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Chamath Palihapitiya

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Profile

Chamath Palihapitiya is a technologist, venture capitalist, and political advocate who has spent the majority of his life in Silicon Valley. Born in Sri Lanka, Palihapitiya was raised in Canada and graduated from the University of Waterloo with an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering. He moved to California in 2000, placing him at the epicenter of the technology and Internet boom that would prove to be monumental for his career.

Upon moving to Silicon Valley, Palihapitiya landed a position at AOL and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming the head the the company’s instant messaging division in 2004. After a quick stint the venture capital firm Mayfield Fund, Palihapitiya joined Facebook in 2005. At this time the social networking company was just one year old. Palahapitiya was responsible for growing Facebook’s userbase, something in which he was quite successful at. Palahapitiya credits Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with changing his attitude about people who wrote code and he also respected his lack of ego and ability to separate business from personal relationships.

While still at Facebook, Palahapitiya began making side investments and in 2011 had enough money to leave the company to start his own fund, called The Social+Capital Partnership. As of 2013, The Social+Capital Fund has raised more than $275 million. Palahapitiya has invested in numerous startups since the fund’s inception, including Yammer and Friend.ly.

Palahapitiya is involved in political lobbying group, FWD.us and has outspokenly criticized the U.S. government, calling it “completely useless”.

Companies and Investments

better. (Co-Founder & Chairman), mAD Apparel (Founder & Executive Chairman of the Board), AOL (Vice President & General Manager), Golden State Warriors (Owner & Board Director), Embarcadero Ventures (Founder), Xtreme Labs (Owners & Executive Chairman of the Board), Remote Health (Founder, CEO & Board Director), Winamp (Product & Business Development), Athos (Co-Founder & Executive Chairman), The Social+Capital Partnership (Founder & Managing Partner), Facebook (VP of Growth, Mobile & International and VP of Product Marketing), shoply (Investor), Kahuna (Investor), Wave Accounting (Investor), Treehouse (Investor), Yammer (Investor), Friend.ly (Investor)


Lessons Learned

Palihapitiya believes people spend far too much time focusing on small, mundane things instead of big ideas, such as health care and startups in sectors we are less familiar with.

The technologist and venture capitalist is also a philanthropist and is involved with such political advocacy groups as FWD.us, a company that focuses on issues like immigration reform.

Palihapitiya thinks that this is the time when everyone should be focusing on huge, crazy things, not more of the same.

Through various technologies, Palihapitiya believes there can be numerous economic and life improvements.

Palihapitiya is most excited about three important technologies: sensor network, automated transportation, and the very specific application of big data.

A strong advocate for innovation and technology, Palihapitiya has learned through his numerous investments and involvement in different sectors that there are ways in which we can explicitly improve a person’s quality of life and economic output.

Palihapitiya thinks the most important thing in business is the management, rewards, and development of human capital.


Inspiring Quotes

All of my friends who have younger siblings who are going to college or high school - my number one piece of advice is: You should learn how to program.

Mark Zuckerberg

There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future. The scale of the technology and infrastructure that must be built is unprecedented, and we believe this is the most important problem we can focus on

Mark Zuckerberg

Chamath Palihapitiya's Quotes

Moving the world forward is an exclusive thing. I want to be a merchant of progress

Chamath Palihapitiya

Anything I can do to refine the skill of reading people is time well spent

Chamath Palihapitiya

You might as well just swing the bat on something crazy, big, and audacious

Chamath Palihapitiya

I was born poor; I will die poor. The only thing that matters is the legacy of what I’ve done

Chamath Palihapitiya

When things are working, it’s easy to conflate luck and skill

Chamath Palihapitiya

Influential Books

Mentors

References


Technical

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