Thinking up World Changing Ideas with Max Levchin at SXSW

Max Levchin, cofounder of Affirm, courtesy photo from SXSW.

Max Levchin, cofounder of Affirm, courtesy photo from SXSW.

Max Levchin, one of the co-founders of PayPal, stayed up all night at South by Southwest Interactive, to come up with his list of five unstoppable trends that are going to change the world.

During his keynote address, Levchin said too many entrepreneurs focus on small ideas. He’s looking for transformative ideas that will have a massive impact through his firm, HVF. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Affirm, a financial technology startup and is an active investor in Uber and other startups. He also founded Slide and helped start Yelp. So he knows a thing or two about game-changing technology startups.

“Riding the big wave is the dream of every entrepreneur,” Levchin said.

During his talk, he outlined four major trends and a fifth bonus trend for entrepreneurs to focus on and to create startups around.

1. Beneficence – the act of doing good, active kindness. A company that does well by doing good for its customers.

2. Human-assisted AI – the robots will get smarter but they will still need humans to provide insight and knowledge.

3. Software eating older software – Building on Marc Andreessen’s famous essay on Software Eating the World, Levchin sees the second wave of software replacing older software creating tremendous innovation in old industries.

4. Regulatory Arbitrage – Opportunities created and money available from the government around data.

5. Fractal Knowledge – Specializing in niche markets and becoming an expert and forming a new model of how the world works and seeing opportunities that others might not.

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