December 6, 2017

Who do you respect the most?

Hey IH!

My name is Daniel. I’m a partner at Y-Combinator.

When I was getting started with my company I was often motivated by reading about the early days of various titans — Elon Musk, Bill Gates, John Rockefeller, etc.

I’d like to create more content (e.g. video interviews) in this area. Which living entrepreneur or leader do you respect the most?

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    Hey Daniel! LC here (Gameday YC S17)

    Chamath Palihapitiya is probably the leader I respect the most right now. I believe he has what it takes to become a titan.

    I'd recommend his latest interviews with Kara Swisher (Recode) and Jason Calacanis (TWIST).

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      Actually his latest interview would be one at Standord GSB (and one on CNBC Fortt Knox), both are long-form, and showing surprising « vulnerability », both are on YT. Thought you might be interested. ;)

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      Good shout, he's a really interesting guy.

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      I haven't heard of him. Is he an entrepreneur?

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    I would say Elon Musk, mainly due to the willingness to double down with Tesla and SpaceX after having already struck gold PayPal - he had a lot to lose but took a huge risk anyway. They are two very important and inspiring companies.

    Having said that, I try not to think about such people too much as they are outliers and I don't like the emphasis that is often put on influential entrepreneurs over and above the ideas and projects they are related to - this is the real substance. It is a bit exhausting when you see headlines like "Elon Musk builds battery farm in 100 days" as if he did it all by himself.

    This is the nice thing about Indie Hackers of course, I can relate to people here and the things they say might actually influence concrete decisions I make on my projects today. So I'd actually be more interested in hearing from the likes of Patrick McKenzie, Pieter Levels and so on.

    Peter Thiel is another one I find very interesting actually, I noticed YCombinator never did a How To Build The Future with him in the end (possibly for political controversy?).

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    • Paul Graham

    • Sam Altman

    • Owen Cook (Tyler from RSD)

    • John Carmack

    • Peter Thiel

    • Eliezer Yudkowsky

    • Scott Alexander (

    • Andy Weir

    • Kevin Mitnick

    • Stephen Grider (amazing teacher on Udemy)

    Also there are great people who are a bit less relevant to your podcast, but I would still love to watch an interview with:

    • Max Landis (brilliant writer)

    • Dan Harmon

    • Thomas Ridgewell

    • Seth MacFarlane

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    I like hearing stories about the millionaire next door, it's actually what excites me about this site, the interviews are all about people you've never heard of creating amazing ventures.

    A guy in my neighborhood of Brooklyn runs a gas station, owns an apartment building, and runs the small bodega on the corner. I'd love to hear an interview on him, and people like that. Multiple small business owners are people I respect the most.

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      I agree, I feel like the Elon's have been covered extensively enough already. Hearing more achievable stories and is why I come to Indie Hackers.

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    2 folks I have been inspired the most lately have been Naval and Chamath. Every time they write / speak I feel like there is a mind bomb ticking to get my brain blown away with wisdom and knowledge

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    Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for the great work you guys are doing. Big fan of the content already produced.

    I've thought about your question before and my big problem with 'before they were successful' stories is that they are invariably told through rose-tinted glasses.

    I'm sure many of the people within YC's sphere who are just starting to turn heads now will be regarded as successful entrepreneurs and leaders in 5-15 years time.

    And in 5-15 years time, I'd be really interested to hear what they had to say today in 2017 (and how their opinions changed with time).

    Not a practical request or a direct response to your question, I'm afraid, yet I really wish someone would create a time capsule like this.


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    The Robber Barons are a huge inspiration in my life. I even got a picture of John D Rockefeller Sr hanging in my room.

    A huge inspiration is Bryan Johnson (he followed me on twitter and "I damn near pissed myself"). Incredible story about grit & drive, and selling Braintree for a incredible fortune. That would be so dope.

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    − Guy Laliberté - Cirque Du Soleil - from nothing to one of biggest live entertainment company in the world

    − Stéphan D. Crétier - Garda World - from 25k$ investment to second largest consulting and security services firm in the world

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    I have two heroes: Dave Grohl and Kathy Sierra.

    Kathy Sierra basically taught me everything I know about how to listen to and understand people. If you're unfamiliar with her work, she and her partner created the "Headfirst" programming books, originally for Java, and completely changed the way programming was taught. The way she figured out how to teach was 100% based on observational research and understanding how people truly learn and grow.

    Kathy is my hero because she is the definition of what it means to help make people better humans.

    Dave Grohl is the former drummer of Nirvana and founder of the rock and roll band Foo Fighters. Nevermind (pun intended) that he's arguably one of the most talented drummers in the world, the fact that the Foo Fighters have been performing music for decades speaks to my drive for making things that last. Thats not to say that the Foo Fighters haven't been through some shit - they've had band members leave, return, etc...their fair share of drama.

    But the reason Dave is my hero is because after 24 years fronting Foo Fighters he still loves playing music for his fans more than anything else besides his family. When he directed the documentary Sound City and the HBO Series Sonic Highways, I watched one of the biggest rock stars in the world get to spend time interviewing some of HIS biggest heroes, and his giddiness was contagious.

    I hope that I am still doing what I do now 24+ years in (I'm almost halfway there, 11 years into my longest running business) and still get that excited when I meet people who inspire me.

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    The short answer: In most cases, bitcoin mining is perfectly legal. In a few countries, however, bitcoin mining, as well as the possession and use of bitcoin is illegal. ... In many cases, bitcoin is not treated as a currency by governments, but instead as an asset or property.

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    Gary Vaynerchuk and Simon Sinek.

    Gary because of his bravado and his gold nuggets of knowledge he drops ALL the time. That's why I watch him religiously online. He always says something that's a catalyst for an idea I need to run on.

    Simon because I've never seen a storyteller as good as him before. The way he gives speeches is remarkable. His stare is ridiculous.

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