

        .Probably not a good idea to reply to your own comment but it is at least a little off piste, so here goes.One of the last forces capable of stopping The Donald, El Chapo, was captured on Friday.It gets better.He was captured in Los Mochis which is in El C’s home state. The Mexican Marines capture him after a shootout whihc killed 5 shitheads and left 6 others with holes in their bodies. One Marine was slightly wounded.Three big points:1. The capture was trumpeted by the Mexican President Ricky Nieto on Twitter. I like seeing the Mexican President up on Twitter.2. The Mexican President tweeted out — “Mission accomplished.” No kidding.3. El Chapo was captured with two armored personnel carriers, a RPG, eight rifles, and a single handgun. Nobody noticed a guy had a couple of APCs in his backyard? Today, check your neighbors. Please.Bit of info on El Chapo — which means “short one” not exactly a superpower type nom de guerre, no? — he is a folk hero in Sinaloa for having built schools, roads, clinics, and homes. A local boy made good.Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman-Loera had threatened Trump’s life for saying that Mexican illegal immigrants were rapists and drug dealers. Irony alert.El Chapo, even at 5’6″, was one of Mexico’s biggest drug dealers specializing in heroin, cocaine, meth, weed in Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and, only then, the United States.The little guy — El Chapo — was huge.Now, he will not likely make good on his promise to assassinate Trump for which he is reported to have offered a substantial bounty.And, now, we return to our regular programming with an apology to all. Sorry.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. LE

          How many generations do you think it will take to reverse drug money and profit that is earned by Mexicans? Does anybody seriously think that providing jobs at the Panasonic factory will make up for those lost wages and benefits from the drug cartels? This is a process that will take 30 years to unwind. (Similar to our country and tobacco withdrawl economically couldn’t be done quickly even if we wanted to pass laws).To bad so many weak lemmings in this country that try and use drugs. Just so you know even your marijuana use is contributing to all of this violence in these third world countries.

          1. JLM

            .Not in our lifetimes. The drug lawlessness in Mexico is so deep and pervasive as to be beyond belief.I have stopped going to Mexico anymore. I would go to Huatulco but not Acapulco or PV.Take the economic of El Chapo — a truly global businessman. Who will replace that wealth?Nobody.The other side of the coin is that Mexico is blessed with incredible natural resources and beauty.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        2. William Mougayar

          Sounds like another Escobar type.

      2. LE

        The upper classes — hate that term but we’re just chatting — think the gov’t is bleeding them to fund all the liberal programs they consider to be unnecessary and an exercise in buying votes.That isn’t “distrust”. That’s merely being pissed off because you aren’t getting what you think you should get and things aren’t going your way. I would like taxes to be lower because it would be better for me. That doesn’t make me distrust the government which is large complex and operates at it’s own speed and agenda. It is what it is. Glass half full. I have learned to accept that and use my brain to work around it and to my advantage. And thank God I’m not living in Mexico or some third world country. Be happy for what we have and stop whining.Anybody who had health insurance coverage before the implementation of Obamacare hates them for the increased premiums, insane deductibles, and the disruption. It is organic and it is at the shoe tops.Yeah my wife’s healthcare has a shitty deductible I agree. But before we were married I was paying maybe 12k per year. After I remembered that I was less upset.Once again I don’t see that as “distrust”. Not the way I would define it. Of course it sucks, sure. But those were the people that your fellow citizens elected. It simply can’t be perfect and will never be perfect.Anyone who has dealings with the government (except for the Texas DL renewal operation in Pflugerville, which is incredible) hates them. You can’t get a straight answer on anything.NJ DMV is great online renewing works very well. I was impressed.Anyway with other things in your state when you deal with them might be an issue. In my state (and the other state that I have lived in) I would describe it differently. I just think it’s mediocre people with mediocre systems that need to be worked around. They are all stupid. That’s good for me, not bad. If everyone were Albert Wenger I couldn’t earn a living. I would be the stupid one! Not a huge source of frustration for me relative to other things that happen.And you know what? That same government is the one that lets you get away with shit on your tax return. Of course you probably 100% accurately have the correct taxes paid just like I do. One could argue that if they collected more taxes taxes would be lower but we both know that is not the case. And when you were constructing those building you probably had a fine time with the inspectors that weren’t MIT graduates, didn’t you? (Pure speculation here from my experience with those government employees..)The lowest classes are just angry over the normal things — not getting enough free shit, whitey, racial everything, and normal law enforcement hassles. White cops killing black men — right or wrong, it is what they perceive it is.The lower classes are unhappy because what they see that others have. In this day and age that is so much easier to see then it was in the past the days of “Howard Hughes is a billionaire”. Back when I was growing up there were a few rich people that you knew about and maybe the rich guy in the neighborhood but you know today it’s much different. And it always seemed that they deserved what they had because they were different.Today we have people telling us about how they are spending time in Steamboat for vacation! And eating in the finest restaurants! And traveling and experiencing! That is sure to create a certain level of discontent that goes way beyond the 50’s and “keeping up with the Jones”. Right?Back to my serious point don’t get me started on the black lives matter and the entire “cops are bad” law enforcement theme. Happens and needs to be looked at but classic case of people blowing things out of proportion relative to the problem at hand. A start in not getting shot is following simple fucking instructions from the police or person in authority. Maybe also to many babies being born to people who can’t afford them. That’s not the government’s fault it’s the churches fault and religion and this entire “life is sacred” theme.White cops killing black menLike I said don’t get me started on that one.

        1. JLM

          .Sounds like I have an itchier trigger finger on the definition of “distrust” as I agree with all you say.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  9. William Mougayar

    I’m interested in learning what happens in a PBC when things aren’t going well?What gives first- profits or social mission? Or both together equally?

  10. LE

    All of that Silicon Valley praise about disruption “inherently good” and distrust of government and “as little government as possible” (that Kafka refers to) is all driven by profit plain and simple. Doesn’t matter what anyone says. The bedrock reason is that it serves the master of getting deals done. Period. The underlying motive.What’s interesting is that Albert mentions again “distrust of government”. I am guessing by his accent that he was born (in Germany and came to the US > 13yo) even though he went to school in the US. I wonder if that has impacted his feelings in this area and he has a bias. My dad was liberated by the Americans when he was in Germany and I have to tell you that I never heard a single negative thing out of his mouth about America, the government or anything even close to that. (And it’s not like he didn’t have negative or cynical opinions of things either). Ditto for my mom (who was born here) or really anyone in my family growing up.As far as Albert’s idea about transparency “if you disclose you are off the hook” (not what he said, my paraphrasing of it) don’t agree with that actually. People are famous for ignoring those types of messages which can easily be presented in a way that makes it also easy to miss and ignore. Great academic idea that will get lost in actual implementation. I could easily write that copy and presentation myself. Maybe not the best example but do you ever hear or read drug advertising? They are masters of this in their TV commercials. Ever sit in the room with a Physician and hear the same disclosures? Totally different experience.By the way (once again Kafka) all of this looking at entrenched interests as bad really makes no sense. On the one hand we have a society that believes that the poor sports watching beer drinking man that works for a union (living paycheck to paycheck) needs to be protected and guaranteed his income and job but we apparently don’t believe that the guy who owns the factory that employs that guy (who might lose his job) should have any protection. Just get rid of the medallion system and all people that SV think serve no purpose.

    1. Simone

      Reading your comment, I thought for a moment you were listening to a podcast with Marc Andreessen instead! And I think Albert is entitled to have an opinion on government, as much as a born citizen. I am an immigrant too and I don’t like the idea that some topics are reserved to born citizens.

      1. LE

        My comment has nothing to do with the fact that he wasn’t born here (and of course his opinion matters and is valid) other than it would be different and influenced as a result of his upbringing. I might have made a similar comment (in another context) if someone was “raised on a farm” rather than “in the city” as only one example.

  11. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Kafka: “You have a take that’s very different than a lot of venture capitalists…” I’d say different than *any* other venture capitalist.”If the stock price is up… the stock price is up.” What’s not to love about this guy?Every time I hear him speak or read his writing, I can’t stop smiling and my toes start tapping. He appears to know exactly who he is and what he’s about, and he hasn’t been sirened onto the spiritual rocks by success.

    1. fredwilson

      yup. i’m a fan too.

  12. Simone

    I like Albert’s direct style in general and acknowledgement of jobs displacement in contrast with Paul Graham’s recent article ‘Economic Inequality’ that I found disingenuous and written by someone who lost touch with reality….