Show cover of Thoughts in Between: exploring how technology collides with politics, culture and society

Thoughts in Between: exploring how technology collides with politics, culture and society

Matt Clifford, co-founder of Entrepreneur First, interviews the people behind some of the world's most important ideas. We explore in-depth some of the fastest-changing and most impactful areas of life, from technology to geopolitics and scientific progress to entrepreneurship. Guests include founders, investors, academics and journalists working and thinking at the frontier of these topics. Subscribe to the free newsletter at http://tib.matthewclifford.com/

Tracks

Rohit Krishnan and Visa Veerasamy on Talent and Ambition
Rohit Krishnan is an investor and writer; he is the author of Strange Loop Canon (he was previously on the podcast here). Visa Veerasamy is the author of Introspect and Friendly Ambitious Nerd, among other things. In this conversation we talk about whether entrepreneurs are born or made; the role of culture in ambition; how we can make people more ambitious and much more.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
127:01 2/8/23
Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha: The Startup of You
Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha are the co-authors of The Startup of You, which explores how to adapt, take risks, grow your network and transform your career. Reid was co-founder of LinkedIn and a partner at Greylock. He sits on the boards of a number of organisations including Microsoft, OpenAI and, of course, my company Entrepreneur First. Ben is an investor, entrepreneur and writer and is one of the founders of Village Global, a venture capital firm. As well as their book, which I recommend, they have an accompanying podcast, also called the Startup of You. In this conversation we discuss why careers are like startups, what you can give Bill Gates that he can't buy, how to do extremely effective referencing and much more. ----------------- Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
54:20 7/31/22
Iason Gabriel: Artificial intelligence and moral philosophy
Iason Gabriel is a research scientist at DeepMind and was previously a lecturer in political and moral philosophy at Oxford University. His work focuses on the moral questions raised by artificial intelligence. In this conversation we discuss how and why AI is different from other technologies; the problem of value alignment in AI; what political philosophy can tell us about how to build ethical AI systems; and much more. Iason's paper on value alignment that we discuss is here. In the paper, he also recommends this paper on decolonial AI; the book Superintelligence by Nick Bostrom; and the book Automating Inequality by Virginia Eubanks.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
97:41 7/11/22
Tyler Cowen and Daniel Gross: Talent - How to identify winners around the world
Tyler Cowen and Daniel Gross are the authors of a new book, Talent: How to identify energisers, creatives and winners around the world. Tyler is an economist, who is perhaps best known for his daily blogging at Marginal Revolution (which I've been reading since 2003!) and as the founder of Emergent Ventures, a grant-making programme focused on ambitious young people. Daniel is a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneur and investor, perhaps best known as the founder of Cue, a search engine, and Pioneer, a global talent-focused startup tournament and investment programme. All three of us are talent obsessives, so this was a hugely fun conversation spanning every aspect of the topic, from why the market for talent is so inefficient to Tyler and Daniel answering their own favourite interview questions. I highly recommend their book, which you can buy here.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
108:29 5/16/22
Kyla Scanlon: How the internet is changing finance, economics and everything else
Kyla Scanlon is a creator and educator who focuses on explaining finance and economics through her newsletter, YouTube and TikTok videos. She has a unique perspective on how the internet continues to change everything around us. In this conversation we discuss social media and the authentic self; Elon Musk, Twitter and free speech; memes as an investment strategy; the future of the dollar as a global reserve currency and much more. Enjoy this conversation with Kyla Scanlon. You can subscribe to Kyla’s newsletter here; the edition we discuss on “F*** about and find out” is here. ----------------- Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
97:27 5/9/22
Stuart Buck: Making science funding work better
Stuart Buck is the Executive Director of the Good Science Project, a new initiative to make science funding more effective, innovative, and robust. This mission has been the major theme of Stuart’s career; he was previously Vice President of Research at Arnold Ventures, a large philanthropic foundation. In this conversation, we discuss the twin problems of reproducibility and innovation in science, and whether they’re in tension. We talk about whether and why most published research findings are false; how to fix career incentives in science; and why science should embrace red teaming, among many other things.I recommend this essay by Stuart, which I reference during the conversation. The book I reference, The Enigma of Reason, is here and the review Stuart mentions is here.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
102:23 4/18/22
Tanya Filer: Making technology serve the public good
Tanya is an academic and entrepreneur. She leads the Digital State project at Cambridge University's Bennett Institute and is the founder of StateUp, an advisory firm focused on innovation that serves a public purpose. In this conversation, we talk about the idea of "public purpose technology", the companies that are building it and the investors that are funding it. We talk through the challenges of building for the public sector - from procurement to fundraising - as well as the big opportunities for citizens, governments and entrepreneurs in more effective public purpose tech. Enjoy this conversation with Tanya Filer.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
102:09 4/4/22
Nadia Eghbal: Silicon Valley and the future of philanthropy
Nadia Eghbal is an independent researcher and writer. She’s the author of Working in Public, which is an ethnographic study of how Open Source Software is made and maintained. She recently won an Emergent Ventures grant to study and write about technology wealth and philanthropy. In this conversation, we discuss how and why technology entrepreneurs think differently about philanthropy, what this means for the funding of science, how crypto is changing this space and much more. Enjoy this conversation with Nadia Eghbal.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
112:01 3/21/22
Shashank Joshi: Ukraine - how we got here and what next?
Shashank Joshi is defence editor at the Economist. Long-time listeners may remember our conversation last year on geopolitics and security. Shashank joins me again today for a special edition on the situation in Ukraine. Shashank talks us through how we got here, what Putin wants, and some of the possible endgames. I should emphasise that we recorded this first thing Friday morning UK time and it’s an extremely fast-moving situation, so we tried to focus on topics that wouldn’t be completely out of date by the time you’re hearing this. As usual, I learned a lot from Shashank. I have to say that his conclusions are quite sobering but very important to understand. Enjoy this conversation with Shashank Joshi.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
55:39 2/28/22
Sam Arbesman: Science, institutional innovation and long term thinking
Sam Arbesman is a complexity scientist and writer and is currently a scientist-in-residence at Lux Capital, a leading venture capital fund. Sam’s writing covers many topics that will be familiar to Thoughts in Between readers and listeners. In this conversation, we discuss the need for institutional innovation in science, the value of long-term thinking, the value of historical literacy in technology, and much more. Enjoy this conversation with Sam Arbesman.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
95:02 2/21/22
Sebastian Mallaby: What is venture capital good for?
Sebastian Mallaby is a journalist and author. His latest book, The Power Law, is an exploration of the history and impact of venture capital that seeks to explain how VCs see the world and why it matters. In this conversation, we discuss why VC is so different from any other asset class, why VC networks should be considered a third core institution of capitalism alongside firms and markets, and whether VC has a positive impact in the world.You can order the Power Law here.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
108:40 2/7/22
Allister Furey: Creating a ratings agency for the net zero economy
Allister Furey is co-founder and CEO of Sylvera, a technology startup building a ratings agency for carbon markets. In this conversation, we discuss why evaluation and verification is so important for building a net-zero economy and the challenges that face innovators and investors in today's market. We talk through how Sylvera creates ratings for carbon projects and why this might be the key to unlocking trillions of dollars of investment for carbon offset and removal initiatives (Allister used to work at Entrepreneur First and I am a small investor in Sylvera).-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
93:52 1/24/22
Rohit Krishnan: Talent, cities, companies and billionaires
Rohit Krishna is a venture capitalist and the writer behind Strange Loop Canon, one of my favourite Substacks (and one that regular readers of the TiB newsletter may recognise). In this wide-ranging conversation, we talk about how billionaires can be better at philanthropy, why identifying extreme talent is so challenging, new ways to invest in talent, why cities tend to last so much longer than companies, and much more.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
125:49 12/6/21
Michelle You: Making markets in carbon removal
Michelle You is co-founder and CEO of Supercritical, a startup that helps companies achieve Net Zero through carbon removal. Michelle is a serial entrepreneur (she was previously one of the founders of Songkick) and in this conversation, we dive into why she decided to focus on carbon removal for her next company. We also explore why the label Net Zero can be misleading, the challenges of creating new markets in carbon, and which carbon removal technologies she’s most excited about.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
85:21 11/22/21
Christian Hernandez: What can venture capital do about the climate crisis?
Christian Hernandez is one of the founding partners of 2150, a venture capital firm dedicated to backing startups that are reinventing how cities are built, run, and maintained - with a particular focus on sustainability and reducing carbon emissions. In this conversation, we talk about the role that venture capital and startups have to play in addressing the climate crisis. We discuss the most promising areas where startups can make a difference, why climate change is a national security issue, and much more.Enjoy this conversation with Christian HernandezIn the discussion, Christian recommends several books including: All Hell Breaking Loose, Uninhabitable Earth, and How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. You can read Christian’s blog posts here.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
111:56 11/8/21
Tony Kulesa: The founder revolution in biotech
Tony Kulesa is one of the founders of Petri, a new approach for funding formation stage startups at the intersection of biology and engineering. We spend a lot of this conversation talking about why there is such an explosion of activity in biotech entrepreneurship today and why new models for supporting and financing founders are needed. Regular readers of the Thoughts in Between newsletter may also remember that we recently discussed Tony’s excellent essay on Tyler Cowen’ and talent curation. We jump into this topic towards the end of this episode. -----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
107:57 10/25/21
Jason Crawford: What is progress and how do we get more of it?
Jason Crawford is the founder of Roots of Progress, a nonprofit dedicated to establishing a new philosophy of progress for the 21st century. Jason is a prolific writer on the history of science and technology and is one of the leading figures in the Progress Studies community. In this conversation, we discuss what causes progress; why it's not universally popular; what the history of bicycle tells us about why advances in technology sometimes take so long; why the future people imagined in the 1960s didn't happen; and much more.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
118:51 10/11/21
Azeem Azhar: Navigating the Exponential Age
Azeem Azhar is an entrepreneur, investor, and the creator of Exponential View - a newsletter and community dedicated to understanding the future. He's the author of the new book, Exponential, which explores how accelerating technology is changing our world faster than our institutions are designed to react. In this conversation, we discuss some of the big ideas in the book, from the emergence of superstar corporations to the future of work and cities. I highly recommend the book, which I think is the best guide so far to navigating the social and political challenges of the internet age.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
118:42 9/27/21
Ilan Gur: Empowering scientists to maximise their impact in the world
Ilan is CEO of Activate, a non-profit fellowship that enables entrepreneurial scientists to transform their research into world-changing deep tech products and businesses. There are lots of parallels between my day job at Entrepreneur First and what Ilan is building at Activate, so it was great to explorie what we’ve both learned in this conversation. Unlike EF, Activate is focused on science that is going to take a long time, often at least a couple of years, before it’s ready for even the earliest stage venture capital. I think this is a really important space and there are big lessons for how we stimulate breakthrough innovation. -----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
116:24 9/13/21
Jess Whittlestone & Jack Clark: What Governments should do about AI
My guests today are Jess Whittlestone and Jack Clark. Jess is a senior research associate at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Existential Risk. Jack is a co-founder of Anthropic, an AI safety and research company, and was previously Policy Director at OpenAI. Together they are co-authors on a new paper on why and how governments should monitor AI deployment, which you can read here. In this conversation, we discuss the paper and the ways in which governments need to act not to ensure AI is a force for good in their societies.Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
107:59 8/31/21
The Entrepreneur First Podcast: Building billion dollar companies
I'd like to introduce you to The Entrepreneur First Podcast, my new show with EF co-founder Alice Bentinck.Together, we've been talking to some of the brightest entrepreneurs who have ever set foot in an EF office about what it takes to build a business from the ground up.In this episode I speak to Alex Dalyac, co-founder and CEO of Tractable, EF's first unicorn. We're joined by LinkedIn's co-founder and Chairman, Reid Hoffman. Reid and Alex share what they believe are the most important tenets of founding a successful business - particularly in the earliest stages - and how aspiring founders can launch a startup heading for unicorn status.This is the only episode of The Entrepreneur First Podcast that is going to appear on this feed.  To hear more, search for The Entrepreneur First Podcast wherever you listen. Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com.
65:15 8/27/21
Ethan Mollick: what do we *actually* know about entrepreneurship?
Ethan Mollick is a professor of entrepreneurship at Wharton, a former founder and author of the book, The Unicorn’s Shadow. Readers of the Thoughts in Between newsletter may also recognise him as the curator of perhaps the world’s most interesting Twitter feed. I think I link to Ethan more than to anyone else. In this conversation, we dive deeply into what the academic literature tells us about entrepreneurship. It’s the first time either of us have ever met, so during the conversation, I share a little bit about our methodology for company creation at Entrepreneur First and we discuss both how it contradicts and complements the literature. We also discuss a game-like simulation of entrepreneurship that Ethan has created, which I recommend you check out.Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
109:33 8/16/21
Gian Volpicelli: a beginner's guide to cryptocurrency
Gian Volpicelli is a journalist at Wired UK, where he covers the intersection of technology and politics. He’s also the author of the recently published Wired Guide to Cryptocurrency, which you can think of as a beginner’s guide to all things crypto. This conversation is for people who are new to crypto and feared it was too late to learn. We talk through the economics, politics, and sociology of cryptocurrency - and why you should care.Some of the links we discuss include:- The Bitcoin white paper- Vitalik Buterin on legitimacy (see also TiB)- TiB on Tether- TiB on central bank digital currencies (CBDCs)-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
126:00 7/26/21
Jeff Ding: What's happening in Chinese AI?
Jeffrey Ding is a doctoral candidate and Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, where he also works as the China Lead for the Centre for the Governance of AI. He’s one of the foremost English language commentators on AI in China and is the writer of the brilliant ChinAI newsletter, which is an invaluable guide to the topic. In this conversation we discuss recent developments in Chinese AI, including talent, funding and technical breakthroughs, as well as looking at Jeff’s academic work on how governments should think about strategic technologies. -----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
107:57 7/12/21
Gena Gorlin: Psychology, founders and the nature of ambition
Gena Gorlin is a professor and practicing psychologist. Both her academic and her clinical work focuses on how individuals can overcome psychological obstacles to achieve goals. She’s become especially interested in working with ambitious innovators, particularly startup founders. Over the last few months, I’ve been lucky to work with Gena on a major project in my day job at Entrepreneur First and I thought that her observations would be interesting to a broader audience. In this conversation we discuss the nature of ambition, the most common psychological challenges founders face, the role of parenting, and much more.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
119:18 6/28/21
Meia Nouwens: Taiwan, AI and China's relationship with the world
Meia Nouwens is a China expert who works as a senior fellow at the International Institute of Strategic Studies. She’s thought deeply and written extensively on many favorite Thoughts in Between topics, from the geopolitics of semiconductors to the role of AI in the future of war. In this conversation, we discuss China’s Digital Silk Road, the likelihood of war in Taiwan, and much more.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
116:28 6/14/21
Future Proof: How to save the world from catastrophic risks
Angus Mercer, Sophie Dannreuther and Gregory Lewis are three of the people behind, “Future Proof”, a report released last week by the Centre for Long Term Resilience on how the UK and the world can become more resilient to extreme risks in the decades ahead. In the wake of the pandemic, thinking about how we mitigate catastrophic risk seems both urgent and important. In this conversation, we discuss the most important steps governments can take, with a particular focus on biosecurity. I hope you find it both sobering and optimistic!-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
98:55 6/7/21
Ash Fontana: How to build an AI-first company
Ash Fontana is Managing Director of Zetta Venture Partners, a venture capital firm focused on artificial intelligence startups. He’s also the author of The AI First Company, a new book that draws on Ash’s experience as an entrepreneur and investor and lays out the principles for building a successful business based on data learning effects. In this conversation, we dive into the book’s core ideas and discuss the past, present and future of AI.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
126:00 5/31/21
Shashank Joshi: China, Russia and the world's biggest security risks
Shashank Joshi is defence editor at the Economist and an expert in international security, geopolitics, and military affairs. I’ve known Shashank for many years and I think he has the most encyclopedic knowledge of anyone I’ve met. As a result, this is an extremely wide-ranging and, for me, educational conversation, in which we cover topics including why Vladimir Putin behaves the way he does, how spies get by in the age of ubiquitous digital surveillance, the world’s most underrated security risks and much, much more.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com
131:45 5/17/21
Erik Hoel: The search for a theory of consciousness in reality and fiction
Erik Hoel is a neuroscientist whose work we’ve discussed in Thoughts in Between before. But he’s also an excellent writer of fiction: his first novel, The Revelations, has just been published in the US and is available in the UK from 13 May 2021. It’s a brilliant novel of ideas centered on the search for a theory of consciousness. It’s one of the best things I’ve read this year and this discussion is a spoiler-free introduction to some of its big themes: the sociology of science, the nature of ambition and, of course, consciousness itself.Enjoy this conversation with Erik Hoel.-----------------Thanks to Cofruition for consulting on and producing the show. You can learn more about Entrepreneur First at www.joinef.com and subscribe to my weekly newsletter at tib.matthewclifford.com.
124:40 5/3/21