The Profile: The king of venture capital & the crypto cop who switched sides
I’m currently boarding a plane headed to Laguna for Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit. This year’s theme is “Redefining Power,” and attendees include NBC News host Megyn Kelly, Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, singer Jewel, tennis champ Maria Sharapova, and interestingly enough, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and his mom (!).
When I’m not furiously tweeting, I’ll be interviewing Boeing president and CEO Leanne Caret on Monday. You can watch some of the higher-profile sessions live on fortune.com or just follow my snarky tweets here.
PS: Last week’s newsletter was 🔥, but it looks like it ended up in a lot of people’s spam folders. You can read the full thing here.
Here we go:
— Facebook’s unlikely critic [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The king of venture capital
— The crypto cop who switched sides
— The NBA star winning over Hollywood
— The careless insider traders
— The company making robo-pets
— The new titans of finance
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
Facebook’s unlikely critic: WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton didn’t agree with Facebook’s decision to show targeted ads on his platform. So, in one of the most expensive moral stands in history, he walked away from Facebook a year before his final tranche of stock grants vested. Acton took a screenshot of the stock price on his way out the door—the decision cost him $850 million.
“I sold my company. I sold my users’ privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day.”
The king of venture capital: Through his $100 billion Vision Fund, Masayoshi Son has astonished and confused Silicon Valley, where even the most respected venture capitalists have found themselves outmaneuvered by the newcomer. Masa has been called “a one-man bubblemaker” and “a big stack bully,” but he couldn’t care less. This profile sheds light on the mysterious and wildly ambitious dealmaker.
“Life’s too short to think small.”
The crypto cop who switched sides: Katie Haun was the Justice Department’s go-to prosecutor for Bitcoin-related crimes such as the fatal hack of Mt. Gox. Now, she’s shifted her career to become one of the most important investors in the crypto space. As a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, her job is now to help crypto founders succeed while staying on the right side of the law.
“Cryptocurrency is in the dial-up days, and the critics are confusing the current state of innovation with the end state of innovation.”
The NBA star winning over Hollywood: I never thought I’d read a profile on LeBron James in The Hollywood Reporter, but here we are. As he prepares to debut with the L.A. Lakers, the NBA’s biggest star has somehow emerged as one of the town’s hottest producers. He’s spending time setting up a dozen film and TV projects and starring in a new ‘Space Jam.’ Meet LeBron, the Hollywood superstar.
"The goal is to continue to do what we've been doing, and if we make a billion-dollar company at the end of it, we will pat each other on the back, hug each other, pop some great wine … but that is not the goal.”
The careless insider traders: How did an NFL player and a Goldman Sachs banker end up insider trading together? Well, it was a scheme that was neither smart nor subtle. In one of the worst trades in Wall Street history, an Ivy Leaguer-turned-Goldman banker gambled his freedom for what turned out to be $10,000, some football tickets & points with a celebrity friend.
“Growing up, you think a million is everything. You get a million, and you understand that it can go like that.”
COMPANIES TO WATCH.
The company making robo-pets: You know Boston Dynamics as the company that keeps releasing videos of robots doing things that robots aren't supposed to be able to do. It has previously featured a robo-dog opening a door for its robo-dog friend, a humanoid robot going for a stroll, and a robot doing backflips. But now it has to answer the question on everyone’s mind — can it turn its inventions into a real business or will it simply remain a research project?
“We subconsciously treat robots like living things — and I don’t think that effect will go away as we get used to the technology.”
The new titans of finance: Cryptocurrency-trading startup Coinbase rose from obscurity to become the first billion-dollar company of the Bitcoin boom. Now, founder Brian Armstrong must prove that Coinbase, along with crypto itself, has the staying power to take on Wall Street.
“Coinbase is in a very good position to leverage all that because they’ve got the tech. This is where the rubber hits the road, as tech startups start eating big banks’ business.”