Optimizing Life Post Exit

I recently joined a Post Exit Founders Group with over 1,200 members. They asked me to share lessons learned on my post exit experience. I shared my reflections on how to identify what’s next in your journey and find what truly gives you joy in life. I realize this is a 0.01% problem and that my lifestyle is unconventional and reflects my personal preferences. However, many of the approaches I cover from iterating in your personal life and outsourcing things you dislike are applicable to most.

Here is the timeline of what I covered:

  • 00:00 My Journey to Successful Tech Founder
  • 14:50 Unconventional Lifestyle and Work-Life Balance
  • 20:38 Finding Happiness Post-Exit: My Journey
  • 24:06 Investment Criteria and Team Importance
  • 28:21 Non-Traditional Family Setup and Work-Life Balance
  • 33:58 Outsourcing and Remote Assistants Strategy
  • 37:52 Remote Assistance and Mental Performance
  • 45:38 Entrepreneurship, Inequality, and the Future
  • 51:18 Balancing Work and Play: My Philosophy
  • 57:03 Founders and Leaders: Successes and Failures
  • 01:01:55 Decision-Making and Personal Experiences

You can find the presentation I share on unlocking productivity here. If you prefer to read the content, here is a transcript of my presentation:

Fabrice Grinda: What my posts, what my post exit strategy has been and became and also lessons learned along the way, and I’ll keep it brief enough that we can open up for Q and A. Brief: I’m French, though. I don’t sound French anymore, but basically, I fell in love with computers in 1984, the tender age of 10. It was love at first click.

And I knew we were meant to be together forever. I was one of the top students in France in high school. And when I went to talk at, I guess they tried to interview me for Le Nain. They asked me, what do you want to be when you grow up? I’m like, I want to be a tech founder, like my role models, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

And they were like, what? You would betray the ideals of the French socialist revolution. And I knew there and then that I did not belong in France. And that was under Mitterrand. And so, in 92 went to college, went to 17 at Princeton, finished top of my class, actually did not study computer science because I felt I knew it already, and graduated top of my class in 96.

And you wanted to be a tech founder but was I 21, was shy, was introverted, and so went to work for McKinsey and Company for a few years, which was kind of like Business school except they pay you. I thought I might miss the bubble doing that, but fortunately it didn’t. And in 98, I went on to build my first big startup.

I was 23, which was an eBay type company for Europe. It was called Auckland. I raised 63 million in venture money. I had 150 employees in the five countries, grew at a 10 million a month in sales. Had an amazing 300-million-dollar cash offer prior to raising all the money from eBay. But fortunately, or unfortunately convinced my VCs to take it instead We sold for a billion which sounds like more but for stock to a company whose stock promptly fell 99.98 mark a cap from 10 billion to 30 million during my lockup period. So, sadly grabbed Victory or defeat from the jaws of victory that went from zero to hero and cover of every magazine back to zero all over again, which led to a brief period of soul searching in 2001 about what I should do next, but I realized, you know, I’d like building something out of nothing.

I didn’t do this to make money. I’d like. I think this is the way to actually solve the world’s problems and harness the deflationary power of technology to make the world a better place, which is both inclusionary and addresses inequality of opportunity. And then with more recent tech, we can address climate change and the mental and physical well-being crisis.

And so even though tech was not going to be this big thing. There’s not going to be a huge opportunity. This is where I belonged, and so I decided to remain a tech founder. So probably went on, came back to the U. S., came back to New York to build my second startup, with a constraint that it needed to be capital efficient because capital was no longer available.

VCs would not fund anything in 2001. And upgrading company called zingy. I didn’t particularly like the product of selling, but it was a means to an end. It was a ringtone. So the heck, you know, one or two or three or four or five and it was extraordinarily tough. I missed payroll 27 times. I invested every last penny I had.

I borrowed 100,000 on my credit cards. I’d lived. I slept in the office and shower in the office. I lived in New York, such on $2 a day for almost 18 months. But ultimately grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat. And we went from a million of revenues in 02 to 5 million in 03 when we became profitable, you know, building companies the old-fashioned way without funding being some profits to 50 in on 04 and hundred in 05.

Sold that company this time for cash to a publicly traded competitor too early. But as we’ve all learned too early is better than too late. For 80 million of cash in the summer, in June of 04. And at about 50 percent of the company, I, I stayed on CEO for 18 months, and it’s interesting because at that point in time, it didn’t change anything in my life.

I think I bought a TV, an Xbox, and a tennis racket, but I still lived in my, like, tiny studio apartment because the same way that I’d been working 100 hours a week before, once we became profitable and it sort of became our rocket ship, you know, we did one to 200 in revenues in four years. We kept hiring changing offices.

I was working day and night ultimately left because I didn’t like the people I sold it to even though I liked being publicly traded and being, you know having to learn section four Well, I didn’t like it. I thought it was an ambition I had but then realized that being a publicly traded CEO didn’t mean the same thing in 2004 or 5 that it did 20 years earlier when you didn’t deal with section 404 and SOX compliance.

And many of you public CEOs out there have come to realize that the regulatory environment has changed. And so, I decided to go back to my first true love, which of course was marketplaces, which was the reason I built the eBay type company to begin with. I like creating, I like acid light businesses that were winner takes most.

That are highly deflationary and that bring liquidity and transparency in opaque fragmented markets. Craigslist at a ready come of age. And was large and larger growing. So, I went to try to convince Craig to either let me run Craigslist for free and they create a better user experience because I felt that they were letting down their community, even though they’re providing an amazing free public service.

And he said no. Then I tried to buy him for a couple billion. He also said no. So, I wanted to build my own. Ended up building a company called OLX, which today is the largest classified site in the world. It’s 11, 000 employees in 30 countries. None of you have heard of it because even though we are part of the fabric of society and we have 350 million unique visitors a month, we were only big in emerging markets where the leading player in Brazil and all Latin America.

And Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, and all the Eastern Europe. Well, the Russian asset was kind of stolen recently by Uncle Vladimir, but that’s another story. India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines, all the Southeast Asia, and UAE and all the Middle East. Company is ginormous. Today’s worth, I don’t know, at least 10 billion.

Would have been worth probably double that before the Russian asset was stolen. And, and, and doing really well. I sold it. So, I created that in 2006. I sold it. In a complex transaction over three years in 2010-2013 because I needed about a billion dollars to get it where it was because we had a publicly traded competitor in Europe.

That was coming after us and spending were investing hundreds of millions in TV and emerging markets, which are American VCs back in the day would not have funded in 2015. I think a tiger or a softbank might have funded me to do this, but in 2010, it was hard to go and convince my American VCs for founders funds and general catalyst ambassador to give me hundreds of millions to go spend on TV and Zimbabwe and Pakistan.

Ultimately sold the company. I say for three years after I they started investing in the company. I won the war with my biggest competitor. We merged 51 percent for us, 49 percent for them, and I left in 2013. Now, at that point in time, I was already an investor in 173 companies. Now, while I was CEO of a company of my first company in 98, I started being by virtue of being a consumer facing Internet CEO.

A lot of the founders were approaching me asking if I should, if I could invest in their companies. And I thought long and hard, should I do this? And ultimately decided, you know Even though it is somewhat distracting. If I can articulate lessons learned to others, it makes me a better founder. And number two, I’m running a multi category horizontal site.

If I can actually meet all the verticals and understand, keep my fingers on the pulse of the market, it makes me a better founder. So as long as investing in other startups doesn’t take more than one hour per startup, then it’s okay. And so, I decided to only invest in marketplaces and not work in back businesses.

And I created four selection criteria by which I evaluated whether I would invest or not in one hour meeting in startups and kind of that took a life of its own, especially after 2004 when I my other exit. So, by 2013 at 173 investors at 37 exits was doing very well. And with a friend of mine really created just a family office where we were going to invest in startups.

We were going to build startups. And in fact, since then, we’ve built in a studio model over 10 startups, one of which I ran a CEO founder. Grid became another unicorn sold that never expecting to be a VC. And in 2015, one of the people that I backed my competitor and when I was at OLX said, hey, we now own these different marketplace assets. We’d like to have exposure what’s going on and if visibility and what’s going on in the U. S. to bring to emerging markets and to perhaps defend against disruption, can we be an investor in you? And they actually offered to invest in my in my family office. I said no because I, A, I thought would be, if I kept raising, it would be infinitely dilutive.

So, I didn’t want them to invest in the operating company or the GP, if you want. So I said, it said, let’s create a GPLP structure. Let’s create a fund that you can be a, that you can invest in the funds. Created a first fund of 50 million, where they were the sole LP. Now, of course, not including all the capital I was putting in. In 2016 deployed that by the end of 2017, then they agreed to fund to in 2018; raised 175 million from 20 LPs.

And we’re finished pulling that mid 21. And then now we have a fund three, which is 290 million from 50 LPs. And LPs are either a combination of friends of mine that have been great tech founders, you know, the Reid Hoffman’s, the PayPal mafia, the Kevin Ryan’s of the world. You know, transfer wise founder, Wayfair founder, et cetera.

Number two, like family offices being disrupted by tech and three strategics like eBay and actually all the people that have bought my old startups like Naspers, Process, Adavinta, Shifstead or Axel Springer, Recruit, et cetera. Now, what’s interesting is I’m not a normal VC. I, this, I would describe what I do as angel investing at venture scale.

We write small checks. We don’t bleed. We don’t price. We don’t take board seats. We invest in every geography, in every industry, at every stage. And we decided two one-hour meetings using the exact same selection criteria that I defined 25 years ago, whether we best or not. So, every week we get about 300 inbound deals, and it’s all inbound based on our reputation and brand.

Third comes from VCs. A third comes from the founders. We back from the past. We’ve invested in 1100 startups. That’s about 2000 founders. They come back with the next company. They send us their friends, employees, and about a third comes in cold. We review cold inbound. Deals are randomly assigned to one of the 11 investment team members, and we decide if we take a call or not.

We take about 50 calls a week. The other all the other companies are like we have enough information decided that we don’t want to look at them right now. They’re out of scope, too early, too late, too expensive, whatever. Okay. We have an investment committee every Tuesday for the for the new deals after two hours.

And then we take a second call about five to 10 of them every week. Let’s say seven on average, of which I’m mostly taking. And on the second call, I will decide if we invest or not, basically. We do the same thing for portfolio companies. We, we have many things that are non-traditional. So, we have set sizes per stage.

We write 125K pre seed, 250K seed, 350K A, 550K B. Commitment checks are double. We don’t want to be a signal and we treat follow ons as though we were not existing investors knowing what we know now of the team of the company of the traction would we invest in this you ran at this valuation and very often the answer is no so we’ve only followed on in about 33 percent of the deals historically, and we often sell on the way up.

We sell our winners. It’s the anti BC strategy. But because we’re price sensitive, and we know where the median valuations are, and I’m happy to share what they are later. If you guys are interested, we you know, we come in a reasonable or nothing’s cheap, but fair valuations on if we feel something’s overvalued, which simply are the winners.

We sell 50 percent on the way up. Nothing’s magical, but 50 percent other than the fact that it’s a no regret philosophy. If the company goes to zero, we make five extra 10 X. We’re happy. And if it goes to infinity, we saw 50% and we’re happy to let it ride. And in a few cases will sell 75 percent of refields.

Really outrageous. You know, 100 X a R or whatever. We still build companies. I’m currently building a personally I mean, It is part of the funds, but I mean, I’m allocating 40 percent of my time to it. A yield bearing stable coin to try to replace USDC and USDT backed by U. S. T. Bills. We don’t have a formal studio program anymore for a variety of reasons, but the returns of the studio were less compelling and less scalable.

The returns on the investing side where, to date, we’ve had 1100 investments, 300 exits. We’ve been compounding at 37 percent IRR for 25 years, and of course, more of the capital has been deployed in the last six years than prior to that. We’ve deployed 600 million to date, of which 170 million, 179 million is for my partners and me, mostly for me, over 150 million of personal capital.

Things I’ve been pretty, beyond what I do professionally in the post-it era. So, in 2013, I made a lot of iteration, so I realized that most people don’t bring as much iteration in their personal life as they do to their business life. And I came to realization, you know, every I saw my friends less often than I would like, and the quality of the relationship has changed because as you get older, your friends become busy.

And as results, instead of like remaking the world that we did in college, when you see them, it’s a biographical update in the last six weeks since I last saw you, this is what our kids have been up to my wife, my husband, whatever my job, and but it’s not it’s okay, it’s not the reason we became friends.

And so I actually decided to go through a period of extreme iteration, wherein I gave all my non-financial possessions to charity in late 2012, and I went down to 50 items, everything I own. Fit in a carry on my backpack and my tennis bag. And I decided, okay, to go back from first principles, because, of course, if you have a place to go to a city in which you live, you just go there and you don’t ask yourself if I have infinite time and an opportunity to do whatever I want and meet whomever I want and be wherever I want, what is it that I really would like to be doing?

[Where is it I would like to be doing? And who is it I would like to be spending time with? I threw a lot of spaghetti in the wall, most of which failed, which is also true of startups in general. I started by going couch surfing on friends’ couches because I thought the idea was I could reconnect with them in a more meaningful way.

Now, that failed dramatically because, as Benjamin Franklin said house guests like Bish start smelling after three to four days. And the reason is if you’re embedding yourself in their life, but they’re not making room for it because they are busy with work and kids and whatever, then it doesn’t work.

And I’ve, as you can probably hear, Infinite energy. I go to bed very late. I don’t sleep very much. And so, my vision is like, we’re gonna, you know, we’re gonna like play tennis from like 8 p. m. to 10 p. m. We’re gonna remake the world. And, well, I try to sleep as much as I can in high quality sleep, but I am high energy and it wasn’t compatible with other people’s lives, especially since I was single and, you know, financially dependent and which is not the case of most people.

Iterated a lot to the model where I am today where because; And I was couchsurfing at friends couches. So not a real opportunity to meet a wives, but Where I ended up, today It is one where I feel that each city and someone made a comment about like leaving the snow or whatever Each city is a best period to live in.

You know, so I live in New York notionally, which means I’m in New York about four and a half months a year. I think New York is extraordinary in September and October, and it’s extraordinary like April 15 and June 15. But I don’t think it’s particularly compelling, even though I’m in New York right now in the summer or in the winter.

And so. I actually created a distributed life between three core locations where I home a place, and I rotate between them. I’m January, February, typically in Revelstoke, British Columbia, where I work from there during the day, but I’m heli skiing, backcountry skiing, et cetera, in the winter. March, I go back to Turks and Caicos, where I’m working during the day, but at night I’m like reading, writing, meditating, kite surfing, playing tennis, paddle, et cetera.

And then April. May, June, I’m in New York. June, late June to early July, I go to see my family and friends in Nice. Visit uncles, aunts, family, cousins, nephews. I mean, I have a ginormous multi hundred percent family. Go back to my birthday for a few weeks in Turks in August, then go to Revelstoke in, in August to mountain bike rock climb, et cetera, again, working during the day, but doing all these activities at night and the weekends.

Go to Burning Man every year, and then back to New York, September, October, and then back to Turks, November, December, and for New Year’s, usually go to Revelstoke. I add two weeks to a new exotic location every year. In 2023, for instance, the first two weeks of the year, I walked to the South Pole. I do a typically an off-grid category upgrade section every year where I completely disconnected. Usually alone, either doing, I know I crossed Costa Rica on bicycle from the Atlantic, the Pacific, but just my backpack, sleeping bag and tents and water filtration system and learned to start a fire.

And I’ve done a lot of these types of adventures and I do them regularly, often alone these days with a guide. And pass alone alone. But now with a guy because I’d rather not die, especially now that I’m a father to a two-year-old, very nontraditional life relationship and general setup, but works for me.

And I’m as happy as can be. Other thing. I know Jonathan Swanson from Thumbtack presented here, but I’ve structured my life to only do the things I love doing. And not do any of the things I don’t like doing. And so I have a virtual assistant in the Philippines which I pay 1500 a month who manages a big chunk of my online life, but more than you can imagine like if I’m going to play she’ll like I she knows I love tennis she’ll Fine, she’ll book free.

She’ll identify the best clubs, find partners my level, pre book the lesson, pre book lessons or partners to play with. If I’m in New York, she’ll organize, she’ll look at all the activities there might be for me to do. She knows I like to organize intellectual salons. So, for instance, I’m hosting a post exit founder dinner tonight with like, six sets. Well, eight people total. And I host these intellectual salons in New York. I’m going to like whatever magic shows off Broadway, you name it. And all this could be outsourced. In addition to having an estate manager that manages my offline life and I outsource things like creating helping create photo albums, videos.

But you name it, I’m happy to go in more detail on how, you know, I have four part time nannies that I’ve hired because French nannies are going to work more than 20 hours a week, but they, they cover 745 a.m. to 745 p.m. seven days a week, and they agree between themselves who works when and also who travels when and where.

And so, I’ve, I’ve created an entire system for basically making sure that I live as rich, passionate life as I can and not do anything of the things I don’t like. And there are a lot of things I don’t like in life. I guess from a work life balance perspective, probably worth mentioning, New York plays the role of intellectual, professional, social, artistic endeavors.

But I’ve come to realize that when you’re doing, you’re not being thoughtful, you’re not being reflective. And so actually, I like that alternation where I go from two months in New York, by the end of which I’m exhausted, because You know, it is 24/7, 7 days a week, basically to going to place like Turks, where even though I’m working during the day, the evenings are really meditating, reading, writing, being healthy, playing tennis, playing paddle, etc.

So would not have expected and where I am, neither from a life setup perspective, three different distributed locations where everything’s kind of replicated from an infrastructure perspective, would not have expected to become a BC. And again, I’m a non-traditional VC. Because I don’t lead enterprise, et cetera.

I don’t currently have institutional piece that that’s the objective for fund four, but I’m not changing my strategy. I don’t want to change. It is a reflection of my personal intellectual curiosity. I want to have the flexibility to continue to be building companies because I think it’s fun and interesting, et cetera.

I’ll pause here. I spoke at a million miles per hour, which is I am prone to but happy to yeah, answer any questions and keep the conversation dialogue going.

Barak Kaufman: That was amazing. Fabrice, for doing that. So firstly, just for everyone, feel free to post questions in the chat. I think we’ll prioritize everyone to raise their hand just like Sam just did.

I’ll come back to you in a second, Sam, but feel free to keep your hand raised and anybody else that wants to raise their hand in Zoom. Fabrice, just to kind of kick things off, kind of one question for me it sounds like you’ve kind of, like, tinkered and tried to perfect this model in the post exit life and you went through different iterations.

I think you used those words. If you were going to give advice. To a founder who recently went through an exit, what advice would you give them?

Fabrice Grinda: Well, obviously, the answer is personal, but take time to reflect on what it is you truly love to do, what is it you’d like to allocate your time to and what is going to make you happy? You know, for instance I’ve come, I came to realize that I’ve been overworking like probably many of us have, and, and I love working, but I didn’t value it in my, my friends and family as much as I would like to.

I didn’t, and they didn’t feel as valued. My grandmother, which had been the matriarch of the family, had used to host all of us at her place for Christmas, Christmas Eve, it was a tradition, like there’d be 20, 30 of us would come there, and we’d be organized by age, and she was really the rallying point of the family, and that had kind of gone away after her passing, and I decided, once I had the financial means to do that, to restart or rekindle the tradition, for instance, so for now, every year, Sometimes for my birthday, but definitely for Christmas or New Year’s, a big chunk of my family comes at my place in Turks and Caicos, and I literally, I’ll send a jet to pick them up in Nice and bring them over to Turks.

I’ll find tickets for everyone. I’ll rent eight different houses. This Christmas, for instance, or this New Year’s, for instance, there’s 50 of us, 50. I came for two weeks and we had a blast and it’s something that I it does. It takes a lot of work to make happen, but it’s something that I valued and prioritize.

Let me see if I can share my screen here just for a fun photo of the family. I can let’s go to Facebook for a second, not common moderation to do it. Not that Facebook is the best place, but I have that photo handy, so it makes it easier. Oh yeah, I did post it. Yeah. So, this is US 50 people for Christmas, for New Year.

And it goes from my son, who’s two and a half to my uncle back here who’s 87. And these are, are I saved? It’s the family I have and the family I choose. So, it’s it’s it’s a very, it’s a very big group and but it’s super loving and supportive and something that I valued. So, I’d go to as I said, I’d go to first principles.

I see a lot of questions. So maybe I’ll take I’ll take them 1 by one. Do you share the four criteria used to invest? So that’s a question for Michael Cassidy. The answer is I do. I will actually first put the link in with the actual criteria, but I will describe them as well briefly. So, wait a second.

How FJ Labs, so I blog, as you can tell, I just wrote my year in review blog posts which covers professional, personal predictions, et cetera. So, these are the four criteria, the four criteria. So, in a one hour call, I’m trying to evaluate number one. Do I like the team? Well, I’ll give you the four and I’ll go in detail.

Do I like the team? Number two, do I like the business? Number three, do I like the deal terms or number four? Is it in line with my thesis or vision of where the future of humanity is now? Number one, do I like the team? Every VC in the world will tell you I only invest in extraordinary people. The thing is it can’t be subjective.

It can’t be something you know if you see it. And so, for us, Or for me, I have an explicit sense of what that means for it to be an amazing founder. And I want the Venn diagram intersection of founders that are both extraordinarily eloquent and amazing salespeople because they’re going to raise better capital and hire better terms, they’re going to attract better people, they’re going to have more BD and more PR.

But that’s not enough, because if you only have that, maybe you don’t build a very profitable, sustainable company. Number two Do I want founders who know how to execute? And the way I tease out at one hour call if they can execute is the way they address the question number two. Question number two, which is, is this an attractive business?

So, it’s a combination of total addressable market size, but more importantly, unit economics. Now I’m mostly seed rather than pre-seed, but even pre-see. I want the founder to be able to articulate what they’re that they’ve done it. Lending page analysis that they understand the density keywords that they know what the CPCs look like, how much they can spend per month based on an estimated conversion rate.

What a cat looks like, and they better know what the average order value of the industry is and where the cost and margin structure looks like, and therefore get a sense of LTV to CAC. And if they’re alive while they be able to articulate what they are, and if they’re not good, and I want I like businesses where you recoup your fully loaded CAC on a CM2 basis in six months, and you 18 months, why it’s going to get there with skill.

And when founders cannot articulate that, it typically does not lead to amazing outcomes from the ability to execute. And so, I want both of these things to be true, and I care deeply. It’s not all the founder and only the founder. I think Warren Buffett once said when the reputation of an amazing founder means that of a terrible business, it’s typically the reputation of the business that wins.

And so, founders matter, but the business you’re in matters dramatically as well. Number three, deal terms. I know what the median is. The median these days for pre seed is about you’re raising one at four, five, pre, pre-seed seed you’re doing. If you’re a SaaS business, you’re doing 30 k at MRR or a marketplace, you’re one 50K and GMV and you’re raising three at 10 pre, and that’s or 12 free.

A’s these days, you’re doing 100k plus in MRR 500, 600, 700k in GMV, you’re raising 7 at 23 pre 30 posts, and the B’s, you’re doing 500k plus in MRR, or you’re raising, you’re doing two and a half million GMV, and you’re raising 15 at 50 pre. These valuations to many appear low, especially people based in Silicon Valley, or people that have been investing in the new, new hot trend of the day.

But that’s because the mean is higher than the median because they’re exceptional deals for second time founders that are raising these insane rounds. But what I’ve made money on half of my, so I’ve had 300 exits. I’ve actually made money in 50 percent of them 150 of them because I came in at a low price.

And so even when the company got acquired, I came in at five or 10 15 or 20. And I did okay. If you come in at a high price, your price for perfection. And yes, there are some companies you’d rather be in than not, and you’re willing to pay up, but I’d be extraordinarily careful. To mix it up because I’ve only been answering questions in the chat, I’ll take Sam’s question, and then I’ll go back to the chat.

Barak Kaufman: Alright, cool. Thanks so much. So, it’s interesting to hear how you balance the nanny situation and multiple locations. And it sounds like you have young kids, so have you considered what to do with respect to school? Because this is something that I’m struggling with my wife and figuring out how to do multiple locations in school.

Fabrice Grinda: So, I have a life partner. So, the school and I put the valuation matrix in the chat for schooling. So, we put my so until now, it’s been easy because my Some was too. So, you came with me everywhere and there was no school. So that was the the perfect setup. We decided to put so my big chunk of my family only speaks French.

So, the nannies were only French speaking because, of course, we live in the U. S or New York and they’re going to have English by default. I put my son in a school called The Ecole. The Ecole is a new school created by one of the renaissance hedge fund founders and the philosophy is the rigor of the French system with the creativity of the American system where you have like public speaking and teamwork etc and you have both an English speaker and a French speaker in both class in each class plus a helper to deal with like everything else so it’s three people per class they have a two’s program my son is in the two’s program and so what I’m changing to my current schedule to make sure i see my son more Is I’m with them full time from April 15 to basically November 5 because we spend the summers together and I’m in New York then.

Instead of going away for two months at a time, now what I’m doing is I’m making, I’m making sure, so we spend all of our vacations together but he, he and his mother doesn’t travel with me and, and she’s a partner at Kirkland the law firm. She’s working on like IPOs and M& A and public work. So, I go. I make sure that I’m not away for more than two weeks. So, I’ll go two weeks with you to Turks alone, which I need anyway for reflection, etcetera. And I’ll come back to York to spend a week or two with them full time. And again, we don’t live together. So, we have a non-traditional relationship. We have a philosophy called living apart together, which probably it’s worth mentioning it for a second, because I find that if you spend too much time around your partner, you become roommates. As opposed to becoming really lovers and life partners, and you’re not present in every interact, iteration, interaction.

And, you know, because if we’re together, if we live together, you know, maybe I want to be playing video games for a couple hours, or I want to be working, or whatever, and I’m not present. And so instead, we live separately, though I see my son literally every day, multiple hours a day, phone off, or we’re just playing.

And I will put the link to the school in the chat, it’s called the Ecole. But if you’re not interested in and you know, I just said French speaking. It probably doesn’t make nearly as much sense for you, but it’s an amazing school and I’m putting it here. Okay, so we don’t live together, and we choose to go together.

So, we do family night, maybe. Two nights a week. We do date night just us without kids two nights a week, and we do date night at my place. We do family night at her place, but I will see my son every day, multiple hours a day with phone off, but I don’t sleep there. And it works very well for us. And so, when, in the month where I’m traveling, where he’s in school, so October November, sorry, November, December though not the holidays because we’re together then I’ll be in Turks, we’re Revelstoke, so maybe say January, February, but I’ll come back to New York for a week.

But we spend all of our vacations together. So again, non-traditional setup. It’s also a setup that my partner loves and that works for us. I focus on quality of time, not quantity of time. And I revised the right to change my mind about the setup and in the future, but I’ve already changed it, right? I went from two-month, two-month, two months to making it to maybe three weeks, one week, three weeks, one week, et cetera, to make sure that I’m seeing my kids as often.

Well, kids plural, because I have a daughter coming February 15th. Not for everyone. Thank you. Not for everyone, but it works for me. And I have a dog as well, a white shepherd, a white German shepherd that travels with me everywhere. Actually, I’ll give you a sense of how it works by putting a, put a photo, a link to my urine review in here. Okay, let me go back to the questions.

I don’t know if anyone else has their hands raised. In the meantime, I’ll go back to this. How long did it take to donate everything? Rootprost, you’re thoughtful.

It took very little time, but, and I had to put zero thought into it, but when I went to my partner and I’m like, Hey, I’m going to do this for the next six, whatever, X period of time, I’m giving away everything away. And she was like you have like this 13,000 square foot house and bowl of stuff. Who are you donating to and how?

And she basically structured it for me. And so. It ended up being thoughtful, but not I was not very, but it took very little time because she really coordinated it. And that was back in 2012. And so, we, you know, from the books to the to that went to different schools or libraries to the furniture that went to either people.

We knew people that needed it to the clothes that we don’t. I mean, everything ended up being more thoughtful, but I have to admit, I took. I just made the executive decision, give everything away, and I didn’t deal with the details that my partner did. And she’s amazing. Da da dum. Left connected, yeah. Why remote assistant? Why not local? My remote assistant in the Philippines. I’ve so I’ve never talked to her. I’ve never met her. Because I my philosophy for hiring is I hired like multiple of the same on Upwork or elsewhere. And then I give them a partial task. I see how they do. And then I keep the best. And that’s I found someone in Bangladesh like a dollar an hour to help with my photo albums.

I’ve been someone in like Russia to help with my video editing, etc. In this case, it’s through a company called yourremoteassistant.com. I’ll put the link as well here. And you basically, so they send you one, they’re based on your specs. And if you’re not happy, you just change, get another one.

That’s why I never bothered to interview her. We’ve been working together at this point, at this point for a decade. It’s extraordinary because she’s like a PhD in creative writing. She’s way, way more skilled than any assistant I’ve ever had, including in person. She works exactly whatever hours I want to work.

So, when I change time zone, she changes time zone as well. She has access to everything from signatures to I mean, and I don’t know. I find that she’s been just more effective, harder working than anyone I’ve ever had in person. Not to mention it’s way cheaper. So, we at our firm, we have 10 of them.

And the amount of stuff you can outsource is greater than you think. You know, if you like, if you have an online Shopify, they can do customer care. They can do, they can do inventory management. I mean, you name it. In my case, she will help. She pretends to be me, stays on the phone with T Mobile, or gets to doctor’s appointments.

I mean, you name it. Everything is done, and it’s extraordinarily effective. And I actually like the working through WhatsApp with her. I find it. I don’t know. We have an office manager, and I used to have an in-person assistant. I’ve had many of them, including very well paid, super high end, and maybe that didn’t work nearly as well.

I think for that type of role, I have an estate manager, and my estate manager, actually, maybe I’ll share my screen for a second. This is something I’m presenting tomorrow. Take it to one second, predictively. Minimize this.

Life hacks. I mean, probably this is not obvious, but I don’t read any news whatsoever because, like, following the day by day of anything is actually not that relevant. So. Yes, it’s terrible and tragic what’s happening in Gaza or Ukraine, but you know it’s happening and then taking a step back once every six months understanding why, how, etc. is relevant, but like the day by day is completely irrelevant, you know, in COVID in the early days, it was all about like who violated the mandate, like there’s no real information, right? Like what I want to know in COVID is, you know, and it hasn’t come out yet is what would be the correct policy decisions to minimize health outcomes and economic and negative impacts and probably the answer is different in the early days.

We have no vaccine that later when you do have a vaccine, but like that’s an analysis. That’s interesting. The day-to-day use. It’s all sensationalist BS. So, I don’t read news. I don’t read newspapers. I don’t read online news. I do nothing. I follow tech news, but like against time as a day. Twitter and all that stuff.

It’s all negative all the time. They’re capturing your attention and focusing on outrage. I completely avoid it. I’m sort of saying so. You’re a remote assistant. The other very good one is Athena. That’s the one, that’s the company created by Jonathan Swanson from Thumbtack. You probably presented it here.

But she manages all of my Agenda pending meetings. Confirm meetings. This is what I get every day. Then this is my agenda. If I know what it’s about, there’s no conversation. There’s no detail. But if I don’t know what it’s about, she will put the detail of the context of why I’m having the conversation.

That’s for the next day. This is a typical day for me, by the way. So, yeah, and it goes to like, and it’ll include all the personal stuff. So, yes, I’m giving a speech or whatever here, but then. Paddle, which is a form of tennis. If you want 9 pm. to 11. Everything is in there. If I’m going to do a meditation, go to the gym.

Everything is in my agenda every day, but she will manage invites for dinner. So, for instance, the dinner I’m doing tonight, she’ll book doctor’s appointment. She’ll wait in line at my behalf. She’ll book meditations, gym. She organizes tennis. She helps create posts. So, she knows how to code as well. I will write the blog post, but she will write, she will post it and she will publish it and send the newsletter and she manage the Substack.

So, I do it in my WordPress, which I coded myself because I like doing that and I like writing, but she will manage the Substack on her own. She’ll buy stuff for me, including on Amazon, because it’s easier to just tell her. She’ll sign everything, do the KYC, do government research, look for shows for me to attend, manage my, she created a design for my birthday invite.

She manages the invite lists. She manages all travel things and then this I iterate for album creation, you know, like slide 27 do this. This this photo makes me look back, but a different photo, whatever. And then you have the full album that I print and give to my parents. I do the same with someone else.

By the way, I’ve been on UpWork for videos, and I create a video every year. And for every 1 of my major trips, and then for offline. I have an estate manager, so he’s my main estate manager. He’s a chef otherwise, but he drives, he cleans, car maintenance. If tonight for the dinner, he’s normally cooking, but he’s organizing the whatever, like waiters.

If it’s a big party, he will bring, he will bring chef, like everything offline, and he manages the other property managers. For each of my properties, I have a estate manager slash property manager, and that is also the chef, and they manage the staff and all the licensing, and I do sublets, whereas this house here generates 4 million in revenues, when I am not there. And I am there four months a year, and they manage that, but they don’t manage the reservations. They just manage the customer experience. I’ve outsourced to an offline the reservation manager. I created the site myself, and I moved all the traffic from Airbnb to direct reservations because that’s what I’d like to do.

But I have someone managing all the reservations for my dog. I have a full-time dog trainer and who actually travels with me. Gets all the documents. Gets the vaccines. Now that’s not forever. My dog is six months old, but for the first two years.

And then for the nannies. So, I find them on care.com and also in a French. I make sure they speak French. They have a website to group routine themselves. I only take one for travel. They all have a shared calendar app. And I need them to be able to speak French verbally, can travel, can drive, because they need to be able to drive the kid. And everything’s organized here.

Then there’s a nanny handbook that I created where everyone is following it. And so, there’s like instructions of what needs to be done, etc. So that model works.

Barak Kaufman: You’ve just wowed this entire group. I think everybody’s gone just throughout wherever they were at the level of optimization.

So, thank you for sharing that. And there are quite a few requests if you’re comfortable sharing the presentation after.

Fabrice Grinda: Yeah, I will. I think I’ve put the link. I put the link to the presentation and Dropbox, I think somewhere. But it’s gonna be on my blog. I’m also going through this in detail tomorrow on my podcast at noon, but it’ll be on my blog shortly.

How do you manage all these companies and positions? Oh, I have a tool called EDA, but also more importantly, I have a big back office. So, the tool we use, let me put it here. It’s EDA.CA. Let’s see. Yeah, there, but it’s pretty cheap. It allows us to manage. Not everyone needs it, but also, we’re 34 in the firm. Of which, I mean, obviously 10 virtual assistants, but like 13 or like back office, COO, CFO, legal, all that stuff. And I don’t deal with any of that. Like, I don’t, life is too short to read legal documents.

Life is too short to spend time doing admin work. So that’s why I have a team around me to do all that shit that I hate. Someone wrote. Life is too short to deal with assholes. Completely agree. I do not tolerate jerks. If you’re a brilliant founder, but you’re an asshole, I will not back you, I will not fund you.

I will not invest with you. I will not hire you if you’re an amazing employee. Life is too short. You only work with people that you love working with.

Let me go back to higher on the let’s see if I miss anything. What’s your most impactful mental performance practice? I do meditate. I meditate I have a 20, well,10-to-30-minute meditation practice every day. It is I will write a blog post on how it is.

I do four or five different things, but they’re very quick and efficient, but I’m very good at being present. I have aphantasia. I cannot visualize and so whatever I’m doing, I’m doing that and nothing else. I also have no notifications on anything at ever my I don’t get email notifications, WhatsApp notifications. My phone never rings, never vibrates. Even a vibration takes you away from the present of what you’re doing. It’s like, Oh, maybe there’s something I should be looking at. You don’t want to have FOMO. Whatever you’re doing is that you’ve chosen to be doing the best and most important thing you should be doing right now, and so I have no notifications whatsoever, and I’m very good at, like, going from context to context in the present. Humans cannot multitask.

You monotask. You want to monotask effectively. So, I will book time for emails. I will book time for whatever. And I will be present in that interaction, but I will not, but you don’t want to be doing many things simultaneously. Meditation, I like guided meditations not with, and I follow, I don’t have an app. I have a few meditations I do, a few breathwork practices. I read a lot, but I read for fun. I don’t read to be more productive. I read mostly sci-fi but I read biographies. I read every 50-100 books a year. But I read for fun. I read one hour every day before bed, which is why I ended up that school. I think we discussed how we’re going to change when school changes.

How do you plan to school the child? Yeah, probably worth mentioning. I’m a laissez faire parent. It’s all about I want to encourage positive risk taking. I’m not a helicopter parent. I will. I wanted them to learn to fail and learn to fail in a positive way.

And you need to fail repeatedly to succeed. And I will encourage and reward work and effort over outcome. And I’ve already worked with that pretty effectively. And yeah, and the anti-helicopter parent. But I provide love and presence to the fact that my partner and I love each other. I mean, we’ve been together for 11 years, and we’re like life partners.

Even though it’s a non-traditional relationship, we have an open relationship, which is very non-traditional. And as I mentioned earlier, we don’t live together. It’s not for everyone, but it works for us.

Will you start more companies? If I’m inspired to do it. So, the problem for me, sorry, company at this point is the opportunity cost of my time is infinitely high, and I find that the amount of leverage I have by working with founders and helping them. And helping that many founders where my impact is actually meaningful, both either strategic advice and or helping them fundraise, which is my superpower because I’m not leading. I share a deal with all the top pieces of the world is massive. And as a result of that, it’s very hard for me to justify being founder CEO versus doing this.

But I like being founder CEO. So, I’ve created this hybrid model where I’m executive chairman, but not CEOs of companies that I like. Now, why do I do this? Right? I could have retired. 20 years ago. Actually, literally exactly 20 years ago. I was 29 when I got my first ginormous exit. It’s purpose driven.

Oh, wait, I forgot to mention number four of the selection criteria got distracted. Number four was like; does it meet my thesis where the world is heading? And I have a very clear perspective on the future of work, the future of mobility, the future of food, the future of every category you can think of. And ultimately, it’s purpose driven.

Are we solving a big problem? And there are three problems that I care about. Inequality of opportunity. Which I’m mostly addressing through marketplaces, because obviously they’re deflationary by virtue being deflationary. They’re inclusionary. Number 2 climate change, and I’m so optimistic that we’re going to solve it.

I mean, I’m seeing so many improvements, especially in solar and batteries and many other things, right? Like, and this is 100 different subsectors that I’m beyond optimistic and happy to double click on that at some point. And number three as I said, the mental and physical well-being crisis.

So why do I do these things? I think the political system is broken and is structurally incapable, but it’s broken, by the way, by design. I think it’s a feature. It’s not a bug. I think it’s the way the founding fathers intended it to be and people who think that the politics are so partisan, et cetera, it’s not worse than the past.

I mean, we had a full-blown civil war, we had, like, race riots, we had, like you know. The desegregation movement, the anti-war movement in the 70s, all these were actually just as acrimonious as what we have now, just we have recency bias and we think now is worse, but actually life is amazing right now better than it’s ever been, even though our politics are broken, but they were always broken and I suspect they will continue to be broken, and so because the political system is, is incapable of addressing these systems and these issues, it’s up to us, doers, founders, investors to go and solve the world’s problems. And so, but I’m so optimistic. I mean, we are going to rise to the challenge of the 21st century and we are going to create a better world of tomorrow for our children and for ourselves, a world of equality of opportunity and a plenty.

What is your relationship with money? it’s a means to an end. I don’t chase more of it actually. It doesn’t make any difference in my life. I’d more money is irrelevant, but I, so look, I do a lot of non for profit, right? I donate a lot of money. I fund the education of 10,000 kids K through 12 in Dominican Republic. But when I think of the impact I have, like the last company I built as 350 million unique visitors a month, we have 50 million people would make a living off the site.

The impact of that for profit entity on the world is dramatic. I mean, we are part of the fabric of society in Pakistan, right? Like these are, and this is true for all the investments I make. I don’t invest because I think they’re, I do think they’re going to make money. And I like the fact that because they’re profitable, they’re scalable and sustainable, but they actually are all making a positive difference to the world.

So, the objective is not to make more money. As I said, I could have retired 20 years ago. The objective is to solve the world’s problems. And I use the vector for profit technology enterprises to do it because their acid light scalable and can touch billions. Normal companies cannot touch billions of people that easily.

Any thesis on how to bring back knowledge, truth and facts to the masses? Well, truth, I don’t know but knowledge for sure right like we are now in an extraordinary period of democratization of information, right? If you want to have access, if you want a class by the World Nobel Prize winner, it’s on Coursera and it’s free. If you’re a K through 12 student, you wanna improve in math, you can use Khanmigo, which is the AI by Khan Academy. It’s amazing! So, if you’re motivated self-learning, it is easier to learn anything that it’s ever been. YouTube videos on every topic, extraordinary. And if you wanna start a startup. When I started back in the 1990s, I needed like Oracle databases and Microsoft web servers and millions to just turn the lights on.

I needed to build my own data center. Now you have no code, low code ai, like to, I could build you anything for sub 25K, probably. It’s amazing. It’s, it’s leading to a massive democratization of startup creation and entrepreneurship. That is beautiful.

And so yeah, any advice for a founder starting a year off. I should have taken a year off. The problem is it doesn’t suit my personality particularly well, I’ve always been doing things. So I went from thing to thing to thing, but yeah, beat, think through the things you love doing and go pursue them. Like look, I work hard, but I play hard or like I’m kitesurfing and I’m a fantastic kitesurfer, heli-skier.

I’m still a competitive tennis player. I’m still like college level tennis player. I’m 49. I beat like beat up on the 25-year-olds. You know, I exercise. When I’m in Turks, for instance, I was averaging three and a half hours of sports a day, every day to stay as fit as I can be. And yeah, just do fun, do crazy things. You always want to do like go to. I go to burning. I think psychedelics once in a while. You know, I drop acid. It’s amazing. Go do a deep go take Ayahuasca and do a deep journey. I mean, like, I don’t know, like, there’s so much to do and to be done and to live. It’s a privilege to be alive and it’s a privilege to be alive in this in this time period.

It’s a privilege to be post exit. So, money is a tool for freedom. It’s not something to pursue more of, but to actually enjoy and use it to make the world a better place.

Barak Kaufman: I just want to say someone was messaging me directly on the side and said, I want to ask him if he takes psychedelics, but I don’t know if it’s appropriate.

And then almost like on cue, he answered the question directly. So, thank you for that.

Fabrice Grinda: I am an open book. Nothing is secret. And everything’s transparent. Yeah. So, at psychedelics, I’ve probably taken everyone in the world from 5 MeO DMT to Peyote to 2C B to Acid to Psilocybin and whatever to Ayahuasca.

I take them rarely. I take them intentionally. So, it’s set, setting, intention. Crescents. I don’t microdose. I find microdose, you open yourself up to whatever, and then you’re going to work, and you have a stressful day. I think that’s idiotic. I like to macrodose, like, real, and either for fun, like, you know, let’s say, one, one and a half grams of mushrooms if I’m burning, man, or, like, if I were to do a real deep meditative journey, like, I did a nine gram psilocybin journey with music that was just, like, basically, you know, beautiful meditation for, like, seven hours.

A very introverted that’s alone. You don’t do I don’t think both are interesting. I did a couple times a year. I wouldn’t recommend a huge amount of time because it takes time. It’s distracting whatever but I think it’s worth doing on a you know what a couple times a year basis. So, at burning man, I’ll do acid for sure acid is like the one thing to do at Burning Man.

I know we’re probably overtime.

Barak Kaufman: I think as long as you’re willing to, yeah, it’s your call. It’s your call, your calendar. I think everybody’s enjoying it.

Fabrice Grinda: I can give a few more minutes.

Barak Kaufman: All right, let’s do it.

Fabrice Grinda: What do I think about AI and the future of AI? So, here’s so here’s what’s interesting. I think AI in 23 went to, we were at like the top of the hype cycle. Where clearly there is a transformation in the quality of AI with GPD 3. 5 and obviously not before and Gemini and Bard, etc. And I do think it will ultimately transform society in a more meaningful way that we can imagine today. But I also think it’s going to take a lot longer than people think it’s going to take.

And so that’s why I think we’re at the top of the hype cycle. And there’s going to be the period of delusion in the next five years. Because before. You know, when do we think governments who really integrate AI for improving its operating capacity or even large enterprise, right? Like if you’re a health medical claims processor, the hallucination problem is real.

And like, you don’t want to have like, you don’t want to be liable for, for having bad results. And so, while I suspect in 20 years, it’ll be so transformative. We want to be able to recognize a lot of things, the way we work and a lot of things, humanity, and the next five years, I think it’s going to be the period of like disappointment.

So, what I’ve been, and because AI overvalued as an investment category in businesses with no business model, no modes and no differentiation, I shied away from investing in AI other than a few specific vertical applications with proprietary data and in reasonable valuations, but they’re very far and few between, but everything we’re doing.

These is a is a I everyone’s using a I write like every company is using it for customer care and to be better and programming. I use it every day, right? Like what? I am not a great coder anymore. So, when I’m coding my blog and I forget some functions that just ask a GPT. Hey, what do you need us? What’s the correct code? Don’t ask to code entire thing that it sucks at that. But like specific functions very easy.

I have your investments done over time when you compare first time founders the second time. Yeah. Same average IRR, second time founders who, well I can actually wait, so second time founders fall in two buckets.

Second time founders have been very successful the first time, often become more purposeful and mission-driven of the second time and it leads to both better outcomes and worse outcomes, meaning more companies fail because they’re taking more risks and when they succeed, they succeed bigger by their blended IRs is the same.

Second time founders who failed the first time on average have done better than both, than just general founders and the second time founders who’ve been successful the first time because they are hungry and have a point to prove it if they’ve learned the lesson why they failed.

So, if they learn that, okay, oh, I spent too much money. I raised too much money at too high of a price, whatever, whatever it was, they need to learn, or they didn’t focus enough product market fit or uni economics, then it’s fine.

Barak Kaufman: Who’s the most impressive founder that you’ve ever backed.

Fabrice Grinda: I’m not going to do the most impressive founder, but there was a few very impressive founder and founders and some, some have failed, some haven’t failed. So, for instance, Alex Gardner, who built a zoom pizza, which failed completely, he is so eloquent and such an amazing salesperson and very proud of Ryan from Flexport is extraordinary. He’s a machine and visionary is amazing.

So, there are many amazing people out there. I don’t think there’s one that’s like, oh, you know, but like people Yeah, [00:55:00] there’s like let’s say oh, yeah Brett Addock. He’s extraordinary. So, Brett built Vettery, which was a labor marketplace, which we sold for, like, 100 million at echo. Then he went on to build Archer, which is an electric vertical takeoff company, which is which took public and now he’s building Figure.

Figure is made creating these humanoid robots who replace humans in warehouses. And the problems he’s solving to do that are so extraordinary. I guess I could put an Elon in the category as an early investor in let me put the figure link in here.

Barak Kaufman: I don’t remember if he’s in the community or not, but his it was twice shared as like SPDs to invest in at least a dozen founders from the group invested.

There was a recording of like his pitch for it. I have sent that recording that he did for like fundraising to dozen right from Attic exited Repeat founders. But yeah, like he’s just it was the best pitch I’ve ever seen in my entire life. He’s just yeah.

Fabrice Grinda: So, I think Brett is up there. Good. Amazing. Better. Obviously, I backed the Elon back in the day. I invested in 2007 and space X. Still an investor. I didn’t sell any of my shares. I’m not selling any of my shares. Yeah.

Who do you look up to and why? I guess historical role models, Octavian, or Augustus, who basically single handedly created the Roman Empire and brought an end to the civil war in, in, in, in Rome and created the basis for 500 years of Pax Romana and a significantly improved livelihood for humanity writ large for 500 years. I mean, at least the first two, 300 of that.

Alexander Hamilton, and not even American, but ultimately you know, reap. Trying to convince it forced the US repay his, that which created the treasury and li put the US on a path to becoming the world dominant superpower that it’s today would, would’ve been funnily different if he had lost these arguments back in the day.

So, you know, and it depends. And then it’s like just geniuses in different forms, like Da Vinci, even though he’s, we know so much less of him that, you know, none of the biographies are super compelling. But yeah, I obviously am a fan of Walter Isaacson and Rod Trudeau biographies and the people that they cover.

Barak Kaufman: What about anybody current, currently alive?

Fabrice Grinda: You know, I think someone who gets, doesn’t get enough credit. Well, two people. Well, Deng Xiaoping, he passed not that long ago, but Deng Xiaoping, who basically transformed China from a communist say to a thriving and enriched a billion people in the making, right?

Like decreased extreme property significantly by transforming China into capitalist country. Now, sadly, his legacy is being undone by Xi Jinping. So, if I if someone like Deng Xiaoping was in power in China today, I think China would actually be on track to become the wealthiest country in the world, but also I think would be an ally of the US.

Sadly, we have a counter, we have a Mao descendants in Xi Jinping who cares more about nationalistic power and his own personal power than he does about the well-being of his people. And that is a lot of it. So, I think China is no longer going to be the dominant superpower of the 21st century, given the choices they’re making right now.

It is sadly and. We have a cold war to not only brewing, but we’re actually active right now. So, thanks shopping would have been that in the recent decades. Bill Gates doesn’t give enough credit either. I think both for the role he played in the democratization technology. You know, a PC in every home, which has been massively deflationary and inclusionary as well, and actually the role he’s playing right now, it is not for profit initiatives.

What’s the best life decision you’ve made? What are the examples of wrong decisions? I’ll start there. I try. I wanted to build an off-grid community. Where I could where it could let founders come and build, you know, with no real business model artists come and create and virtual leaders come and lead and maybe do it.

And if it got too busy, do it maybe through applications, you know, where I see sell. And I bought a couple hundred acres of land in Belize, and well, first I got, I bought hundreds of thousands of acres in Belize, several percentage points of the country. Then we realized that in a, but in a republic, they can just take it away. What do you think you own? You don’t actually own, and they can take it away from you. So, then I’m like, Oh, I’m going to this much safer, more developed country, Dominican Republic. But I didn’t go in Punta Cana, Casa de Campo, I went in Cabarette, which because I like the kite. And I bought a couple hundred acres of land and turns out that it was still too banana republicy.

I did that in 2013 to 2019, but Everyone from the mayor to the minister of environment, tourism, they all wanted bribes, which I know is not willing to bribe them because I told them my time. I don’t want to be a real estate developer. I want to be using my time to the betterment of humanity through harnessing the deflationary power of tech.

And I’m not going to play the political game. Either you realize what I’m doing is amazing for you and your country and you’d let me do it legally, or I’m not playing. And I guess they decided not to let me play. And so even though I had 100 million development that I wanted to do in the Dominican Republic where I and I bought this one-mile beach friend hundreds of acres of land.

I never got to get it off the ground because of I never got all the licensing because I didn’t want to bribe anyone, and it ultimately became starting to become dangerous. I mean, normally do all my guests catch the catch and yeah, dengue, et cetera. Attempted rapes. Many burglaries. I got full on attacked by people with shotguns. There was a blowout shootout in my garden. Because I mean, it’s beautiful. It’s Ross authentic. It’s like the average GP there is like, you know, 2000 a year, but my family hated it. They felt it was dangerous. And I guess I, because I like going at these upgrade places where I’m like, you know, very poor countries and I don’t have any, I don’t have any displays of wealth on me.

I don’t appear where, you know, if you see me there, I’m like shorts and T, shorts and T shirt. I don’t have anything. I don’t have a watch. I don’t have. So, it never occurred to me, but, yeah. That was a mistake. It took six years and then I was like, okay, after we got it out, they murdered, they killed my dog.

I mean, it was a disaster. So eventually I left, I moved to Turks and Caicos, which is now my like family retreat. And I should have done that way, way faster. Should not have waited six years. Lesson learned, best decisions, you know, best decisions never came immediately. It’s always through iteration that I ended up finding what was right for me, but best decisions, you know, just be true and authentic to yourself and who you are and what you want and pursue that like and whenever I’ve done that, it’s always paid off.

I think I need to end it there. I’m meeting and very dear and I need to get there. But this is super fun.

Barak Kaufman: This is amazing.

FJ Labs Q4 2023 Update

Friends of FJ Labs,

Happy 2024! We are excited to dive back in after the holiday season and are optimistic that this coming year will be another incredible vintage for venture investing.

We closed last year with a bang across investing, speaking engagements, and blog content and are excited to share our recent updates in this quarter’s digest.

While lots has been said about last year’s happenings, Fabrice gives his own succinct take (without notes or teleprompter!) in the below video. He describes where we sit in the current macro cycle, its impact on entrepreneurship, our thoughts on AI as an investment opportunity, and FJ Labs’ current thesis at the 2023 Transatlantic Leadership Forum hosted by Goldman Sachs.

Hayden AI, a leader in artificial intelligence and geospatial analytics, raised an oversubscribed $53M Series B to further strengthen its market leader position. (Businesswire)

Vortexa,  a London-based provider of a real-time global analytics for energy and freight markets, raised a $34M Series C, led by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital. (Finsmes)

Vienna’s Refurbed raised a $57M Series C to expand its refurbished electronics marketplace. The company achieved significant milestones last year, having reached €1B GMV and achieving profitability in its home markets. (Tech.eu)

Spain-based Luzia raised a $10M Series A to introduce its AI chatbot tech to users through a WhatsApp-based bot, led by Khosla Ventures. (TechCrunch)

Outfit Training, a Navy SEAL veteran-founded mobile outdoor fitness company, announced plans to expand its boutique fitness concept throughout the U.S. for the first time through franchising. (PRNewswire)

Other FJ Labs portfolio companies including Empowerly (managed marketplace for career counseling), Medelse (recruitment platform for healthcare professionals in France), and Yay Lunch (meal delivery service for schools in the U.S), raised new funding rounds last quarter.

We are delighted to announce that Josh Breinlinger has joined FJ Labs as a Venture Partner. Josh started his career in Mechanical Engineering after graduating from MIT in 2000. In 2004, he joined the founding team of Upwork (previously oDesk) and began his love affair with marketplaces. Since then, he has been a founding member of Rev and a general partner with Jackson Square Ventures. He has led investments in OfferUp, Alto Pharmacy, Crexi, and 20 other early-stage marketplaces. Welcome, Josh!

At Abu Dhabi Finance Week, Jose participated in a panel discussing how e-commerce will impact the way we do business as well as the disruption we’re seeing in the industry by offrails payment providers and challenger banks.

At NY TechWeek, Fabrice gave a talk on best practices for effectively scaling marketplace growth. He was joined by several marketplace entrepreneurs investors.

At the Association for Private Capital Investment in Latin America (LAVCA) week in NYC, FJ Labs Principal Matias Barbero moderated a panel on VC investing in LatAm with leading investors in the region including Valor, Kaszek, Canary, FinTech Collective, and ONEVC.

Alongside our friends at London-based VC firstminute capital, we hosted a cocktail event for founders, investors, and NYC-based  LPs at Fabrice’s apartment. These events serve as invaluable time to reconnect with our amazing founder network.

Mark your calendars for Fabrice’s upcoming Playing with Unicorns episode, “Unlocking Productivity: Streamlining Your Days for Passion and Purpose”, which you can stream this Thursday, January 11 at noon ET. He will cover general productivity tips and optimal outsourcing of one’s professional and personal life.

Fabrice’s latest macroeconomic update is not to be missed. He outlines the various factors leading to his near-term bearishness and reasons for cautious optimism as we look ahead.

In this marketplace startups masterclass, Fabrice shares his thoughts on successfully building an online marketplace, the biggest mistakes marketplace founders make, and metrics required to raise capital at various stages.

For a fun listen, check out Fabrice’s recent interview with our good friend and European solo GP, Robin Haak, of Robin Capital. This wide-ranging conversation covers a variety of topics from adventure travel to risk taking, spirituality, startups and more.

For any belated holiday shopping needs, make sure you peruse Fabrice’s infamous holiday gadget gift guide. From ultra-light travel laptops, wireless headphones, ear plugs, an 8-in-1 charging station (or drone, RC truck, or outdoor ice bath :), he’s got you covered!

And for more team writing…

FJ investment team members Luke Skertich and Lauren Lee wrote an insightful two-part Playbook for Building Saas-Enabled Marketplaces. They reviewed hundreds of companies and identified factors that best contributed to the success of these models. Hope you enjoy!

Episode 44: Unlocking Productivity: Streamlining Your Days for Passion and Purpose

People often ask me how I manage to accomplish so much while leading such a rich, passionate life as illustrated by my 2023 year in review. In this episode I share all my secrets. I will cover everything from general productivity tips to how and what you can outsource in your professional and personal life.

For your reference I am including the slides I used during the episode.

If you prefer, you can listen to the episode in the embedded podcast player.

In addition to the above YouTube video and embedded podcast player, you can also listen to the podcast on iTunes and Spotify.

If you prefer to read the content, here is a transcript of the episode:

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you had wonderful holidays and that the beginning of the year is treating you very well. So, there’s been a recurring theme over the last few months where people keep asking me, How is it that you seem to have this Super passionate life where you can do all these different types of activities and play with your son and frankly live life to the fullest and yet be extraordinarily productive when it comes to work and get so, so much done.

And I decided that it warranted sharing all my tips and secrets with all of you. And, you know, to illustrate that perhaps probably worth, showing an example of what I do in a given year for a brief moment. Let me show you this. So, this is my year-end review where I review everything that I did personally and professionally throughout the year.

From adventures, playing with Fafa, to going to different locations. And also review what happened in the speeches I gave, what we accomplished at work and my predictions for the year. So, this is my blog. It’s called 2023 and Angel is born as a homage to my new dog Angel, which you can see there.

But how to do all this, how to lead this passionate life is something I want to share with, with all of you. So with that, any further ado, let’s get going. Welcome to episode 44, unlocking productivity. Streamlining your days for passion and purpose.

Now, the main reason to do this, by the way, is not to improve productivity, right? Like, you’re not being productive for the sake of being productive. You’re being productive for the sake of living your best possible life. So obviously, to some extent, it starts with understanding what is it that you love to do?

What is it that you are extraordinarily good at and focus on that and everything else, you know, don’t focus but generally speaking there are three types of tricks or tips for productivity. So, I’m going to Separate this presentation in three parts. One is general tricks and tips to how to outsource all the things you can do online, and you can ask for us more than you think And then three, all the things you could add source offline and along the way, we’ll discuss some of the life setup choices that I’ve made.

Which again, these were more personal choices, but it goes to show you can lead non-traditional lives that are still amazingly effective. Let me start with sharing my screen. Oh, one second. We set it up. Okay, perfect. The presentation is ready to go. So, I’ll start with the general productivity tips.

I’ll spend a fair amount of time here because some of these things seem easy to describe, but I think we’re fundamental. So, the first thing is spend extraordinarily little time following news writ large. And by news, I mean everything, you know, newspapers, radio news, TV news you name it. I don’t actually even follow politics.

So I actually take this to an ultimate extreme. I don’t follow news at all. And I’ll talk about why that is, how you stay informed when you’re not following news. And, and what and how do you allocate your time otherwise? So, the first thing you need to remember is news is the news is not actually meant to inform you.

It is created by media companies. These media companies are trying to capture your attention, and they’re trying to capture your attention in order to sell you advertising or to sell advertising. And the best way to do that is to focus on negative things. Information because your amygdala is hypersensitive to negative information.

So, the way your brain works is obviously tend to up to 10,000 years ago. If you saw a ruffling in their leaves or whatever, it could be a tiger and it could eat you. And if you were not focused on the negative news, you would actually not be able to survive. You would be eaten by the tiger. And as a result, humans are hypersensitive to negative information.

And media companies have realized that, and they’re focusing on outrage, and they’re focusing on all the things that can annoy you to capture your attention. But it’s actually extraordinarily terrible for your mind, and when you look at it on a day by day basis, if you follow the news, It feels to me that the news has this eye of Mordor where they focus on one thing, whatever is capturing the current zeitgeist, whether it’s COVID, whether it’s Ukraine, or more recently Gaza, and it’s trying to provoke outrage.

Regardless of your point of view, the media outlet you follow is going to try to create outrage for you to keep track, keep your information, or keep your attention and sell you advertising. The issue with that, beyond the fact that it’s a massive waste of time and it’s negative for you, the not much really happens.

You know, if you take a step back, if you read the newspaper every day or follow the news every day, how much marginal incremental news is there on a daily basis? And you realize it’s highly repetitive and at the same time, in addition to being highly repetitive. It often is, highly sensationalistic.

It’s not where the actual information is. You know, when the Wright Brothers flew a plane for the first time, it actually wasn’t reported in the news. It was reported the, the only thing that was reported were like, whatever, the train accidents and murders and whatever of the day. And these types of break, breakthroughs are happening every day, and they’re not really covered.

So when I think about, like, what I want to be informed on, you know, it’s actually not the day-to-day coverage. So, imagine what happened in COVID. When COVID first happened, it was like scares. Oh, we’re all going to die. And where people were following who got COVID and who was violating the restrictions, etc.

It was like entertainment. It was not news per se. What you really want to know, which of course is a book that has not been written yet, is, what would have been the policies that would have decreased mental health and physical health outcomes or, like, led to the best ones without impacting the economy?

And maybe the answer changes over time before and after vaccines. But that is not what was covered. It was all, like, sensationalist bullshit that’s not that interesting. Likewise, okay, once you have the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, you know, the play by play, minute by minute is not all that relevant.

What matters more is like, okay, what are the consequences for Europe, for the U.S., for the Cold War II setup that we have. And these things are better to look at with like six month or 12 months. The minute-by-minute outrage, not all that relevant. And so, I actually consume zero news. Don’t read newspapers, don’t watch TV news, etc.

The way I stay informed is I partake in a few groups. Ergo, ERGO is one of them, Green Mantle by Neil Ferguson’s is another, where every few months, at least once a year, we meet with, like, policy makers and people that are analysts to think through, okay, what are the conclusions of all these things that have been happening?

The one exception to that, which is why I say spend ten minutes per day on news, is, in my case, Tech news. I, it impacts my life. And it’s important to know what are the trends, who’s raising, who’s failing. And so I actually do spend 10 minutes a day reading Techmeme and Techcrunch, or CNET, Engadget,  and Tom’s hardware.

These latter are more entertainment. Like what gadgets would I like. I spend de minimis time consuming news writ large. Instead, I focus on analyst reports with the direct primary sources and with six month or a year of like of outlook in terms of like, okay.

This is what happened in the last year and this is what we think probabilistically could happen in a go forward basis that this guy can impact you. This is how I stay on top of, like, my macro predictions, for instance. It doesn’t, you know, it comes from following what’s happening at FOMAC, etc. Not by reading newspapers in any way, shape, or form, which, all of which are negative.

And this applies to news writ large, so, you know, don’t follow Twitter, for instance. I think it’s also very bad for your Mental health and internal health. Number two, compartmentalize, meaning be present in whatever it is you’re doing. People are terrible at multitasking. You want to be monotasking and doing one thing and being present in whatever task you’re doing.

Now, sometimes it’s easier to say than to do, but once you’re done with work, you know, when you’re playing tennis, play tennis, focus on the next point, not thinking about like, oh, what you didn’t do, what you need to do tomorrow. Otherwise, you’re going to be terrible at tennis, and it’s going to be way harder for you to fall asleep.

So be present. You know, leave things in one activity for that activity and go back to it when the time comes, but don’t deal with it while you’re doing something else. Number three is people have a tendency to procrastinate. And, it’s very easy to put off things. So, to get things done, actually set deadlines.

With short time fuses. I put it as a deliverable for myself in, in my calendar and I’ll talk about how I manage calendar on soon in order to get things on, you know, if I want to write a blog post, I’ll actually block time my calendar for writing the blog post and make sure that it, that, that it’s that it’s deliver it on time this way I can publish it on time because we live in a world where we’re constantly bombarded with information.

It’s actually good to take time off, right? Like, yeah. If you are doing, you are not thinking. And so, it is good to have time to be reflective. I try to have Fridays where I have much fewer meetings than other days, or ideally no meetings. That doesn’t always plan out that way, and I try not to work weekends these days.

But actually having time to think and reflect is very important. In fact, my entire life is structured around, okay, when I’m in New York for like a one month or two months, it’s all on all the time, be it intellectual salons, dinners, etc. And then when I go to Turks and Caicos, because in the evenings there’s nothing social for me to do there, that’s when I’m more reflective.

I read, I write, I publish many more blog posts, I, and I’m trying to be more thoughtful. Next point is limit meetings. I think that’s a generally accepted rule, but meetings need to have a purpose. Like if you’re taking a meeting, you need to know what, why you’re meeting, who you’re meeting with, what you’re trying to get out of it.

So, it needs to be a clear agenda. It should have as few people as possible in the meeting. And I try to keep them to 30 minutes or less. Now, I’ve realized that when I’m evaluating a startup, 30 minutes is usually too short, so it’s more an hour that I block just to be safe and make sure I have the time to go in enough depth to make a proper investment decision.

But in general, the tip is keep meeting short and, and try to get to the point of them. And as a rule, what I’m do, what I do is my meetings are back-to-back in 30-minute increments. So, in a given day, I could have 14 meetings. If someone shows up 15 minutes late, they only get 15 minutes. If they show up 31 minutes late, they get no minutes.

I’m not, I’m going to be on time for every one of the meetings. I think punctuality is a mark of respect, and you want to be on time. And in fact, the number one complaint many founders have of VCs is they don’t respect their times when they’re late. Show up actually one to two minutes early to every meeting.

And respect and respect the time to the other. And so, if you show up 31 minutes late, you aren’t going to be rescheduled for a future date, and maybe never rescheduled, depending on how I feel and why it happened. Next point is make very quick decisions, right? It’s better to make a quick decision and be wrong because you can course correct.

Then don’t look for perfection. It’s definitely true in, in business settings. In startups where you’d rather make a decision, throw the spaghetti on the wall. See if the spaghetti is sticking and if not, you know move on and try something else. Time blocking, so what I do, and I, I will demonstrate that shortly with an example day in my calendar, is everything is in my calendar.

So, if I need to do emails, it’s in the calendar. If I need if I’m going to go to the gym, and in fact if it’s there, it gets done. If it’s not in the calendar, it does not exist. Next point is more tactical. You want to be focused and present in whatever activity you, you are doing. And so all notifications should be off.

So, my phone does not ring, does not vibrate, doesn’t have anything showing up on the screen ever. It’s on permanent do not disturb. The, you cannot get through to me from that perspective. So, if I want to go check messages, I will proactively at a time that I choose. Go to check my Instagram or my WhatsApp or my text messages.

But even vibration, which feels perhaps as in intrusive, if the phone is in your pocket and it vibrates, it takes your attention away from what you’re doing, and all of a sudden you have, you know, FOMO. It’s like, Ooh, what is it that I’m receiving? What is it I should be checking? So, you should not be getting any pop ups, notifications on anything.

New emails coming in should not be bumping, beeping. Nothing should beep. Nothing should vibrate. Nothing should, should show up in any way, shape, or form. Now, if you have kids and you’re worried that they need to be reached by the school or whatever, you can create a rule where even though you’re in do not disturb two, three or four people create a very big list.

Otherwise, it defeats the purpose of this can get through to you. And I do have that in my case, given that father is going to school, but in general, you don’t want any distractions whatsoever. Again, as I mentioned earlier, humans suck at multitasking. You want to be monotasking. If I block an hour for emails, I’m doing emails then.

I don’t want to be doing anything else. If I’m on a call, I want to be present and focused on my call and taking notes and thinking not being doing other things. Otherwise, you’re not going to have the most thoughtful analysis and presence for whatever it is you’re doing. Next point is general life advice, you know, and basically you want to be in life penny foolish and pound wise.

So, you want to be extraordinarily careful on large decisions, on large purchases, things that are going to impact you financially. So, buying a house renting something that perhaps is too expensive for you, buying a car, and definitely avoid luxury items. They’re pointless, you know. I don’t have a watch.

I have a smart watch, but I don’t have like any luxury items like art, etc. They don’t bring me pleasure. They’re not really useful. I’d rather splurge on experiences when travel with like friends and family rather than, than physical goods in general, which probably makes a lot of sense. And, last but not least, you know, you need probably way fewer items than you think you do.

And that means it is very healthy, at least once a year do a pruning. I just give away things I don’t use. So, every spring, I do a spring cleaning, where most of the things I haven’t been wearing, clothes wise, for instance, I will give away to charity. You know, if you’re not using it, most likely not going to continue using it, you will not miss it.

And so you lead a lighter life. I wouldn’t try to avoid purchasing things in the first place to avoid this, but regardless, very healthy to do on a general basis. Now let’s talk about, like, much more specific, how to, I mean, doing what I’ve just described makes you more productive already, and not consuming any news saves you a lot of time, but how do you, like, multiply your horsepower in general?

This brings me to point number two. So, what’s actually helped me the most, by far, is outsourcing. I outsource. everything I can in life and everything that, that I don’t love doing. Now, you may think, hey, I can type faster than my assistant. Why would I want an assistant? Well, if you’ve studied economics at all and Ricardian theory of comparative advantage, is even if you are better than your assistant at everything that she does, because you make more doing whatever it is your core activity is, you’re better off still having it.

Still, still having an assistant, even though you may be better than her at her tasks. And that’s okay. Now, the key superpower we’ve found and discovered is using remote assistance, especially in the Philippines, which we’ve been working with for, like, probably around 20 years here at FJ Labs. And well, personally, and then at FJ Labs in the last decade, we have 10 of them at FJ Labs, and I have a personal dedicated virtual assistant.

I use YRA, but a friend of mine who’s a genius at outsourcing. His name is Jonathan Swanson. He built Thumbtack. He had like thousands of like people in the Philippines for Thumbtack just created a company called Athena actually to help people become master delegators as well. So, these two companies are great.

YRA is about $1,500 a month full time. And so, this is someone extremely qualified working at your hours, whatever time zone you’re in, in English. And Athena I think is about 3, 000 a month. But you can also buy quarter time or half time. And I’m going to show you that you can outsource a lot more than you think.

So, in my case I have a dedicated assistant, her name is Rose. Probably not a real name, but that’s okay. Maybe a team and not one person, that’s also okay. And actually, the funny thing is, I’ve actually never spoken to her on the phone. I’ve, I don’t know what she looks like. And, I’ve never even interviewed her.

The way I recruit people, in general well, in YRA, they just find someone for you, and then you decide if you like them or not, and then you, and then you decide, and if you’re not happy, they’ll change. But when I hire people in Upwork or elsewhere, which I will describe later for the other activities that I outsource, I usually hire like 10 people for the same task given that it’s like a buck an hour or 2 an hour.

It’s not a big deal. And then I see the one I like best, and then I keep that person for the rest of these tasks, not just this time, but on a recurring basis. And so that process works reasonably well. It saves you a lot of time of having to do interviews and filtering.

So, work outsourcing. Now, a lot of this is probably going to be more basic, but basically this is an example of the email Rose sends me every day at the end of the day of what she did during the day. So, it shows all the pending meetings that she has yet to confirm and schedule, and then number two, all the confirmed meetings.

That she scheduled she in that same email, and she also covers all the personal tasks, etc. So, it’s an email that she sends me daily of all the things she did for me. And during the day, we typically interact by a combination of WhatsApp and email on things to be done, whether they’re urgent or, you know, things that can be scheduled for a later day.

Every day, and this is a prototypical example of what a day looks like for me. She sends me my calendar for the next day. Now, if I know what it’s about, she doesn’t put more details, just a zoom link. You know, so Zimozi is my Indian team that helps me with my blog from a design perspective or coding perspective and with Trident’s website.

We’re doing a monthly check in to see how things are going. We’re currently launching, that was the 9 am. meeting. We’re currently launching a new incubation company and so that’s the 10 am. meeting, doesn’t need more detail. Quick check in with Martin, he’s on a 30-minute call, that’s the founder of Mundi, we’re checking out how things are going.

And then for Midas, this is meeting. I added myself to the calendar, which is why there’s no context. But I was meeting, I think, potential employee or potential partner, and then I have a bunch of meetings with, I think, VCs or partners for Midas. And then later on with my co-founding partner at FJ Labs, Jose, to discuss different things.

See how the rest of the day goes. So, you see, it’s kind of like back-to-back to back to 9 to 10 to 11, 11 30 to 12 30 to 1 15. VC meeting for Midas, which is the new stablecoin or yield bearing stablecoin that I’m currently launching to try to compete with USDC, USDT. Another. Then I’m meeting a founder actually at my place just to catch up.

Like she, she left her old company. She is thinking what to do next. And so, it’s interesting to figure out and see if I can help her and also think through what she should be doing. Is she creating a new company? Should we be investing there? Etcetera. And that is full context. Same thing. Meeting another VC for Midas at 2 pm. 3 pm, meeting another founder to get an update on what they’re up to and how they’re doing more fundraising, founder calls, and then going to a speaker event for a speech I was giving the next day at the Transatlantic Leadership Forum. And then I’m playing paddle from 9pm to 11pm with my brother, Olivier.

So, everything is in here, whether I’m doing a meditation, whether I I’m playing tennis or paddle. Everything is the agenda, and this way I have a clear action plan for the day. And that is sent the night before when Rose signs off at like 6 or 7 pm. every day. Perhaps the place or the thing that you can outsource way more than you think is actually your personal life.

So Rose, in addition to managing my business life, manages my personal life. So, here’s a few examples. In New York, I love hosting salons and, and founder dinners, intellectual dinners, etc. So, I have a list of a whole bunch of people that I invite for different dates. And so, we will discuss who we’re inviting.

She’ll send the invites and then we’ll create, create a, an email with like this venue, some of your dietary restrictions. These are the topics. And the topics are far ranging. It could be like, oh, how do we reinvent politics for the 21st century? What are the ethics and morality of torture? What or even personal, like, you know if you were to write a, a book on any 72-hour period of your life, what 72 hours would it be?

So, we track, I mean, she tracks who the, the guest replies are. We try to be eight for these dinners. But we also do these things with you know, founder dinners, et cetera, on a regular basis. I host multiple dinners a week. I hosted a post exit founder dinner last night, for instance doing another dinner tonight.

Next thing is, there are a lot of things that take a lot of your time. You know, so for instance, if you want to book doctor’s appointments, if you want to fill in all the forms. On medical forms, I’d rather do it ahead of time. She can do all that for me. And these things you have to wait online, wait on the call, etc.

She can pretend to be me. She has a Google phone number in the Philippines, so she has a U.S. phone number. So, for instance, T-Mobile had disconnected my international data. It took her four hours on the phone with repeated calls to fix it, but she was able to fix it. Again, it’s four hours of my life that I would have never gotten back, and I’m very grateful that she is actually in a position to do that.

Same thing, she books my meditations, she blocks all my gyms and, and, and buys whatever the trainer needs to buy. And for tennis, like, she knows I like tennis. So, if I’m traveling to a new location, and there’s tennis or paddle, she will look at all the clubs around me, look at availability, find either people at my level, or book me lessons.

This way, already for two, three times a week, wherever I’m going, I already have tennis organized. And I don’t need to do anything. I didn’t pick the club, I didn’t call them, I didn’t find the partners. Everything’s organized. In the calendar, I guess I’m not doing it more right now, but in the past, I even asked for things like dating where with my assistant back in the day when I, when I was on online dating apps.

I first like we did a call. We’re like, okay, this, these are the people I like or don’t like. So, this is I would swipe right or left. Now use a VPN, connect as me, and you can swipe for me. Then, okay, this is how I, and, and then she would do it. And we would agree on. Course correct, what made sense or not, then she would look at how I would chat and she would replicate that.

And then finally, I’m like, okay, I’m happy to go on a date, you know, once a week, Friday and maybe whatever, Tuesday, twice a week 8 pm, or 7 pm, or 9 pm. Here’s the slots in the calendar. Go and book them. And so, she would like then swipe for me. match me with a potential date, schedule the date, it’d be in the calendar, and then the day before, I would look at, like, the profile of the person that she matched me with, and I’d decide if I’m interested in going or not, right?

Like, if you’re trying to go on online dating, at the end of the day, the rest is not interesting. The only thing you want to know is, do you like the person you’re meeting? So let’s get to a meeting as fast as possible. So, if you can avoid the entire tedium of swiping, chatting, etc., and get directly to the last point, great.

And if I disagreed with a choice, you know, I said, no, I don’t actually like this person for whatever reason, which of course corrects her. She would just cancel the date and that was it. And so, it didn’t take any time for me, other than showing up at the date, which was always literally in the bar across the street from where I live, at whatever the set time was.

And so even an activity that seems to take a lot of people a lot of time, was de minimis from a time perspective for me because it was all done for me and it worked extremely well Now as many of you know, I love writing. I love writing on my blog. I Blog in a regular basis. I share things about my life now.

I do the writing myself because I love it, I do the research, etc. But the rest that is and many about it, which is actually putting in a WordPress replicating on soft stack creating the newsletter sending the newsletter All of that, she does for me and again, saves a huge amount of time. Write my, the value creation is in the creative genius of writing and what I want to share and thinking, etc.

Not at all in the admin type things. You know, let’s go to WordPress and, and, and upload it and send it et cetera. So, I like the writing, not that other part, and she does that for me as well. And by the way, all this is one person doing all of us. She buys things for Angel, my dog. She will also research, like, entry requirements, and I get passports for a dog.

She will buy things if I need for Fafa. She there’s an app that the school, the Equal has, which is amazing, where there’s all the photos of the day. She will download the photos. She’ll like, pay the nannies, like, everything needs to be done. But, like, even researching things, like, oh, how do I get someone a birth certificate or a passport?

You know, she will research, which is also a massive time saver. By the way, noticing all the questions that people were asking, I will address them at the end, one by one. So, we’ll do kind of a Q& A at the end of when I’m done presenting everything here. So, she signs documents for me.

But the documents I would say that are not the most important ones, right? I, if I rented a, a house, you know, rental agreement or need to do KYC, so things like that, that are not really important, that I don’t need to be doing myself. She has my digital signature. I say, okay, sign this. Poof work. I, for, she has actually, also probably worth mentioning, she has access to my email and she has access to my credit card.

But she has one credit card, and so what I can do is every month I can log in on that one credit card and see where the purchases are and make sure everything’s okay. So that’s the safety control mechanism if you want. But she has access to my email and she’s like, all the legal documents are sent to legal, so I don’t need to deal with them.

All the all things that look like spam are moved in a folder called potential spam. So again, I don’t need to deal with them. But I am the one replying to my own emails because many of them need my thoughtfulness. But she will, you know, if I need to find out how to get a police form for a friend, for some whatever reason or KYC someone asks, she will like to figure out how to get the data and, and help me get it.

So again, online. General admin docs, etc. Now, continuing on like things that most people don’t outsource that they probably should is like figuring out how to have a more rich life and wherever you live. And so, for instance, in New York, I love magic. I love Broadway. I love off Broadway. I love comedy clubs and you don’t want once you’ve done the basics like going further off the beaten field, you know, going to House of Yes for a dirty circus show or whatever. We’re going to company 14 in Bushwick to see the there are various shows. And so, I have her before I go to new city task. We’re like, what are the things that are happening right now? So, this is an example of, Oh, and actually, might as well, there’s a lot of chat here, so might as well add the chats.

And this way the community can see the conversation that’s going on. So this is an example of when I came in September to New York, she researched all the different musicals that were like Broadway, Off Broadway that are in, A bit off the beaten path, including reviews, suggesting the ones I would like, the nice I could do.

And from there, I actually ended up booking multiple shows. I, I took my son to a balloon museum, which is so much fun. I’ll be posting the photos of that on Instagram in a few days. Took my son to a train show at the New York Botanical Gardens. I went to see like an off Broadway, like, musical parody of Friends.

She ordered my, like, Halloween costume. They’re like, there’s so much that you can ask for us to make sure that your life is rich, as rich as possible. And in New York, I try, there’s so much to be done that you can have a very rich life. Again, New York is my haven of, like, social, artistic, professional endeavors.

And things like, you know, conferences I need to go to. Same thing. She’ll send the bio. She’ll show me the agenda. She’ll add it on my calendar and make sure that, that, that I show up. Next thing is she helped me create my 50th birthday invites, so I’m celebrating my 50th birthday next august 3rd in 2024 and so help design the invite on paperless posts, we’re sending it, we’re tracking who’s coming, we’re figuring out like all, how many rooms we need, where et cetera.

And so, she helped design it. She said it. She’s tracking the replies to make sure that everything is structured correctly. But even for that, for instance, I also hired a party planner to help me with like the vision of the night and what’s going on and everything happening. So, I don’t need to deal with it.

All the amenities things, from that perspective, now I also have a travel agent for booking flights, but beyond the travel agent, Rose will help me on like everything around. How do I get there? Hotel rooms getting upgraded, getting reimbursed. So, Burning Man this year was supposed to fly out. On Sunday, but of course it was muddy, so it got canceled.

So, I walked out of Burning Man, like getting reimbursed for the flight that I didn’t take and, you know, adding Heli skiing to the agenda, notifying people that FJ Labs are not working these days. All these things, you know, need to be done. And again, none of them seem particularly big, but they add up.

And the more of these things you ask for us, the more free time you have, to do what you want. Now, you can have, beyond Rose, as I said, I already have a travel agent. I have a party planner. But I hire other people for other tasks. So, every year, for instance, I like to create, and maybe let’s just go to me here.

I like to create an album. This is a photo album of the, of what happened during the year. It starts with a timeline, with every date chronological from beginning of the year to the end. And then for each section, there is photos of, of, of what’s going on. And it’s a beautiful album, it’s a paper, it’s a memento to the year.

Now the reason I do that is parents don’t deal with digital very well. And, and actually creating the album allows you to relive the year. So, I love it, it’s all over my library, I give it to my mom, I give it to my dad. They, they love it, it’s a way to connect with the story I have. And so, I went on Upwork.

I created a post saying, hey, I need someone to help me with this. And I got a lot of replies. As I said, I hired, I hired like 10 people to do the job. And ultimately, one person in Bangladesh, was the best for these and I, and, and, and one, well, originally someone in Russia, but then I couldn’t pay them anymore because of the sanctions.

So, someone in Bangladesh. So, the way we work together is. Actually, let me take a step back of how I organize my, my photos. So let me share my screen again. Not necessarily the easiest to see. Let’s see if I could go full screen. Okay, so during the year, and this is all the photos I’ve taken during the year, you see all the dates, you know, January 1 to February 22, February 23 to February 27.

For each of the locations I am, I create a folder. And in that folder, I have a subcategory of what’s going on there. Cross country skiing, February heli skiing, FJ Labs, etc. Which can then be used to create subsections in the album. And so, I don’t do, and by the way, I do this along the year as the year is coming along.

So, if you wait until the end of the year, you won’t remember anything. Creating this structure will be impossible. So, I take the photos of my phone. I get photos from my friends through AirDrop or whatever. And then I, I create the folder. So, for instance, I already have in 2024, January 1 to January 7, Turks and Caicos is where I was.

And now January 7 to January 14 in New York, where I am currently, where I’m uploading photos little by little. And I delete them from my phone once I’ve uploaded them. So, this is all in Dropbox. Then I share the Dropbox link let’s go back to 2022, because that was the example I gave you with my, Charmin, who’s currently in Bangladesh.

And then we have interactions on it. So, she does a first pass as to what she thinks makes the most sense. And let me go back here and go back to full screen. Okay, perfect. So, she does a first pass and let’s go back here, see if this can read. Yeah. And then after she gives me the first pass, I give her a lot of feedback.

You know, date format looks wrong or, oh, I don’t like this photo. So, for each page, there’ll be like, Photo 6. It’s like, oh, replace photo 1, replace photo 2. Oh, I look fat. I don’t like this angle. This is not that interesting. Oh, you’re forgetting something. I don’t like the quote. Whatever it may be. And so, this is, I’m the creative director for, for this endeavor.

It takes a lot of iteration. I’m currently working, for instance, on the 2023 album. Which I hope will be done in a few weeks or a month, which I will then gift to my parents, but also put my coffee shop coffee desk and you saw the result of it is after many iterations, the album that I showed you with the timeline and photos again, no one needs to do this and not everyone used to do this, but I find that it’s an amazing way to relive the year.

And it’s an amazing gift to give to your parents who love it or are not great with digital and giving them a link on whatever Dropbox. I do the same for videos I create. I’m going to share a video. So, at the end of the year, I create a video. Now I will play an example of that video.

So, I will go, oh, one minute and 15 change this. One minute 17 do this. It’s the same thing. I found someone on out on. And I found someone on Upwork, and we edit videos. Again, someone other than Rose. This is what it looks like. I’ll give you a quick example. Let me minimize this. Let me give you a quick example of what that looks like.

 Let’s see, 20 videos, pretty cool. Year in review video.

Let me make sure there’s no sound because it’s copyrighted music. I don’t want to get a copyright strike. Perfect. So, let me play a few seconds of this. Maybe I’ll make it even full screen.

And same thing, it follows the year, so it starts in January, in this case I was in Rubble Soak. Shows, it’s set to music. It shows the adventure and then it goes through the rest of my year and I play that at the family gatherings at the end of the year. I send the family, I send the friends and family, et cetera.

And it’s pretty amazing. You know, you see the first increment, but then it ultimately it totally moves to, you know, I was at the upfront summit, and then I go and hosted things and then the covid, etc. Pause this video here, and we can go back to the next type of things that I outsource. Let’s go back to this. And let’s go back to the presentation.

Okay, so next phase of things that I outsource. Now, I realize this next phase is not necessarily possible for everyone. I am extraordinarily privileged from a financial perspective to be in a position to outsource things in the offline world. Now, the online world, I think it’s with, it’s within reach for most people.

As I said, it’s like 1500 a month. And 1500 a month to outsource as much as I’ve outsourced is actually pretty extraordinary. W when you, the bang for your buck that you get is amazing. And I’ve gotten more out of doing things online with Upwork and your remote assistant, etc. than you know, with in person assistance from that perspective.

That said, in at FJ Labs we have an office manager that does a lot of the offline things, but. For the things I described the virtual assistants of the Philippines are actually better. As I said, I’m also in a privileged position to outsource things in my offline life. Now, this is way more expensive and so not. within reach for everyone.

But I have an estate manager. This is Paul. We’ve been working together now for 80 years. And in addition to being an estate manager, he’s a chef. In fact, I’ve organized it. That’s very often. The same manager is the chef and does anything. So, he manages all the other property managers. I have three properties.

I’ll go through that shortly. He drives me, if need be, organizes like the housekeeping staff. If I’m hosting a dinner, if it’s small dinner, I’ll just cook and take care of it himself. But he will hire waiters, if we’re catering, you hire the caterer, like anything, like getting, car insurance, car maintenance, picking up packages, dealing with the mail, anything that’s like in person.

Now, in my case, I don’t actually like cooking. So, for me, I want to outsource it and I tell them to have, he knows my, I don’t also plan my meals. I don’t tell them, oh, this is what I want to eat. It’s like, these are the things I like. Just go, go for it. Be creative. Feed me healthy food that, that I’m going to like.

He doesn’t run the menus by me, he just does it. And I trust him to do things I like, and if I don’t like it, you know, I’m just actually going to, to give him feedback. Now, I have this kind of setup for each of my three locations. I have three core locations where I spend my time. And for each of them, I have a property manager who also is a chef and manages the rest of the staff, handles the licenses because I sublet them on Airbnb if I can, which I can’t in New York or Revelstoke, but I can in Turks and Caicos.

And their goal is to delight me and or whatever guests I have, be they my family or renters from the Airbnb equivalent. Now the reason I have three homes is I’ve made a decision to structure my life in a pretty nontraditional way. Two realizations. Realization number one is each city has a very best moment of time to live in.

So, New York is extraordinary in the, in the spring and in the fall, right? Like you want to be in New York in September and October, in April, in May, and maybe the first half of June. It is way less compelling in the summer. It’s too hot, it’s humid, it’s way less compelling, and like January, February, December. And so, I try to go to the places where there’s, where it’s the best time to be there. So, my year is typically structured with January, February in Revelstoke in British Columbia, where I like to go backcountry skiing on weekends, and, and snowshoeing, and ice climbing, and dock sliding, et cetera, but it’s mostly a brand backcountry skiing, heli skiing.

March I go to Turks and Caicos to thaw and like kite surf and play tennis and play paddle, et cetera. As I said, April, May, June in the New York area, and then I start heading to Nice to see my family in the south of France. Before usually going for my birthday in, in Turks and Caicos, and then all of August I go to Revelstoke in the mountain where I like to go mountain biking and hiking and rock climbing, etc.

Then I go to Burning Man, and again, September, October, New York, and then November, December, Turks. Though, to be exact, I usually go to Turks until December 26, and then New Year’s I spend in Revelstoke. That’s why I have snow for, for New Year’s and in the holiday season, in addition to having the sun.

Now, in addition to that, every year I like to add a two-week trip somewhere where that is new and, and, and a massive adventure like Antarctica in 2023, that is often off grid and adventurous, you know, where I’m like just a backpack and a tent and a water filtration system. Beyond that, so that, that’s core setup.

And beyond the fact that each place has a best time or location to be there. My perspective is that each, you want your work life balance. And so, New York, as I mentioned earlier, is a place of professional, social, artistic, intellectual, it is busy 24/7. I’m going out. I’m meeting friends. I’m hosting dinners.

I’m going to events with founders. It is so busy that after a month or two, I am completely burnt out. And I’m tired and I need a place to recharge. Now, in Revelstoke and Turks, I’m not on vacation. I actually work during the day. So, Revelstoke, typically, I will only do the backcountry skiing, etc. on the weekends.

And or if there’s a day off, like this month, we have two days off in January. So, I’m taking the, and I think there’s a Friday and a Monday. And I’m heli skiing those days in addition to the weekends. And same thing in Turks, I’ll work during the day, but when the day ends, whatever time that may be, I’ll go kitesurf and play tennis and play paddle and read and write and meditate.

And so, the you know, New York I’m doing, and in Revelstoke and Turks and Caicos, I’m being healthy, I’m being reflective. And it’s a combination of a place where I’ll either be alone, to recharge my social batteries, or I will bring a huge gathering or spattering of friends and family. So, for instance this year, and I’ll go back to for a quick second if it’ll open to my blog.

I brought 50 people; I brought 50 people for Christmas and New Year’s which was like the gathering of my family. Yep, and this is. This is our new year photo. 50 people of both the family I have and the family I choose. Which has been absolutely amazing. Like, going back here. So, it’s kind of like the life setup in terms of like moving around.

So, continuing of the things I outsource. I also outsource the, so I’ve separated for Triton, for instance, which is rented out when I’m not there and generates millions of revenues a year, the guest services local in person versus reservations. So, I have a reservation manager, Rae-Anne, who helps like create the pricing manage the different channels and do all the reservation part of the experience until it is Handed over to Lori and her team to do the actual guest services experience.

She also usually or sometimes has someone from YRA to help. With the work that she needs to do. As you know, I got a dog this year, Angel. And for Angel, for at least for the first few years, given how busy I am otherwise, especially in New York, I have a full-time dog walker, dog trainer, travels with me everywhere, takes care of Angel, gets the vaccines up to date.

Yeah, it gets all the papers and everything that needs to be done. And that’s Mike. And it helps, especially when you live in a place, you know, like New York and when I’m busy in New York obviously when I’m in Turks and rubble, so, you know, Angel can be roaming free and we can be playing all day, but even then, I want her to be very well trained.

I want to be able to walk with her off leash and her not to, and just follow the directions. If I want her to play, she goes play, and if I want her to come back and pay attention off leash, regardless of distractions, squirrels, other dogs, cars, whatever, that she listens. And so, I want her to be very well trained, and Mike is amazing for that.

So, nannies, actually before I talk nannies, maybe I’ll go back to the, the, the travel setup for a second. Now that I have a son who’s starting to go to school, instead of doing two-month, I don’t want to be away from him too long. I’m actually making sure that, A, obviously we spend all of our vacations together, and when we’re in New York, we’re together all the time.

But when I go to like Turks, let’s say, December 1 to 15, it’s like two weeks, I’ll still spend a week in New York. To make sure that I’m around them at the right time. So, I’m changing the, even though it’s a bit more travel, I’m changing the two months, two months to more like two weeks, three weeks, one week, two weeks, et cetera, to make sure I spend more time with them.

So nanny setup. So we wanted coverage seven days a week from 7:45 am to 7:45 pm. So, we found, a bunch of nannies on care.com mostly, some Facebook groups as well. The core mission or the core vision was that one of the nannies to be. In fluent accent less French who can travel internationally, so I have a passport, and can drive which obviously creates a number of limitations. And the reason for the French, by the way, is obviously I’m French. My family mostly is French speaking. We live in New York, so he’s going to be getting English. In general, even though he’s in a bilingual school called the École, which is absolutely amazing. It’s like the Rigor of the French system with creativity and public speaking and teamwork of the American system, because school, TV, friends, whatever, and living in the US is in English. I figured, let’s have the nannies only speak French to him. Now, what I have the nannies do is, when we travel, it’s only one nanny that travels with us.

And, but if it’s multiple weeks long, maybe they’ll swap. There’s a WhatsApp group for the nannies to coordinate between each other. So, the reason it’s four of them, by the way, and you can meet them here, you can see their little bios and who’s doing how many days, etc. As they, well, French nannies, I guess, don’t want to work too many hours in general.

And so this is kind of the amount of hours they wanted to work. So, someone would work once a day, two days a week. And so actually having four part time who agree between themselves, who’s traveling, who’s taking what days, et cetera works really well to give us full coverage without any issues.

They’re paid on a per hour basis, or an hourly basis based on the hours worked. So, there’s a Westside group, they coordinate, they train they tell each other what happened before, what needs to happen. And they have a calendar called Cozi where all the doctor’s appointments, et cetera, that they populate, and they know what tasks need to be done.

And they do everything from preparing one meal a day to buying groceries. Well, diapers not really needed anymore, but medicine, bath supplies, I mean, whatever needs to be taken care of. They do in addition to taking care of Francois, picking him out of school, dropping off at school, et cetera. Now, in addition to that, Let’s say there’s a date night or I need to go out or whatever, and I need coverage beyond 7:45 pm.

Add the slot requests and the calendar and they between themselves agree who’s going to take it. So again, it doesn’t require me to do anything. Now realize this is a pretty expensive proposition because I have essentially seven-day coverage 12 hours a day. There is a cheaper way for people to do this.

Which is if you have an au pair, now an au pair, the issue is a, they need to live with you, so you need to have room for them, which is not viable for everyone, and typically it’s only one or two years, and the number of hours they work is capped. So, what you can do for you to be a cheaper alternative than this is au pair plus daycare.

If you do au pair plus daycare, you can get something not quite as bespoke, but rather effective for a fraction of the cost of what I’m describing here. Now I have a nanny handbook, which shows all the rules. You know, you need to speak to them only in French. When my daughter’s coming, you’ll only speak to her in French.

What you need to cook. What Francois likes et cetera. So, everything is kind of like explained in the nanny handbook. This is only two pages of it, but it’s actually like whatever 20-page handbook that’s prepared for any new nanny to be on boarded automatically and be able to be effective.

So that’s basically it in terms of what I have towards how it’s outsourced, which is way more in general than you think you can. So let me go cover some of the questions that were asked. And take it from there. Okay if you’d like agendas for the startups, you’re interested in investing in so the time is managed properly.

Question from Payum. So, I don’t need an agenda for the startup. I’m investing. I’m going, I’m considering investing in as long as I have the deck ahead of time and I’ve read and I’ve reviewed it. So, I’ve won the deck for sure, because I want to make sure that I’m ready and I’ve prepared. So, when I typically take second calls, which is what I usually do, I have read the first debrief.

And so I’m not going to have the founders re repeat the full story over again, over and over again. As a founder, when I was raising money, it drove me crazy that VCs regularly would be just making me repeat the same story over and over again. I’m like, do you not guys not read each other’s notes? Do you not want to go deeper into it?

It feels it felt shallow every time. And so, I will read the debrief by the first debrief of whomever wrote in the took the first call on the team. I will read the deck and I’m going to go straight into Q and A. I don’t need the entire story repeated to me, which I think is also a courtesy of the founder, but it also leads to a deeper, meaningful interaction.

So, no agenda other than that. Let’s see. What else? How do you quantify like time saved? How to be sure that scheduling actions do not consume as much time as you would have not outsource the task itself? I mean for low value task. I don’t quantify it. I can feel it and how much time I have to do the things I love.

You know, so for instance it’s not all that hard to buy things on Amazon, but if I have like 20 things to buy, it’s way easier to like, you know, send Rose. Oh, buy this, this, this, this, this, the link and like she deals with that. It’s not a huge amount of time, but like little by little it adds up. So, I’m not quantifying it.

In general, I just realized that in a given year, I can do so much and so much more than most people because I am fully levered up. The other, you know, I guess, superpower user of outsource people, Jonathan Swanson from Thumbtack or formerly Thumbtack, now creating Athena. I think we’re going to do a joint session.

We’re going to like see our best practices and see if we can learn anything from each other. To figure out what, if anything else, we should be doing and whether or not it’s worth quantifying. At the end of the day, I’m not doing this to be more productive, as I said, which is why I’m not trying to quantify it.

I’m doing this because I want to lead an amazing, fulfilled life. And so, for me, the proof is in the pudding. If I’m actually spending my time with my son and playing video games and reading books and doing things I love doing rather than things I don’t like doing, It means it’s working. And so that’s kind of the way I think about it.

Not reading news. What are your favorite analyst’s source of insights? So, I love Noahpinion. Noah Smith. Let me let me share that here. He’s on Substack. Let’s see. Noah Pinion. Of course, I have my microphone in front of me, so. Oof. Oof. Thanks. So, of course, we share a lot of, like, similar. Oh, wait, I need to share my screen.

We share a lot of, like, similar, philosophical alignment in terms of, like, techno optimism and, and we’re both economists by formation, so I read, I read Noahpinion. I think it’s really interesting and the other things I’m the members of or I don’t know if they’re a actually, let’s see ergo, maybe it’s a consultancy, okay, maybe doing this live is not the best, which we’ll see.

Yeah, so this group and they have like a lot of thoughtful analysis of what’s going on and everything from politics, geopolitics, macroeconomics, et cetera. Actually, talking about it for a quick second, when it comes to politics, I don’t really follow it. Because if I, if I take a step back.

I don’t think it matters all that much. And actually I would argue politics have been, in a way the political system in the U. S. which seems so broken, and like the making of the sausage is awful, actually kind of works. You know, if I go to the 1950s and I’m like And I’m a Democrat and I’m like, Oh, what do I want to see in 70 years?

You know, so in 2023, I want desegregation. I want women in the workforce. I want general, I want like IVF and the pill and a lot of like these social, socially liberal trends that have actually happened. And yes, it and flows and there’s setbacks in the Roe v. Wade, etc. But for the general part, it actually, if that’s what you wanted, you’ve gotten it, right?

And we’re seeing right now like drug legalization etc. Or at least decriminalization. And if you’re a Republican and you’re like, well, I want the, and you’re in the 1950s and I want a lower marginal tax rates and less regulation of industries like airlines, et cetera, the reality is you kind of got that as well.

And so over the long period of time, this isn’t works, but the day to day is acrimonious and awful and it’s not that relevant. It doesn’t change my life in any way, shape or form. So following politics is literally, it’s like negative entertainment. It’s like a form of religion. People follow it. And they feel so passionately about things that I think, ultimately, in the grand scheme of things, don’t matter all that much, right?

As a kid, my ambition was to be in politics because I looked at, like, the people that impacted the world in the past, like Augustus, or Octavian, or Alexander Hamilton. But in the world we live in, politics really doesn’t change all that things too much and I don’t think it’s a bug, I think it’s a feature.

I think the founding fathers created a system that was balanced where it made things hard to change out of by design. And, and so it takes a long time to get there. But I think ultimately you get the right outcomes with like yeah, populous here and there and things that ebb and flow, but it gets there.

I mean, Churchill once famously said that the U. S. can be counted on doing the right thing after all other options have been tested and I think that tends to be very true but ultimately does get there after many, many mistakes and meanderings. And so I’m profoundly optimistic, actually, on the fact that we will get ultimately the right outcomes, even though the day to day can feel weird and scary, etc.

But, by the way, isn’t that much more acrimonious than the past? I mean, you need to remember, the U. S. had a full-blown civil war. We had political opponents that used to shoot each other in duels. I mean, I’m very, you know, sad, like, that Alexander Hamilton died in a duel back in the day. We had, like, massive, civil rights riots race riots.

We had an entire war movement with riots. If anything, it’s less violent today than it was. 30, 40 years ago. And so it feels worse, but I think it may very well be recency bias. And so yeah, don’t follow politics. Waste of time. Don’t follow news. Focus on things you can control in your life that make you happy and focus on positive things.

Because if you take a step back, most things are amazing and like getting better every day. And, and when I look at the life we led, like, when I was a kid and today so many things have gotten better and cheaper. So, I’m profoundly grateful and optimistic to grateful to be living now and optimistic about the future.

So Thomas is asking me if I worry about potential fraud, given that she’s access to my information, emails, etcetera. The reason I don’t worry very much is first of all, she doesn’t have access to she has a credit card to pay, but that’s it, right? She doesn’t have my she can’t send wires. She doesn’t have access to my banking information.

And in credit card, you’re not with a credit card, you are not liable for credit card fraud. And so all I need to do is every month go through the credit card receipts, make sure I approve of all the credit card purchases. And if not, I dispute them and then see where they came from which has happened multiple times, but not actually from my assistant, from people like, you know, somehow getting a credit card number and trying to buy things with that.

But actually, the credit card company is reasonably good at detecting weird patterns or behavior and blocking transactions. And regardless, they reimburse you when fraud happens. So hasn’t been an issue. So yeah, it doesn’t really have access to anything other than that credit card, which is kind of itself a control mechanism.

And in terms of emails, you know, most things that are really secure, you use a ledger or a YubiKey or a two-factor authentication, right? Like email doesn’t really give you access to these things. So, all of my really secure things are fine. And, and if I think of the cost benefit analysis, the risk of fraud versus the time I’m saving, it’s completely worth it.

And also, I don’t give her access to email directly, I think there’s a way to delegate so she can reply on my behalf and see emails or whatever. I’m not the one who set it up, it’s my good friend William, I don’t know exactly how it is, but it works pretty well. I’m thinking of another question that was sent ahead of the episode by Saeed Jabbar.

How do you learn how to break into flow states as well? Perhaps, a I think I’ll do another episode on flow states, but obviously part of the objective of these things to be present and to be in a position to get into flow states. And so, for me, it’s combination of meditating and I have a meditation practice.

It’s 20 minutes a day, sometimes 30 minutes that I do every day that I will share in probably an upcoming episode of like, what is my meditation practice? And maybe I’ll broaden it to flow states because flow states you can get through mastery, right? Like I would argue possibly in a flow state right now presenting this.

I could be in a flow state playing tennis or kite surfing. So if you’re really good at something and you like it, You can enter a flow state through the mastery of that. You can get through flow states through meditation, you can get in flow states through psychedelics, which I like partake in several times a year.

Not often, but like, you know, with set intentions, setting, you know, like LSD or psilocybin, or it could be an amazing way to do that. So, I will do another episode, I think, on flow states, meditation practice. And cover that there, but perhaps the way it relates to this episode is this episode is how do you free up time to do other things?

And one of those things you can do is actually get in a flow state, see what other questions we have. Okay, Charaf from DHARMA, a portfolio company, well hi Sharaf, I’m glad to be an investor. So transparent and super helpful. Do you ever get professional imposter syndrome choosing to live with such radical transparency and need and with what makes you personally happy?

I’ve never had imposer syndrome. So maybe this is like, takes us to a different topic on like happiness in general. Many people I talk to, they have this, like, little voice in their shoulder, which is like, Oh, you’re not good enough. You’re not this enough. You’re not smart enough.

You’re, you don’t belong here. If anything, as a kid, I was really Sheldon Cooper and in college, for sure, Sheldon Cooper. I had the opposite problems. Like I, I believe you thought I belong there even when I zero. So, for me, it was more like, Oh, obviously I’m amazing. I’m extraordinary. Everything’s. And so, I never had imposter syndrome.

From that perspective, I felt I belong. Now, the difference is, as a kid, it was delusional. I thought I knew everything. And then, of course, as you get older, you realize how little you know. And once you fall flat on your feet on your face and you get your teeth kicked in, you realize that how little, you know, and you approach life with way more humility.

I was a definitely arrogant before and now I’ve come to realize how little I know, but I know some things and that’s what I’m trying to share here. Now the beauty or not the beauty is like I’m actually not famous, right? Like it doesn’t sharing all these things is my way of giving back to founders and people out there want to live a better life.

But I’m and it connects to those it connects with and it’s a very small subset of people. I don’t have a publicist I’m not trying to be famous I’m not trying to be a public person. I like sharing what I learn, and it helps the people it hurts. But I am not going, I don’t want to be, I don’t want to have the public profile to be Elon.

I could argue I have more impact on the world than Elon, in terms of like, changing the lives of people today, right? Like I’m an investor in 1100 companies. They’re highly deflationary. They touch the lives of billions. You know, how many people have gone in space with SpaceX so far? Yes, it makes you dream, but it’s not changing the lives of people on a day-to-day basis.

You know, millions of people make a living off of OLX, the company I built. And to me, that’s real impact. Both are useful in their own way. But regardless of impact, would I want to be a public persona? And the answer is no. I have exactly the level of visibility I want to have where Marketplace founders come to me for advice and come to me for investment.

And I can raise funds to do whatever I need, but I don’t want more. More than that would probably be an impediment on my quality of life. I can lead the life I lead with no restrictions. I don’t need bodyguards, no one bothers me, no one recognizes me. Being anonymous is amazing. So, I share out of love for writing, speaking, sharing, learning.

It’s also a way, like kind of part of the reason I write publicly is it’s a way to think through and for myself and to learn what I’ve learned. It structures my thoughts. So, as I think through what things I want to do in the future, I usually write them down. I weigh the pros and cons and publishing them leads to conversations, which I think are interesting.

But because I’m not popular, I’m not famous, and I have no intention of being famous. This works, and it’s okay to be transparent. Now, it’d be possibly different if I, you know, if I was walking down the street, people would mob me, or I’d go to restaurants, or whatever, it’d be, it’d be an inconvenience and lower my quality of life, then I wouldn’t do it.

But as is where it’s just sharing life lessons, it works and it has not impacted me, at all. And by the way, I like doing this. Like, I get pleasure out of, like, sharing, speaking, thinking and I’m very good at it. Like, as I said, it’s possibly one of the ways in which I’m in a flow state. I love writing, love speaking, and it comes very naturally to me.

You know, none of this is scripted. Like, if you look at the speech, I gave at the Transatlantic Forum on the 15-minute speech with no pauses, no hums, no has, no hesitations. And I just gave it and the speaking of it came to me naturally. Now, of course, practice makes perfect. I practiced that many times.

I had to learn the quote by Mark Twain, but it ultimately worked. Okay, next question. So, Sam on YouTube what’s the craziest thing you’ve outsourced? I mentioned earlier, it’s a, I outsource my dating life where I train my assistant to swipe for me on like Bumble and Raya. I showed her, okay, these are the people I like, okay, now for one hour, then, or 30 minutes, then, okay, you do it, okay, I agree, I disagree, so we iterated, get to the point of 95%, then I’m like, hey, we match, this is how I would chat with this person now you do it, and then, okay, I agree, this is how I would speak, okay, now here’s my schedule for the next few weeks set up a date, these days, these days, these days, and she would go ahead and schedule dates with people, and the only thing I needed to do would show up on the date with obviously I would have a printout beforehand of like who the person is, what we talked about. And if I didn’t like the person because she chose incorrectly, A will refine the process on a go forward basis. But B, I would just say cancel the date. And so, it took no time for me. And the date will always be at the bar literally across the street, actually from where I live here, like literally across the street behind me.

So it takes very, very little time. Thomas, one more question regarding the virtual assistants. How well does it work with their support in countries with other languages? So, the Filipino assistants don’t speak French. So, she uses Google Translate. So, if you’re in France or French, I would use a different company.

I don’t know what company to recommend. I’m sure one exists. Maybe they can find someone who’s French speaking. I didn’t ask them. Most of my interactions were in English. And for the things that are in French, I do get emails in French. I think she uses Google Translate and it’s good enough. So, but I’m, the model I’m sure works and I’m sure there are people probably in, I don’t know if it’s Algeria or Morocco or Tunisia that do these types of things for French speaking people.

Regarding outsourcing, what are the two companies that you mentioned? Let me reshare my screen for a quick second up to the presentation. And maybe I’ll full screen it while we’re at it so you can look at it. But the two companies, I actually, I’ll full screen it for a second. Poof. YRA, it’s literally, it’s yourremoteassistant.com. So put it maybe here up. Voila! They have several hundred of them. We have 10 of them directly. Let me go back to the presentation. Oops, wrong window. Up, up. And the other one is Athena, which I mentioned is the Jonathan Swanson. Company from Thumbtack, who’s a master outsourcer. They’re more expensive, possibly a higher end.

I have not tried them, but I trust Athena Virtual Assistant. Let’s try that. Oof. And voila. These are the two. I have not used Athena, but I, as I said, I trust Jonathan to do this to me, to be amazing at this and to make sure that it works very well. Okay. Going back to the questions.

Okay what did you have these Thank you for this transmission? Super clear. Thank you. Okay. I think I kind of covered everything in terms of why to do it. What to do with the time you’ve had when you can ask for us. what? And I How not to follow the news, etc. And so, I’ll take it from there.

Thank you for joining this show. I think I’ll do another show on flow state, my meditation practice, because it’s rather productive. It’s not a point to be productive, but it doesn’t take that much time, and works rather well for me at some point in the future. And yeah, we’ll take it from there. So, thank you all for watching, and I will be posting this, including the presentation on my blog, probably next week so you can rewatch it and have access to the direct PowerPoint, and I’m available as usual for questions by email.

Thank you. Thank you all of you.

2023: An Angel is Born

After the passing of my beloved Rottweiler Bagheera, it took me a long time to be ready for another dog. In the same Ayahuasca ceremony during which my grandmother Françoise convinced me to have kids, I was visited by two white German shepherds. I had a fascination for John Snow’s white dire wolf, Ghost, but did not know the breed existed. From that moment on I knew I was meant to have one. My great friend Amanda helped research the best breeders.  After careful consideration, including interviewing many owners, I selected Breahead White Shepherds.

What followed was years of impatiently waiting for my puppy to be born. In 2023, the stars aligned, and she was born June 13. I picked her up on August 5, the best birthday present ever! She fit right in with Fafa and the Grindaverse and it’s been an amazing love story since. As a side note, it’s shocking how quickly she is growing!

Other than that, the year was filled with adventure. The year started with a bang as I spent the first two weeks in Antarctica skiing to the South Pole. It was significantly harder than I ever expected and the hardest adventure I had ever been on. I had to pull a 100-pound sled 8 hours a day at 10,000 feet of altitude at a -30 degree temperature with -50 wind chill, in addition to having to set up and pack up the camp daily.

I came out of the experience with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I felt immense gratitude for the disconnection I experienced during these two weeks. I felt gratitude to have the ability to have such a unique experience in such a unique landscape. I felt the most gratitude to my family and my extended family in the Grindaverse for putting up with me and supporting me on all my crazy adventures.

I then went to Turks to thaw and host the FJ Labs bi-annual retreat. I had lost over 20 pounds during the expedition and was grateful to be reunited with all the extraordinary luxuries of life in the 21st century that we take for granted: electricity, toilets, running water, showers, and delicious fresh meals!

I then went on a winter adventure in Revelstoke. Fafa loved riding the gondola and the magic carpet and I loved backcountry skiing on weekends.

As per usual, I spent late June and early July in Nice visiting my family. I spent time in Saint-Paul de Vence, Auron and Saint-Tropez visiting my parents, aunt and uncle, brother and nephew. I also had the opportunity to host a fun French Founders event at the villa I had rented in Villefranche.

I then headed to Revelstoke for summer mountain adventures with tons of hiking, mountain biking, and standup paddle boarding. This summer was even more special as I built a padel court and a remote-controlled race car track on my property leading to infinite fun.

I then made my annual pilgrimage to Burning Man. I experienced it in three distinct parts. In the first I explored with my 77-year-old mom. We bonded and chatted for hours. It took a lot of effort to have her there, and it was a real privilege to be able to experience the burn with her. She absolutely loved it. In the second I connected with some of my best friends including my best friend of 35 years. In the third I observed the community rise to the occasion and help each other out. The core principles of radical self-reliance and gifting were on display as everyone helped each other out to deal with the rain and mud. It was the literal opposite of Lord of the Flies and led to quieter, more intimate moments with friends that were just as meaningful if not more so than a regular burn would have been. In other words, it was one of the best burns ever.

It’s been a blast to see Fafa grow up so much over the last year. He looks exactly like me at the same age with the same uncanny ability to hyper focus on something. He speaks clearly in both French and English. As always, he loves trains, planes, and automobiles and we have a blast playing together. He started the 2s program at The Ecole which is the perfect school for us with the rigor of the French school system combined with the team building, public speaking, and creativity of the American system.

The fall also saw me head to Venice for the first time. I then went to my good friend Kevin Ryan’s 60th birthday party in Ibiza, before coming back for an epic Halloween party in NY dressed as Hugh Hefner.

I then headed to Turks for the year end holidays as has become tradition in the family. I finally got around to starting to wing foil. I am also grateful that my brother Olivier brought a fitness and tennis coach which turned the vacation into a Fabrice bootcamp. We averaged 207 minutes of exercise per day, peaking at 333 minutes one day dramatically improving my fitness and mobility on the padel court.

This year we had the biggest Grindaverse reunion ever with 50 attendees for New Year. I even met a few amazing cousins I had never met before. I am glad my brother Christopher was able to come for part of it. My brother Olivier and I took the opportunity to play a film on the family history featuring our notable ancestors that we had commissioned. It was a beautiful love letter to our parents, and to the family at large. It celebrated their contributions and allowed us to express our gratitude for the role they played in getting us where we are. We stand on the shoulders of giants.

Professionally, 2023 continued to be extraordinarily busy. FJ Labs closed its third fund of $290 million in March. We correctly called the bubble in 2021 and suggested people pursue exits then. We continued to be contrarian in 2023.  We decided to invest aggressively as everyone else was retrenching, focusing on asset light businesses raising at least two years of cash.

We feel it’s the best time to invest. Valuations are more reasonable. Founders are focused on cash burn and unit economics. There is much less competition. In the same way that the most interesting companies of the 2010s were built or came of age in the 2008 – 2012 timeframe (Uber, Airbnb, Twilio, Instagram, WhatsApp), I suspect that the most interesting companies of the 2020s will come out of the 2022 – 2024 timeframe.

For the most part we are focusing on B2B marketplaces and the digitization of B2B supply chains and avoiding the bubble in AI. I will detail our current investment thesis in an upcoming blog post, but you can hear it both in the keynote I gave on the state of entrepreneurship at the Transatlantic Leadership Forum at Goldman Sachs in the fall and in the masterclasses I gave respectively with Everything Marketplaces and Founders Network.

Overall, FJ Labs continued to rock. The team grew to 34 people. We added two analysts as part of an inaugural two-year analyst class and seasoned CFO, Ariel Lebowits what had been my CFO had Zingy and OLX. We deployed $73 million. We made 190 start-up investments, 89 first time investments and 101 follow-on investments. We also continued to deploy our liquid crypto strategy during the crypto winter investing in 30 liquid crypto companies.

For the first time the number of follow-on investments exceeded the number of new investments. This is up from the historical average of 35% of investments being follow-ons. The growing portfolio accounts for part of this increase as we are seeing more opportunities to support our existing founders. The macro environment also played a role as many portfolio companies decided to raise extension rounds to shore up runway, growth and unit economics to weather this challenging time. Despite the macro, we were fortunate to successfully exit several of our positions, including the secondary sale of Yassir, and the acquisition and AdoreMe by Victoria’s Secret.

Since Jose and I started angel investing 25 years ago, we invested in 1098 unique companies, had 365 exits (including partial exits), and currently have 839 active unique company investments. We had realized returns of 37% IRR and a 3.7x average multiple. In total, we deployed $603M of which $178M was provided by Jose and me.

In addition to redesigning large sections of this blog, I wrote a fair amount in 2023. My best articles were:

I was less prolific with Playing with Unicorns as I did not have my streaming gear for large portions of the year. However, I had a fascinating conversation with my good friend Kevin Ryan. Fafa also made a guest appearance on my Ask Me Anything episode in February that was very well received.

Instead, I appeared on other podcasts, notably detailing the intricacies of building a fund on 1947 Rise, and discussing everything and anything (adventure travel, risk taking, spirituality, startups and much more) with my good friend Robin Haak.

As usual, I was a very prolific reader. My favorite books were:

My guilty pleasure of the year was the Starter Villain by John Scalzi.

Most of my personal predictions for 2023 came true. I got Angel. I loved Antarctica. I took my mom to Burning Man. I started wing foiling. Fafa and I had countless fun adventures. We had a blowout Grindaverse party at the end of the year.  

My macroeconomic predictions proved overly bearish. Despite the fastest increase in interest rates in 30 years and a full-blown recession in the tech sector, the economy at large did well with strong wage growth, low unemployment, and declining inflation. I remain more bearish than consensus:

  • Commercial real estate is headed for a major crisis.
  • The commercial real estate crisis will exacerbate the banking crisis.
  • Consumer debt is at an all-time high.
  • Corporate debt refinancings will be expensive and difficult.
  • The PMI is below 50.
  • The yield curve is inverted.
  • People are finally coming to terms with the fact that rates will be higher for longer.
  • Political and geopolitical turmoil is not abating.

However, I see the world in probabilistic terms and the probability of a recession is lower now than it was a year ago (though I still ascribe a 40% probability to it, not the 5% that seems consensus). With inflation increasingly under control, the Fed should start lowering rates in the second half of the year. We may yet have a soft landing, a feat only achieved once in the last 60 years.

In the long term, a dollar crisis is looming given our unsustainable government deficits and increasing debt-to-GDP, but I suspect the day of reckoning for the US is over 5 years away with other fiat currency crisis playing out before then.

There is plenty to be optimistic about. We are still at the beginning of the technology revolution with minimal penetration of technology in most B2B supply chains and government. We are seeing continued progress in AI, batteries, space, robots, and vaccines. Adoption of solar power and electric cars is continuing unabated. We may very well be on the eve of a technology led deflationary productivity revolution that will transform our lives for the better while helping us address the challenges of our time: inequality of opportunity and climate change. I suspect that it will take over 5 years for AI driven productivity improvements to be noticed because it will take a while to be adopted in large enterprises and government, but I am hopeful that it will happen.

On a personal level, I am excited for 2024. My daughter Amélie, named after my mother’s grandmother, should join the ever-expanding Grindaverse in February. She will be the first granddaughter for my parents, and I cannot wait to meet her. I am looking forward to more crazy adventures with François and Angel. I am still hoping to convince François to ride on my back while I am kitesurfing. Next August, I am turning 50 and am looking forward to celebrating with all my friends and family in Turks & Caicos. The year will end with our typical family gathering in Turks & Caicos for Christmas, but for a change, I will head to Revelstoke for a snowy New Year in a more intimate setting.

Happy New Year!