MFM #100 with Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano

On today's episode, Shaan and Sam are joined by Anthony "Pomp" Pompliano. They talk about Pomp's background, the loneliness epidemic, the automation of the service industry, and the "Export Framework" of business generation.


August 12, 2020

Who is Pomp? 🌪️

  • Pomp’s background: After a stint in the army, he started two tech companies that ultimately failed. He ended up doing growth work at Facebook. He worked on Facebook Pages and describes it as being “at the right place, at the right time”. After Facebook, he led growth at Snapchat. After Snap, he began doing generalist, early-stage investing before focusing mostly on crypto.
  • Investing: He started out with personal capital. Once he had done 8 deals, he was able to raise money from LPs. He would often find good deals first, and then convince LPs to put money into the fund to help make the deal happen. He invested remotely from North Carolina.
  • Investments: Imperfect Foods (Pomp invested at $12m valuation), Everlywell (Pomp invested at a $15m valuation), CubCoats.
  • CubCoats: Kids stuff toy-to-jacket brand. One of Pump’s best investments, doing 8 figures in revenue. Founded by Zac Park.

Technology has made us lonelier. Now, can it make us less lonely? 👨🧑

  • Book recommendation: Tribe. In Israel, PTSD rates for soldiers is 1%, but in the US it is 20%. This is because when in the military, there is comradery and purpose, but they lose that when they leave.
  • Sam: “I believe there will be a massive problem with loneliness especially single men above 30.” This is a major opportunity for businesses to provide communities.
  • Pomp: Technology is able to provide us connections. There is still a lot of innovation to happen around bringing people together. Examples playing out in real time  are Lunchclub.ai and Clubhouse.
  • Idea: Genuine dating app (he calls it “Authentic”). Pomp believes the biggest problem with dating apps is the false promotions and lack of authenticity. He would like to see an app created where a user’s profile consists of videos of them answering random questions. He thinks not only would this create more genuine, authentic profiles for users, but it would also be more entertaining, fun and consumable content. 
  • Sam is bearish on the dating space. Pomp thinks dating is ripe for disruptions.
  • Muzmatch: Dating app for muslims. Islam is the largest religion in the world, and its rules around dating can be quiet intricate. This is an example of the many vertices and niches within dating that have often been overlooked.
  • Dil Mil: Indian dating app. Another group-specific dating app. It has features relevant to its user base that is often overlooked by bigger apps. For example, login is done through Linkedin because a partner’s career is important when dating in Indian culture. It sold  for $50m to Match Group

Will automation save or kill the service industry? 🤖

  • Nick Huber: Storage investor and service business advocate. For him, the biggest issue in the service industry is training people. How do you solve this?
  • Pomp: It’s two-fold problems, 1) the people that are good at the task, have to be good at documenting and explaining it, and 2) employees need to actually consume it. This is probably an issue in every industry. This is especially true in industries that are highly regulated and where workers need to be constantly trained.
  • HealthStream: Teaches medical personnel latest procedures. An example of a training-focused company.
  • Opportunity: Schools have professional development budgets and sometimes pay more than corporations. Speakers/trainers can make a lot just by getting booked at schools.
  • MasterClass: Is an eExample of unstructured, self-improvement training.
  • Pomp: More courses that teach people how to build successful internet businesses in areas like podcasting and newsletters from people who’ve actually done it, are needed.
  • Eagle Transfer: Commercial moving business owned by Sam’s father-in-law. One of his biggest limitations in growing the business is hiring and training employees. This highlights the need to make training easier and better in certain industries.
  • Shaan: The solution is not so much better training, but automation. Training may never be good enough, but being able to automate lower-end jobs is a goldmine gold-mine. Companies like Toast, are crushing it by helping restaurants automate. 
  • Pomp: Chamanth says “US economy prioritized efficiency over resiliency. American companies looked for the cheapest ways to produce things and paid a price during the coronavirus pandemic.”  The pendulum will swing back a little, as companies begin to consider resiliency and not just cost.
  • The biggest advantage US labor workers have had is that machines weren’t able to do their jobs. As companies bring more manufacturing back to the US, Pomp predicts two things: 1) more automation will happen to keep costs down; and 2) unemployment in low-level jobs will skyrocket.

The “Export Framework” for businesses generation 🏭

  • Export framework: Shaan describes this as taking custom, internal tools used at big companies and turning them into companies themselves.
  • Facebook angel mafia: Often, when someone left Facebook to start a company, they would raise seed and angel round internally from employees. These companies were oftentimes versions of tools already used internally within Facebook.
  • LaunchDarkly: An example of an “export business”. LaunchDarkly is a “feature management” tool whose origin was within Facebook. It’s founders knew other companies would want a tool like it, so they turned it into its own company. 
  • Amplitude: Helps companies boost engagement by analyzing data to show what signals to look for. Pomp uses this as an example of a tool common within a big company like Facebook, but previously unavailable to smaller companies.
  • Another export idea: Shaan has a friend who became the CTO at a company just because he had gone through Facebook’s internal developer bootcamp. Shaan believes providing internal training for corporations as a service can be a thing. “An internal Lambda School”. Examples of companies with great training programs: Facebook, Gartner, Trilogy Software.

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