Legendary Investor John Doerr on Picking Winners — From Google in 1999 to Solving the Climate Crisis Now (#543) – The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss

Legendary Investor John Doerr on Picking Winners — From Google in 1999 to Solving the Climate Crisis Now (#543) – The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss


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“We invested a billion dollars in a hundred different cleantech companies, and most of them failed. Failures come with the territory in the innovation business. But we stood by these entrepreneurs, and that billion dollars today is worth three billion. What I learned from that experience is that cleantech takes more time, more money, more guts, with longer horizons.”

— John Doerr

John Doerr (@johndoerr) is an engineer, venture capitalist, the chair of Kleiner Perkins, and the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Measure What Matters. His new book is Speed and Scale: An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now.

John was an original investor and board member at Google and Amazon, helping to create more than half a million jobs. A pioneer of Silicon Valley’s cleantech movement, John has invested in zero-emission technologies since 2006. He’s passionate about encouraging leaders to reimagine the future, from transforming healthcare to advancing applications of machine learning.

Outside Kleiner Perkins, John works with social entrepreneurs who are tackling systemic issues across climate, public health, and education.

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#543: Legendary Investor John Doerr on Picking Winners — From Google in 1999 to Solving the Climate Crisis Now


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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…

Want to hear another episode with someone committed to saving the world? Listen to my conversation with Conservation International CEO M. Sanjayan in which we discuss monkey birthday cakes, tips for frequent travelers, subjects crucial to a balanced education, the power of crossing disciplines, storytelling to rule the world, common misconceptions about conservation, why the people of today are in a unique time and place to save the planet, what we can do to cultivate long-term thinking, and much more.

#285: Overcoming Doubt, Battling the Busy Trap, and Enhancing Life — M. Sanjayan

speedandscale.com | Twitter | Kleiner Perkins | LinkedIn

SHOW NOTES

  • What initially drew John to Silicon Valley? [05:27]
  • Who was Andy Grove, and what were John’s first impressions of him? [07:18]
  • What made Andy Grove a great manager? [10:13]
  • How did Andy deliver honest, tough love without being abusive to its recipient? [11:55]
  • While at Intel, why did John — with all of his technical training and experience as an engineer — request to be transferred from the company’s Santa Clara headquarters to its Chicago sales office? [13:08]
  • What compelled John to get involved in venture capital? [16:09]
  • John shares his first meeting with Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin. [18:23]
  • What was on the slides John used in his pitch to Larry and Sergey, and what effect was he hoping they would have on them? [20:52]
  • Way back in 1999, why were John and his partners confident enough to invest its largest capital commitment in the fledgling Google? [23:28]
  • How does the Speed and Scale initiative plan to bring us back from the brink of an irreversible climate crisis? [28:40]
  • What will it look like if we’re too late? [33:01]
  • Why has there thus far been so little progress on getting closer to net-zero? [36:34]
  • Favorite failures that set the course for successful action. [38:59]
  • What changes have made cleantech investment more appealing in the past 15 years or so? [43:00]
  • What are OKRs, and how do they differ from what many might consider goal setting? John illustrates how Google’s Sundar Pichai used OKRs to make Chrome the most popular browser in the world, along with an example of how he’s applied OKRs to his own personal life. [46:39]
  • On making a life meaningful, and why John wishes he and his wife had started their family about 10 years before they did. [50:32]
  • In what ways does John differ in opinion with Al Gore and Bill Gates on the climate conversation? [56:05]
  • What action steps can we, as individuals, take to help mitigate the climate crisis in a meaningful way? [58:25]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:03:35]

MORE JOHN DOERR QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW

“Cleantech takes more time, more money, more guts, with longer horizons. And the innovators the entrepreneurs need to—in Andy Grove speak—be ruthlessly, intellectually honest about where the risks are in their venture.”
— John Doerr

“For me, making meaning is to give a healthy climate to the future generations. I believe we owe it to them, for them to enjoy the opportunities in nature and in the lives that we have.”
— John Doerr

“If we have a billion climate refugees, the people least responsible for this problem are going to pay the highest price, and they’re the least capable of dealing with it.”
— John Doerr

“Individual action is not going to be enough. If we’re going to get to net-zero, we need massive global action.”
— John Doerr

“400 gigatons. That’s the maximum that we can emit to have a decent chance to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid an irreversible climate disaster.”
— John Doerr

“We invested a billion dollars in a hundred different cleantech companies, and most of them failed. Failures come with the territory in the innovation business. But we stood by these entrepreneurs, and that billion dollars today is worth three billion. What I learned from that experience is that cleantech takes more time, more money, more guts, with longer horizons.”
— John Doerr

“Climate change is the world’s biggest inequality machine.”
— John Doerr

PEOPLE MENTIONED

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