I’ll be live blogging the AlwaysOn OnDC Summit for the next 2 1/2 days.
Tony Perkins, founder of the Churchill Club, Upside Magazine, Red Herring, and Always On took the stage to welcome the attendees.
Tony is telling how he grew up in Portola Valley not far from where the Home Brew Computer Club met. He showed a picture of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak before they were 20. Tony recently read Barack Obama’s innovation policy and it sounded like a poetic version of what he stands for — promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. Back to the Steves.
Arthur Rock invested $57,000 in their startup, which became Apple. He had previously invested in Intel.
All the great entrepreneurs that he has interviewed including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison — they don’t do it for the money. One thing these five have in common: none of them graduated from college. You never know where the next great entrepreneur is going to come from.
Interesting stat. 1/3 of all companies founded in Silicon Valley are founded by immigrants. He showed picture of Stephen Chen (co-founder of YouTube from Taiwan), Vinod Khosla (co-founder of Sun, from India), Sergey Brin (co-founder of Google, from Russia). He got a few degrees before starting Google.
He goes to Davos every year. They hold a Nerd dinner for all the nerds at the World Economic Forum. Each person gets 7 words to introduce himself. Sergey Brin said his parents were upset that he dropped his PhD program to start Google. His 7 words to introduce himself: “Mother says Google Smoogle, finish your PhD.”
Global entrepreneurship is good too! Tony shows photo of Niklas Zennstrom (Kazaa, Skype), Richard Li (Baidu), Masayoshi Son (Softbank was largest investor in internet companies in the first phase of the internet.). They gave Skype the company of the Year award in 2005. Niklas was having a board meeting that day. They beamed him in on the first ever public showing of Skype Video along with Tim Draper. Tim Draper invested in Skype and got his biggest return ever from it.
Tony says a key question for the future of our economy is: Are we importing intellectual capital? Is the US still the best place to pursue dreams? So far, he thinks that is still the case. But as soon as that intellectual capital stops coming in, it means we are over-regulating, aren’t creating a playing field that is good for entrepreneurs.
As a nation, our unemployment rate is too high. The stimulus has been something like $800 billion. VC-backed companies create jobs 3 times faster. 11% of all jobs are coming from venture-backed companies. 92% of job growth comes after IPO. So over-regulating the financial food chain like we’ve done with Sarbanes Oxley, or even talking about regulating the venture capital business, which I think is a bad idea. These things will inhibit job growth.
There is an encouraging idea coming out of the Administration–lowering the capital gains on long-term investments in small companies.
His final slide. “Goodbye PC Generation. Hello IM Generation.” People under 25 communicate more with friends via IM than they do with email. People over 55 almost all use email over IM. I could show also how the new generation communicates more over Facebook than they do with email.
The new generation grew up with the internet. He has a 24-year old daughter that got her masters in CS from Cornell. She asked him a couple years ago. “Hey, Dad, what was your email address when you were growing up.” They have radically different online behavior. They want to work from anywhere, their desk is their laptop. They want access to all data. In 1999 he wrote a book called “Intenet Bubble.” He had a list of like 215 stocks that he said people should sell because the party was about to end. So he said, “I’m not a drunked internet enthusiast.” He also said at the end of the book that after the bubble burst, 80% of the all the brands we will associate with the internet will be born after the bubble burst. That is happening.
Skype has close to 500 million users now. YouTube. Facebook. iTunes Store. Nintendo Wii. iPhone. Amazon Kindle. None of these platforms are owned by Microsoft.
He thinks the unemployment rate will be high for a long time because there are a lot of jobs being destroyed that are never coming back. But in this huge playing field that is being driven by the IM generation, and is entering into the workforce, there is a lot of innovation.
He is writing a policy paper for the President on GAAS (like Software As A Service) but it means Government As A Service. He thinks it should be a primary initiative. (Though, he said, it may need to be renamed a bit.)
92% of kids instruct their parents on how to be more green. He built a house, tried to make it as green as possible. He thinks green will be a big engine for growth. $11 billion has been invested in green companies. These companies will put a lot of traditional companies out of business.
Tony’s conclusion: “Today is the greatest time to be an entrepreneur….ever.”