In this episode of Hidden Forces, host Demetri Kofinas speaks with Josh Wolfe, co-founder of Lux Capital. Lux Capital is a venture firm that specializes in the hard sciences, supporting scientists and entrepreneurs who pursue counter-conventional solutions to the most vexing puzzles of our time. Josh is also a founding investor and board member with Bill Gates in Kymeta, which makes cutting-edge antennas for high-speed global satellite and space communications. He is a Westinghouse semi-finalist and published scientist who previously worked in investment banking at Salomon Smith Barney and in capital markets at Merrill Lynch. In 2008, Josh Wolfe co-founded and funded Kurion, a contrarian bet in the unlikely business of using advanced robotics and state-of-the-art engineering and chemistry to clean up nuclear waste. He is a columnist with Forbes who has lectured at MIT, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, NYU and been invited to The White House and Capitol Hill to advise on nanotechnology and emerging technologies.
The fields of science, technology, and investing are not new territory for Hidden Forces listeners. These are subjects that we have covered at length with previous guests, including Geoffrey West, Ray Monk, Robert Johnson, Christopher Cole, and Tim O’Reilly. Rarely, though, do we find ourselves in conversation with someone like Josh Wolfe, who has made a billion dollar business of investing in and around ground-breaking technologies and innovations in the hard sciences. Some of these breakthroughs include artificial intelligence, advancements in medicine, biotechnology, synthetic biology, genomics, energy, and much, much more.
In an effort to help us understand how he capitalizes on these opportunities, Josh Wolfe shares his unique perspective on investing with us, as well as his methodology for learning about the forces shaping our future. How does art inform our perception of the world? How do we gain direction from the insights of our passions? What information can we glean from the substance of our curiosities? How does the fuel of internal strife and discontentment propel us towards success? Can we learn to nurture our contrarian impulses in spite of our instinct to follow the herd?
In a philosophical discussion that ranges from the material to the immaterial, Josh Wolfe inspires us to reckon with the paradox of our own humanity. Are we simply the products of an indeterminate world whose mysteries we are helpless to uncover? Or, are all of life’s great questions amenable to the same sort of empirical analysis and reason responsible for propelling our species forward since the earliest days of human enlightenment?
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Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas
Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou