User Interviews and Views on Doing the Right Thing

Your weekly 5 things from the mind of Miles Lasater

Happy Saturday! Here are your 5 things from the mind of Miles for this week.

  1. Future Founders. I love knowing and working with founders from the earliest stages. I’d like to know why there aren’t more founders. Who do you know that has thought about becoming a founder of a fast growing startup, but hasn’t taken the step? What are their barriers? If you know someone who you think would be a great tech startup founder, would you please introduce me? I am curious about their experience. They don't have to prepare or to pitch me at all.

  2. User Interviews. When I talk to these future founders, I’ll be conducting a user interview. Design thinking or user-centric design principles call for asking open-ended questions and choosing carefully your followup questions. You can learn more about these skills in the book Talking to Humans or the interactive simulation Venture Blocks.

  3. Geo Engineering. We put carbon in the air that traps heat. Should we put salt or something else into the air to cool things down by reflecting sunlight? Here is one argument why we should written by the founder of Carbon Engineering. If you want another one, check out the 80,000 Hours podcast with the head of Silver Linings. (Also, I’ve been wondering if the climate debate would be different if we could see the carbon emitted. What if it even looked dirty? The push in the 1970s for clean air was probably aided by the moral foundation around Sanctity/degradation. Since smog looked dirty it may have more easily triggered disgust and action.)

  4. Do Right By Shareholders. If you’re interested in finance and aren’t reading Money Stuff, you’re missing out. For example, I recommend this article on the evolving views of the interests of shareholders. He does a good job summarizing modern ESG theory: “If you make a profit by harming society, eventually society is going to send you a bill for that harm, with interest.” and “Broadly diversified institutional investors, the argument goes, will care more about the externalities created by any one company because they own all the other companies.” Plus, if you tell shareholders you are doing good stuff for society and then you don’t, is that shareholder fraud?

  5. Standing Together. Let’s build broad coalitions to get things done. We are too partisan. If you disagree on some issues, say climate or role of government, you can still agree on other issues, say immigration, entrepreneurship and criminal justice. What do you think? For example, what’s your take on Stand Together and their work?

Until next week,

Miles