[Auren Hoffman] Welcome to World of DaaS, a show for data enthusiasts. I'm your host, Auren Hoffman, CEO of SafeGraph. For more conversations, videos and transcripts, visit SafeGraph.com/podcast.
My guest today is Daniel gross. Daniel is founder and CEO of Pioneer a reimagined version of the startup accelerator. Daniel, welcome to world of daps.
[Daniel Gross] Thank you very much for having me. I am delighted to be here and being in the accompaniment of you and all your data nerds.
[Auren Hoffman] All right now, we've had a few conversations before on spotting talent. And I kind of consider you an expert on spotting talent. So okay, so let's say you and I were starting a hedge fund together, and we get to invest in the future equity or the future income of a 16 year-old. But you know, we're competing against all these other hedge funds. What types of kids do you think are the underpriced assets?
[Daniel Gross] So to the extent that you would rethink the question of like, “the venture market is so overcrowded, boy, I'd be neat if we could just find these excellent founders and maybe invest in their businesses before anyone else got to them”. This question is interesting to contrive, and from kind of investment, you know, hedge fund standpoint, but in reality, I think it applies to anyone who's hiring, anyone who's really in any position to figure out if they want to surround themselves by other people. And so I actually think it's worth thinking about this kind of regardless of where you are in the world, and what to look for in high quality talent, especially early on. And I think the simplest answer to this question, I'm coming at you as a person who has spent and has built and run a huge amount of psychometrics machine learning, like I've read all the books, and again, I'm still an idiot, but the simplest thing to be on the lookout for is actually really hard to measure, quantitatively, or even qualitatively. And that is energy, literally, the person's energy. And I think the best way to think about this is that Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator, aphorism of you want there to be a sense in your heart of for mutability, and almost fear from the person you're engaging with. And, you know, for me fear is not quite the right emotion. I think just raw energy is really important. It's one of those things, you often will tell this to people, and they say, “Well, you know, what does that even mean?” I think everyone knows what it means. And I think everyone, when they see it, when they have a good experience, they themselves leave energized. And the issue is, these people are maybe one in ten or a hundred, depending on where you're looking, a million. And so you spend most of your time not being engaged with energetic people. And so you tend to forget that it even exists, but of course it does. So energy, I would say, by far is the one thing I look for.