We’re delighted Chamath Palihapitiya of Social Capital is a Latticework 2017 instructor and excited to learn from his perspectives on Intelligent Investing in a Changing World

The brief Q&A below, I think, is particularly eye-opening:

What are some decisions taken by the “Growth team” at Facebook that helped Facebook reach 500 million users? 

I think Andy got a lot of things right in this post. As I tell most people who ask, the key to understanding growth is two things:

1) a fundamental understanding of your product – and specifically what the key reasons people use it are. its amazing to me how confused many people are about this and unable to really discern motivations and root causes from byproducts and outcomes. knowing true product value allows you to design the experiments necessary so that you can really isolate cause and effect. as an example, at facebook, one thing we were able to determine early on was a key link between the number of friends you had in a given time and likelihood to churn. knowing this allowed us to do a lot to get new users to their “a-ha” moment quickly. obviously, however, this required us to know what the “a-ha” moment was with a fair amount of certainty in the first place.

2) a simple framework for doing your work. too many people “complexify” things in an attempt to seem smart. great things are simple. we had a very simple framework for growth that andy articulated above – acquisition, activation, engagement, virality. having this framework allowed us to prioritize our work, design experiments, build products, etc. it also allowed everyone to understand it and see how decisions were made in a logical, transparent way.

As an aside: there were some other great people responsible for Growth from the outset including Naomi Gleit and James Wang. We (me, Javi, Blake, Naomi, Alex, James) were the first “GrowthCircle” or the leadership team responsible for growth. The team continues to thrive at facebook and has grown to include some other great people… [Answered May 13, 2012]

If Chamath Palihapitiya had to put all of his money in one investment today with a 10 year holding period, what would it be? 

I would buy AMZN. I think Amazon is the most interesting company right now and represents the surest path to a $5T (15-20x from current levels) market cap within 50 years. the reason i think this has nothing to do with ecommerce although ecommerce is their way of dog fooding the real reason: AWS.

AWS is a tax on the compute economy. so whether you care about mobile apps, consumer apps, IoT, SaaS etc etc, more companies than not will be using AWS vs building their own infrastructure. ecommerce was AMZN’s way to dogfood aws, and continue to do so so that it was mission grade. if you believe that over time the software industry is a multi, deca trillion industry, then ask yourself how valuable a company would be who taxes the majority of that industry.

1%, 2%, 5% – it doesn’t matter because the numbers are so huge – the revenues, profits, profit margins etc. i don’t see any cleaner monopoly available to buy in the public markets right now. [Answered Jan 13, 2016]

What is Chamath Palihapitiya’s personal net worth? 

Whatever it is now, it will be zero when I am no longer alive. I think I am fortunate enough to say this but I am merely a custodian of money. That money, while it is with me, should be used as a tool for change and progress. After that, it should be redistributed/reallocated to others who will do the same… [Answered Dec 15, 2013]

In the coming days, we will begin selectively extending participant invitations to Latticework 2017.