The Power Law

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Journalist and author Sebastian Mallaby, the Paul A. Volcker senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations, chats with Trey Elling about THE POWER LAW: VENTURE CAPITAL AND THE MAKING OF THE NEW FUTURE. Topics include:

  • A definition of “power law” (0:35)
  • An explanation of venture capital (VC) (2:05)
  • The “Traitorous Eight” and their influence on the beginnings of Silicon Valley and VC (3:00)
  • VC’s investment in Atari factoring in “wild-man risk” (6:59)
  • VC’s responsibility in accelerating DNA-editing technology in the 1970s (12:02)
  • Apple is an example of a successful venture network (14:41)
  • The counterintuitive concept that weak ties generating a better circulation of info than strong times (18:34)
  • What Don Valentine’s achievements with Cisco in the `1980s unlocked going forward (21:38)
  • Mosaic Communications (aka Netscape) serving as another major step in the Power Law’s evolution (26:11)
  • How Yahoo’s insistence that its search engine remained free altered the way VCs approached internet technology investments (29:44)
  • VCs’ responsibility with the tech bubble bursting in 2000 (32:59)
  • Google playing the investment game so well that created another massive shift with VC (36:08)
  • The cause of Peter Thiel’s disdain for VCs in the last 1990s and early 2000s (41:37)
  • Why Thiel is so good at the VC game (44:52)
  • VC’s significant role in China’s financial advances (49:08)
  • Whether Venture Capital has fueled the rise of blockchain and cryptocurrencies (54:27)
  • If VCs are making the world a better place, more often than not (55:33)