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131. How To Thrive In Challenging Times: On Beauty, Purpose & Longing / Bill Liao
14th January 2024 • In Conversation with Nathalie Nahai • Nathalie Nahai
00:00:00 01:03:17

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Today I speak with Bill Liao, Chinese-Australian-Irish entrepreneur, author, investor and philanthropist who has left an indelible mark on the business, social and sustainability sectors.

With a diverse career spanning decades, Bill is not only the co-founder of the popular CoderDojo movement (a free global network formed to assist young people with learning computer programming), his career in tech and business also encompasses two unicorn companies and the launch of the world’s first bio-tech accelerator.

A general partner of SOSV, a venture capital fund of over $1B, and founder of the SOSV Momentum Pre-accelerator program, Bill is also Chair of the SENS board, and his focus on health, longevity and environmental sustainability plays a central role in much of his work.

As co-founder of Weforest, a non-profit organization dedicated to reforestation efforts that has planted a hundred million trees globally, Bill has also made significant contributions to combating climate change and promoting ecological balance.

Bill also co-founded XING, a pioneering enterprise social networking platform, prior to which he served as COO of Davnet, a telecommunications carrier. The author of three books, Bill has been a speaker at global events such as The World Economic Forum, The Globe Forum in Sweden, TED, and TEDx, and at institutions such as The London School of Economics and The House of Commons.


This was a rich and surprising interview for me, as we wended our way beyond the themes I had planned to explore, towards questions surrounding our search for beauty, purpose and longing… It’s a conversation that has stayed with me, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.



  • Sentience is difficult to measure, but it is often recognized through the ability to suffer.
  • Machine learning algorithms focused on making money have created an attention economy driven by dopamine and cortisol.
  • Creating local, connected groups can lead to a more fulfilling and scalable local information economy.
  • Exploring philosophy and science fiction can provide deep insights and perspectives on the world.
  • Using comedy and entertainment can be an effective way to convey messages and make them memorable.
  • Challenging myths and pseudoscience is necessary for progress and innovation.
  • The politics of division and the deification of personal fulfillment are existential threats to society.
  • Collective fulfillment should be prioritized over individual fulfillment.
  • It is important to move beyond appearance and visuals to truly experience and engage with the world.
  • On dark days, orienting oneself towards life and wholeness can provide strength and resilience.




First ever standup gig:



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