Larry Kramer’s Exit Interview – Transcript
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Eric: So let’s get onto the show.
Kirk: And we’re back. Welcome in gather round. It’s let’s hear it. Another episode coming into your ears and Mr. Brown, I’m glad you’re here with us today. This is going to be a great conversation.
Eric: I’m [00:01:00] very excited. This is one I’ve been looking forward to for a really long time. And I have to tell you, Kirk, I was nervous.
Kirk: Oh, really do tell me, I can understand why this is a callback because this is our first episode was with Larry and then, and now you’re coming back. So, tell me about being nervous. Walk into, were you in the office? Yeah,
Eric: I went down to Menlo Park and sat in an office at a conference table. And we had a conversation, Larry Kramer, the president for at least another month of the Hewlett Foundation. He’s been president for 11 1/2 years, and he has, I think, had, I don’t know, as much of an effect on philanthropy as any other 10 year term of a president that I can think of, or 11 year term that I can think of.
Kirk: and this is, this is a great one. There’s so much in here, and this is one of the conversations where I was thinking to myself, I wish this could go on longer.
I know you get a very short window where you can go into, What’s going on and the thoughts and reflections about the transition and [00:02:00] lessons learned during the 10 years, president of the Hewlett foundation. But, yeah, Larry brought a lot and accomplished a lot and, is still standing. That would be the last thing I would say to go through the role and then coming to the side.
Seem to have good, sense, good graciousness and, and still be standing is a lot to process. Cause it’s a big time contribution he’s he made. And before we go, can we also say thank you to Vidya. Larry actually has a communications professional and a whole team supporting him. And that was an interesting,
Eric: as opposed to what he used to have, which was some guy in a sandwich
Kirk: anything, any more set up you want to do with this Eric, or should we go to Larry?
Eric: I just have to say in, in going into this conversation, Larry Kramer is one of the way. He’s certainly the smartest. He’s certainly one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. And he may be one of the smartest people.
Anyone will ever be. He is. He also happens to be one of the kindest. He is really all heart and soul. He’s a [00:03:00] truly, wonderful human being. And that part of it is the most fun. And maybe the thing I was most nervous about just to have that kind of conversation with him as he’s Heading out the door, it was bittersweet for sure.
And, and I just love this guy. he is all there. you what is what you get with Larry. There is no pretense and it’s just, he’s just a great guy and he’s so smart and it’s so much fun to talk to him.
Kirk: And incredibly gracious as Larry leaves Hewlett to head the London School of Economics, a loss for philanthropy, a gain for the Academy.
But let’s listen to Larry Kramer from the Hewlett Foundation on Let’s Hear It, and then we’ll come back.
Eric: Welcome to Let’s Hear It. My guest today is, this is a very kind of bittersweet conversation. My guest is Larry Kramer, the president of the Hewlett Foundation, my former boss. And, he, and Larry has, for people in philanthropy who are not, who are living under a rock, Larry has announced [00:04:00] that he’s leaving the Hewlett Foundation.
He’s going to run the London School of Economics, which sounds pretty interesting to me. Larry, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us.
Larry: Yeah, no, thanks. It’s great to do this again.
Eric: It’s, you were my first guest.
Larry: I was. I, and that was fun too.
Eric: It was fun. And that was back in the day. I, pulled out my iPhone and I stuck it on.
Right next to your desk, and we talked, and now, we have microphones. There are so many things that we could be talking about, but I think the really the most important question that I have for you, Larry, is what do you think of the new Beatles song?
Larry: it’s okay, but it’s not great. It’s not really a Beatles song, so it’s a late John Lennon song, and that’s what it sounds like.
They did a pretty good job with it, but I, it’s not better than Real Love or Free as a Bird, which were from the same demo tape, And have you seen the video? No. The video is actually creepy. Oh, Peter Jackson did it. And it’s, like really awful. the 10 minute documentary on the making of the song.
That was really good.
Eric: Okay. I want to catch up on all this stuff, but I figured you’d have an, [00:05:00] you’d have a small opinion about this.
Larry: It was a demo, so they did the best they could with a demo.
Eric: Don’t we all. okay, now back to the, back to our regularly scheduled programming. You were, you’ve been the president of the Hewlett foundation for, what is it? 13 years.
Larry: Eleven and a half.
Eric: It feels like 13.
Larry: Sometimes it feels like 40. Sometimes it feels like one.
Eric: Okay. 11 and a half, but who’s counting. and you came out of academia to come run a foundation, what did you think you were getting into? And then in retrospect, now that you have these 11 and a half years of, time to look back, what did you get yourself into?
Larry: Okay. so in terms of what I, I can’t say what I expected when I made the move. It was very much with the sense that it was going to be a lot like being a dean. I was, dean at Stanford Law School and essentially that job was sitting on a pile of resources that my job was to make available to other people so they could enhance their work, students, faculty, and so on.
And I thought philanthropy would be like that, only better, [00:06:00] more money, more resources, more tools, not just teaching a research and so on. And of course that part of it turned out to be true, but there was so much more to it than I understood. So like most people, I think I thought giving away money is easy.
And then you discover it’s a really complicated trade that there’s learning. The substance of the Hewlett work was much easier than understanding how to. Use money to make change in the world along the lines of what you wanted to see happen. So that was, it was just much more complicated than I ever expected.
so I would say in some ways it turned out to be consistent with and better than I expected because you really can make a lot of change. although we’re not, relatively speaking, you can make a lot of change. And on the other hand, as I say, it turned out to be much more challenging.
And the philanthropy world has gone through enormous changes in the 10 years. So it’s gotten more difficult in a lot of ways.
Eric: I was talking to my former colleague and your current colleague, Heath Wickline, about what [00:07:00] kind of communications questions are you going to ask Larry? And we’ll get to a few, I assume, at some point, but the first one really is about the perception of philanthropy.
Because coming in, even as somebody who was. you’re a smart guy. You read the paper, things like that. You had a perception of what philanthropy might be, but my guess is that it turned out to be a little different. And obviously, as you just said, it has changed over time. What is it about how we talk about what the work is of these sorts of institutions do you think are important?
Thank you. What did you get before you came in and, how do we do this now? What do you think?
Larry: So I got almost nothing before I came in. I don’t think people talked about philanthropy very much. They do a lot more now. They do to themselves. Yes. And they still do. And they still do. Even that conversation has changed in ways that I think are challenging.
The super high net worth individuals who started coming into philanthropy, that’s mostly been in the last decade. And that has created a lot more public awareness. A lot less public understanding because they look at what those people do and [00:08:00] assume that’s what it is and it’s not. And made everything, in that way, a lot more complicated.
And that has affected the internal conversation as well.
Eric: I love the term high net worth individuals. They’re just rich.
Larry: Ultra high net worth. Ultra high. There’s rich, but you have to distinguish between rich and really rich. I think once you get over somebody can actually could, if they chose giveaway billions, that’s ultra.
Eric: So you come to the foundation. I remember you were brimming with ideas, not the least of which was that we needed to improve the bagels here, but there were others.
Larry: Didn’t manage to succeed at that one.
Eric: You can’t get a good bagel in the West.
Larry: There’s Boychick and they don’t deliver
Eric: LA. You get decent bagels. Anyway. So you come in and you failed at the bagel thing, but what were some of the things you thought that you could. Yeah. Make a difference on
Larry: well, so some were low hanging fruit in my view. and that’s not to be critical of where the foundation was before it just, it was timely.
So transparency proved to be a big one. If you remember, it was one of the first things we did was that transparency initiative, which I think has provided [00:09:00] lots of benefits for the foundation over time and did play a role in making the whole field, I think, somewhat more transparent. So that was. That was a big one for me early on the democracy program, which also again, it was, done in recognition of it fit Hewlett’s other work, but also was a broad issue in world at large.
I think when we started that most people were like, we’re like, why are you doing it? Don’t get it. And, obviously the world unfortunately contributed to making that seem more important, but it also framed the conversation within philanthropy in ways. that I think were really helpful. And then for me, I think the biggest one, it ended up being the first thing I wrote about.
I didn’t come in thinking that it would be a problem. but as I got in here and realized on the one hand, there was nothing we were doing that we could do by ourselves. So we needed, really needed to collaborate with other funders as well as others in the field. And that was so hard. And so trying to understand that and trying to promote, collaboration among funders toward common broad goals.
And I think we played a, I honestly do feel like we played [00:10:00] a big role in that, at least within the fields in which we work.
Eric: So democracy is a good start. You were, you came in and, modestly decided that we really need to cook. Save democracy. Save American democracy. Okay. it’s good that trimmed your sales a little bit.
That’s a needless to say, a huge thing to try to bite off. And you might say that either you failed or you kept things from being even worse than they could have been because you don’t know what would have happened. But what do you
Larry: I actually think it’s too soon to say about either. Tell me about what that was and how you did it and what do you think about how philanthropy can do huge, things like try to.
Save American democracy, let’s say.
Larry: so first the way I have thought about the work of the foundation is you need a portfolio. The portfolio has to have some things that are short term things that you can actually accomplish and feel like for sure we’re doing something, but it also has to have some things that are moonshots and are going to take a really long time at best, and you need a mix of those things in order to keep the staff and board.
working because if you would never got any, [00:11:00] if it always felt like it was going to never happen, then you’d lose and you’d be discouraged. But if all you did were things that were like very short term accomplishments. So obviously the democracy work falls in the moonshot ish category, but, mostly, with the idea that the underlying premise of our democracy work is that in order to have a democracy, you need to have a political community in which people see themselves as part of the same community, notwithstanding their differences.
That’s the short statement of the program. That was what was a little different. Most other people were looking at from a theory of democracy perspective, what are the institutions need to be? Everybody should be able to vote, whatever, and as I said, from my perspective, there was an underlying fundamental thing that we had taken for granted.
That was what was crumbling and we needed to work on. That’s a long term proposition at best, and we have actually done a lot of other work and changed our thinking about how to do that over time. So, I don’t, obviously. The country is, if anything, more polarized, and we’re going to have to keep working on it.[00:12:00]
It’s one of those things, though, if we don’t solve that problem, the democracy will not survive. And so how do we do that? the economy and society initiative, which came later, is part of the same thing. The racial justice initiative, which came later, is part of the same thing. These are all looking at different aspects of the problem through the lens of, though, rebuilding the possibility for community notwithstanding differences.
And, I, think, again, we’re fighting against massive forces, building conditions, I hope putting in place institutions that over time will be able to help peel this back. We’ve changed our own work quite a bit. The democracy program started with the notion that if political leadership modeled better behavior, people would follow.
At the time, The polarization was mostly within the political elite over time, it has spread to the population. And so our approach has shifted to more looking for groups where there’s leadership within those groups, highly polarized groups that we can help to change the way the groups look at it and what they then push and expect from their political leaders.
So it might be [00:13:00] veterans, it might be faith groups, it might be progressives, whatever it is, but it’s still with that same long term goal. The economic work is about. Finding enough of a shared ideas framework that we can disagree constructively. And the racial justice work is about overcoming the vestiges of formal exclusions of various groups and so on.
So it’s all in that frame.
Eric: I guess you could argue that without a functioning democracy, if you care about healthcare or climate or any, almost any other thing in American society. That you really need to invest in this, as you say, part of your portfolio approach, but without a. Functioning civil society and a democracy that surrounds it.
How are you gonna get anything at all done? Is that, a fair
Larry: analysis? Yes. And that was actually the initial presentation I did to the board was that, which is the reason this makes sense for Heid. There are lots of problems and big problems that we don’t do anything about, but this one. We’re wasting all our money and time trying to get all of the other things we’re trying to get done [00:14:00] because they all do require moving public policy in some way.
And if you can’t move public policy or if it’s ten times harder because of polarization, you need to do something about that. I will say, again, my sense of it has grown, whereas that is still true. What I did come to appreciate more was thinking about what the alternative was, and realizing that the alternative of our democracy collapses most likely at this point looks like some form of ethno nationalism.
which is what we see in other places in the world are essentially 21st century fascism. So it’s not just that you won’t be able to do the things we want to do. It’s that you’re going to create a society that is, reprehensible that you don’t actually want to be part of. How
Eric: are you or have you been able to try and bring other folks in?
I know you say collaboration was something that you didn’t expect you were going to need to do so much of and obvious, and you’ve written about this a lot, how difficult it is. We all know how hard it is to collaborate in philanthropy. How is it? Do you, how do you feel like you’ve done in trying to engage other people on these really big ideas, which are not nearly as easy to put in a program [00:15:00] as healthcare or children’s services, or you name your kind of program type thingy.
Larry: So I think there’s a couple of things. One, there’s no single formula to do it really depends on what you’re trying to get people to collaborate about. but there are a couple of principles that run across everything. So the first one is you’ve got to be prepared to put up your own money. Second, you’ve got to be prepared to accommodate your strategy to what they think is the right thing to do as well.
So you’re not going to give your strategy up altogether, but you’re going to go into it with a, let’s create this together. Here’s how I’m thinking about it. Tell me how you are and let’s shape what we’re doing. So neither of us is going to necessarily do the same thing we would do if it was just us. But we will get more done by each accommodating someone.
third thing is the really best way to do this is when something changes in the world that creates an opportunity that didn’t exist before. And that proves to be really important because, people are spending their resources on things they think are important now. It’s really hard to say to them, maybe that’s important, but this is more important.
So [00:16:00] give that up and do this. Then you’re right. And up until yesterday, I would have agreed with you, but today here’s this new thing and we can’t lose that opportunity or we need to prevent that bad thing from happening. That’s a pretty powerful argument. And lastly, it’s still probably needs to be done CEO to CEO or founder to founder, because the program staff directors, program officers, and so on, they’re doing something that they believe in.
That’s why they came there. And it’s really hard. So you need to either give them new resources, which only the CEO can do or the founder. Or really persuade them to change what they’re doing. And again, that’s harder with the people who are literally doing the work. So, it has to start at the CEO level.
And then, then you can hand it off to the program staff who will execute it better than the CEOs. Are there
Eric: any examples where you were able to make that connection and you were able to collaborate with another CEO or groups of them in, and in which you all learned something new?
Larry: So every example, I think, at least, [00:17:00] for, me, there were a series of them in climate, which proved to be.
The best place for this, but only over time when we made the first effort, which was right when I got here in 2012, when climate work shifted from the pooled fund model to the funder table, that was really hard, but we managed to do it. We did it partly with very low demands and expectations. It’s like all the funder table required was that you come to the table.
With an open mind to possibly changing what you’re doing, but you’d still do your own grants. And then, Kigali, methane now invest in our future. And in each of those, we were able to push farther because people got more used to collaborating because people saw the benefits of collaborating. And, so we were able in, those instances, I think, to, in all of these learn together, but learn together in ways that were more tightly coordinated and so that got better in some other areas, say democracy.
we started with essentially, or economy, no expectations that anybody would do anything other than come together and share learnings. And over time, as trust builds and people discover and learn from each other, [00:18:00] they begin to find first bilateral or three funders at a time, things to work together on and it grows over time.
So it’s patience and, sticking with the agenda. while meeting on a pretty regular basis, making those meetings worthwhile.
Eric: When you were on the show, last time, I think it was five, five years ago, believe it or not. You, said that you didn’t learn, really about communications until I had left.
Did I say that? More or less.
Larry: I’m sure I didn’t. If I didn’t say it like that. That’s how you heard it. That’s interesting. I’d love to go back and hear what I actually said.
Eric: And you can talk to my therapist.
Larry: I have.
Eric: That’s okay. Anyway, so, let’s, talk a little bit about foundation communications.
the Hewlett Foundation is well, notwithstanding the fact that my successor has done a spectacularly good job. What have you? What have you learned about how the foundation can use either its voice or its understanding about how communications fits into a world in which you try to make change?
Larry: Oh, so if that, if I learned about that after you left, it’s because you left pretty early in my presidency. So that was a [00:19:00] learning over time, right? And it was, inside the university where I was, you don’t think about communications as a foundation does, although increasingly universities do too, but you’re usually, you’re not thinking about promoting your work outside the university or promoting the work of the faculty outside the university.
in a foundation, remember the traditional Hewlett approach was the grantees should be the speakers. They’re the ones doing the work. We should help them do that. That’s our central role. As, we got into new fields, not just new fields for Hewlett, but a couple of these cyber democracy that we were literally building a field.
There weren’t grantees in a position to do that, nobody was going to listen to them. I discovered or learned, came to appreciate that our voice actually mattered as a strategic tool itself to help promote the field and promote the work of the grantees. So it was not about telling the world how great we were.
It was about communicating the ideas that underlay the programs and why they mattered and why what these various grantees were doing was worthwhile and important. And I think that has, that appreciation has come [00:20:00] to, has grown in me over time. And then the last piece of it, and here’s where it starts to get tricky because I do strongly endorse the, the Hewlett guiding principle around humility, that it’s not about us.
And this is not about persuading the world how great we are. But unless people know what the Hewlett Foundation is and think it’s a, an institution worth respecting, they’re not going to listen to us either when we create those new fields. So you do need to, create some sense of the work of the institution and that it matters in order to be able to do all the other things you’re trying to do.
okay. We’re going
Eric: to be back with Larry Kramer, president of the Hewlett Foundation, right after this message, and we’ll get into some more of this, what I’ve learned in my time at Hewlett. My time at the Hewlett Packard right back after this, you’re listening to let’s hear it a podcast about foundation and nonprofit communications hosted by Eric Brown and Kirk Brown.
Let’s hear it is sponsored by the Stupsky foundation, a foundation, returning all its resources to the communities. It calls home in [00:21:00] Hawaii. And the San Francisco Bay area by 2029 to support just and resilient food, health, and higher education systems for all, because change can’t wait. Learn more at stupski.
org. We are also sponsored by the Conrad Prebys Foundation. Check out their amazingly good podcast. And we’re not just saying that stop and talk. Hosted by Prebys Foundation CEO Grant Oliphant. You can find them at stopandtalkpodcast. com. And now to the show. And we are back with Larry Kramer, the president of the Hewlett Foundation, who has announced that he is leaving the foundation after 11 and a half years to be the president of the London School of Economics.
And, I don’t know what, was, what’s the hardest thing about running this foundation?
Larry: Ooh. that’s a hard one to answer, So externally it would be a combination of the difficulty of getting collaborations to work with the understanding that unless you can get that to work, you’re just not going to be able to have the kind of [00:22:00] impact that you, need to have that, you’re trying to achieve.
I think, and the other piece externally would be. I am, as you probably know, somewhat impatient with, the discussion in the sector, right? With the, a tendency that the sector people, there has been a tendency, I think, to be a little, I, I use the word faddish, sometimes heard like that is to say there’s a new shiny toy and everybody runs after it.
And, one of the roles, if I played any role in the larger debate, it’s been not saying no. It’s been saying, let’s think about that a little more and here’s where it might make sense. And here’s where it doesn’t. And so those conversations I think don’t happen enough and don’t happen organically enough, internally.
At Hewlett, like every other institution, it’s, the, there’s been a slow and then fast renegotiation of the sort of employer employee social contract and what staff expect and what they expect the organization to be and do, that has changed. And of course it was super hard [00:23:00] during COVID. managing during COVID was a, a nightmare because you had no sense where people were like living remotely and only seeing an occasional person on zoom. And it was during that period, partly because of the pandemic, partly because of the racial reckoning, partly because of a crazy election. That things got stirred up so much, so it’s battle on things that have been happening more slowly.
And, so all of that, I think we’re still adapting and adjusting to, but the, it’s, been a challenging time to manage an organization of any sort. Is there anything
Eric: you wish you had done that you didn’t do while you were here? Other than, of course. Get decent bagels.
Larry: Yeah. there’s probably a million things, not so much in the work as I think if I could do it over, I built a lot, right?
I changed, I added a lot and I would have done that with more of a sense of not spreading us too thin. So right now I think we’re doing too many things. Not for the work, because they’re staffed to do each of [00:24:00] the things, and I think we’re appropriately staffed, but for the board and for the person in my position to really stay on top of everything becomes increasingly difficult, which matters only in the sense that the role that we have in making sure that it moves forward then becomes harder to maintain.
So I would have tried to keep the spread down a little, keep things a little tighter. But that’s, I think, the main thing that I, that I. I wish I had done differently. Yeah.
they told you, told me that you were coming here to, succeed Paul Brass, everyone said, Oh yeah, no. Larry’s Paul, just a, just a little more
Larry: I would love that. I would be delighted to be a little more Paul. Yeah. You’re a
Eric: Paul on Venus, I think, or something like someplace that goes a lot faster. So you did come in with tons of ideas and of the things that you came in and had ideas about. Are there things that you just got wrong?
Larry: Yeah. There were a bunch of those.
I had a whole idea, most of them are substantive, I had a whole idea around community colleges and what we could do [00:25:00] to, because they’re so important, community colleges, and only I went to one. And they’re only more important now than they used to be because of, all the things that have happened in higher ed and in the market.
And so I had a bunch of ideas about what we could do, none of which panned out. So I just gave that one up altogether. there were, I think there were lots of places where I had ideas about what we should be doing that I, gave them all up pretty early in recognition that actually the staff knew better than me.
And so my job was to certainly make sure I understood, certainly asked challenging questions to make sure they had thought it through. Just one of the things I think, my training prepared me for that’s generally legal training and legal academia, especially, but to let them lead. and our board was fantastically supportive in that, so I gave up most of my ideas about what the work should be in favor of helping the staff realize what they thought the work should be. while playing a role as a partner, how did you
Eric: decide when to use your voice? Obviously, the, when a foundation president [00:26:00] speaks, then, the Kremlinologists are all trying to read between the lines and trying to figure out, how to get the money and things like that.
But also you, when you have, when you offer ideas, then those ideas have the potential to, to catch, catch hold. Yeah. What did you, how did you use your voice or how’d you think about that? I think the comms team and you can speak to this too, and it probably got worse and then hopefully better. I would say not very strategically.
So about half of, a lot of the time when I spoke, it was because there was some debate going on and I just got so frustrated with it that I just had to say something about it. So most of the writing I did, especially early around collaboration, around big bet philanthropy, around impact investing.
eventually around payout, those were all reactive to what I felt was like a debate that wasn’t recognizing complexity. And so it was back boxing people in so I could say, we’re not going to do that because I think X, Y, and Z. But I, if I looked at the world and saw other people like just going along, so I did a lot of writing that’s reactive in that way.
And then, the [00:27:00] strategic piece where I really did let the comms team and the programs guide me. they would make the decision about when using my voice would strategically be beneficial or important for the work we were trying to do. And I did it then. And then there was a third piece, which was somewhere between the two, which is I got invited to do a lot of conferences on general philanthropy.
And it was a chance to talk about how we think about philanthropy at Hewlett. I agreed, I, didn’t create it, Paul started it, we refined it in my early years here with, the help of the staff led by Faye Tversky and I, but I believed in that way of doing it. So the chance to really be able to speak publicly.
about what strategic philanthropy really means, what it means to say effective philanthropy and watch those terms get caricatured into something that they’re not on the importance of general operating support and multi year support, the benefits of that for grantees and your own work. And all of those kinds of things fell in the middle.
You can’t [00:28:00] say them too much. And I did get opportunities to, I didn’t write about those as much, but certainly spoke about them quite a bit. So what do you
Eric: think about philanthropy? Do you think it does a good job of. getting anything done. there are, a lot of folks who are quite skeptical, but, and some for good reasons and some for less good reasons.
But, you can make an argument in either direction that philanthropy does more harm than good. But I don’t actually
Larry: think you can make that argument. Okay. I think you can make an argument that doesn’t do as much good as it should. And I think you can make an argument that there is some philanthropy that does harm for sure.
But on balance, I don’t think there’s any question about. Net philanthropy has been a really beneficial thing. Now to answer the question though, you have to start with a counterfactual that nobody ever asks, which is what should we expect philanthropy to do? So a lot of the people are disappointed, have what I think are unrealistic expectations for what our tiny little resources, because they are tiny against the scale of the problems can be expected to do when I think about it that way.
Then I think philanthropy does a [00:29:00] lot. So it’s a lot relative to the resources it has. And that, on balance, it’s mostly pretty good. The cost of having some bad philanthropy is the cost of having a pluralistic… So there are funders on, any issue on all different sides. And I think that’s good and important as it is in any democracy.
And and so it becomes part of the discussion, debate, learning that goes into dealing with it, with every single issue. on balance, I think we’ve done a lot and then I think it depends a little on the issue. So I think philanthropy has been incredibly important in climate. I think philanthropy has not been as impactful in say education.
It looks a little different from field to field, but, on the whole, I think if you can get somebody to step back and think realistically about it, it’s really hard to make the case that we don’t do a reasonable amount of good and relative to what we should expect, not bad. And then the counterfactual, could we do more good?
I’m sure. Could we do more harm? I’m sure. So it’s, an ongoing
Eric: [00:30:00] fight. Now, mind you, Frank, philanthropy doesn’t always, it’s like it is a tiny, resource.
Larry: No, one of the things that drives me crazy, I think, is exactly that. And part of the Reason people will criticize then as is, which drives the expectation.
Yeah, exactly. We’ve created this sense. And then people will like, look at what you’re actually doing. I go, you’re not bending the arc of history toward justice. Exactly. it’s no, We’re not because relative to markets and governments, we’re tiny. Our goal is how can we nudge them or unleash them in ways that really will make a big difference.
Eric: What advice do you have for your successor?
Larry: I think a lot of these will be, there’s advice and hope.
Eric: Okay. So start with advice and then we’ll go to, or start with hope, go to the, go to advice.
Larry: the hope for me is really straightforward because I said this when the board asked me, I’m not involved in the search for my successor at all, but we did talk at the beginning so I could download with them and they asked me what kind of person did I think they should be looking for?
And I said, it should not be somebody like me. that would be a mistake. It should not be somebody who wanted though to come in and [00:31:00] start over on everything. It should be somebody who was not like me, but wanted to come in, understand where we are and build on it. And that I was that, I did not come in to undo anything Paul did and I didn’t undo anything Paul did.
I didn’t know anything. I knew very little about it when I came. you changed the bagels. Other than, I don’t think Paul had, did he have bagels? We had bagels. All right. Yeah, they were really bad. but I came and I learned what it was much better than, and, then tried to build on it. And I think built on it in ways that Paul wouldn’t have done.
That’s what I want. Somebody should come and understand what has happened while I’ve been here. And build that in ways that I wouldn’t do. That’s why you want a change in executive leadership. So that’s the hope. In terms of advice, I think I would say two things. One is hold on to that critical thinking.
It’s so easy in this sector to give that up and just go along. And so you have to hold the line both internally and externally. I’m really thinking things through and being willing to, say, maybe not, or maybe not quite like that. that’s really, [00:32:00] and the president needs to set that tone for the staff and for the foundation as a whole on the external work.
And then the other piece to me is, and this is especially true internally, you have to hold the balance. again, we live in a world in which, the polarization is a product of something and people. Push towards their positions and tend very quickly to think the people who don’t hold their positions are in some sense, the enemy or need to be shut up or squelched or pushed to the side.
And it’s not like that. So in an organization like this, you’re going to have people who say on any issue, think you’re doing too much and you’re doing it too fast or too much. And you’re doing too fast or people who think you’re not doing enough and you’re doing it too slow. And then people in the middle.
And as the CEO for the foundation to be effective, the community has to retain the sense of being a community. So your job is to hold the balance so that the people in either one of those ends can say, but I can live with this. I feel like this is still worth doing. And sometimes that requires pushing people and sometimes it requires pulling people in.
And that’s true on everything. It’s true whether you’re talking [00:33:00] about DEIJ or whether you’re talking about how to think about climate or whether you’re talking about what the policy should be about coming back to the office. On all of those things, you have to be, you have to be the center. In the sense of holding it together, and that requires often not doing what you would do.
Eric: I always thought that it would be best to have someone succeed me who was almost as good as I was. Yeah,
Larry: I do share that. I don’t, I certainly don’t want them to be a whole lot better.
Eric: Now, in my case here, my successor was way better than I was,
Larry: I gave her a lot more resources too. that’s right.
Yeah. And this was also a change in philosophy.
Eric: We’re talking about Vidya Krishnamurthy, by the way.
Larry: we made a distinctive after, at, when you left, that was the opportunity presented in a way as departures always do as mine will as well to change directions from where you were thinking through.
And so we, that was where we really began to, we built a much bigger communication shop. It’s still big by comparison to some of our peers or, organizations in the private sector. and think about a different [00:34:00] role for communications. NVIDIA has done an amazing job of building that. Yeah, she has.
Eric: I was, Bob Cratchit scribbling away at my little desk asking for another piece of coal. So let’s just talk just for the little time we have left about what’s, ahead. what are you getting yourself into now? I
Larry: don’t exactly know. part of me is really excited about going back to the Academy.
It’s a world, that was my world until I came to Hewlett. Thanks It’s a world in which I generally feel pretty comfortable. I love… it’s where ideas matter both for what they can do in the world and just for the sake of it. And whereas in philanthropy, it’s a practical discipline. So that latter piece is not really part of the philanthropic world.
And I miss that. So I’m really looking forward to being part of that again. students are, they can drive you crazy, but they’re also amazing, these young people, and at a university like LSE, which gets amazing students. I’m really looking forward to the chance to. Experience, I want to teach, and all of that interacting.
So [00:35:00] all of those pieces, I think I’m looking forward to. But at the same time, it’s a whole different kind of leadership challenge, different from being a dean and different from being a president here. And so I don’t actually know what I’m getting into any more than I did when I came here or when I went to Stanford.
And that’s okay. That’s the reason to do it. part of the reason is I’ve been here nearly 12 years. It’s about time for a change in executive leadership. That’s a long time, but part of it is for myself also to, try something very different and, changes. And my personal life kind of drove the need to, or the reason to think about changing, turning the page on some other things.
Are you going to go spend some time in Liverpool? I’m totally psyched. I’ve never done the Beatles tour and I actually have a friend who’s as big a fan as I am and he’s going to fly over to London and we’re going to, we’re going to do the whole tour. Yeah. I’m really looking forward to that.
Eric: Really? I, thank you so much for all that you’ve done for me. I thank you for what you’ve done for philanthropy. for this foundation, which is a place that is near and dear to my heart, which, turned my life around in many ways. [00:36:00] and, for talking to us,
Larry: I’d say the same thing to Eric, both for helping me figure this out in the first place and staying in touch and being useful and helpful and friend on so many things since you left here.
So it’s really nice to have somebody who leaves your organization still remain part of it. it’s,
Eric: it’s an honor and it’s a, pleasure to be here. I got to come down and actually sit in the office, which is a place that I spent a lot of time and love dearly and just thank you for everything and thank you for coming on and talking to us.
Kirk: All right. Thank you. And we’re back. Okay. So just give me the setup. You walk in the room, you’ve got butterflies. What’s going on? How does it feel to be in the presence of Larry Kramer?
Eric: I’m conducting Larry Kramer’s exit interview and that you want to ask all the right questions. You want to ask them in intelligent ways because he’s really smart and you want to use his time and you want to encourage or a stimulate, inspire.
Fun responses. And of course I just have to start by asking about the Beatles because he’s such a, he’s such a [00:37:00] Beatles fan. last time I think we talked about the bobbleheads in his office. And he’s, he is the, that kind of, foundation CEO where he doesn’t take himself too seriously. And yet he takes The work phenomenally seriously.
So that’s, I don’t know, I had all these feelings going on in my head. I wanted to ask good questions and, have that kind of conversation. And it was fun. I’ll tell you that much.
Kirk: His excitement for the Beatles tour came through at the end. I don’t know if you’re going to keep it in the final cut, but he
Eric: are you kidding me?
That’s the best stuff.
Kirk: He threw some heat around the most recent Beatles contribution in the first, in the setup to the conversation, the final cut. We’ll see that. That may be the most notable thing that comes from this whole conversation that are Larry Kramer’s feelings about the most recent contribution from the Beatles.
Eric: let’s hope not. what he is, what he talks about in terms of philanthropy, I think is really important understanding about what it can and can’t do. I think an understanding about the expectations that philanthropy sets for itself. Because it has a minimal amount of [00:38:00] money relative to the problem, and yet, in many instances, it assumes that it has a lot more opportunity or clout than it probably should have.
And that’s where an understanding of what do you, how do you use your tiny resources to try and get governments and other large institutions and markets. To jump in and make change. And we, he made that comment about how climate philanthropy has been quite effective. And I think that’s true. I, don’t think we would have seen nearly the type of legislation with the inflation reduction act, which is always named funnily to me, but it’s really a climate bill.
Kirk: That’s genius framing, by the way. That’s genius framing, by the way.
Eric: Yeah, it’s pretty good framing. Anyway, that climate philanthropy had a role. In shaping that huge, multi, a billion dollar legislation is a sign or an example of what philanthropy can
Kirk: do. this is why we need to change the podcast format.
I know that I’ve just been [00:39:00] dragging you along on this journey these past years, Eric, but this could have and should have been like a multi hour conversation. And actually, when you think about the Larry Kramer. Kramer exit interview. I wonder about that. what writing Larry will be able to do, what reflecting Larry will be able to do about the different things that you touched on briefly in this discussion, because it’s each one of these areas lends itself to its own PC dissertation.
And I, I loved how you were in it. And he said, you have to pose the counterfactual, what do we expect philanthropy can do? And, Given our limited resources, but then this is where you get into the kind of inherent contradictions, I think, because when we talk about climate change and how climate has been climate, philanthropy has been so effective.
What are we saying there? We’re saying we’re going to use through philanthropy to replumb and repower the entire economy. And we’re going to do that within a limited, Timeframe so that we actually create outcomes that allow us to preserve the ability to [00:40:00] live in a sensible way on this planet. so that kind of suggests to me, we think philanthropy can do an awful lot, right?
But then within that, there are clear interventions that have made the most sense as, we think about that conversation. And of course, Hewlett has been an absolute leader. And letting certain strategies come forward and bloom and blossom. And he mentioned climate works is one of them. but what do you think about that?
There’s that, it feels like there’s that inherent tension that we actually put the, our leaders of these organizations into between you’re trying to level set. What can we actually accomplish? And then actually what’s on the to do list is change everything everywhere for better. And actually be totally transparent as you go about, about that and be effective and win more than you lose.
Eric: We’ve spoken about this a lot over the, of the five, almost five years, Kirk.
Kirk: The best five years of your life. I’m so glad to hear that.
Eric: Almost happy anniversary, my friend. what does philanthropy, what can philanthropy do? And we’ve said this before, it can, de risk [00:41:00] decision making because politicians are phenomenally risk averse.
They don’t want to try something that’s not going to work. They don’t want to allocate spending for a project that is going to fail. And philanthropy can take those risks and try something out that may not succeed. Because if it doesn’t work out, who’s going to fire the philanthropy? Nobody. Philanthropy is very limited in terms of the, like I say, it has no enemies in nature.
They’re all you have to do is pay out your money and make sure that you don’t give it to a whatever criminal enterprise and you’re good to go. So that’s what philanthropy can do. So we can try to do these things so that an elected official or other policymaker can have some confidence that the thing that they’re going to now.
Invest considerable sums in has the potential for, succeeding. So I think that’s, more than anything, what philanthropy can do well. And then the other thing is it’ll, it helps you understand what not to do. If something doesn’t go well, you have to share that though. And that’s the problem [00:42:00] again, that many foundations, run into is that they don’t want to share what doesn’t go well.
And it’s I always say that kind of thing is like a road closed sign. If you don’t put the road close sign and a lot of people are going to drive over a cliff and it’s irresponsible to let them do that. And I think that’s another reason why philanthropy and the nonprofit world in general have to say what doesn’t work.
Even if it means that the thing that they said that would work didn’t work. Yeah. And even if it means that people might think that they are not good at their jobs or that whatever, that the money is ill spent, but that’s not true. What did Edison say? I was like, I never failed. I just learned a thousand things that don’t work.
Kirk: and think about what we ask leadership of these institutions to accomplish then in light of that. And as Larry was talking about what he learned and some of the things he was proud of and what was hard, you took him through a great set of questions, Eric, in terms of what his experience was.
I was thinking to myself, so do we want these leaders to basically be. The [00:43:00] masters of opposite school, because you need to be a leader. You need to be analytical, but you need to be humble. you need to ask the right questions, but then step back and let staff lead. You need to leverage the strategic voice of the foundation, but then also recognize, it’s not just us.
You need to be brave enough to walk into a boardroom and say, I want to run a democracy initiative before any of us know that’s even a problem that needs to be solved and yet actually have the skills and collaboration that. Can enlist others to pull resources. So the range of things that we’re asking these leaders to do, and by the way, and I’m glad you didn’t get there.
We didn’t even ask Larry about some of the nitty gritty, just staffing and personnel and that kind of work that goes into managing these institutions. And think about that in terms of the range of things that get that you probably encounter when you think about an organization that’s working, not just in the United States, but it’s helping spin up organizations globally and all these different contexts.
so I love that conversation at the end, when you were talking very like. [00:44:00] what’s, the exit interview about what the next person in this job needs to be able to accomplish? I’m like, it feels like you need to be the president of opposite school. You need to be able to do all these different things, but do them incredibly well.
Kirk: I’d be thinking, and you actually worked with Larry, internally, you were at the Heal Foundation as communications director, and then you moved on to your own thing and videos now in that role and performing magnificently in it. But what do you think about that array of skills that leadership person needs to provide?
it’s pretty incredible. I think it is.
Eric: It is. It is a very hard job. It’s a really hard job because as you say, you have to be really ambitious. think of the things that Larry attempted to launch when it was a community college initiative, which he admitted didn’t work out.
Kirk: Oh man. I wish I could have been in a fly on the wall.
Eric: Yeah, totally. Yeah. But a, the democracy work, the Madison initiative trying to help Congress function better. that’s a big lift. A cyber security initiative. This is back in 20 [00:45:00] something or other, 15, 14, something like that, maybe earlier, in which, people were, it was, people were saying, why aren’t governments or businesses doing their own cyber security?
And the answer was that they were just not doing a good job at it. And so he wanted to. But this is something we really need to pay attention to. let’s see, what else? he’s trying to do these really, big things. And running another five programs. There’s a global development program.
There’s education. Performing arts, environment program. These, are like large tentpole things that could be their own foundations in themselves. Then you have to hire, then you have to deal with your board and you have to try and tell a story externally so that other folks will come along. Then you have to collaborate with other foundations.
He was quite clear that you really just can’t go it alone. You need to have partners, but in order to have partners, you have to be willing to seed some of the decision making. [00:46:00] So you have to figure out where your line is and how far you’re willing to go before you, the thing stops being the thing you wanted to support in the first place.
and on, you have to be humble. You have to be brilliant. You have to be a really good manager of people. You have to be a great collaborator. You have to have a real sense of humor because it’s. Not everything is going to go your way and you have to be able to, laugh it off sometimes or to understand and be thoughtful about it.
It is a really hard job and it’s funny because if you go back and listen to the first. Interview Larry says, I don’t actually really do anything. I just, manage
Kirk: famous last words,
Eric: pretty funny. yeah. And I, think that on balance, I think Larry has done this job brilliantly. even when things don’t work out, you have to take these shots at things. And I do think he was at the center of some great [00:47:00] climate philanthropy and collaboration. Yeah. And I think he has given people a sense of what.
What the kind of ideas that philanthropy can produce and with any luck at all, a lot of other folks have taken up the mantle and we’re, we’ll be running with these ideas as well. And who knows what his successor will do?
Kirk: and let’s acknowledge some of the silent partners in that process, right?
Because there’s, and this all goes back to the rigor and, excellent with excellence with which he was operated for years. But there’s the silent partners of those receiving the dollars, either grantees or contractors doing the work. There’s the silent partnership with the staff, the leadership, the folks in the program teams, the communications team, actually trying to do all the homework to make sure that these investments are going to right place.
There’s also the silent partnership with the board though. And I think, we’re in a moment where we’re watching major drama and the tech and nonprofit will play out around board leadership and, this, the stability and the consistency with which the Hewlett foundation board has operated around leadership is, I think one of the great [00:48:00] unsung stories in philanthropy or now it’s stretching over many decades in, in, Even generally generationally across the family. So I think it’s also a time to acknowledge a shout out to the Hewlett foundation board and trustees in the way that they’ve approached this. And, Larry pointed to some of the contradictions that you have to manage through when he was talking with you.
And so one of the contradictions was bouncing this humility. That he’ll it operates with it’s not about us within the ability to say, hey, we’re strategic. So we have to be leaders at times. But then the other thing that I was that he reflected on was this notion of being stretched too thin versus not.
And then the scale of the resources versus what you can actually get done. So if you are. Interested with the role of running the Hewlett Foundation, how would you balance that and I think about the democracy and democracy initiative itself or any one of these issues where you could say, actually, if we don’t get this one, all the other ones are secondary.
and actually, even the [00:49:00] moonshot versus achievable. I love that reflection. It’s Hey, if we just do small things, it’s not going to feel inspiring enough if we just do. Things that are really difficult to accomplish. People are not, are going to lose motivation over time. So you’re looking for this balance all the time.
So what do you think particularly about that spread too thin piece? Cause it’s an interesting contradiction there about we can’t do too much. Our resources are very minimal and yet we’re launching and building all these new initiatives because there’s so much work that needs to be done.
How do you reconcile that?
Eric: this is interesting because. Blue Meridian Partners, which began its life as the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, and what they ended up doing was taking the rest of their corpus and giving it into this partnership to Blue Meridian. But before they did that, they had five programs and they come.
And they got rid of four of them and they decided to just focus on youth success. And that was a hugely risky thing. It, basically took the portfolio away and they decided to use, okay, if we’re going to [00:50:00] try and make a difference on something, we have a limited amount of resources. Maybe we should just concentrate those resources.
That’s one option for a foundation. Of the size of the Heal Foundation was, I don’t know, 15 billion by now. So you’re putting out 750 million a year. They could decide to focus just on climate philanthropy, for example, and maybe throw in a couple of these kind of, democracy, which is the underpinnings of any good legislation, for example, that kind of stuff.
So you could make it slightly portfolio ish. Or you could take a hard look at what you’re doing and make some decisions about whether, your philanthropy dollar is making a real difference. are you the thing that is putting something over the edge? If not, then maybe that’s not where you need to spend your money.
So I think making those kinds of hard decisions are, I, it all ought to be on the table. Understanding that inertia is tricky because you’ve been funding organizations over a long period of time. And if you were going to try to make some kind of [00:51:00] responsible exit, it would still be very painful for the organizations that you’ve been funding.
Kirk: Let’s acknowledge where it got started too. He said, this is a really difficult job. Giving away money is one of the most difficult things you could imagine. So, that, I imagine, is also part of that, level setting in terms of how much you can accomplish. Let’s say you wanted to spend every penny on issue X or Y.
That doesn’t mean the field is going to be in a place to receive that level of resource.
Eric: And then the other question is, at what rate should we spend? should we call ourselves a 50 year foundation and spend down over 50 years and that would allow you to? Crank up your payout, for example, or are there certain areas in which you really want to overpay right now because the problem will get exponentially worse.
So those are all the kinds of questions that, that I think any responsible president of a foundation should be engaging with their board in and they’re hard, questions because there’s, this is a zero sum game in many ways. And so [00:52:00] where you crank it up in some place, someplace else is going to lose.
Kirk: And that, oh boy, those are hard decisions. Larry talked about, the ways he communicated in leadership. And I, loved, by the way, the first place where this started, which is he described his reactive approach and that things would just frustrate him and upset him. And he’d have to write, he’d have to speak out to it.
And, you, you hear that, that lawyerly desire to debate, negotiate, get to better outcomes there. And then, but there’s the strategic. The strategic part, the communications team and others saying, Hey, this is a point. This is a part when, Hewlett’s voice is really going to matter.
And then also the times when Larry was invited to go to conferences and other places I’ve got to talk about all that has gone into strategic philanthropy, effective philanthropy, Hewlett. the importance of general operate operating support, multi year support for organizations linked to these enormous causes.
And you were there in that role. But again, I rethink, I think back in the day, your team was like you and maybe two others, like whatever. So just the space you had to [00:53:00] have those converse common conversations has changed because you now we have more capacity going into communications piece of this role.
so what do you make of that reflection and how would it have felt to you to sit down with Larry and say, okay, I know you’re really upset about this. And I know you, can go straight to the Chronicle of Philanthropy with this, with this, piece that you’re going to write, but let’s think about this.
And how do we feel about that? How do you think about that role of the president? Themselves being the messenger in, the ways that gets leveraged, leveraged on behalf of foundations?
Eric: it’s just the nature of how we, I don’t know how we get information or how we think about messengers and leaders and things like that.
So the president of the foundation, or the CEO of the foundation is someone that you’re gonna listen to and when they say something, some instances they’re going to change their behavior. And you have to be really responsible about what you say. If you have a, wild hair and you talk about it, then 10 organizations are going to take that wild hair and go with it.
And it’s no. I was just, [00:54:00] thinking, and so you have to be really, with great power comes great responsibility. And so I think that’s. One element of it, the other element, of course, is to, you want to put the foundation in the best light. You want to frame your ideas in ways that will be productive.
There are all sorts of things around CEO communications that you have to be thoughtful about. And I think that Larry clearly said that he’s, evolved. He’s growing in understanding about what that responsibility and that power is. And I think he’s used it well. And every so often there’s something legal that comes out and he wants to write about it.
And sometimes he does, and sometimes he doesn’t. Because he’s a legal scholar and so he takes off his foundation hat, but you can’t really ever fully take off your foundation hat. People will always associate you with the organization that you represent no matter what and you know when people say tweets are my own opinion or whatever, it’s if you say something stupid, you’re getting fired.
you may have a constitutional right, to… Say what [00:55:00] you think, but you don’t have a constitutional right to work at this organization.
Kirk: So we are famous on this podcast for giving people homework assignments who are generous enough to come and join us. Larry mentioned relative to collaboration, how important it is for CEOs to work together, the founders to work together.
And there’s a little bit of a theory of change, I think, unlocked in there that, gives me hope. Depresses me when I think about, it really so many of these things boil down to leadership and where’s the leadership going to direct things and we’ll have more collaboration of leaders can collaborate and not if not, but, that I want Larry to create a documentary and I want it to be about his personal journey.
Developing and rolling out the democracy program at the hill foundation, because, it, he, it’s funny, anybody who sought dollars from foundation knows what it’s like, and just the nervousness you felt going just to interview Larry, you’re coming in, you’re trying to put your best ideas forward.
Are we [00:56:00] going to be a grant recipient? We have to be so sharp. And so now think about Larry doing that as the head of the organization. He’s effectively doing that. He’s saying to his board, Hey, this is a new thing we need to think through. Nobody’s going to tell you this is a good idea. Okay. We all think comfortably that this thing that we’ve had for hundreds of years, democracy, this isn’t a safe space, but I’ve got a signal.
I’ve got some intuition. I’ve got some evidence that this is actually far more tenuous than you might think. And he manages to roll out this whole new program. I wish he could create a first person story about his journey there, because it’s, important about the issue. Because I think democracy, unfortunately, is probably feeling more tenuous today than it was when Larry first rolled that out, but also as almost a to do or an instruction book for people to how to continue thinking bravely, because he mentioned one of his biggest concerns is the hurtish mentality, the thing that, folks want to Get along to go along and just be part of and Larry, you can, it’s clear as a thinker, as a speaker, as a person in the world, doesn’t [00:57:00] do that. He says, Hey, no, this is, I think a place where we should, put a stake in the ground. And again, showing the opposite school part. that’s the leadership part.
So what do you think, Eric, could you, could you convince.
Eric: Should I tell him, should I tell Larry to make a documentary?
Kirk: Yeah, could you produce that please? Could you, storyboard it and create it? Okay, that’s easy. But don’t you think the democracy program alone, Hewlett, I think is actually, it’s cutting, it’s carving new ground and it’s funny, even the conversation of polarization, sometimes I wonder about that.
We know it’s happening. Is that a symptom or a cause or both? what’s underneath this and all that, but, to, get into that work and really try to wrestle it to the ground. that to me is one of the big things I feel a sense of loss for us is Larry leaves the Hill foundation.
I hope that work still has a home there and it’s still going to have champions internally for why it’s so important.
Eric: Yeah. I agree. I agree. And, I’m eager. I think we are all very excited to see about who’s going to come in and take the foundation to the next and it’s whatever the next part [00:58:00] of its history.
It’s a great, it’s a great organization. My most cherished moments. were spent in that office building and I love the people there. I, think the board is spectacularly wise and thoughtful and humble and has deferred to the staff to allow them to run the place. And, but the, and the Hewlett family has been great.
It’s just a great place. And whoever. Takes this job as a lucky, person
Kirk: indeed. And Larry received something very dear when he became leader of that organization and has left it, from all counts has left it in a better place than he found it when he first arrived, which is an incredible testament to the work he did there.
Before we go, I do want to acknowledge that he managed to lit through the COVID pandemic, and he mentioned something that I think anybody who led any organization of any type through that period would probably share, which is managing through that period was an absolute nightmare. And, I think that we’re [00:59:00] still as a, country, as institutions still sorting out how awful that actually was.
And so I feel like that’s the quiet unsung. Another unsung partner. And this is how Larry had to adapt to just radical stuff going on in the world. as he was in that role. And so kudos, Larry, to you and thank you for all the work you did as the, over this 12 years. And, Eric, what are foundation president years?
Are they dog years is every year worth seven. What are they said?
Eric: Some, sometimes the year feels like 40 and sometimes it feels and then 10 years feels like a minute. So I think time is, it’s like something out of, Science fiction movie more than anything, it expands and contracts at unpredictable rates.
Kirk: Larry’s ready for the Beatles tour. We hope he has a great time doing it. He certainly deserves it. Deserves some, deserves some fun given all the work that he’s done. And Eric, my goodness. Thank you for. making that happen. I love that we have the first episode and then we have [01:00:00] Larry’s exit interview episode.
And man, Larry Kramer, thank you for all your work. And we just wish you nothing but the best as you open this new chapter in your life.
Eric: And this is by far not our last episode. We are going strong. And folks out there who are listening, we really appreciate you. Please go on to Apple Podcasts and rate us there.
Please rate us on wherever you are. That’s how we get people. Please forward. Episodes that are interesting to you, to a friend, that’s how we’re continuing to build this audience after five years. And I don’t know, nine, 80, something episodes, Kirk, I’m, really, sorry that you talked.
Kirk: You took on the challenge with incredible grace, which is what you do.
And we are so grateful to our listeners. We’re so grateful to our supporters and Mr. Brown, grateful for you and all of the work you put into this. It’s a, it’s been really fun to see how this has grown over time. Damn you. That’s enough. Larry Kramer, thank you so much for being with us on [01:01:00] let’s hear it.
We wish you nothing but the best. And, for, all of you, we’ll see you next time on let’s hear it.
Kirk: Okay, everybody. That’s it for this episode. Please let us know if you have any thoughts about what you heard today or people we should have on this show. And that definitely includes yourself. And we’d like to thank…
Eric: Our indefatigable producer, Harper Brown.
Kirk: John Allee, the tuneful and inspiring composer of our theme music.
Eric: Our sponsor, the Lumina foundation.
Kirk: And please check out luminous terrific podcast. Today’s students, tomorrow’s talent. And you can find that at lumina foundation.org.
Eric: We certainly thank today’s guests. And of course, all of you.
Kirk: And most importantly, thank you, Mr. Brown.
Eric: Oh, no, no, no, no. Thank you, Mr. Brown.
Kirk: Okay, everybody, until next time.