Nat Friedman

I'm an investor, entrepreneur, developer.

Some things about me:
  • Grew up in Charlottesville, VA
  • On the Internet since 1991, which is my actual "home town"
  • Went to MIT because I loved the Richard Feynman autobiographies
  • Started two companies
  • CEO of GitHub from 2018 through 2021
  • Live in California
Some things I believe:
  • As human beings it is our right (maybe our moral duty) to reshape the universe to our preferences
    • Technology, which is really knowledge, enables this
    • You should probably work on raising the ceiling, not the floor
  • Enthusiasm matters!
    • It's much easier to work on things that are exciting to you
    • It might be easier to do big things than small things for this reason
    • Energy is a necessary input for progress
  • It's important to do things fast
    • You learn more per unit time because you make contact with reality more frequently
    • Going fast makes you focus on what's important; there's no time for bullshit
    • "Slow is fake"
    • A week is 2% of the year
    • Time is the denominator
  • The efficient market hypothesis is a lie
    • At best it is a very lossy heuristic
    • The best things in life occur where EMH is wrong
    • In many cases it's more accurate to model the world as 500 people than 8 billion
    • "Most people are other people"
  • We know less than we think
    • The replication crisis is not an aberration
    • Many of the things we believe are wrong
    • We are often not even asking the right questions
  • The cultural prohibition on micromanagement is harmful
    • Great individuals should be fully empowered to exercise their judgment
    • The goal is not to avoid mistakes; the goal is to achieve uncorrelated levels of excellence in some dimension
    • The downsides are worth it
  • Smaller teams are better
    • Faster decisions, fewer meetings, more fun
    • No need to chop up work for political reasons
    • No room for mediocre people (can pay more, too!)
    • Large-scale engineering projects are more soluble in IQ than they appear
    • Many tech companies are 2-10x overstaffed
  • Where do you get your dopamine?
    • The answer is predictive of your behavior
    • Better to get your dopamine from improving your ideas than from having them validated
    • It's ok to get yours from "making things happen"
  • You can do more than you think
    • We are tied down by invisible orthodoxy
    • The laws of physics are the only limit
  • My current areas of interest are AI, infrastructure, open source, and (some) frontier tech
  • I lead seed and series A rounds, and some growth, investing between $1M and $100M
  • Frequently I invest with Daniel Gross
  • You can email me: [email protected]
I've invested in more than 100 startups. Some examples:
  • Led the seed round in John Carmack's Keen Technologies (invested $18M)
  • Largest seed investor in from Noam Shazeer (invested $20M)
  • Invested in every round of Retool
  • Seed investor in Scale, Vercel, WandB, Perplexity, AssemblyAI,, Apollo, Sentry, Klarity, Pilot, Streamlit... and many others.