Growing up as an only child in a rural town, I spent a lot of time on my own—reading, thinking, absorbing, and exploring the natural world around me. This taught me to be curious, always thinking about how things work but also how they might be made differently. So, while I may be an engineer by trade, comfortable with building things from the ground up, I much prefer to let childlike wonder get the best of me, and think of ways to bring moonshot ideas down to Earth.
The world of venture is a natural fit for a playful generalist who’s obsessed with the pursuit of the unknown. When I meet founders and look into their companies, I try to imagine the world from their, often unfamiliar point of view. I try to visualize how the world would change if their ideas were to become the foundation of a new paradigm. Will this be a cornerstone of life in 2030? 2040? You see, at any moment, an idea could come along that changes the entire planet, and I’m always open to the possibility that the person standing in front of me is the first to ever think of it.
Which specific problems would you like to see solved?
People love to dream of a future where humans manage to achieve incredible scientific feats like terraforming Mars—but I personally would love to find an entrepreneur who’s found a way to “terraform” the more uninhabitable parts of Earth. Find a use for the sweltering heat of the Lut desert. Engineer new plants that thrive in the antarctic. Make the Sahara desert into arable land. Find a way to make the ocean useful far beyond fishing and transport.
Share something you think might shock people:
A lot of people think of genetic engineering as a groundbreaking, modern concept but actually, the most produced crop in the world, corn, is one of the most genetically engineered organisms in history. Its origins trace back to Teosinte, a South American grass that produced only a few kernels of what resembled corn per “stalk.” Native Americans selectively bred the grain, selecting for more desirable human-foodlike features such as number of kernels, size, and color. Over time, this domestication effort resulted in the crops we know as maize and corn today.