Keith Rabois - If You Can’t Sell Them, Compete with Them - [Invest Like the Best, EP.115]

Keith Rabois - If You Can’t Sell Them, Compete with Them - [Invest Like the Best, EP.115]

My guest this week is Keith Rabois. Keith is currently an investment partner at Khosla Ventures, but has a storied and diverse background as an investor, entrepreneur, and executive. He has worked in senior positions at Paypal, LinkedIn, and Square; has led investments in companies like Stripe, YouTube, Palantir, and AirBnB; and started the company OpenDoor, which aims to transform the process of selling a home through technology. One fun fact about Keith is that he may have the most impressive list of bosses I’ve ever seen, which we discuss during the episode. We cover a lot, but one thing we kept returning to was business strategy. Keith’s frameworks for gaining and building strategic power helped me clarify my thinking on the topic, and his examples of contrarian thinking will hopefully make you question some commonly held beliefs. Please enjoy our conversation.   For more episodes go to Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at Follow Patrick on Twitter at   Show Notes 1:35  (First Question) – A look at his investing philosophy 3:16  – Favorite examples of his own investment history             4:40 – 5:07 – Understanding what is anomalous in a given investment 7:07 – How much a secret needs to be protected within a business 11:51 – Why accumulating advantage with data is of interest to Keith 15:12 – Digital health companies and ideas that he finds compelling 16:17 – Nuance around financial services that investors should be mindful of 17:56 – How do they evaluate managers ability to recruit talent 19:36 – How similar are the roles of entrepreneur, board member, investor, etc that Keith has had in his career 24:02 – Ways that Keith is a contrarian, including his feelings on “lean startup.” 27:04 – Is problem identification a specific skill set 28:29 – Objection with experimentation/iteration 30:02 – Bad ideas in venture 31:36 – What he likes about Apple             31:51 – 32:26 - Interview questions for identifying great talent 35:41 – Elements of good design 37:14 – Impact of platforms on opening new opportunities 38:42 – His take on valuation in the early stage environment 40:33 – Advice he would give people early in their careers 43:58 – Do high growth companies get beat by established larger businesses 45:25 – Popular narratives that he thinks are just wrong 48:22 – His thoughts on how people should learn, balancing experience vs information gathering 50:00 – Other investors that are taking a unique approach to investing 51:57 – Reflecting on the entrepreneur as a client model of private equity 55:04 – Books that he recommends that is least known             55:18 – 56:30 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Keith   Learn More For more episodes go to


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