“You got what it takes, but not enough to get started” —Too Short
An often-discussed problem today is that talent is more evenly distributed than opportunity. The conversation generally revolves around opportunity translating into a massive mountain of necessary prerequisites — proper parenting, elite childhood education, fancy college, a focus only on S.T.E.M., credentialed work experience, and on and on. These are all great areas to focus on, but what about the talented person with drive, ambition, and desire who is already way past college age and had none of these things? What about the person who had to drop out of high school to feed the family and now has the entrepreneurial skills — but not the resume? What about the amazing musician who needs to crack the industry code? What about the genius who spent the last 10 years in prison and is ready to go for his or hers?
What about the hustlers?
Meanwhile, new technology platforms are creating opportunity for people with talent but with none of the prerequisites to navigate the old system. Every day at Andreessen Horowitz we see new ways to be everything from a daycare entrepreneur to an operator of a hair stylist business. Beyond that, we see ways to reverse the prison of financial services created by the legacy banking and credit card industry; we see ways to get what you are owed from your employer and the healthcare system; and we see ways to avoid (seemingly) little things like traffic and parking violations that can turn people’s lives upside down when you’re living paycheck to paycheck.
That’s why we are introducing a new podcast, Hustlin’ Tech, hosted by the two of us and produced as part of the a16z Podcast.
The show welcomes everybody and anybody, who has the desire, the talent, and the hustle to do great things… and is looking for that opportunity to shine. With this show, we’re introducing the technology platforms — and the mindsets — that can let you do just that.
Each episode is a guide to a new way of doing things, and takes hustlers — people who find and make their way with the tools they are given — from a variety of unconventional backgrounds, and CEOs of important new technology platforms, interviewed by us. The hustlers include formerly incarcerated people, including my co-host Shaka Senghor, who was sent to prison at the age of 19, learned new skills in jail, wrote a NYT-bestselling book Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison, was interviewed by Oprah, and is a leading voice on criminal justice reform today. The show features hustlers from single moms learning how to run their own businesses to people trying to make ends meet.
What happens when people create or are given an opportunity to contribute to society? That’s what this show is about. In addition to our entrepreneurial hustlers, we have entrepreneurs like Chris Bennett who co-founded Wonderschool, which helps people own and operate daycare centers and preschools out of their homes; Ram Palaniappan, who founded Earnin, which allows employees to access money they earned in real time; and Diishan Imira, who founded Mayvenn, which helps hair stylists with supply and demand, enabling them to run stronger businesses.
You can find the first three episodes here and by subscribing to the a16z Podcast (in Apple, Spotify, or whatever app you get your podcasts in): The Hustler’s Guide to Preschool, The Hustler’s Guide to Getting Paid, and The Hustler’s Guide to the Hair Business. That’s just where we’re starting, we have more coming soon — you can sign up below to be notified of new episodes and other updates.
We are tired of fixing the old system. Let’s build a new system. Let’s put the hustlers up on tech, and the tech community up on the hustlers.
Let’s do this.