EP 20: Palmer Luckey on Elon Musk and John Carmack, selling Oculus for $2B and starting defense tech company Anduril

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In this episode, Aarthi and Sriram talked to Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus and now the founder and CEO of Anduril. We talked about Palmer’s unique childhood, how he started Oculus and essentially made re-ignited the VR movement, sold to Meta, got fired, and then went on to start another challenging company called Anduril which focuses on building defense technology. We talked about Palmer’s recent trip to Ukraine, the current state of the Ukraine/Russia, China/Taiwan and the threat of nuclear war. We also talked about John Carmack, Elon Musk, dealing with haters, working on hard problems and what drives incredibly productive people and his advice for founders.

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00:00 Trailer

00:38 Welcome Palmer Luckey

01:07 – What did you get done this week

05:30 – Palmer’s childhood, dropping out and starting Oculus

12:00 – Oculus’ breakthrough tech

14:50 – Meeting John Carmack, why he’s one of top 10 most productive people

19:50 – VR is the final platform

24:50 – Starting another company, another ‘challenging’ company

31:00 – Why build a defense tech business

38:00 – Employees going against defense tech

44:45 – Current state of defense tech and issues

48:20 – How does Anduril solve the issues

52:50 – Ukraine trip and where things are headed

1:00:30 – Putin, nuclear threat, nuclear power plants and EU surviving winter

1:06:55 – Waving a magic wand – what would Palmer do on Ukraine/Russia

1:10:10 – China and Taiwan conflict

1:20:00 – Hardware manufacturing and dependence on China

1:21:20 – Dealing with haters

1:25:00 – Building your audience, going direct on comms

1:28:00 – Working on asymmetrical bets

1:31:20 – Advice for founders

1:37:20 – Conclusion