January 02, 2018


This week, Cory speaks to product veteran and venture capitalist Josh Elman, who is best known for his integral roles in designing, building and scaling consumer products at Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, & Zazzle and he is currently also a partner at prominent venture capital firm Greylock Partners.  In this weeks episode, Josh talks about the early days of the dot com era, his roles at LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, what it was like working with what are now the icons of the industry and what are the questions and qualities he looks in a founder before writing a check.

“The only thing you can do as an entrepreneur is to get one more person every day, every hour, every minute, to adopt your product, to adopt your new way of thinking, to adopt the system or the product that you’re actually building and engaging people with.”

Venture capitalist and Greylock Partners investor Josh Elman (@joshelman) has built a successful career on finding new trends worth investing in, and using his skills and interests to move those trends forward. Before becoming an investor, Elman worked as a product manager for iconic companies in their early days, including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Cory Levy (After School, Internapalooza) talks with Josh on OFF RCRD about his journey from product manager to an investor, discovering what’s going to be the next big thing and his advice for startup founders and others who might not know what they want to do yet. “I think part of this whole startup journey is finding these things that you might believe 100 million people will use or you can actually cause this behavior change that will happen that most other people don’t believe,” says Josh.

If you don’t yet know what idea you’re going to pursue as an entrepreneur or what company you would like to join, Josh recommends answering this question; “what do you believe will happen in the world in the next 10 years that you would love to be a part of making?” Josh says, “if you believe that something (could become) really, really big, you’re going to have more fun and work harder to try to make that happen every day.” After you figure out what that is, find a way to get started working in that field and on that trend you think could become “really, really big.”

Capitalizing on a trend as Josh mentions in the interview with Cory Levy doesn’t have to be through entrepreneurship. There are hundreds if not thousands of companies working on problems that you’d like to solve and in industries, you’re interested in. Josh found these opportunities consistently throughout his career while finding new companies to work with. “If you pick the right trends and you pick the right mission, you can even jump from company to company like I did, from LinkedIn to Facebook and Twitter, and still come out with a great set of outcomes and be very proud of the work you did.” Other than regretting how early he left LinkedIn, Josh has few regrets in a successful career in tech. Asked what has contributed most to his success, Josh said that there are two things.
The first is clearly luck.
The second is this constant curiosity where I’m trying to guess what I believe the world could be in the future and trying to actually go work on that.

Show Notes
  • 1:10

    Josh Elman discusses becoming a venture capitalist

  • 4:00

    “In 2004, I had actually started business school which I dropped out. I got very excited about social networking.” Josh discusses his journey and work for social media companies at

  • 5:40

    Cory asks Josh “What’s something controversial today that won’t be tomorrow?”

  • 8:33

    How entrepreneurs can deal with controversy: “I think you should actually embrace controversy in the sense of doubts and disbelief and people ignoring you.”

  • 9:16

    Josh shares the questions he asks people before he writes them a check: “I really like to think about it as, “Why now and why you?””

  • 10:49

    All entrepreneurs make mistakes. Josh talks about the ineffective habits and mistakes of founders at

  • 13:10

    Do you know what you’re going to do with your life? Josh shares his advice to young people trying to figure out what to do

  • 14:00

    Josh talks about a decision he would change if he could go back in the past — leaving LinkedIn when he did. Hear why at

  • 16:34

    Cory asks, “Do you have any advice for finding untapped talent?”

  • 19:34

    How Josh makes hard decisions

  • 21:30

    Josh shares his recommended reads

  • 22:10

    Josh answers “If there was one thing that you could pinpoint that has contributed to your success more than anything, what would that be and why?”

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