Started From The Bottom Now…

tldr: I’m transitioning out of full time at GSV and will continue to advise the TEAM. Looking forward to the next adventure.

^Those words are weird for me to write, but anyway on with the story:

I first met our founder Michael when I was still working in Chicago in 2012. At the time, GSV had already invested in Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox and a number of emerging powerhouse startups.

But actually my first time coming to the office in Woodside was a bit of a culture shock walking into the downstairs (read: basement) office in a little two-story classic Californian wooden frame building. It looked straight out of central casting for an office you’d see in an old Wells Fargo TV commercial. Later on, we moved next door — to the Pioneer Saloon/Hotel.

We actually did start at the bottom (office).
L: me with our 2015 interns Max, Aidan, Rahul and Ryan; R: Ryan made a thing for us

Yes, it was “rewarding” to watch Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox, Spotify go public after many years of being invested in their financial success, but at a human level, it’s still about the TEAM of people at GSV that I got to work with in such a deep and meaningful way.

We grew from a handful of people to several dozen across the various GSV companies. So to continue quoting the public intellectual Drake:

“Started from the bottom now my whole team fucking here”

The following is not #humblebrag, it is just #normalbrag because I have to brag about our TEAM.

From 2012 to 2018, our team grew our core fund GSV Capital, and partnered to launch several other funds, companies, and conferences over the years. All told, we grew investment assets under management for the umbrella brand from a little over $100 million to over $1 billion.

Funds: GSV Capital, GSV AcceleraTE, Runway Growth, G Squared

Companies: GSVlabs

Books (yes, we wrote books): GSV Handbook, 2020 Vision

Conferences: Pioneer Summit, ASUGSV Summit, GES

A picture…

…is worth a thousand words. There are just way too many people to thank and too many lessons learned to fit into this 1 blog post. I’ll use these pictures to help express my love and appreciation for the TEAM.

Yes, I know there’s a lot of pics here, but so many adventures on this crazy and wild ride.

TEAM pics

2015 GSV Pioneer Summit with our special speaker, Megabots!
L: annual baseball game. R: taking our interns to Facebook
L: our fireside chat with Ashlee Vance, biographer of Elon Musk. R: visit to VIPKID.

Goofy pics

L: Suzee, Will and I taught a class; R: Bill as the original #hodlgang member, he’ll buy us each a Porsche when BTC hits $1m
L: TJ Miller made fun of our book; C: visiting Dropbox first month after they went public; R: robots guarding the entrance before Pioneer Summit

Me trying to be cool / hanging with “silicon valley famous” peeps

L: chatting with Dick Kramlich, a Northwestern alum and founder of New Enterprise Associates; R: hey look, I started a tech conference
L: we launched…a book! R: talking to John Doerr about Andy Grove
L: Slater and I getting coffee from Jacob Jaber, CEO of Philz; C: speaking at the same conference that President Obama spoke at…so by transitive property…; R: Suzee and I interview Ben Horowitz about Bill Campbell, Mike Homer, & Ken Coleman

Special moments

L: Suzee and I take our class to Lyft (aka Zimride) to hear from COO Jon McNeill; R: Kevin and I hang with Coach Campbell at the Old Pro
L: me and my best friend Emma (sorry Aidan); R: someone ended up in the hospital…I wish I could say that “it was not my fault” but um…yeah

What‘s next?

The “Inception” moment probably started on the night of March 21, 2018 in a little bar in Shenzhen when my friend asked me, “how can you 10x yourself over the next 2 years?” meaning how can I learn 10x more & be 10x better.

For me, GSV was already an 10x experience for the past few years, and now it’s time to try to go back to being a beginner again and try to 10x myself in a new way.

I’m staying in Silicon Valley — and I also plan to die here so you will all still see me. I will still be working with my rockstar founder friends. Also, I plan to more actively hone my skills as a Chief Frisbee Officer (see below). I’ll have more to be say soon. In the meantime, here are 2 closing quotes I love:

Jack Ma: The world is big, and I am still young, so I want to try new things — because what if new dreams can be realized?!


Zi Wang: if you could go back and be at the epicenter of the Internet revolution, what would you give to be able to experience that?

p.s. I’m sorry if I don’t get back to you to catch up right away but I’m sure we’ll chat soon!