Invest Like the Best with Patrick O’Shaughnessy: Katherine Boyle
Katherine Boyle (@KTmBoyle) is a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz where she invests in companies that promote American Dynamism. Prior to entering the venture capital world, she was a general assignment reporter at The Washington Post.
In this conversation, Katherine and Patrick discuss investing in American Dynamism companies operating in areas like defense, education, housing, and healthcare
The origins & overview of American dynamism
American Dynamism is an initiative to repair and strengthen the relationship between Silicon Valley and Washington to solve issues facing all Americans.
American democracy is actively investing in things that support the national interest:
- Aerospace and defense
- National Security
Improvements in these highly regulated sectors will come from technological improvements, not policy improvements.
Move slow & don’t break things
- Washington has a zero-sum culture that operates on short time horizons, while Silicon Valley has a positive-sum culture that operates on long time horizons.
- The Department of Defense’s technological procurement process optimizes for error reduction and tends to be relatively risk-averse, which is not true of its competitors like Russia and China.
- Authoritarianism gives Russia and China certain advantages over the U.S. because they can order their best technologists to build what the country needs, whereas the best technologists in the U.S. are left free to create better ad-optimizing tech for Snapchat.
The broken aspects of american exceptionalism
- Innovation comes from an open system of risk capital, which is not symbiotic with Washington’s culture.
- In addition to the cultural differences between Washington and Silicon Valley, the regulatory side of government limits innovation that can be freely achieved by entrepreneurs operating in other, less regulated areas.
- The DoD and Silicon Valley must work better together to bridge their cultural and regulatory differences so that innovation can flourish in areas that are historically highly regulated.
The problems with the American government
The government is good at making laws, and many of these laws are made by unelected bureaucrats who have held their positions for several decades.
Entrepreneurs can make more impact on a shorter time horizon operating in the private sector than in the public sector, so many of them opt for the former.
The problem with American education
- American public schools are not providing universal STEM education today; they are still teaching the subjects that were most important going into the 19th century, such as grammar.
- The economy has completely changed, and parents are realizing their children need education in areas that are not being taught at public schools if they want their children to be equipped with valuable skills.
- This has stoked a culture war in some parts of the country, where advanced math education has been banned out of fear of making some children feel excluded.