Ep. 39 Hero S2 Ep39 Harry Stebbings

Decoding Content Creation: Harry Stebbings on Creating Standout Content


33 min

Ep. 39 Hero S2 Ep39 Harry Stebbings

33 min

How do you play the game of content creation and come out on top? Time and energy. Harry Stebbings is a wildly talented podcaster, investor, and content creator. He got his start in podcasting at a very young age and at just 20 years old, he became one of the youngest VCs in the world. Today, Harry is the Founder of The Twenty Minute VC, the world's largest independent venture capital podcast. In today’s episode, Harry talks about how he learned to build a deep network and create relationships that last, and what it means to bundle and unbundle businesses.

Read transcript

“My job is to do two things. Build a media company that we can be proud of and return as much money to my ambassadors as possible. That is the input. The output is I wanna be a 75-year-old grandpa with grandchildren who are proud of me… The thing that we all need to remember and this generation needs to remember: put your head down and do the work. It's the only way you get rewarded in public for what you do in private. Do more in private.”

Quick takes on...

How TikTok Helps His Business

“On TikTok, you can absolutely go viral with 50 followers, it's much more uncorrelated, which allows for this true democratization of the reach of content in a way that I think is quite exciting... What I love about TikTok is it brings the story front and center, not the person in many ways. And so it can be a real discovery mechanism for content that doesn't quite make it in many ways. But now we have 28% of our viewers download through TikTok. 28% of new subscribers come through TikTok. It's insane.”

How to Stay Relevant

“I'm forever on my toes. You look at new up and comers who come and some are kicking my ass and that's fine. They're doing different things. But you always need to be aware that momentum is transient, right? And that when you are hot, you have to double down, forget everything else in the world exists, and go all in. Because there's a time when you're not gonna be hot. And when you are not hot, you need to be so powerful and so high that it doesn't actually matter.”

How Technology Can Solve Problems

"If we think about investing in this next generation of innovation, technology has to be the solution to some of the world's biggest problems. Whether it be the macro problems that we face on incoming inequality, whether it be the climate change problems that we face. I mean, it goes on and on."

Meet your guest, Harry Stebbings

Founder 20VC

Spotlight S2 Ep39 Harry Stebbings

Harry is the Founder of The Twenty Minute VC, the world's largest independent venture capital podcast with over 100,000 listeners, partnerships with Mattermark and ProductHunt and guests from over 200VCs including the likes of Accel, Kleiner, Y Combinator, Benchmark and Index. He is also a contributor for TechCrunch covering all things startups and VC funding and has recently joined Jason Lemkin at Saastr to build out the platform and expand into new verticals. Their first project, The Official Saastr Podcast, broke all records on release and has featured consistently in Apple's Top 10 Business Podcasts, New & Noteworthy and What's Hot sections. Outside of startups and VC, Harry enjoys mojitos, mojitos and then a few more mojitos.

Listen to the next episode

Ep. 40 Home S2 Ep40 Andy Whyte

Decoding MEDDICC: Andy Whyte on how MEDDICC can increase the velocity of growth in your organization


34 min

Andy Whyte has literally written the book on the power of the MEDDICC sales system. His book, “MEDDICC: The ultimate guide to staying one step ahead in the complex sale,” outlines how to apply the MEDDICC framework to any sales deal. But before Andy became this powerhouse in sales, he was an account executive at impressive companies like Oracle and Sprinklr. He also led many successful sales teams at various companies before starting out on his own. Today, Andy is the CEO and founder of MEDDICC, an organization that helps build elite competency in sales teams. In today’s episode, Andy talks about how the best salespeople are really good at solving their customers’ problems. He shares his three key parts to selling, how companies can best adopt and implement MEDDICC, and the big changes he’s seen in sales as companies evolve from enterprise-led to product-led.

Episode transcript

[00:00:00] Harry Stebbings: If we think about…

[00:00:00] Harry Stebbings: If we think about investing in this next generation of innovation, technology has to be the solution to some of the world's biggest problems. Whether it be the macro problems that we face on incoming inequality, whether it be the climate change problems that we face. I mean, it goes on and on. 

[00:00:24] Dan Saks: That was Harry Stebbings.

[00:00:26] Harry is a wildly talented podcaster, investor, and content creator. He got his start in podcasting at a very young age, at just 20 years old, and he became one of the youngest VCs in the world. His energy is key to his success, and you get excited by just talking with him. This energy carries through his podcast episodes, his short form videos, and in today's interview today, Harryrry is the founder of The Twenty Minute VC, the world's largest independent venture capital podcast. In today's episode, Harry shares his thoughts on the future of content and his own strategy behind creating content from multiple social media platforms, from LinkedIn to TikTok. He talks about how he learned to build a deep network and create relationships that last and what it means to bundle and unbundle businesses.

[00:01:17] This is Daniel Saks, president and co-founder of AppDirect, and it's time to decode, investing your time and energy to create something spectacular.

[00:01:31] Welcome to Decoding Digital, a podcast for innovators looking to thrive in the digital economy. I'm your host, Daniel Saks, and I'll sit down with other founders, CEOs and changemakers to decode the trends that are transforming the way we work. Let's decode.

[00:01:54] Today I have Harry Stebbings with me. Harry, great to see you. 

[00:01:58] Harry Stebbings: It is lovely to be with you, my friend. Thank you so much for having me. 

[00:02:00] Dan Saks: Anytime. So let's set the stage. The date was 2016 and a young Harry Stabbings is projected on the screen via Skype in the AppDirect boardroom. Not even 20 years old. He's calm, confident, and filled with curiosity and enthusiasm with 75 episodes under his belt that he could already be considered a veteran podcaster.

[00:02:19] He's since interviewed everyone from Mark Cuban to the Chainsmokers to Reid Hoffman and is now a terrific VC. Once dubbed one of the youngest VCs. So Harry, I want to go back to that 2016 day. I remember being blown away by your energy and would love to just hear like how it all got started. 

[00:02:39] Harry Stebbings: Yeah, I mean, you say about being blown away by my energy.

[00:02:41] You know what? It is all about the energy that you bring and the tone that you set in every meeting. I want this to be the best meeting of your day and the next meeting I have, I want it to be the best meeting of their day. And if you go into every meeting saying, I want this to be that person's best meeting, and I'm gonna fucking bring it.

[00:03:01] Then that's a really great kind of motto to live by and it makes days a lot more fun. And so, yeah. How did it all get started? Honestly, I watched a movie, I watched a Social Network. I saw Peter Teal invest in Facebook with Clarion capitalist hedge fund, and I was like, wow, venture capital looks like my life's work.

[00:03:20] And I read the early venture bloggers. This was, you know, 12 years ago, 13 years ago, so this was very early in kind of venture marketing. This was Brad Feld, Roger Abo, Mark Suster, David Hornick, all the kind of OG VC writers. And then when I was 18, I was faced with the dreaded prospect of going to law school.

[00:03:38] I didn't want to go because I didn't like reading things that were longer than Tweet and so law would've been a challenge. And so I went upstairs to my bedroom at home. I was still living at home. I was like 17, 18. And I thought, well, there's this generation of great VCs and only Mark Andreessen's on the Tim Ferris show.

[00:03:53] Why don't I interview them? And then one of them will give me a job. And so I started from there. And every great business has a flywheel. And you can deliberately construct flywheels in your business to make it easier over time. And I always ask this with every investment, which is that how does this business get easier to run over time?

[00:04:12] So with it every show that I did, I would say to you, Daniel, I love this episode. Can you name three people that you think would be fantastic for the show? And remember, I didn't know anyone. And so if I get into very high quality founder networks like you. Then you'll say, oh, actually these three people, and generally you refer very high quality founders.

[00:04:33] And so that's how we built the flywheel. And then you get social validity and it really snowballs from there. 

[00:04:40] Dan Saks: You make it sound so easy, but one thing that it sounds like is if I was an entrepreneur before, it was cool. You were totally a podcaster before it was cool, and you chose podcasting as a medium.

[00:04:50] But what drove that flywheel? Was it just you threw up the episode with no promotion, or did you have a promotion strategy? 

[00:04:57] Harry Stebbings: Well, number one, the biggest mistake that everyone makes with content is they go, oh, Podcasting's Hot, let's do a podcast. Or, oh, TikTok is hot. Let's do TikTok. No, I'm just shit at writing, and I love talking and I love tone, and I love storytelling.

[00:05:15] And the way I tell stories is with my voice, not my pen. Choose the platform that's most authentic to you. That's the most crucial thing. So why podcasting? Because it was most authentic to me, it does show the importance of market timing. I was very lucky in when I started it because there were so few in terms of the flywheel of distribution at the beginning.

[00:05:37] You know what? Defensibility is a load of shit . I'm really just going for it now. But defensibility is crap because defensibility is built over time in the processes that you build, in the people that you hire in the customers that you acquire. Day one, honesty, Daniel, unless you are doing biotech or deep cyber or anything, that's very, very, very domain specific, really so, There's very little defensible, and so really for me, I iterated and improved my process over time.

[00:06:13] You know, bluntly, when I had you on the show, Daniel, I think I read articles about you and read your Twitter, and that's how I constructed the schedule. Now we have two full-time people that do 10 to 15 references with every board member you have with your exec team, with your cap table. Fuck, there's nothing I don't know about you by the time I get in that room with. So like the processes change and that is where sensibility lies. And so I would say honestly, in terms of the release, it's changed over time. At the beginning it was Daniel, can you please share the show. Now, when you want content distribution? But like you have to think who is incentivized to share this piece of content.

[00:06:58] There's many more than you think. Your whole exact team is incentivized to share your episode. They wanna pay rise, they want a promotion. They want you to think that they're great, and so they're gonna share the show. And then, you know, you have to be that channel specific. Like you, I think, are probably much bigger on LinkedIn, I'm guessing, than you are on Twitter.

[00:07:16] So I'm not gonna ask you to share it on Twitter. I'm gonna make it as simple as possible for you. And we do the 5-90-5. And the 5-90-5 is, hi Daniel. Hope you and the kids are well, blah, blah, blah. Super nice personal paste, which is the episode, the links, blah, blah, blah, with a very simple ass. Make it as short as possible, but that's like the 90 and then the five Ps.

[00:07:38] Daniel, bro, love you to come have mojitos with me in London. Done. You think I've ridden that whole. Two fives I've done. Middle, I didn't do. I can bust out 40, 45 in 60 minutes. Well, except 

[00:07:51] Dan Saks: the mojito invite for sure. That would get me to share anything. I mean, there 

[00:07:54] Harry Stebbings: you go. Uh, it normally works. And so, you know, that's how we've evolved over time and yeah, I can go way more into it, but that's how it is now.

[00:08:05] What 

[00:08:05] Dan Saks: are some of the top lessons you've learned from speaking to over 3000 VCs 

[00:08:09] Harry Stebbings: and entrepreneurs? Hmm. There's ways that you can gain power in a conversation. As I've mentioned previously, Daniel, What a brilliant way to make you feel small that instantly makes an interviewer go, oh shit, I didn't do my work.

[00:08:23] Cause they've clearly discussed it before. Another way to gain power in conversation. Well, you know, Daniel, I'm really not very good at analysis, but when it comes to storytelling, I think that I, you know, really hold my ground. Straight away, start with negative, move to the positive. Instantly gives you credibility on your positive.

[00:08:41] Another one, what I've learned. Is X, Y, and Z. When you say the, what I have learned, it feels to the audience like you have ruminated on your source, done a critical analysis on what you've learned, and then you've summarized it. It makes it much more consumable. I think the best interviews are also the combination of art and science, and so the art is the story, it's the resonance.

[00:09:04] It's bringing the listener in and making them feel a part of that situation. And then there's the science. The science is theory. It's. You know what? There are three things that I learned when it comes to valuations, and a brilliant example of this is Bill Gurley. Bill Gurley from Benchmark when he was on my podcast, said about Larry and Sergey from Google coming into the benchmark office and how the benchmark team interacted with them and that meeting with them.

[00:09:32] And then he said about the valuation framework that he learned as a result. The perfect combination taking you into the world and meeting of Google and Benchmark, and then his lessons from it, science and art. That's what makes the best shows to me, and so I think the best do that. The other thing is like structure your thoughts like.

[00:09:53] Terrible interviewers like, or interviewees like me just ramble. But really good ones actually structure their thoughts. They say, you know what? There are three important things here, number one, number two, and number three, structuring thoughts allows the audience to really take it away in a much more packaged kind of environment that is more consumable.

[00:10:14] And then I'd say the final thing is just like, It's my job to make you feel safe as an interviewer, and it's the same as being an investor. I'm an investor for a living as well now, and the beginning of each interview with a guest or investor, meeting with a founder, I have three to five minutes where I have to make you, Daniel, feel safe, feel like you can bring me anything in a completely non-judgmental environment where you can say anything and it is a safe space. I've lost my head of sales. We missed last quarter, and I am nervous and I dunno what to do. Great. Okay, we can work with that. That's a real conversation. How do you do that? You gotta share some hard elements. You know what?

[00:10:58] I'm actually really struggling right now. My mother has multiple cirrhosis and I find that, you know, quite tough and she's not always great. Oh, oh, I'm really sorry. And I'm not using my mother in like a pathway, but it's just being authentic. None of us are fucking great all the time. You never know what someone's going through, and so be kind.

[00:11:18] And I just choose to be more open because life's a lot better that way. 

[00:11:25] Dan Saks: So as you learn these techniques and you have more resources to do research and to get there, do you think the quality of the content is what drives more success and drives more flywheel? Or do you think the quality was just as good on your 75th episode as your 3000th?

[00:11:39] Harry Stebbings: Listen, I think the 75th episode with Daniel Saks was fucking brilliant. Fuck yeah. Um, I think the surrounding 400, 500 were absolute dog shit. No, they were not good. I was a terrible interviewer. We didn't do the depth of research that we did, but we do now, were they good? Yeah. For in indicting a generation of investors.

[00:12:01] Yeah, they did their job. They were perfectly good. Are they what they are now? Hell no. Now like you know, I'm preparing for a show with Barry, the CEO of Peloton. We've done 18 references. I know every great story about Barry, the tales that we're gonna get and the lessons that we're gonna get out of that are second to none. No one has got these before cause no one's done this amount of work. We have 37 pages of notes like it is insane. And so I would say that the shows are much better now because of all the things we've discussed. I would say also we're multi-channel now in a way that we are bluntly, I think best in the industry.

[00:12:39] I'm arrogant on this, but I can, because it's my team and not me. I know that no one has a TikTok channel compared to us. TikTok is an science and we've mastered it. My team has mastered it. You know, we now get north of 10 million views a month at least. So I'd say multichannel in a way that, you know, no one else is quite mastered like we have, which is really, really important.

[00:12:59] And then I would also say, guests at the end of the day. Content is a weird business where it gets easier over time. It's like self-fulfilling. The bigger guests you get, the bigger guests you get, the more audience you get, the bigger guests you get. And it kind of starts the flywheel of success. You know, would I have got Daniel Ek from Spotify, Barry from Peloton?

[00:13:19] Five years ago, no. And so, you know, it gets easier in terms of attaining those guests. I think the thing I would say is, this is eight years, Daniel. Every single weekend for eight years. I've done Saturday and Sunday, nine till six, give or take. And for the first two years, I made no money. I wasn't doing it to make money, but like it is just fucking brutal.

[00:13:44] And so for all execs out there thinking, oh, I'm gonna do content, I'm gonna do content, great. You should by the way, but you need to have a very long-term mindset. And the biggest mistake that execs make is they put 50 K on the table and say, Hey, test it for six months. You're not gonna find shit out in six months.

[00:14:04] Another big mistake they make, you've gotta be super segmented. You have to be very structured. So like if I was thinking about doing a new show today, you know, I love enterprise, but I think the big challenge is the chasm between enterprise and product-led growth. I think specifically focusing on stories and lessons in that chasm would be fascinating.

[00:14:28] I'm sure there's probably 10,000 listeners that would love that. Love that. If there's 10,000, there's probably 20,000. If there's 20,000, we can probably do ancillary shows, which expand that to a hundred thousand. Now we've got a real fucking business. So start very niche and move wider. I love that 

[00:14:45] Dan Saks: insight.

[00:14:45] So I want to deep dive and decode. Concepts on content. So one of the things that has come up recently is that some of these content powerhouses, yourself included, or Mr. Beast, you know, they are the future SaaS companies, right? Huge reach. They can promote product really efficiently. Not a lot of overhead and cost in many of them.

[00:15:04] What's your view on the future of content and content creators and how do you think that this economy and this current economic transition will strengthen that or weaken it? 

[00:15:15] Harry Stebbings: It's a very good question, and I don't have an answer because we have two opposing ideas when we think about your audience. You know, generative AI genuinely has the chance to make all art and sport in many ways.

[00:15:28] Completely obsolete from a human perspective, which is incredibly worrying and poses a question of, is this even a world that one wants to live in, where all forms of art are replaced by computers? And so that is interesting and concerning, I think. Well, the thing that's very different though, is, Nuance and so far generative AI does not understand nuance by any means.

[00:15:51] What it takes to win on LinkedIn is very different to what it takes to win on TikTok. TikTok is anecdotes, it's stories. It's how I lost a billion dollars investing in X company. LinkedIn is very structured. These are the three things to look for in a CFO. These are my two biggest mistakes when I go hiring.

[00:16:10] It's very structured, strategic, more than the story based of TikTok. So I think like generative AI has the ability to bluntly change this space in a way that I don't think any of us anticipate, which I think about intensely. I try every single fucking tool that I can. I haven't managed to try them like, you know, find one that actually is up to scratch for us to even use yet.

[00:16:31] So there's some hope there. I think there's a real concentration of. You know, Mr. Beast is obviously an incredible display of that and a phenomenal mind. I have huge, huge respect for Mr. Beast. But the truth is, with content, it's a horrible game. , I'm lucky, you know, we get many millions of downloads, but we're in the top 1% and it's taken years to do, but 99% made no money and it's a shit game to be in, which is very much like every other business really, to be honest.

[00:16:59] I think that concentration of power continues. I think what's so interesting though is TikTok decouples, and I may be getting too deep here, but TikTok decouples likes from followers, and what I mean by that is on Twitter, if you have a hundred million followers, you will absolutely get a very high engagement rate.

[00:17:20] On TikTok, you can absolutely go viral. With 50 followers, it's much more uncorrelated, which allows for this true democratization of reach of content in a way that I think is quite exciting. And you know, my biggest frustration with the podcast is for some of my guests, a fucking amazing, but their name is unknown, and some of my guests are very known and they are not that amazing, and everyone listens to them.

[00:17:48] Even though it's not that amazing, and what I love about TikTok is it brings the story front and center, not the person in many ways. And so it can be a real discovery mechanism for content that doesn't quite make it in many ways. But now we have 28% of our viewers downloads through TikTok. 28% of net new subscribers come through TikTok.

[00:18:10] It's insane. Biggest misconception about TikTok, by the way, which the audience will go. Wow. It is not just for Gen Z or millennials. Our average age is between 35 and 50. I promise you it's a very, very powerful demographic now on TikTok. So yeah, it's important. The other thing is like short form video. You can use it on Instagram, you can use it on YouTube shorts.

[00:18:32] Everyone should be engaging with this because it is a very transferrable media asset that should be leveraged. I don't know if that answers your question, . 

[00:18:41] Dan Saks: Well, what do you think of the future of content? Are these content creators gonna be the ones that can create the future businesses because they have arbitrage, because they have such a big audience to sell and promote 

[00:18:51] Harry Stebbings: things.

[00:18:51] Yeah. I didn't believe in the creator economy, so to speak. The creator economy doesn't work in many ways because 99% of gains accrue to 1% of people, and so fundamentally, there isn't the budget from 99% of people to spend on this suite of tools, which actually probably costs a combination of 300, $500 a month in a lot of cases.

[00:19:15] So I didn't fundamentally believe in that in a lot of ways. And so, yeah, I see further concentration of power amongst the current crop and I think, you know, you have to constantly be insecure. I'm forever on my toes. You know, you look at new up and comers who come and some are kicking my ass and that's fine.

[00:19:37] You know, they're doing different things. But you always need to be aware that momentum is transient, right? And that when you are hot, you have to double down, forget everything else in the world exists, and go all in. Because there's a time when you're not gonna be hot. And when you are not hot, you need to be so powerful and so high that it doesn't actually matter.

[00:20:00] And so I kind of constantly live by that. . 

[00:20:03] Dan Saks:  So you spoke to the benefit of TikTok and their algorithm for discovery and virality. What's the next social channel if it's gonna emerge and what's it gonna be? 

[00:20:12] Harry Stebbings: I think honestly, TikTok’s got so much room to run and I don't think there's gonna be a new one anytime soon.

[00:20:20] Like when we look at the next wave of consumer social, the next wave of consumer social actually is in reconnecting with people. It's kind of interesting as we see a movement away from the social graph towards a media recommendations engine, which is basically TikTok as you see that you see, I think this craving for human connection in a different way, I think BeReal has shown that, you know, I was an early investor and BeReal, and the fundamental thesis there was we all want and more authentic way to connect with our friends.

[00:20:48] And yeah, you can see me now where, I mean I look like shit, but I look a lot better than, you know I do at 7:00 AM. , but that's the point of BeReal. I see Daniel in a way that we haven't seen each other before and it's way more authentic. I think Gas and you know, Slay in Europe are very similar to that in terms of connecting with friends in different ways.

[00:21:06] So I don't think like content discovery and consumption is actually gonna shift away from the core platforms. I just think the ways we can act with the people around us are gonna become more and more unbundled. At the end of the day, business is just a game of bundling and unbundling if you think about it.

[00:21:21] And I think we're gonna see a wave of unbundling in consumer social. Let's decode 

[00:21:26] Dan Saks: that. So business is just about bundling and unbundling. Go deeper.

[00:21:28] Harry Stebbings: I mean, like if you look at. Banking. You know, banking is a business of bundling. Hey, we've got your core, current account. Fuck it. Let's put in your student loans.

[00:21:39] Let's put in your mortgages. Let's put in you name. Whatever financial product we want to put in. It's the game of bundling. Now, the interesting thing that happens with bundling is generally you see a reduction in quality with the bundling of products. So what I find the most interesting when I'm analyzing businesses is, or for anyone that wants to start a business or wants a business idea, look at an incumbent, try and understand an underserved portion of their customer base, where it's not the core customer segment.

[00:22:11] Understand why they are being underserved, and then provide only that product in a much, much better way. A great example of this, let's go to banking again, would be migrant workers and sending remittance payments back to their core countries of origin. Okay? It's not generally a core like element of any bank's business.

[00:22:34] But for that person, and it's quite a large audience, it is a huge, huge part of their customer service and experience. Just serve them, deliver a way better experience in that focus niche. And then again, you can expand out from there. But going back to the bundling and unbundling, the banks is the bundling, creating all those products in one.

[00:22:55] And then I think, you know, you then go back to a generation of unbundling where you go, oh, this is not a great service. We can do it better. Just do that unbundling. That's how I think about it. And it rides in cycles. It rides in cycles, man. Everything's in fucking cycles. You know? History doesn't repeat, but it does rhyme is the brilliant saying. 

[00:23:13] Dan Saks: Speaking of cycles, you know, valuations are down 80% in a lot of public companies. You know, the private markets are turbulence, there's geopolitical issues, interest rates are rising. What's your view on the economy and the future of startups as we know it. 

[00:23:29] Harry Stebbings: Wow, we're all fucked. No, I'm joking.

[00:23:31] I think, you know, the next six to 12 months will probably be the worst times to be investing. It's in our jobs as venture investors to say that now's the best time to be investing. Of course, now's the best time to be investing. It's complete crap. It's not the best time I'm doing basing. Now, I'll break down why. 

[00:23:47] Pre-seed and seed, you have all the large multi-stage players going earlier and earlier. They still need to deploy in capital, but they wanna minimize capital exposure. So they're doing pre-seed and seed. And what the trouble is, is so they're increasing supply of capital, but that supply of capital is price insensitive more.

[00:24:02] And so we're seeing this price inflation at the seed and pre-seed. Series A and B - Horrible place to be right now. All the best companies are getting internal rounds done by their existings. So anyone raising 99% of the time is actually not very good. Doesn't have the sport of their existings, and generally it's not a place where you wanna invest.

[00:24:21] Like we both know that gains have got from the 1% of huge, huge winners. So it's not a great place to be right now with Series A and B, and then Series C and D. And. Fuck, you're seeing price inflation again. Why? Because the multi-stage players are going, we'd rather have a 3x and secure than a 10x less secure.

[00:24:40] And so they're all flocking to the same obviously brilliant companies so increase supply of capital There. For the same amount of companies. And so you're seeing price inflation and they're happy to have the price inflation because it's a more secure exit environment there than taking a 10x bet here and having less security.

[00:24:59] And so across the board, it's not that great to be investing right now. That said, and I don't mean to get miserable, here, we are dire state of the world, like I don't think anyone understands quite how fucked we are now. I don't mean that negatively. I mean that almost positively. Technology is our only salvation for most of the world's problems, which in many cases have not been work, like, have not been as challenging as they are now.

[00:25:27] And so if we think about like investing in this next generation of innovation, technology has to be the solution to some of the world's biggest problems. Whether it be the macro problems that we face on incoming inequality, whether it be the climate change problems that we face. I mean, it goes on and on.

[00:25:44] So I think, actually, I'm kind of short term, very negative. Six to 12 months is not a good time to be investing. The best investors always invest though. Like I'm never not investing. Best investors always invest, but you can change temperament. And then I think over the next five to 10 years, it'll be the best period to be investing.

[00:26:02] I think, you know, generative AI and AI more broadly will fundamentally transform every industry in the next five to 10 years. And I'm giving a breadth on that because I don't know between those, but I think there's so much room to run there bluntly. And for us as investors, that will be probably one of the most lucrative waves to invest against.

[00:26:23] And so that's how I would look at it. 

[00:26:25] Dan Saks: Well, we've gotta have you back to talk about generative AI . One thing that I want to conclude on is just finding success at such a young age and being in the public light, that definitely has an impact on your psychology, on your ego, on the way you think inside.

[00:26:40] What are your thoughts on success at a young age? 

[00:26:43] Harry Stebbings: It's very hard. One, you're gonna get a lot of haters. And the truth is, if you stick your head above the power pit, you have to be willing to accept that. You know, you can say, oh, I don't want the haters, Daniel. I don't want haters. Well, you know what? You don't have to do your fucking podcast, then.

[00:26:59] You don't have to tweet, but you do. And so accept it and move on. This is the life I chose, so I don't have a right to moan or complain about the haters. I get a lot of love too. That's wonderful. I like that. I'm egotistical and insecure like everyone else. I think the other thing I would say is you need to surround yourself with people who shit on you and say, you are not great and you have many flaws, and this was not okay and this was not okay.

[00:27:27] I have great mentors around me who really give me the hard truth and give me the brutal truth. And you need that. Because you know, otherwise you can believe that your own hype and people will tell you you're brilliant and your next great thing and your next great thing. You know what? You're probably not.

[00:27:44] Don't believe the hype. You're only as good as your last deal. You're only as good as your last interview. Support yourself with people who will absolutely tell you the truth. And then also like, I think the big thing I see young people make is they focus on network breadth. Useless. I don't want a broad network.

[00:28:02] I want a deep network. I want five people who will swim across oceans for me as I would do for them. Focus on the like strength of connections, not like the amount of connections you have. And then I'd just say like, you know, on decision making, it's very easy to say yes to everything. And actually you need to say no a lot sooner.

[00:28:22] And I wish I knew that and someone told me once a very good one, which is, you know, you're never wrong to do the right thing. And I always think about that and it's like, is this the right thing? It could be firing someone, it could be ending a contract with a customer. Is this fundamentally the right thing? Yes.

[00:28:39] I'm not wrong to do it. I think about that one a lot. Sorry. And then another one I think about too, it's like, you know when you were young, everything is extreme. Oh my God, this happened and this happened. You know what? Just remembering that this too shall pass and it will be okay. And actually greatness and success is in how you respond to failure, not the failure itself.

[00:29:05] Dan Saks: Can you conclude with the parable of the businessmen and the fishermen? 

[00:29:08] Harry Stebbings: Yeah, it is a very good one that changed much of how I live my life, actually, which is fundamentally, there is a businessman and there is a fisherman. And the fisherman is lying on the beach and he has a beer and he has a cigarette, and he is looking out at this beautiful sea and the businessman comes up to the fisherman and says, why are you lying on the beach?

[00:29:26] If you were out on the sea, you could be fishing and making more money, catching more fish. And he says, Hmm. And then what? And the businessman goes, and then you could hire more people, catch more fish and make more money. And the fisherman goes, Hmm. And then what? He goes, and then you could take the company public and make lots of money, and then you could fly on the beach and you know, have a cigarette and have a beer.

[00:29:50] And he goes, what the fuck am I doing now then? And I think that is the most important thing, which is to your question, if I had all the money in the world, I wouldn't change anything about the way that I've spent my day today. I'm very happy having this conversation with you. I can't wait to have dinner with my mother this evening.

[00:30:09] I think that is content and I think people conflate happiness and joy. Joy is short term. Joy is yes right now. Woo-hoo. Happiness is actually, there isn't any other way that I would choose to spend this day. I'm gonna go for a walk later in the evening with my brother. That'll be lovely. I've got an amazing board meeting later.

[00:30:27] Fantastic. That's happiness. 

[00:30:30] Dan Saks: That's it, and that's what it's all about. Woke up this morning, went for a hike with my wife, sat down with Harry Stebbings, and this was by far the best meeting of the day, if not the week, year or decades. So thank you for bringing it as you always do, your energy, your enthusiasm.

[00:30:43] Thanks for sharing your wisdom with the viewers and fucking great to see you mate. 

[00:30:48] Harry Stebbings: Man. It is so good. Thank you for having me.

[00:30:54] Dan Saks: Thanks for listening to Decoding Digital. Make sure you never miss an episode by subscribing to the show in your favorite podcast player. To learn more, visit decoding digital.com. Until next time.