In-Focus Podcast

Building the Base episode 1: Shaun Modi

Building The Base Podcast Title Card 313w

Shaun Modi is the founder and CEO of a new venture-backed Startup, Capitol AI. As founding designer at Airbnb, and co-founder of the design and innovation group TM, Shaun has launched over 55+ products. Airbnb is now worth $100b+.  

Recognized as one of Business Insider’s Top 75 Designers in Technology, Shaun’s skills are a culmination of 14+yrs experience from tremendously successful companies and institutions including Airbnb, Google, RISD, and MIT. 

The discussion explores his inspirations for a career in technology, his passion for the national defense mission, and steps the DoD can take to improve innovation and participation among smaller companies in the defense industrial base.

Podcast Transcript

Introduction:
Welcome to Building the Base, a unique discussion focused on shaping the future of the national security industrial base. The world is changing at an ever-increasing pace and staying on top means adapting faster than the competition. Join top industry leaders as they share their perspectives on how we can all get better together.

Looking for ways to roll up your sleeves and get to work? Do you believe that the many security concerns facing our nation are simply too large for our government to solve on its own and should it have to? building the base gives you a unique opportunity to learn from thought leaders and practitioners on the front lines of chain here to begin today’s episode your host Silicon Valley defense guru, Lauren Bedula and former chief weapons buyer and innovator for special operators, sailors and Marines Hondo Geurts.

Hondo Geurts:
Hey, welcome everybody to a podcast that we’re designing to have the discussion about what industrial base we need for the next 50 to 70 years. It’s been a topic is talked about a lot, but not a lot has actually been done about it. Our goal is to have the discussion with some thought leaders and actually move to action.

And recent conflicts have shown us that it’s far past the time that we need to move. out on this. And Silicon Valley so I’m happy to be here with my awesome co-host Lauren and the two of us are going to find the most interesting people around. I think you’re going to hear one of them here in a sec to talk about this you know, what could be a dry topic, but actually there’s nothing more important than our national security and national prosperity.

And so, we welcome everybody here. It’s our inaugural recording St. Patrick’s Day 2022 post COVID and we’re ready to roll. So over to my Awesome Co-host Lauren.

Lauren Bedula:
Thanks, Hondo. yeah, as Hondo said, we’re so excited to kick this off. This is a topic that’s top of mind. I know for, for Hondo and myself, but so many others.
And I, I don’t think there could be a better guest to, to help us kick this off then Shawn Modi who’s here today with us. And, and you’ll hear more about him as we talk through his story and background, but Shaun brings with him experience from, you know, so many aspects of Silicon Valley including very early days at Airbnb.

He also spent time at Google and NASA and moved his family here to DC because he’s so enthusiastic about supporting national security missions. So, we want. Kind of pick at that today to see what this means for trends in terms of the future of workforce and talent and collaboration between tech innovators and the national security community So super excited to, jump in

Hondo Geurts:
You know, everybody’s got an interesting story. I think your story is one of the more interesting stories. Can you give us a sense kind of, of the arc of how you got from where you started to getting here and you know, what’s that journey been like and what have you been taken from? What have you taken from it along the way?

Shaun Modi:
Oh boy. Well, that’s a great question. And again, thanks for having me. So, I started my career studying industrial design at Rhode Island school of design, some notice as what designers do we create products that are feasible, meaning they can be manufactured viable in the marketplace and desirable,

Hondo:
But they got look good Right?

Shaun Modi:
Exactly. Exactly. So, starting there got an internship at night. Where I was working on long-term survivability on the moon. We would, should have had that base by now, but that’s what really gave me my first exposure to emerging technologies and human factors and design. I went on to work at Motorola enterprise mobility business, which where I was designing rugged mobile computer.

And software systems for our customers like FedEx ups the army, and then was recruited to join Google. And I moved out west from the east coast where boy, it was a really unique time. I actually joined Larry and Sergei his first PhD thesis project that they kept alive. It’s called side Wiki, which was a browser extension.

Social annotation of websites on the internet and got to work directly with, with Larry and Sergei. And it was a very flat organization. And as one does in Silicon Valley, I got the itch to start a company. So, with the product manager from Chrome or what was called chromo S at the time I started a visual search engine and around then was a really unique time in Silicon Valley because in the bay area, because you had companies like Pinterest, Dropbox, Uber air bed, and breakfast, Airbnb, really growing.

So, my buddies are two of the three co-founders and they recruited me to join us one of the earliest employees at Airbnb. And that was incredible journey. You know, we change the world and it’s a product that’s in every country in the world, except for North Korea, Iran.

We’d be there too if the government was at us. But and you know, since then I started design firm and launched over 70 products. It was an incredible journey. And I started working with the department. It during 2020, and that’s where I just fell in love with the mission. And I met smart folks like you all. And I was inspired to start another company and this time it’s a product company. We, and we raised venture capital. To come out of stealth mode in the next 60 days here. But that’s a bit of my journey. I’m happy to lean into any areas.

Lauren Bedula:
Yeah, I want to double click on Airbnb because I hardly remember life before it because I rely so heavily on it and I think it just changed the way we do so much of what we do nowadays when it comes to travel.
And so, as such a disruptive company I’m sure it wasn’t always smooth, right? So, we know you made your mark really as an early leader there, but could you tell us about those early days and what lessons you learned that really shaped you since.

Shaun Modi:
Yeah, well, gosh, there’s so much, there’s so much, well, the power of design and how can I have a measurable impact on a business?

That’s really what I took away there. You know, Airbnb could be perceived as a low-cost alternative for hotels for college kids, but we, it was not one silver bullet. It was thousands of decisions that we had. To create a trusted platform from finding your desired location within a city, to then finding that particular property, to then showing up to a stranger’s house and checking in and ensuring it’s safe and clean and expectations are met.

And then you know, exchange of money in, in a, in a trusted and reliable way. So really the, the early days where we’re about understanding user needs, understanding the business needs and crafting a user experience that was. That could accomplish all these things. And it was, it was a culture where you could come up with an idea and actually ship it Right?

Many bureaucracies, you, you, you, you can spend a year working on one little dropdown menu. I won’t, I won’t name names of companies where that’s the case, but at Airbnb, there was an openness to trying new radical things and thinking outside the box and also. Design was given authority to, to have a say.

And in many organizations, design is an afterthought, right? Once the engineers already do all their work, then it’s about making it look pretty. Airbnb has designed this as a first principle in everything they do.

Hondo Geurts:
So, but I assume your design training was not in software. And so how did you, how did you transfer those skills of what’s probably.

To make a box look nice to software. How did how’d you go through that mental transformation?

Shaun Modi:
Yeah. Well, that’s a, that’s a great question. Yeah, because industrial designs, the design of physical products, right? It could be shoes. It could be a desktop or a laptop computer, or a mobile phone. Well, I coded websites as a kid. I, I loved writing HTML and CSS. But I, you know, I didn’t go that deep into it. So, I had, you know, experience. You know, the interactivity and the, and the speed of deploying a code. But I S I self-taught, I forced myself to learn how to be a UX designer. And I would say Google was really the place where I flexed those and I had the freedom and great mentorship from my manager. Who’s now an advisor to my company who led design or Google. Yeah, so it was just forcing myself to D to learn it and just do it, get out.

Hondo Geurts:
Thats awesome. Hey, so Shaun, you’re one of this, what I would say is an emerging set, maybe a pioneer in this. Made your mark in commercial industry, but now pivoting to national security. Can you tell me a little bit of, what’s kind of that motivation to make that pivot and kind of, what are you learning in that? And do you sense that it’s a you’re, you’re one of one or one of many or, or, you know, what So, things do you think will help other very talented people like yourself find national security fruitful place to put there.

Shaun Modi:
Yeah, well, I, you know, I had, I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with my grandfather. So, every summer we get in the family station, wagon and drive from New Jersey to Washington DC or Fairfax, Virginia. And you know, he served for four presidents as the chief executive officer, the chief of staff of the president’s science advisory committee and under Dwight D Eisenhower all the way through Nixon. And he helped develop programs like the Intercontinental ballistic missile program, the nuclear launch ICBM. The commercialization of radiation for cancer therapy. So having him share his passion for serving the country and also his expertise, it was imbued in me from a very young age, but, you know, I went private sector and it wasn’t until 2020 when you know, we had an opportunity to work with the joint artificial intelligence center under a Lieutenant general, Shanahan
Colonel now General Kenny where I saw whoa, we can do better as a country. The software that we’re giving our frontline warfighters is not good enough. And there’s a, there’s a security risk here. And, and I found a small cadre of folks that wanted to make change. And I’m proud to say I still work with those folks.

So, this. So, I guess in short, for me, it’s about making sure we have a safe country and we lead in the world and, and we are the beacon for freedom and democracy. I think in terms of the other folks like us they’re out there. They just need to be made aware of what these pain points are and areas where we can, can make improvements for, for now security specifically when it comes to soft.

But acquisitions very hard. So many of the entrepreneurs like me stay away from it because investors are not that interested in long acquisition cycles.

Lauren Bedula:
I love Sean hearing. You talk about your grandfather and those stories, because I know so many of us in this space are here because of stories like those and your grandma’s.

Reminds me a lot of mine who served in World War II and grew up during the great depression. And, and again, the reason we’re here today is to think through the future of our industrial base, because it feels like we’re at this pivot, as we think through Pierre. The competition. And I always kind of hesitate when I use near peer, because I think when we talk Russia, China, you know, very much peer in, in cases like around national security and technology.

But so much of our country’s security and prosperity are directly linked to the industrial base that grew out of World War two. And it’s stories like. That reminds us of this. And as we look to the future, it’s become really clear that we need to build the industrial base that will help us maintain both our security and prosperity and not over rely on one from the past.

And I know you appreciate kind of your experiences and, and prosperity that you’ve kind of encountered in Silicon Valley and are here now because you’re so past. About mission. So wanted to get your take on ideas to approach this challenge of this future industrial base.

Shaun Modi:
Yeah. So, the question is how do we activate an industrial base?

Yeah, that’s I mean, that’s, that’s the million-dollar question. One is more entrepreneurs and people that are building technologies need to talk to the war fighter need to talk to analysts from UN and also the program offices. So, they actually understand what the requirements are, what user needs are.

So, if there’s a way, we can start to open the kimono a bit in a way that doesn’t reveal state secrets or anything. Allow analysts to talk to product developers, engineers. You know, I was fortunate enough to work with north com the analysts there, and that’s where, whoa, I, I learned so much as wealth of knowledge of how they do their work, how they, how they evaluate long range, aviation threats, how they evaluate threats at sea, how do they model COVID data and supply chain data?

That that was illuminating. So, if we want more companies to protect. Access to user needs. Right. Another, another piece is the funding, right? Venture capitalists, looking at DOD as a viable you know, market and segment, I think that will by nature, create a market dynamic, that it gets more people participating in it.

And then, you know, the other piece is S acquisition, right? So, if you know, silver is a great thing, direct to phase two is really meaning. Doubling down and, and kind of sanding down the rough edges off that I think would certainly create a more dynamic.

Hondo Geurts:
Yeah, Sean. I mean, we all remember kind of the Google moment, I would say of, you know, artificial intelligence and, and oftentimes you hear folks from the valley sometimes apologize for that.

And I actually thought it was a very useful moment because I think it caused us to. Really, you know, what does it mean for us all to work together for security and prosperity. And, and I fully recognize having been on the other side, all the friction points of the acquisition system and whatnot, do you send, so a trend may be accelerated by even the recent conflicts.

More folks are interested in ensuring that we’ve got security and prosperity and willing to help, even if it’s not necessarily the juiciest of return targets. I mean, do I get this sense now that we’re starting to all pull together and leverage the unique now on snap kind of fight the unique talents?
Is that the trend you’re sensing from your buddies in in the valley or wherever else, kind of innovation is occurring.

Shaun Modi:
Absolutely. And, and for me personally, you know, this is not about the money, it’s about the mission, right? So, we’re focused for, with my current company on private sector as our primary, you know customer base, DOD IC.

This is a labor of love for me because I you know, I live in this country and my family doesn’t and. Certainly Ukraine has, has changed the sentiment of people that I’ve spoken to personally, who really were ambivalent about the defense. Now they realize it’s a vital aspect of our overall way of life.

And they have no choice, but to participate if they want to live in a free and open world. So, I am seeing that in a big. I am seeing more technologists step up to want to help the Ukrainians. And, and the overall, you know, defense of the country. So, the question is then how do we, how do we amplify that and nurture that?
So yeah, and lean into.

Lauren Bedula:
I love that topic because as we think through kind of the future of the industrial base talent plays a key role here, and technology will take us in so many directions, but at the end of the day, innovation is a human endeavor. And so, I know talent and workforce issues are top of mind for leaders across the national security community, but really across the tech sector too.

And we often refer to Silicon Valley, but when we do that, just limiting it to that part of the country. It’s really thinking through, there are all these different innovation hubs. You talked about the culture at Airbnb, which Hondo, I’m curious too, for your reaction. Cause I know you’ve; you’ve built teams and you’ve tried to foster disruptive cultures, but at the end of the day, getting these two communities together, just culturally there.

Differences that, you know, you’re seeing we’ve all worked through. But I wanted to ask you Sean, along the lines of, of talent in the future of industrial base, like how can we continue to develop and leverage what the nation has? It’s not necessarily fighting over employees and talent, but how do we work together to really foster that workforce piece?

Shaun Modi:
Yeah. Well, I should say, you know, Silicon Valley is now country. COVID turned it on its head because everyone, you know, moved to the country or, you know, be around nature. So, you’re not cooped up in your small apartment in knob hill or wherever, maybe in San Francisco or, or pay exorbitant rents and mortgages in the bay area.

Look at the bay is a very special place, but really, you know, our company is based in New York, DC where we’re distributed. Most tech companies, they’re going to go that way. So that’s the good news for, I think the, the defense industrial base we’re not overly concentrated in just the bay area. Now there are pros and cons of that.

Like there’s nothing like getting together in a room and, and working through a problem. So, what we will need, we get together once a month as a full team. We solve for that. But I think when we, when, when we want to inspire people to serve, it has to come from the top. Right? So, if our leaders in, in the department of defense said, Hey, startups, small companies, seed stage series, a series B.

We want to work on. And they said that in a very formal way, it would, it would be noticed. So, I think that’s pretty low hanging fruit to get, to get more people aware that this is a, is a viable option. I think culturally, I learned this like how to brief a commander. I mean, I was brief on how to brief several times just the brief, right.

So, I do think there’s, there’s going to have to be some. And I think some forgiveness on both sides, right? There is a chain, there’s a chain of command. And in startups, one of the beautiful parts about Airbnb and Google, which retained was how flat that organization was. Sergei literally came to my desk one day to test out the circle editor.

We were building log-in with his Gmail and forgot to log out. And I didn’t know that. So, I go to the, I go to check my email and I see Richard Branson, surrogate, Larry, and I just knocked out immediately. That’s talking about a flat organism. In a, in a DOD culture, it’s not like you can go directly to the boss and go around that chain, but to create innovative software and tech solutions, you need that flexibility to share ideas. So that’s something I think is going to have to be addressed.

Hondo Geurts:
Yeah, I think, you know, the first, you know, we often talk about the speed of trust. But you can’t have trust if you don’t have some respect and you can’t ever respect. If you don’t get to know each other, right. It’s really hard. You just you’ll talk past each other.

You, you won’t even know. How to collaborate if yours, there’s no context behind it. And so, I think we’re getting there, but boy, we’re, that’s something to do at scale. I mean, we’ve got, you know, I’m sure you’re tired of the San Francisco Bay tours from the military. And you know, there’s, I’d say tourism, but we haven’t got to a systemic level of trust where that trust is established before you need it. I’m hoping that, you know, many times in conflict or crisis as a way to drive, what would naturally not occur at, at, at speed or scale. And so, I’m hoping that we’ll be there. What about on the new talent perspective? So, for the new generation, my, you know, I’m the super old guy.

You’re an hour, you’re almost kind of the old guy. Lauren’s still young, she’s ever young. But do you think do you think we’ve made it clear on kind of the, the opportunities that are me to serve, you know, without, you know, serving the nation doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be in uniform, you can serve the nation as a talented programmer.

You can serve it as a. Do you think we’ve made that case yet? Or do you have maybe ideas on how we could make that case? So that folks coming out of wherever they’re coming out of schools or whatever, understand the opportunities there are to serve in the country in many different ways, not just in uniform or not just in a.

Shaun Modi:
Yeah. I mean, we could definitely do better. Right. And I mean, what Department of defense is the largest employer in the United States, right? That’s a big organization and what’s remarkable is that. Th the there’s all these agencies within it that most people are not aware of like the defense logistics agency or DHA the defense health agency So, to get people aware of these things, the people that work in these organizations need to find a way to socialize with young engineers, young design. Young product people. So that can be a concerted effort at universities where there’s actual like mixers you know, kind of requirement of government leaders to go speak and, and engage publicly.

So that there’s awareness of what these. Problem points are, I think open-sourcing datasets can be really powerful as well from a tech perspective. So, providing you know, of course not non secret data, but something that young minds can start to play with and tinker with and learn from that because really data is the lifeblood of all software applications and the DOD is sitting on a ton of data.
So, if you want people to start building on it, we’ve got to open-source it and get it out.

Lauren Bedula:
I think it’s spot on and we could spend the whole podcast kind of talking through how to encourage more folks to serve or look for opportunities to serve through partnerships and NGOs. And, and I think more and more opportunities to collaborate are popping up too. I was just at south by Southwest last weekend and it’s funny, five years ago.

I don’t think you’d catch very many folks from the national security community there. They’re now attracted because it’s a good opportunity to collaborate with technology leaders and talent and vice versa. A lot of CEOs are attending because they want to meet with the national security community and talk about potential work together going forward.

So, it feels like we’re at this sort of pivotal moment. When you look back to 2018, when there was a lot of news around Google pulling out of DOD project Maven, which was in the early days of the Jake’s efforts to leverage AI and computer vision to analyze. Video, and I think a big reason that happened Honda, back to your point around trust and transparency, is there just wasn’t this dialogue upfront, or we tried to kind of keep it in the back room or hide this work when really, it’s, you know, in the days of open source, when you’re talking Shaun about data, it’s almost like the national security community is be in terms of information we have.

And I think that we’ve done a good job finding ways to collaborate around that sensitive information. But also come to the table together to talk about what exactly we’re doing that with this information and what we’re trying to protect in terms of American interests, abroad, and really having that back-and-forth dialogue.

And so along those lines, it really feels like the recent conflicts in Ukraine may be the first conflict in which it really, in more recent times, the commercial businesses will have a major role as they mobilize expertise and products to support Ukrainian people. And I think there’s a real appreciation to.

What’s going on over there. That just feels like it’s, in some ways out of the blue to your average citizen I know the national security community has been tracking this threat from Russia for a while now, but it feels like a huge wake up call. So, while it’s still early in this conflict, curious if you’re seeing anything, you know, in terms of lessons, we’re learning to inform how we think about the nature nation’s future industrial base.

Like what is this pivot from really counter-terrorism as a top priority to Russia, China near peer competition.

Shaun Modi:
Topic is definitely an interest of mine. So, one thing I would say, Airbnb you know, what they did to open up 100,000 rooms for refugees is extraordinary 10,000 in Poland, alone and growing.

And that shows a tech company that’s able to deal with an international crisis at scale with high leverage and doing the right thing for people. And, and. It needs to nurture that. Right. And get on TV and say, hey, you know, citizens, please host more refugees. So that that’s one, a promising thing that I saw that it was just immediate and visceral in terms of the Russia, China threat.

I mean, we’re in the AI age, right. And of course, there’s, you know, freedom of navigation. I mean, this is outside my pay grade. I know you’re that, you’re the expert. We’re making sure that we have control of the season and the openness of the season. And especially in the south. So, on the hardware side, maybe I’ll let you all speak to that.

But on the software side whoever, whoever achieves quantum supremacy and AI supremacy will be the superpower in the century. Full-stop. And how do you get there? The quantum aside with the data piece, it’s about building these machine learning models on top of data, and who’s collecting the most data, the PRC, right?

So, we need to figure out a way where we can. Give access to data at scale in a way that respects our civil liberties. So, we can build these amazing AI applications. And that is a whole of government infrastructure layer. Then the private sector can, can build on top of that. So, I think first step DOD should be running on cloud and I’m talking like AWS or GCP.

That’s that makes it easy for companies to start to participate and support because otherwise, if you’re doing only on-prem deployments of your, of your, of your code, it’s, it’s laborious and it’s slow. And we won’t be able to keep speed especially with, with China, which is, which is.

Hondo Geurts:
Yeah. So, I think, Shaun, your idea of what are these critical enablers to start?
How do we create, how does the DOD create a platform that allows us to all work together? Because if you know, every company has got to fight their way in and spend years getting, creating relationships, finding the data, getting the trust. I mean, we’re just going to be irrelevant in terms of the cycle time.

I really, I really liked that. And I think, you know, a little bit back to of one of your earlier points you know, it’s, it’s interesting as, as we’re sitting here on recording this on St. Patrick’s Day, you and I actually met over one or maybe more than one I don’t know what the plural of Ganesh’s maybe it’s again.

I, yeah, and we hadn’t met each other. And. Kind of contacted me out of the blue. But you weren’t afraid to engage. And even though we hadn’t met each other, I mean, we had a fascinating couple hour discussion and, and it really was I would say a positive impact on me. Mentor other folks about this need to engage and not and do so in lots of different ways, not just in a kind of formal briefing, because now if we circle back to that, you know, to get trust, you need to have some understanding and to get understanding you need to engage authentically.

You know, you really struck me of getting out of your own comfort zone and, and a thirst for knowledge and, and not being afraid to, to engage. How did. How do you think about her personally? And maybe how do you recommend both sides, you know, on the, on the government side and the St. Patrick’s Day, the whole of industry engage more fruitfully if we’re going to make some progress here.

Shaun Modi:
Yeah. Well, that conversation was amazing. I’m having flashbacks. I remember we talked about. I think we were talking about my, one of my dream bucket list projects in life was to design. The workflow for a submariner. So, a day in the life. And how do you make a submariner more effective at his or her job?

And we also talked about logistics and efficiencies of how to build an aircraft carrier and how to build two at once. So that was that was a fun conversation. We need to do that again. But gosh, that was incredible. What we BENS of great start business executives for national security.
Best group I’ve joined personally.

Now, of course, I’m going to give a plug for this, but it really has been illuminating especially under General Votel’s leadership. The trips that we take, that the conversations that is such a great form factor, we should just scale that up in a big, big way. I it’s one of the most valuable memberships I’ve, I’ve personally been part of so maybe more groups like BENS, maybe there’s a BENS just for software people. Well, maybe one’s just for heart. So, I think that’s Vote’s that’s low hanging fruit from, from my perspective. I think you know, going on base is a really unique experience and I’ve had the privilege of going on base a few times now, and it’s so different than just doing a zoom.

Hondo Geurts:
So, I think if, if these base commanders open, open the doors a bit to the tech community, that that would be cool. And it’s logistically of course, there’s security risks. One of the ones I visited 57th wing Nellis air force base. Wow. Like until I took that trip, I would never have thought about all the unique technologies that need to be built for techniques, tactics, and procedures, you know, training for modern air force.

So those are, those are few low hanging fruits, I think opened up, opened more basis for demo nights. Technologists to test their products with end-users and amplify BENS.

Lauren Bedula:
Your passion, Shaun for tackling this issue around collaboration is contagious. And I think that’s why we’re so excited to kick this conversation and podcast off with you because it’s highlighting these stories.
I think that gets folks excited for more collaboration and cross-pollination and a big takeaway I have here. Around dialogue and this need for more trust and transparency, which I think we’re seeing a ton of improvement around and I know all of us want to help contribute to mission in that sense.

And so, the more dialogue we can have the better and building out this community. And at the end of the day, I think a constant is we all like solving hard problems. When you talk about kind of what you did throughout your story here, your first conversation with Hondo is solving hard problems,
right?

Shaun Modi:
First of all, on my team, I give exposure to the conversations that I’m having so that they learn. And they’re like, whoa, this is, this is, this is inspiring stuff. And the, the most successful kind of relationships are the ones where, you know, someone on the DOD side or government side, they actually are interested in taking the calls and they.

You know on their own time, you know, and, and talk late at night about their story and their challenges that they’re their job and that we need to scale those relationships. It’s really a web of how do we get the folks that have spent their lives serving this country to really mentor the private sector folks on what their needs are?

What are the pain points in, how they accomplish? And then, then the conversation goes both ways. So, you know, and I’ve been able to do that across pretty much all the services. But it takes time. It takes a lot of time.

Hondo Geurts:
Yeah. I mean, if you look back to world war II, part of our competitive advantage folk accomplish?, At the capital piece of the industrial base, they sometimes don’t look at the speed of learning that was occurring in the late 1930s and that thirst for trying new things and learning and coming up with new systems and the combination of that industrial base and a collaborative learning mindset, I think is really what allowed us to adapt because, you know, we didn’t come out of the gates, you know,

Then my hope is through these kinds of dialogues, these partnerships, the great examples and a great example, you are to the community about having the things, you know, I often talk about the three traits I admire most, which is, you know, curiosity to explore.

You know, not just stay in Silicon Valley, but you know, have curiosity where else is out there, humility to learn your, your, you know, you, we, as we had the engagement, it wasn’t Sean telling me how awesome we were about designing Airbnb. It was much more of a learning on both sides, dialogue, but then frankly you know, I love dialogue but I’m passionate about execution.

And so then having the boldness to. And my hope for everybody listening out there is, yes. Get curious, listen to this, have your own ideas. Learn from others. Don’t believe you have all the answers, but then by gosh, start acting. Cause we’ve been doing a lot of talking were to and win wars. And so hopefully today you’ve enjoyed this conversation with.

What I was really believe strongly in is a new shot of, you know, leaders in this blending of technology and national security. Thanks Lauren, for being an awesome co-host here and all the passion you bring and the community here, and, and this we hope is a, the first of a great many of these. Kind of Frank dialogue.

And again, it’s not all perfect. We got a long way to go, but no alone, we’re strong together. We’re stronger. So

Lauren Bedula:
Thanks so much Hondo and Shaun for being our first guest, I’m really excited to bring more folks like you to the table. So, we can think about how together we can really tackle this issue. So, thanks so much.

Shaun Modi:
Thanks for having me. It’s an honor.,

Outro:
You’ve been listening to building the base a podcast from the business executives for national security, join hundreds of senior leaders and executives dedicated to the mission of keeping our nation safe. Check out our projects we’re currently working with important upcoming events and the many ways you can get involved @ www.bens.org

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