“When I get asked in interviews to predict the future, I always have to struggle to come up with something plausible-sounding on the fly, like a student who hasn’t prepared for an exam. 1 But it’s not out of laziness that I haven’t prepared. It seems to me that beliefs about the future are so rarely correct that they usually aren’t worth the extra rigidity they impose, and that the best strategy is simply to be aggressively open-minded. Instead of trying to point yourself in the right direction, admit you have no idea what the right direction is, and try instead to be super sensitive to the winds of change.”
“Another trick I’ve found to protect myself against obsolete beliefs is to focus initially on people rather than ideas. Though the nature of future discoveries is hard to predict, I’ve found I can predict quite well what sort of people will make them. Good new ideas come from earnest, energetic, independent-minded people.
Betting on people over ideas saved me countless times as an investor. We thought Airbnb was a bad idea, for example. But we could tell the founders were earnest, energetic, and independent-minded. (Indeed, almost pathologically so.) So we suspended disbelief and funded them.”