I like surrounding myself with interesting people who see possibilities that no one else sees and go after them.
What inspires you?
People who think unconventionally, are great problem solvers and see opportunities where others see only challenges.
I think back to the start of my career – while pursuing my PhD at MIT, I was convinced by an alumnus to leave academia and “get on with life”. He was quite a character– there’s actually a Hollywood movie about his skills as a card shark. He started as an engineer, went into banking as a trader, and revolutionized the US treasury market; and he is just one example. I like surrounding myself with interesting people who see possibilities that no one else sees and go after them.
What do you appreciate most about your current role?
I believed that the intellectual capital I would gain at SoftBank Investment Advisers, would be more exponentially accretive to me than at any other institution.
The founders we work with inspire me with the scale and ambition of their new ideas; these are businesses that are going to make a huge impact on society. We are able to help accelerate all of that by providing them the resources they need to convert their vision into reality.
When you think about all of the market disruptions that you're seeing, what stands out?
New emerging platforms are taking on really old and, frankly, inflexible industries and changing them in dynamic and surprising ways. For example, insurance is about as antiquated an industry as you can imagine – massive capital requirements, heavily regulated, etc. A change is needed and it’s a classic example of the ‘Innovator’s Dilemma’. We’re now seeing companies that are using AI, IoT and behavioral science to disrupt and in many cases modernize insurance companies from the inside out. We’re seeing such themes play out in every sector today.
What do you try to do in your work with founders?
I believe that we’ve built one of the most powerful technology ecosystems in the world – and there’s a network effect to it, where founders discover synergies with companies that would most likely not have known each other well enough to even initiate a business discussion. We've had founders make connections that have had an immediately positive effect on their business. These are companies that are already doing incredible things, but when they leverage synergies that enhance their capabilities individually, it creates a positive feedback loop in a whole new dimension across our portfolio.
You mentioned you have kids. What are the skills you want to impart on them as they grow up?
I've discovered time and again that flexibility and versatility are more important than any particular technical skill. The most successful professionals in the future will be dynamic, big thinkers who can thrive in just about any context. That's only going to become more true as the ‘Information Revolution’ accelerates. For my kids, my biggest wish is that they pursue a career that they love, they embrace change and are able to adapt to it.
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