Moonshots, Writing a Book, Unconventional Path to VC 💸

What I learned from my chat with Rahul Rana, 19 y/o venture builder, author, and investor

Hi everyone!

Welcome to my first newsletter.

Every other week, I’ll be updating you on the newest episodes I’m hosting on Delta X podcast (a deep-dive into startups, emerging technology, and the future), any opportunities I come across, and tips & bits of advice and learnings 📚

This means delivering high-value to you — no spam, no fluff, no baseless info — only curated content on new and exciting topics once every two weeks. As a student, I often find it difficult to find tailored content towards high schoolers on meaningful subjects such as tech, startups, and investment, in a quick and easily digestible way. This is what I hope to bring directly to you by talking to young innovators and entrepreneurs who are making a huge difference, and allow you to learn about how you can do the same.

Let’s get started 🔥 (if you’re here already, you’re a real one.)


This Week’s Podcast

I recently had an amazing talk with Rahul Rana, 19 y/o venture builder, author of Making Moonshots, and investor at Lux Capital (listen to the 20-min podcast episode below):

I first heard of moonshots with Google’s X moonshot factory , a semi-secret research and development facility that launches radical technology — AKA launching moonshots 🌙. Some main projects of X:

  • Loon, a network of stratospheric balloons designed to bring Internet connectivity to rural and remote communities worldwide (which was unfortunately announced to discontinue yesterday).

  • Waymo, which is probably the most well-known X project with self-driving cars.

  • Verily, which developing prototypes for smart contact lenses that could accurately measure biological markers in our eyes.

Insanely cool stuff 💯

In this podcast, Rahul talks about moonshots and how they’re created, such as the ones in factories like X, why he’s passionate about launching them, and how he broke into the extremely competitive space of venture capital and landed his dream job after his greatest moonshot — by deciding to write a book about moonshots.

Learnings 💭

Up until my chat with Rahul, I had the misconceptions that making moonshots were 1) limited to PhD students or above at large companies like FAANG (essentially distancing myself from believing it was possible) and 2) only a small fraction of moonshots succeed (which is true) and thus reduces the impact of moonshots to a small amount (which is very untrue, as many things we take for granted today would not have been possible without radical, disruptive innovations from moonshots, as Rahul points out).

If there’s 3 things I have learned about moonshots, writing books, and deep tech through the podcast with Rahul (and many, many more which I’ll save for you when you listen to the podcast 😉), it’s that:

  1. Moonshots = innovation with high risk, high impact 😮

Moon-shot - the word itself implies “shooting for the moon.” Moonshots are one of the purest forms of innovation — and many of them have gone on to impact millions or even billions.

I recently heard a quote by Elon Musk about constant innovation.

"Entropy is not on your side." - Elon Musk

Simple, but has a strong message. This basically means that if you're not actively innovating and improving, you're getting worse. Since making moonshots, from what I perceive, is innovating at one of the highest levels, launching moonshots becomes something likely or even necessary in many fields to produce disruptive technology for massive improvement.

  1. Taking risks can lead to opportunity — like landing a dream job 🤯

With anything high impact, there’s always a higher risk of failure. If innovation and moonshots were easy, there would be a lot more people doing them — but those who try get the chance to hit countless more opportunities.

  1. Inspiring just one person makes time spent well worth it. 🙌

One thing that Rahul said that stuck with me is that he hopes to inspire just one person reading his book to have the courage to launch a moonshot. We all write and spend time on activities for many reasons — to learn, to create, to inspire, to empower, to educate. What makes spending your time worth it for you?

Until next time,

Ellen 💙


Thanks for reading!

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