Vinod Khosla: Taking Risks | Summary and Q&A

April 5, 2012
Stanford eCorner
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Vinod Khosla: Taking Risks

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In this video, the speaker discusses the importance of daring to dream and trying to achieve extraordinary things. They recall a motto they saw while hang gliding, emphasizing the need to pursue something extraordinary in order to achieve greatness. The speaker continues to believe in this philosophy and shares how they still aspire to try new adventures, even though their wife prohibits them from skydiving again. They also mention the significance of being foolish enough to take on challenges that may seem irrational, as it allows for a level of naivete and belief in oneself that is necessary for success.

Questions & Answers

Q: How old were you, and how old were Bill, Andy, and Scott?

We were all around 27, within a year of each other. We were all about the same age, which was an exciting time in our lives and careers.

Q: Did you really say that motto about success and dreams?

Absolutely, I did. It was a powerful motto that resonated with me while I was hang gliding. The exact words were, "Success comes to those that dare to dream dreams and are foolish enough to try and make them come true." It was a reminder to push ourselves to achieve something extraordinary.

Q: Do you still believe in that philosophy?

Yes, I absolutely still believe in that philosophy. It is important to dream big and take risks in order to accomplish extraordinary things. Although I may not hang glide anymore, I still try to live by this mentality and seek out new adventures.

Q: Would you consider trying hang gliding or skydiving again?

While I may not currently hang glide, I do plan on picking it back up this summer. If not, I am also interested in trying skydiving. However, my wife has forbidden me from skydiving after a previous experience. It will be interesting to see the reaction of the Kliener Perkins partners when they hear about it.

Q: What motivated you to consider picking up hang gliding or skydiving again?

My daughter, who is just turning 12, has expressed interest in learning skydiving. Since the minimum age is 12, I promised her that I would take her. This gives me a good excuse to pursue what I really want to do, despite my wife's objections.

Q: Why is trying something extraordinary so important for entrepreneurs?

Trying something extraordinary is crucial for entrepreneurs because it pushes them to go beyond what is considered reasonable or rational. As a 27-year-old startup founder taking on established giants like IBM, it was not a reasonable endeavor. However, by pursuing something extraordinary, entrepreneurs can surpass their own limitations and achieve greatness.

Q: What did you mean by the level of foolishness in the motto?

The level of foolishness mentioned in the motto refers to the mindset of being naively optimistic and believing in oneself. When pursuing an extraordinary goal, it is necessary to have a certain level of naivete and disregard for what is considered rational. By not being constrained by what is deemed reasonable, entrepreneurs can operate with a fearless mindset that allows them to take bold actions.

Q: Why is it important to have a belief in oneself?

Having a belief in oneself is essential because it allows entrepreneurs to overcome challenges and push forward even when faced with adversity. When attempting something extraordinary, it is easy to doubt oneself or be discouraged by external factors. However, by having unwavering self-belief, entrepreneurs can overcome obstacles and achieve what others may perceive as impossible.

Q: Can being within the reasonable domain limit success?

Yes, being within the reasonable domain can often limit success. When one operates solely within what is considered reasonable or feasible, their beliefs and actions become constrained. By confining oneself to the realm of reason, opportunities for innovation and breakthroughs may be missed. It is important not to limit oneself and to constantly push beyond what is considered reasonable.

Q: How would you summarize the importance of trying something extraordinary?

Trying something extraordinary is vital for personal and professional growth. It allows individuals to challenge themselves, break through limitations, and accomplish things they never thought possible. By daring to dream and taking action, one can create a significant impact and lead a life filled with fulfillment and achievement.


The key takeaways from this video are the importance of daring to dream and trying to achieve something extraordinary. It is crucial to believe in oneself, be willing to take risks, and embrace a level of naivete to pursue goals that may seem irrational or unreasonable. By pushing beyond what is considered feasible, entrepreneurs can break free from constraints and accomplish greatness. Trying something extraordinary is not only a source of personal growth but also an opportunity to make a significant impact in the world.

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