Looking Forward

So much of the news in the tech world this morning is about old news, Yahoo!, CNET, Plaxo. I suggest you ignore all of that and focus on what went on last night in San Jose at the annual Churchill Club Dinner. Some of the smartest minds in the venture capital business got up on stage and talked about the future. I have admired Vinod Khosla, Roger McNamee, Steve Jurvetson, Joe Schoendorf, and Josh Kopelman for years. These are people who spend their day looking forward, never backward.

Although I am on the west coast right now, I was not there. But fortunately, Tech Trader Daily has a long blog post with the key takeaways from the evening. Here are some of my favorites.

Vinod Knosla:  The mobile phone will be a mainstream personal computer.
With built in projector. Authentication. Credit cards on SIM cards. ID
cards, passports, drivers licenses. Any information you need.

Jurvetson says the trends are already playing out, other than the
projector piece, particularly in Europe, where cell phones are 8% of
credit card payments

Josh Kopelman: The rise of the “implicit” Internet.
Today your permanent record exists; you create a trail of data exhaust,
digital bread crumbs. Implicit data that exists in silence. Movie
rentals, restaurant reservations, books purchased, Web sites visited,
etc. All of this data existed in silence. No easy way until now to
benefit from the data; but the silos are coming down.

“Privacy is a red herring,” Khosla says.

Roger McNamee – You can not make a great consumer product with unbundled operating system. [this one is interesting to me. i believe open source software like Android is going to prove him wrong]

From Joe Schoendorf: Water tech will replace global warming as a global priority.

Jurvetson: Evolution trumps design… Evolutionary algorithms are a
powerful alternative to traditional design, blossoming first in neural
networks and now in microbial engineering. Near-term trend: year or
two, components of microbial engineering products will involve some
form of evolution. Design for evolution.  Most
of the panel seem to have no idea what Jurvetson was talking about,
really. [i can’t say I do either, but I think Steve’s on to something big here]

Most of the talk was about mobile and technology as an answer to the looming problems of the world. The former is obvious, that’s the next big thing. The latter is gratifying since I believe markets and the flow of capital to fund important innovation is the best way to solve the world’s problems.