There are a few VCs with engineering backgrounds, but Brian’s from a new wave of social.com engineers crossing over into the business world. Just like the various investment and entrepreneurial “mafias” from PayPal, etc., we’re going to start seeing more ex-Google, Facebook, Zynga and Twitter business success stories in the years to come, and I think Brian is living the dream of many engineers who are toiling away at their investment egg as we speak. I believe Brian can provide inspiration for all of them, giving them ideas for a few options as to what to do next.
Brian has a passion for all types of gaming, especially strategy board games. Games such as The Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride and Through the Ages are starting to penetrate the entrepreneurial world due to people like Singerman, Reid Hoffman and David Hornick. I have some theories forming about gaming and business, but the most common theme I’ve seen is the love for the common framework that everyone shares with these games. Perhaps, in a world of subjectivity, there’s comfort in determining winners by purely objective standards.
There’s only one thing Brian loves more than gaming and that’s discovering and funding companies focused on health. He believes the only market bigger than the Internet is our longevity and that tech entrepreneurs should do more in this space. And he’s not the only one – as Steven Levy explains in Wired Magazine:
‘If [Bill Gates] were a teenager today, he says, he’d be hacking biology. “Creating artificial life with DNA synthesis. That’s sort of the equivalent of machine-language programming,” says Gates, whose work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has led him to develop his own expertise in disease and immunology. “If you want to change the world in some big way, that’s where you should start — biological molecules.” Which is why the hacker spirit will endure, he says, even in an era when computers are so ubiquitous and easy to control. “There are more opportunities now,” he says. “But they’re different opportunities. They need the same type of crazy fanaticism of youthful genius and naivetè that drove the PC industry — and can have the same impact on the human condition.’
As for Gandhi, well, you’ll have to watch the video to see what he has to do with all of this.
(Previous episodes of Speaking Of… here)