An Interview with Hunter Walk, Partner at Homebrew and Previous Consumer Product Management Lead at YouTube

By: Hillel Fuld (@hilzfuld)
I gotta be honest with you. I follow way too many people on Twitter. 8,754, to be precise. It may be worth writing a post about the different reasons I follow different people. Some I follow out of curiosity, some out of courtesy, and others, I have absolutely no idea how, when, or why I started following.
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Then there is the occasional gem. There are the select few people that totally make my Twitter experience. People like Elon Musk,  Marc Andreessen, some tech journalists, and at the top of the list, alongside these greats, is Hunter Walk.
Besides his ridiculously cool name, Hunter pretty much always has intelligent insights on whatever issue is trending. When it comes to tech, Hunter obviously has a lot to add to the conversation, but when you are in the mood for some good old fashioned sarcasm and an entertaining view on current events, following Hunter on Twitter is highly recommended.
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When I asked on Twitter who should be next on my interview list, one of the first names thrown at me was Hunter’s, and truth be told, I already obviously had him on my wish list but didn’t think he would agree to do the interview given his busy schedule. I was wrong. I present to you my questions to Hunter and his insightful answers:
1: Who is Hunter Walk and what’s your fund Homebrew?
 
“Hunter Walk” is the pseudonym for a performance art collective currently active on Twitter. Oh, you want the truth? I’m a guy out in San Francisco who has been really fortunate to work in product management with great teams for the virtual world Second Life, Google’s AdSense and YouTube. All three are, in my mind, about using technology to help people create, in a community, and see economic value from their creations.
Homebrew is the seed VC firm that Satya Patel and I founded early in 2013. Satya and I had worked together earlier at Google and always wanted to collaborate again. He left Twitter, where he’d been running product, and I was planning a similar transition from YouTube. With Homebrew, we get to create the type of venture fund we would have wanted to take money from, namely, one started by investors with meaningful operating experience who focus on the first few years of a startup’s life. We tend to be ‘partners of conviction’ to founders, which means we make 8-10 sizable seed investments per year (as opposed to dozens of smaller checks).
2: What phone do you use and why?
iPhone. I was a two device guy when I was at Google (and think there are some amazing Android innovations), but no device feels as good in the hand as the iPhone. App quality as well.
3: Some most used apps?
I’ll share some less know apps that are ‘home screen’ worthy for me:
  • Nuzzel – aggregates top content links from my Twitter and Facebook feeds. Has totally changed how I used those services – no more link FOMO. (disclosure: investor)
  • Sunrise – the BEST calendar app. (disclosure: investor)
  • Captio – a simple ‘send email to myself’ app that that I use alongside GMail multi-inbox and some other rules, to hack into my “to do” list
  • Repost – my favorite way to repost Instagram photos – the equiv of a native RT

 

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4: Top 3 most important tips for a beginning entrepreneur?
A. Know Your “Why” – why do you want to work on this more minimally several years and hopefully many more
B. Is The Problem You’re Solving “Large, Urgent and Valuable” – if it’s not minimally ‘two yes’es and a maybe,’ it’s likely not a venture scale business (which is fine – there are plenty of other ways to fund businesses with smaller scale ambitions)
C. Choose Cofounders Wisely – this is probably the most important of the three. Make sure it isn’t just compatible skills and social circles that are drawing you together, but shared vision and values. Put time into seeing how you work together. 

 5: What is your view on crowd funding and the VC’s role as we enter 2015? Has it changed? Will it?
I’m excited by any opportunities to provide new flexible or alternative sources of capital to entrepreneurs. Globally, early stage tech entrepreneurship is still massively underfunded. I see crowdfunding as generally complementary to the best VCs; competitive only to mediocre investors . Capital increasingly is a commodity – especially for the best entrepreneurs – so whether you’re an angel or a VC you have to bring something to the table besides a checkbook.

 

hilzfuld

Hillel is Co Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at ZCast, a company taking on the pain of modern audio broadcasting. Hillel also blogs for many influential sites including TechCrunch, Mashable, The Next Web, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Venturebeat, and others. Additionally, Hillel mentors startups across Israel in different accelerators including The Google Launchpad, the Microsoft Ventures accelerator, Techstars, The Junction, and more. Hillel has been named Israel's top marketer, has been featured on CNBC, Forbes, and many others and was recently added by Google to its marketing experts program. You can find and talk to Hillel on Twitter. He is @Hilzfuld.