a16z Podcast

Alex Honnold on Human Performance (part 2) – Climbing and Entrepreneurship

Peter Levine and Alex Honnold

Posted July 11, 2020

In part two of our two-part series on Human Performance with rock climber Alex Honnold, we looked at the limits of human potential in sports – and how we push those limits through technology and training.

In this episode, recorded at our a16z innovation summit last year, Alex talks with a16z general partner and fellow avid climber Peter Levine about the risk, fear, and preparation for his free solo of El Capitan on Yosemite. While climbing is the topic, the conversation holds many lessons for entrepreneurs, and anyone else who is attempting something that’s never been done before – including how to evaluate risk versus reward, moving to the public spotlight from stealth, removing constraints to innovate on established routes, and knowing where you can fall and where you can’t. The conversation finishes with Alex’s life philosophy of living simply and giving back, including how he donates a third of all his income to the Honnold Foundation to support solar projects in underserved communities.

When you're living exactly the way that you wanna be living, it's easy to give away what you don't need, because you're already on exactly the path that you want. -Alex Honnold