20VC: Leadership Lessons from Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, The Early Days of TheFacebook Advising Mark Zuckerberg and Why Now is Not the Right Time For Startups to Stockpile Cash with Hadi Partovi, CEO @ Code.org

Posted on 16th December 2022 by Harry

Hadi Partovi is a tech entrepreneur and investor, and CEO of the education nonprofit Code.org. Before founding Code.org, Hadi founded two prior startups: Tellme Networks (acquired by Microsoft, discussed on 20VC with Emil Michael), and iLike (acquired by Newscorp). Hadi has also been an active advisor and angel investor to some of the best including FacebookDropboxairbnb, and Uber. If that was not enough, Hadi currently serves on the Board of Directors of Axon and MNTN.

In Today’s Episode with Hadi Partovi:

1.) From the Iran-Iraq War to Founding Startups:

  • How Hadi and his family made their way from war-torn Tehran to the US and Silicon Valley?
  • How did seeing his family have nothing and struggle financially impact Hadi’s mindset as an entrepreneur?
  • What does Hadi believe he is running from? What is he running toward?

2.) Lessons from Ballmer and Zuckerberg:

  • How did Hadi first come to meet a young Mark Zuckerberg when TheFacebook had less than 10 employees? Why did Hadi believe he was so special from that first meeting?
  • What are Hadi’s biggest takeaways from working with Steve Ballmer? How did the reign and leadership of Ballmer compare to the reign of Bill Gates?
  • Hadi has helped both Facebook and Dropbox with their engineering hires, what is the secret to hiring amazing engineers? How does he structure the process? Where do so many go wrong?

3.) Hadi Partovi: The Leader:

  • How does Hadi define “high performance” in leadership? How has it changed with time?
  • What is Hadi’s framework for making tough decisions? How does Hadi teach that framework to his team? What are the biggest mistakes leaders make in decision-making?
  • How important does Hadi believe speed of execution is? How does Hadi determine when is the right time to go slow to go fast?

4.) Hadi Partovi: The Person:

  • How does Hadi analyze his relationship with money today? How does it change over time?
  • Hadi stepped off the for-profit treadmill with Code.org, why did he make that decision? How does he avoid the trappings of chasing wealth?
  • How does Hadi think about ego and ego management today? How does Hadi separate self-worth from financial gain and accomplishment?

Items Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Hadi’s Favourite Book: Sapiens: The #1 bestselling journey through human history and anthropology

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