This past week, I attended an incredible event; The Launch Angel Summit in Napa led by Jason Calacanis (aka JCal)

Angel Summit attendees consisted of angel investors, venture capitalists (e.g. Mar Hershenson, Christine Tsai and Bill Gurly , and capital allocators (LPs) like Amy Diamond and Christy Richardson and capital allocators podcast host Ted Seides all in all, about 100 people. Three days were spent: on educational presentations by experts, afternoon networking events that varied from wine tasting to kayaking and even poker lessons. On Monday evening David Friedberg, Chamath Palihapitiya, and David Sacks showed up to record a live episode of the All-in podcast with Jason Calacanis and did live questions and answers from the audience.

Jason encouraged all participants at the summit to make one good friend coming out of the summit. I feel that along with everyone else, I over-achieved on this front. 

I am happy to have met and formed new friendships with Sunil Bagai, Conrad Bates, Lisa Song Sutton, Andrew Chen, Aaron Spool, Eliana Murillo, Ban Kawas, and Gabriel Shen and of course it was great to see old friends including Zach Coelius, Nemke Kostic and Irwin Ki many of whom contributed to this post by sharing lessons they learned. I’m  grateful for their time and friendship.

 I can summarize my takeaways of the event in a few points:

  • Impressive and humble attendees – Everyone we met was impressive and also humble. All in attendance were curious, wanted to learn, and had no need to impress others. 
  • Informative thoughts – The presentations about venture and angel investing were insightful, and speakers were honest about the long game and long odds of operating in this industry.
    • Elizabeth Yin from Hustle fund illustrated how as little as 10% of investable Capital going into VC, vs 100% going into public stock, can 3x the upside with only about 5% of the capital being at risk of complete loss. 
    • Brad Gerstner made a recommendation for a book on essentialism.
    • My favorite question came up at the live taping of the All-in podcast: “What is the future for those in college, what’s an area of study that won’t be disrupted by AI or an area of education that AI can give leverage to?” Answers included:
      • Chamath would tell his kids to do something mathematical or biological because they’re irrefutable. He referenced a clip between Ricky Gervais and Stephen Colbert as they discussed religion and God where Gervais pointed out that if the world is wiped out and there is no book standing, in 1000 years we’d re-establish math and science. He said belief oriented roles will change due to technology.
      • Jason suggested skills related to being an entrepreneur, resilience, being worldly, and ability to communicate and lead others won’t go away.
  • Insightful quotes – Brad offered two insightful quotes:
    • “ChatGPT is having the iphone moment right now – Now is the time for VCs to meet everyone and learn to have a prepared mind, probably not time to invest.”
    • “Innovation trumps macro trends (compliments to my hedge fund manager friends)”.
    • My favorite quote from JCal “Don’t underestimate anyone” and “where you start is not where you finish.” 
    • Another quote from JCal: “Learn to listen optimistically but think long term.”
    • Aaron Spool shared his ethos, which I found to be simple and profound. “Anything I do must cater to family, faith, and firm; otherwise, it’s a pass.”

This event was worth my time and effort. I made new friends, Conrad Bates had a few hours to spare immediately after the summit and before flying back to Australia, he pushed me to cycle 25 miles around San Francisco and we climbed the twin peaks together with the total elevation of the ride reaching over 1,600 feet – I feel grateful!

What events do you recommend that are impactful and informative?