PandoMonthly Presents: A Fireside Chat with Jeff Hammerbacher
- Science & Technology
- Atlassian, San Francisco CA
I have been wanting to do a PandoMonthly event in LA for months now.
LA's startup scene is at the most pivotal point in its nascent, up-and-down history. It's tumultuous to say the least. You have rocket ship companies with uncertain futures, wildly over-valued series A rounds, one-time leaders suddenly shutting down product and sleeper companies that eschew the press, all the while putting up big numbers.
It's an ecosystem that people both over-estimate and under-estimate at the same time, and I want to spend more time there.
But even if I was utterly bored by everything going on in LA, I'd make the trek down just to interview Elon Musk on stage. Part James Bond villain, part Tony Stark saving the world, Musk defies any normal entrepreneur mold. His brand of entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. He frequently describes entrepreneurship as "standing on the edge of the abyss chewing broken glass."
People have been harassing our staff all morning about them. They will go quickly.
Musk was a co-founder of PayPal and has since out performed much of the PayPal mafia. That's saying something, considering that group spawned a bevy of Web giants like LinkedIn, Yelp, and YouTube and invested in most of the other big ones. PayPal co-founders Peter Thiel and Max Levchin were considered controversial to invest in consumer Internet companies back in the early 2000s, while most investors were still crouching in a post-NASDAQ crash fetal position.
If that was a little crazy, Musk should be institutionalized: He invested $180 million of his fortune (read: most of it) in a rocket company and an electric car company.
But although Tesla and SpaceX were the most risky, they've arguably been the most world-changing and may prove to be the most successful. Musk had a pretty good 2010 when Tesla went public. It's now valued just north of $3 billion today. But he had an even more impressive 2012 with the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket, kicking off a new private sector space race and reinvigorating the sex appeal of space travel for a new generation.
There are few more controversial, impressive, and inspiring entrepreneurs in the world we could interview on the planet.
Because Musk is making time in his very -- very-- busy schedule for us, we only have him for an hour. The fireside chat will start promptly at 6 pm at Cross Campus in Santa Monica. Doors open at 5 pm for the usual pizza, beer and networking. As usual, we'll live stream the event and have the full video on the site a few days later.
We hope to see you there, LA!