DLD15: On Entrepreneurship with Joshua Kushner and Arianna Huffington


In the DLD (Digital-Life-Design) conference, Huffington Post cofounder and editor-in-chief, Arianna Huffington interviews Joshua Kushner. He is the founder of the venture capital investment firm, Thrive Capital and cofounder of Oscar Insurance in New York City.

At beginning of the conference, Huffington asks Kushner a series of questions, about how he is able to manage his time, running two companies. She mentions that during the launch of Thrive Capital, Kushner started meditating. He agrees and says, “Entrepreneurship has been widely romanticized by the media, but in reality, it’s incredibly difficult to build a business, and I found in this new world in which we are always connected, it’s easy to become incredibly reactive, as opposed to proactive. Taking a moment to think is actually a thoughtful thing to do.”

Huffington goes on to talk about Kushner’s investments. She explains that, one of his investments with Thrive Capital had been in Instagram. She says that during that time, Kushner stuck motivational Post-It notes on all of his employees’ computers. Kushner explains that with both of his companies, it is important to ignore what people say, whether positive or negative. It is important to focus on the ultimate goal.

Huffington goes on to ask him the meaning behind Thrive Capital. Kushner’s explains that, “To thrive is to be the best version of yourself.” She then asks him about the vision and hope for Oscar Insurance. Kushner states that Oscar has 30,000 customers in NYC, and had less than 100 million dollars in revenue, within its first year. He explains that, the ambition of the company was to make it simple, transparent, and understandable, primarily through technology and data. From that, he has received good customer feedback.

Kushner furthers explains what Oscar does for people, who need insurance. For example, he gives away free prescription drugs and unlimited telemedicine. The company tracks customer fitness and pays them one dollar a day, if they walk over 1,000 steps. He shares a story about helping a man, who could not afford health insurance for his diabetes. Without Oscar’s help, the man would have endured serious health complications.

Huffington and Kushner discuss the differences between healthcare in the US and Europe. They also discuss why it is so important for people to have healthcare. He explains that with the help of Oscar, people are being more proactive about their health and it is becoming a continuous trend. In response to competitor companies, he believes that the success of other investments like, Instagram, Twitch, Stripe, Instacart, and Kickstarter, is because they have built a better product.

When asked about his upbringing and hard work ethic, Kushner credits his father. He mentions that coming from a family of immigrants, he learned to work harder than anyone else. He states that, “Working hard is important, but working smartly is also really important.” In closing, Huffington agrees that working smartly is also a performance enhancer, and that she would love for him to share the stories about his businesses, on the Huffington Post platform.

About the author: Courtney Privett

Courtney Privett is a recent graduate from New Jersey, with a B.A. in English. She is an aspiring writer. She has written for makeoverly.com and beautycoatedlife.com.

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