Steve Jurvetson Quotes

  1. History has proven time and again that downturns are the best time to invest in new start-ups. You get good deals and find a better environment for start-ups to grow.
  2. Something new will always be the source of growth in Silicon Valley.
  3. By the time people came to realize that free, Web-based email was indeed a hot idea, Hotmail was adding 1 million new subscribers a month.
  4. We’re impressed by people who don’t know what can’t be done.
  5. Steve Jobs was my hero.
  6. A big part of green tech will be organisms that eat waste.
  7. SpaceX lowered the cost of going into space by 10x.
  8. We believe strongly that all meaningful change comes from entrepreneurs.
  9. Machine learning allows us to build software solutions that exceed human understanding and shows us how AI can innervate every industry.
  10. If your startup is only in the development or idea stage, there is almost no better predictor of failure – I mean, utter failure, scorched-earth bankruptcy – than raising too much money in the first round.
  11. When the venture capital industry invests, it’s usually because they sense there is money in them hills. And often it takes a high-profile winner to wake everyone up in the category. SpaceX is that company.
  12. There was a time and a place when a pure content start-up had a chance, and that time has passed.
  13. Personally, I do not look at IPOs for an exit.
  14. Lots of deals happen in situations that aren’t ‘pure work.’
  15. Flourishing is everyone’s birthright. I’m trying to break this hold that being smiley and cheery has on what people think the good life is.
  16. Because of the rate of technology change, forecast horizons are shrinking.
  17. The first generation of biotech physically cut and pasted from one organism to another. You learned that taxol helped cure cancer, then you found the source organism and extracted the genes to make your drug. Now physical science is becoming information science.
  18. I believe that technology has the potential to change the fate of nations, industries and companies, as well as the context of our lives. I want to help build the companies that take the risks needed to make those kinds of real changes in the world.
  19. If I want to make a product that is appealing to consumers, like a piece of clothing or a video game, that’s fad driven. Some companies do it, and I don’t know how they do it, but it’s generally a bad place to invest.
  20. Every new industry has exuberance in advance of reality. The techies get carried away. There is a period of despair. Then the pendulum swings the other way, and people see the long term potential. It’s like when the Internet bubble crashed.
  21. If you ask any VC what it takes to be successful, you’ll get a description that sounds a lot like himself. There’s a preference for self-similar individuals.
  22. I’ve always been a fan of space exploration, and I filled our entire office with space artifacts.
  23. If there isn’t a business logic to get to marketability, the chance of an idea’s importance in the world is very low.
  24. Go to the moon – that’s my dream.
  25. Firms that claim domain focus are late movers.
  26. Back when I was a student, I had Steve Jobs over to my house for a fireside chat with the GSB High Tech Club.
  27. In chemicals, Synthetic Genomics is one of my real loves.
  28. I don’t really care what the venture industry thinks.
  29. Since the Moon has no atmosphere, it presents a unique orbital opportunity – we could fly incredibly close to the surface while staying in lunar orbit.
  30. Elon Musk is an incredible leader and entrepreneur. I have known him since 1995 when he first came to Silicon Valley.
  31. Building and launching rockets has been a lifelong hobby that my son and I share. We regularly travel to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to launch rockets.
  32. Elon Musk is a remarkable individual.
  33. Being slick is not the right answer.
  34. Truly original thinkers tend not to be entrepreneurs who’ve spent 10 years at Cisco and can be trusted to know what they’re doing. They tend to be 26 years old and highflying. They often have a very childlike mind, with some naivete.
  35. The concept of a ‘job’ is pretty recent. If you go back a few hundred years, everyone was either a slave or a serf, or living off slave or serf labor to pursue science or philosophy or art.
  36. Generally speaking, if you control matter more precisely, you can get more efficiency out of any process.
  37. The economies of the future are information.
  38. The bad news is that most traditional VCs have a youth bias that they will state very overtly. You always wonder if that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy or if it’s something about the nature of those businesses.
  39. When a nanotech company matures and becomes a real business, it becomes something else. It becomes a biotech company or a cleantech company or a memory chip company. Nanotechnology has fueled the core innovations in electronics and energy.
  40. Without disruptions, startups can’t survive.
  41. In general, when it comes to AI, many of us subconsciously cling to the selfish notion that humanity is the endpoint of evolution.
  42. Technology business increasingly becomes difficult to predict because technology itself is accelerating in change, and human nature and markets are more stagnant and static. But the dynamic engine of technological innovation continues unabated.
  43. By developing deep learning solutions that are faster, easier, and less expensive to use, Nervana is democratizing deep learning and fueling advances in medical diagnostics, image and speech recognition, genomics, agriculture, finance, and eventually across all industries.
  44. Elon Musk is an incredibly prolific entrepreneur, having come up with, or been at the founding team of Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, PayPal, all different industries that seem to have nothing to do with each other.
  45. I do think there are more and more entrepreneurs all the time that think big. Those are the people we should be finding and funding. Most of them will fail, but the ones who succeed will change the world, and that is progress.
  46. Biotech 1.0 is slow, like a lab science, and Version 2.0 is more like computational sciences.
  47. There is no correlation between a weak IPO market and an impact on early-stage VCs.
  48. Rockets often spiral out of control if you put too much propellant in them.
  49. I love what I do. I love to learn.
  50. The commercial space industry is enormous and ripe for disruption.
  51. The beauty of compounding iterative algorithms – evolution, fractals, organic growth, art – derives from their irreducibility.
  52. The future will be less predictable, forecast rises will shrink, company lifetimes will shrink, new entrants will proliferate and it’s going to just get more unpredictable.
  53. I’ve actually come to respect the most irritatingly challenging people I’ve worked with as really valuable in improving group decision-making and what to do and what to invest in.
  54. The closer you are to technology, the more you trust it.
  55. In manufacturing, too much work is beyond repetitive – it is inhumane. The people doing this work aren’t doing it because they want to – they are doing it because they have families to feed and clothe.
  56. We look for companies that are unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, with a bold vision to change the world and run by passionate entrepreneurs who get you jumping out of your seat.
  57. If you thought financial crises came and went, just count on them – another economic collapse, it’s almost going to be like not news any more. But for startups this is great, because it’s a perpetual driver of disruption.
  58. We only invest in businesses that reduce labor.
  59. SpaceX is very unusual. I don’t know of any other startup where the founder put in $100 million of his own money before looking for any outside capital. They have wildly exceeded any reasonable expectations.
  60. One very interesting framework for a company to succeed over time – beyond just business logic and analytics – is, do they have a reason why the best graduates in engineering programs will flock to them versus competitors?
  61. When you lower the cost of access to space, a boom of innovation follows, just as low-cost fiber optics paved the way for the Internet and the cloud services that followed.
  62. Charging a fee for an online service is a good way to lose 90 percent of your customers.
  63. One tech-related concern with religion is that it appears to be a positive feedback loop to the accelerating rich-poor gap, as the disenfranchised opt out of modernity.
  64. As a geek, I take umbrage at the notion that chips are not sexy. But yes, robots, drones, satellites and self-driving cars are the kinds of things that excite me.
  65. I’d stay away from investments in a variety of sectors that are capital intensive. Anyone who says we need $100 million before we know if what we’re doing makes sense and the customers want it – that’s not going to work.
  66. Before SpaceX, no space company was worth a second meeting.
  67. Hotmail went from zero to 12 million users with zero marketing steps. Not a penny was spent on sales and marketing, which was astounding. It showed us the power of the network effect.
  68. I would say that nanotech’s worth paying attention to no matter what your background because if you look far enough into the future, it’ll impact just about any industry you can think of.
  69. We definitely stand behind Theranos in the sense of, we are an investor, and we want them to succeed.
  70. I do lament how many investors focus on all the short-term sugar buzz of some marginal improvement in something – nothing history books are ever going to be written about. In many cases, these are quick and easy ways to make money.
  71. Elon Musk wins you over with his elegant mastery of engineering, be it for the rocket or the car. But what blew my socks off was when our conversation veered way off topic. We started musing about whether it was possible we all lived in the matrix, and Musk still had deep knowledge.
  72. No politician has a 50-year horizon.
  73. Putting seven people in orbit should not cost more than flying a commercial jet around Earth.
  74. IT is permeating more industries. Moore’s Law knocks down simulation capabilities. We don’t need wind tunnels anymore, for example. You can run experiments more quickly.
  75. Hotmail grew its base faster than any company I can think of.
  76. Venture capital is a dynamic and people-driven business.
  77. If you think 20 years out and ask what’s the most important company on the planet, it is not any company you could write down today. The most important company 20 years from now has not even been founded yet and doesn’t have a name.
  78. There is nothing like visiting a facility to get a sense of how companies work.
  79. I taught myself HTML.
  80. Corporate houses and big companies can be meaningful distribution channels for start-ups.
  81. Beyond self-driving cars, I think all airplanes should go pilotless. Get the pilots out of there. Even better, have no cockpit at all, and turn it into a nice lounge with a bar. Why give people the illusion of control with a steering wheel?
  82. The deep learning techniques, while relatively easy to learn, are quite foreign to traditional engineering modalities. It takes a different mindset and a relaxation of the presumption of control. The practitioners are like magi, sequestered from the rest of a typical engineering process.
  83. Eventually, all cars are going to be autonomous.
  84. I don’t want to be a driving machine on my daily commute; I want to be driven by a machine.
  85. Steve Jobs now rests with the sublime satisfaction of symbolic immortality.
  86. By day, I’m a venture capitalist. On weekends, I love rockets.
  87. I love photography. I love rockets.
  88. Statistical physics or Newtonian physics gives way to quantum physics. Very unusual properties of matter emerge at that scale, and you can think about building products in a very different way. You can think about interfacing to biology in a very different way.
  89. There are many good ideas out there that never get an audience.
  90. It is quite moving to hold a piece of Mars in your hands and to reflect on its incredible interplanetary journey, and the science that gives confidence as to the origin of this unusual rock.
  91. There aren’t many sources of money in San Diego, apart from local partnerships and local investors. It’s pretty starkly polarized to Silicon Valley.
  92. Development of space will improve life on Earth. Access to space is important for agriculture, humanitarian efforts, communications, and navigation.
  93. You have to build businesses for longer term.
  94. When I was 11, I went to space camp at the Space Center in Texas, near where I grew up. There, I met video-game-industry pioneer Richard Garriott, better known to gamers everywhere as ‘Ultima’ creator Lord British.
  95. The short version is I’m just a total Apple fanboy. I started programming Apples in seventh grade.
  96. My interest in space started early, but for many years, I could not find any space-related investments that really penciled-out for venture. That changed in 2009 when Elon Musk came to us with a big vision to explore Mars while producing rockets at a fraction of a price and making space accessible.
  97. While, in general, life satisfaction goes up with wealth, beyond the safety net more and more wealth brings very radically diminishing returns on life satisfaction.
  98. You’ve got to close deals quickly, or else you’ll miss out.
  99. I started programming Apples in seventh grade.
  100. I can’t invest in areas of comfort.
  101. IT is now reaching out to fuels and chemicals, energy and clean tech, rockets, all kinds of bizarre industries that formerly didn’t face much competition.

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