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Steve Jurvetson is one of the most interesting investors in Silicon Valley.

An accomplished photographer and amateur rocketry enthusiast, he’s also a former chip designer and a polymath interested in everything from genomics to space travel to agriculture to machine learning.

But he’s no dilettante: He’s delved deeply enough into a variety of fields that he’s been able to identify trends early, make prescient bets, and generate billions of dollars in returns. He was the founding VC investor in Hotmail, Interwoven, Kana, and NeoPhotonics, among many others.

A partner at legendary venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, he currently sits on the boards of SpaceX, Synthetic Genomics, and Tesla Motors. And he’s a good friend of Elon Musk, the founder of two of those companies.

VentureBeat’s Richard Reilly and I spent half an hour talking with Jurvetson for this week’s podcast. It was a fascinating conversation that started with Musk’s plans to build a greenhouse on Mars, covered the logistics of space launches and regular Mars travel, extended to embrace the electrification of transportation (which is already well underway in China, Jurvetson informed us), and ended with a rapid survey of the areas Jurvetson is focusing on for possible investment.

What it all boils down to, he told us, is that he looks for opportunities to use engineered processes to transform whole systems.

Listen to the podcast to find out more. It’s like a roller coaster ride for your brain.

Also, we tell you what to think about:

You can subscribe to “What to Think” on iTunes. Or you can listen to Episode 26 right here:

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Enjoy the show!

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