I’ve come down to Argentina with my friend and portfolio company CEO, Wences Casares, the founder of Xapo. Wences and I have served on the board of Endeavor together, which enables high impact entrepreneurship around the world. As part of connecting with local Argentinian entrepreneurs and part of the amazing Endeavor networks here and South America, Wences and I recorded a podcast to share what I and Silicon Valley can learn from the robust entrepreneurial ecosystem down here.
Silicon Valley has the rare privilege and good fortune to be one of the most amazing entrepreneurial networks in the world. Despite a population of less than 4 million, Silicon Valley has created the majority of the world’s $100 billion companies, including mega-successes like Apple, Alphabet (Google), Facebook, Netflix, and Salesforce.
We benefit immensely from the entrepreneurs, investors, and technologists who come from around the world to make Silicon Valley one of the central nodes in their network. We’ve captured many of these lessons in my book Blitzscaling and my podcast Masters of Scale.
But, just as every strength has a weakness, diverse entrepreneurial ecosystems like Argentina can teach Silicon Valley (and others) important lessons about global entrepreneurship. My quintessential teacher here is Wences.
For example, while there are many advantages in being in Silicon Valley — the ability to raise seed capital followed by blitzcapital to fuel hypergrowth, its status as a destination for people and companies from around the world, the amazing network of talent needed to translate capital into market leadership — executives, technologists, and everything else you need to build a company. But it’s important to remember that these advantages cast shadows of disadvantages that offer opportunities to entrepreneurs in other areas of the world.
Wences was Patient Zero for Bitcoin in Silicon Valley (you can watch his cameo in the Bitcoin rap battle), and his insight can be attributed to his experiences outside the region. Unlike people whose experience is limited to the bubble of Silicon Valley, he’s seen the challenges presented by unstable governments and currency, such as the difficulties of making cross-border payments. This knowledge made Wences realize much earlier than most the importance of a global, nation-independent, reliable, robust monetary ecosystem.
This is just one of the many insights that Wences and I covered during the conversations we’ve had down here. When you listen to this wide-ranging interview, you’ll learn more about how his childhood and family (his mother was an entrepreneur who involved him in her business, and his father built his own computer for the family) helped prepare him for life as a tech entrepreneur. You’ll also hear the story behind how needing to pay a $200 bus repair bill led to Wences becoming a Bitcoin user and investor. And you’ll develop a better appreciation for why some of the bedrock, unthinking assumptions about the world that hold true in America simply don’t in most other places around the globe.
You can listen to our discussion on Greylock Partners’ Greymatter podcast HERE, and I encourage you to subscribe for these and other insights on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and wherever you listen to podcasts.