Video Of The Week: John Doerr at Pando Monthly

I like what Sarah Lacy is doing with these monthly talks called Pando Monthly. I am going to do one on June 13th. Last week Sarah talked with John Doerr, who has been a role model for me for many years and someone I have looked up to for a long time.

It’s a long talk, more than two hours. But if you can put it on this morning and let it run, there’s a ton of good stuff in here.

#VC & Technology

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I’m a big fan of Johns but the only 2 hour block of video I watch today will be LInklater’s Before Midnight.Warhol pioneered the idea of cam as movie back when by just recording people and letting it run unedited. Cultural statement but boring at its core.Begs the question–2 hours!Why? Editing is curation and everything piece of time shifted material benefits from it, if for no other reason than people’s time should be catered to.Sorry for the early morning quip. This is a hot button of mine.

    1. AlexBangash

      I watched the video. It is a great piece and in fact it is broken up into 3-5 min segments as well on youtube, like Doerr on AMAZON, CLEANTECH, SEGWAY etc. Additionally you can search text on Youtube, which provides automatic transcription.

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks…Just when over to their channel on YouTube. There is only one video with over 1000 views in the last 20 so I’m guessing that i’m not the only one that thinks that too long is just that.

    2. William Mougayar

      I’m with you on length, as I’ve been watching it on & off in the car since it came out last week, and I’m still not done with it. But I take exception with this one because John Doer is such a legend & he has a rich history of working with entrepreneurs. He is a bit verbose sometimes which tends to drag things, but in my opinion he hasn’t said enough, given his experience.

      1. awaldstein

        Thanks…I’ll rethink.But honestly, when this happens its not about the person being interviewed, it’s about intent and presentation.I like these Saturday video things as they push something in front of me to cue up to start my day. Not today.

        1. LE

          I get enjoyment from watching verbal cues, reactions and nuances similar to how you almost certainly find things in wine that I can’t. That’s not the point of this video of course. But as far as the info presented it’s from his perspective and even with ones perspective what they say and what is can be two different things. Many ways to spin a story. You don’t know which part is correct.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        I haven’t watched it yet but you make a good point about the volume of content relative to the wealth of experience. There are some people to whom I will listen even when they are rambling because of the pearls to be gleaned. There is so much in their heads that they haven’t even edited it all yet. Sometimes the most profound stuff comes from those moments.

        1. William Mougayar

          I agree.

      3. george

        I watched the whole interview, and I find John fascinating. I slightly disagree with you on the verbose statement, he gives us a cherished glimpse in the day and life of an elite VC.

        1. William Mougayar

          I’m sure you have also seen the rest of my comments where I highly regarded John & defended this interview vs. some of its critics. So, it is not entirely fair to pick on a minor observation I made when it is obvious that I was otherwise overwhelming supportive. But each person is entitled to their own opinion.

          1. george

            I’m sorry you feel I wasn’t fair, I tried to clearly state I disagreed with your specific verbose statement. However, perhaps you could apply your own standards mentioned above to my response and John’s interview?

          2. William Mougayar

            I’m the one feeling sorry for you as you have chosen to stick to such a petty fighting ground. End of this argument.


            I’m a long time critic of Wm. the Great as AV Moderator (I’m sure you have a spreadsheet of my IP addresses), and this comment reinforces why I think you are unqualified for such a post. Really wish Fred would get rid of the Mod position. It’s so lame.

          4. William Mougayar

            My commenting has nothing to do with the Mod position.Fact is I was 95% supportive of John Doerr whereas a few others dissed him; yet “George” chose to pick on me. That’s why I pushed back on his approach. It’s obvious he (and you) have a beef with me. So, get over it.

          5. george

            Excuse me William…Please don’t group me with others, that’s inappropriate! Others don’t speak for me and please realize, I didn’t choose to pick on you, I simply disagreed with your opinion. If you go back in time, you’ll find other postings where I support your opinions and/or POV’s. If I disagree one time, that should not be interpreted as a beef with you. Let’s keep it light…Best!

          6. fredwilson

            i need help with the spam and other comments that come in here that have to be cleaned out. i can’t do it all the time in real time. shana and william help me.

          7. ShanaC

            no, we don’t maintain such a spreadsheet.

    3. William Mougayar

      You can switch to the AllThingsD one with Elon Musk. It’s only 1 h 10 mins πŸ˜‰

      1. awaldstein

        Great!My bet is there is a direct relationship between length and how many times things get watched. And that’s the point…no?I get the one hour format as long as it provides the courtesy of time stamping by topic so I can surf around.The real issue is that there’s just no reason not to edit.

        1. William Mougayar

          That video generated about 4-5 Pando posts and perhaps numerous others outside, so video feeds print.But it would be great if someone summarized the whole thing into essential bullets, then it would be a 5 min read.

          1. awaldstein


          2. William Mougayar

            Yup. It’s still about eyeballs and impressions.

          3. awaldstein

            Value is and has always been about popularity.1hr 10 minute minute video is just raw footage waiting for a point of view.

        2. LE

          “And that’s the point…no?”Point is to sell advertising, no? And the ad runs at the start. That said the fact that it says “2 hours” will prevent many people from even starting it.”courtesy of time stamping by topic so I can surf around.”Agree need some kind of indexing or break into chunks.

      2. Donna Brewington White

        I read at least three people’s comments after that event who came away stunned by the Musk interview. I am watching it in chunks and about 2/3s through it. Pretty amazing. Some are comparing Musk to Jobs. One of the reasons I’m watching is that I think one day I will look back to this interview. There is a sense of watching history in the making. If nothing else it inspires me to think big. I probably won’t do anything Musk-scale in my lifetime but it does inspire me to think bigger in my own world and opportunities.I’ll watch the Doerr one too since Fred thinks so highly of him. Fred is a great curator. So are you, of course.

        1. William Mougayar

          Yup. Musk is amazing.

    4. LE

      I read you comment and agreed “2 hours!”.Then I decided to take a look and scan the video. Doer has a great style, avuncular and easy to watch. (I’d love to compare it to Doer in the 80’s.) Lacy is the perfect ditzy [1] foil attractive and almost eye candy. This will be entertaining to watch although I can’t imagine finding 2 hours and doing it in blocks, well, you loose your place on the video. It would have been a good idea for them to break it up into chunks in addition to one long piece (that’s what 60 minutes does).[1] This is for dramatic effect, I don’t think she is ditzy but she can appear ditzy.

    5. todd

      Two plus hours of unedited John Doerr is insightful than a lifetime of your “well curated” comments πŸ˜‰

      1. awaldstein

        Honestly didn’t know this was edited. Is it?

        1. William Mougayar

          I think he was trolling you.

      2. kidmercury


    6. Kirsten Lambertsen

      +1 for mentioning Warhol πŸ™‚ I personally very much appreciate getting access to unedited material. I know it’s long, but if you’d paid to get into the live event, wouldn’t you feel you’d gotten a great bang for your buck?Now, if you sit through one of Warhol’s boring uber-long-form films (which just maybe you have), you’ll experience the mind-altering effect. Doing something a little bit intolerable can be mind-expanding.

      1. awaldstein

        A huge fan of Warhol and the art scene in NYC at that time. (I’m staring at Keith Haring’s ‘Barking Dogs’ as I type.)I’ll take long, careful and patience bending, like Proust, rather than long and random anytime though.I studied Artaud for awhile and get the idea of engagement as art and improvisation as mind-expanding but I didn’t think this was a live capture and unedited.Guess I was wrong.

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Oh, well, I don’t know if it’s completely unedited.I forgot, you mentioned your art collection to me before! I defer to you on matters of art. I am just a pedestrian who had a particular fascination for Warhol for a long time. He and I have the same birthday. And I had the only car wreck in my life (so far) the day he died.

          1. awaldstein

            No one should defer to me in anything actually.Thanks for the share.On this edited/unedited topic i’m obviously the outlying minority which is fine.

  2. takingpitches

    I had seen tweets of this talk. I really like this line about Larry Page from Doerr:β€œHe just reeks of ambition. I bring him an idea and he will 10X it.”Looking forward to your talk!

  3. William Mougayar

    I liked the part where he discuses great entrepreneurs he worked with.Specifically, Andy Grove who was my role model & hero when I was a young manager.John Doer said “he was the epitome of a great entrepreneur and a great leader – and those are two very different things. When they come together, extraordinary things happen.”The lesson here is that all startups that want to grow to become a big, respected company can only do that if their founding CEO grows and becomes a great leader as well as being a great entrepreneur.

  4. William Mougayar

    I loved the Missionaries vs. Visionary metaphors in companies.Ideally, companies need to have a balance of both types of qualities.Missionary:PassionMentoringTeam-buildingLong termValuesMission-drivenCoachingMercenary:ParanoiaDriveShort termFinancial focusWolf packs

  5. kidmercury

    Damn Fred didn’t expect you to go all suster on us and recommend watching a 2hr video. What next, should we read all of encyclopedia Brittanica? Maybe watch Ken burns’ 11 part series on the history of baseball?I’m not a Doerr fan. Dude bought bubble 2.0 hook line and sinker and if tech blogs are to be believed did so at valuations that are now sure to be quite painful. He also bought the renewable energy stuff which may have resulted in bubble profits from flipping though I don’t see how anyone who does their due diligence can buy into that on a value basis.

    1. fredwilson

      Cmon. He nailed three consecutive waves of tech; workstations, PCs, and Internet. He’s the best that ever played the game.

      1. kidmercury

        you’re only as good as your last trade! πŸ™‚ also, buying at the top of bubble 2.0 makes it hard to say that he nailed the internet with perfection.but to acknowledge the validity of your point i should amend my statement to say that the past 6 years do not seem to be his best. i have a similar criticism of warren buffett, though i think buffett’s track record from early 70s to early 90s is incredibly impressive. true HOF numbers there

        1. William Mougayar

          There is much that startups can learn from larger companies that used to be a startup. He has invested in so many startups than have become really big (Amazon, Google, Sun, etc.) and that perspective is very valuable.

    2. William Mougayar

      You need to dissociate the man from the firm. But still, no one has a 100% correct track record. The good parts that he/KPCB did are far greater than any negatives in-between. Yes, they fuelled some of the bubble, e.g. Chemdex, but give the man a break :)He’s the real McCoy of VC’s.

      1. kidmercury

        i’m not impressed by investors who didn’t see bubble 2.0, especially if they had earned the benefit of living through bubble 1.0 and the housing bubble. i regard not seeing something this obvious as the sign of an amateur, and being blinded by greed rather than a service-oriented approach to value-based investing and wealth creation.the cleantech thing is another no brainer. i know a lot of people have fallen for it but i honestly don’t understand how anyone who looks at the math behind it can come to the conclusion that it is economically viable. the only conclusion one can come to that would make it that way is the assumption that government stimulus will enter to make something that is inherently unviable profitable. again, i’m not impressed with this style of investing as i do not think it is service-oriented wealth creation.he invested in google and amazon. those are amazing companies and anyone who helped build them deserves credit and profit. they were also 10+ years ago.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Kid, lots of people didn’t see bubbles in 1999 or 2009. There were a lot of unbalanced economic incentives in place. Additionally, it’s always easy to look in the rear view mirror. As far as investing goes, once the money goes into a company there is no way out. It’s not a trade. (I know both ends quite well). Sometimes you invest in good ideas that don’t pan out. I don’t fault the VC for that. I have made some really stupid trades in my life-and quit trading because the ecosystem changed. But that doesn’t make me a bad trader. Sometimes you have to give respect to people for what they did, even if you would have done it differently or think they are stupid now. Paul Krugman is a case and point-did great work on the topic for his Nobel-and has devolved into a snipey political hack. But, he is a Nobel Prize winner.

      2. andyidsinga

        those chemdex coffee makers are coming back in fashion :))))

        1. William Mougayar

          Don’t get me started on Chemdex. I almost worked for them as VP Marketing in ’98 pre-bubble & interviewed at the KPCB offices with Brook Byers & others.That company should have never gone public. They set such a bad example that many followed & the rest is history.

    3. Richard

      2 hrs is iong??? Would you say this about one of your conspiracy documentaries? This is what is so fucked up about our culture. John is gracious enough to grant the interview and you along with 1000s of others, with the self serving attention span of a flea, complain.

      1. kidmercury

        2 hours isn’t long. 2 hours for ONE VIDEO that almost certainly could be trimmed down or annotated for personalization is long.

          1. Matt A. Myers

            Makes me think of how valuable and importance silence, pauses, and delays are in music and conversation – whether for dramatic effect (humour or other) or just character development / understanding. The flow of words and speech and sequences, how someone comes to a certain conclusion, IMHO is very important. It’s true sometimes it doesn’t matter, but then just read a transcript I guess?

        1. LE

          For those that business is sport though this might be like watching just the highlights of a basketball game vs. the game.

          1. Donna Brewington White

            True, LE. It’s relative isn’t it. Sure it’s possible that this could have been edited and shortened but I am not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. With the internet and all that’s available there are just a lot more “gift horses.”Maybe it’s generational. We take for granted the people that we get to see and listen to and even interact with that I would never have dreamed of in my 20s. Well I would have dreamed but that would have been all. I can get emotional about this. I freaking love the internet.

      2. William Mougayar

        2 hrs in the summer = first half of 18 holes

        1. Richard

          Get up earlier πŸ™‚

    4. andyidsinga

      i don’t read encyclopedias often, bit when i do i prefer funk & wagnalls πŸ™‚

      1. kidmercury

        #upvoted πŸ™‚

    5. LE

      “I’m not a Doerr fan. Dude bought bubble 2.0 hook line and sinker”Of course if Doerr wanted to have lunch with you, short of a funeral you’d probably arrive an hour or two early, right?The reason people feel this way about people like that is because of all the adulation the press gives with their gushing language and commentary about someone that is really over the top. Because they are writers and that’s what they do. Remember though that they are quick to go in the other direction as soon as there is a misstep or there is some contrast that makes an interesting story.Right now YC and Paul Graham appear to be closely approaching this stage of ejaculatory adulation. Once you hit that point “believe your own press” you are setup to make some mistakes. Then the press will quickly cut you down to size. Doerr and the green investments are probably an example of that overconfidence. But a correction like that is beneficial to someone like him if the game gets to easy and you are always winning what fun is it?

      1. kidmercury

        i’d have lunch with a lot of people. my willingness to have lunch with someone and my opinion of their capabilities are unrelated.

  6. James

    Or, you could watch the same interviewer talk with sacca. 3 hours long. Seems like length is in inverse proportion to accomplishment.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      That’s not what she said.

  7. Richard

    To all you complainers…..”to many notes” “there are just as many notes as necessary, no more, no less.”

  8. Philip Baddeley

    Fantastic way of spending a Saturday afternoon. Great interview. When you are on, just hope that Sarah Lacy says less. For the first half hour and more, she talks so much. Thanks for the link and now to watch Bill Gates on his friend Steve Jobs and then out to get some fresh air.

  9. David Petersen

    These Pando Monthlys are terrific. I wish I had more access to this type of content during my formative years — I think I would have had greater aspirations and more focus on long term strategy. My favorite two so far are Peter Thiel and Elon Musk:

    1. kidmercury

      thiel is one of my silicon valley favorites. i think he really tells like it is, especially when he hates on stuff — i find it so refreshing typical to most valley folks.

      1. David Petersen

        He is the best. Although I have a bit of trouble accepting his stance that we aren’t innovating. I can’t even believe how much better things are now than they were 20 years ago. A 15 year old kid with a cell phone, in Africa, has access to more information than the president of the USA did in 1995. That’s powerful.

        1. kidmercury

          i think his idea regarding lack of innovation is america/silicon valley centric. poverty is declining in many parts of the world but increasing in the US. that silicon valley’s wealth is increasing during this time through the creation of photo sharing apps and desktop widgets is not unrelated.

          1. David Petersen

            I would argue that the world is now enjoying the benefits of a 20 year old creation (the Internet) and in 20 years we will enjoy the benefits of what is invented today, as it spreads. Robot cars, for example. Or the hyperloop that will shoot me at 2500 mph from SF to LA, in an underground tunnel :)I also don’t agree that poverty is increasing in the US — lifespan is up for the poor and they have more access to education than at any time in human history.

          2. kidmercury

            i suppose it depends on how we measure and define poverty. i am measuring it by cash money as dollar bills are absolutely still necessary for things like food and are some government numbers that show the rise in poverty: http://anticap.files.wordpr…those are government numbers that don’t consider debt, and underplay the fact that rent, food, and college have gotten considerably more expensive. 1 in 7 households on food stamps. all the while, silicon valley gets richer, and acts like their wealth is a function of their genius at creating world-changing photo-sharing apps. their ignorance of macroeconomic considerations — all while they ride goldman sachs’ pump and dump — is insulting to anyone who actually works for a living, or to anyone who tries their best but has been dealt an unfortunate hand.robots and all that stuff is the future. that is the promise. will it come true? maybe. i certainly believe in it. though i don’t think the promise of a great future justifies creating billion dollar photo sharing apps today. if anything, i think it makes avoiding working on those big goals more unfortunate.

          3. David Petersen

            This poverty measurement doesn’t compare the difference in quality of life between poor people across generations. Yesterday’s poverty meant near starvation and no access to education. Today’s poverty includes food stamps (not that I support this, but I can’t argue that it doesn’t temporarily boost QOL for the poor) and unlimited opportunities to get educated. Just a couple of the many improvements. So yes many people are still in poverty relative to today’s middle and rich, but today’s poor are rich compared to yesterday’s poor.

          4. David Petersen

            *on a side note, I happen to believe the biggest problem the poor face is a lifetime of eating an unhealthy diet. Which isn’t a Silicon Valley issue. Human beings need to eat a healthy diet, and the poor don’t for a variety of reasons, none of which really have anything to do with technology. You can’t blame anyone in SV because there are no farmers markets in the ghetto, nor for the fact that even if there were one, everyone would walk right by it to go to McDonalds.

          5. jim

            before silicon valley became “silicon valley” it essentially was a farmers’ market. to a large extent the farms have literally been torn down and replaced by photo sharing apps. kid wins this round. go back to your corner and think harder on this issue.

          6. kidmercury

            Is todays poverty really better? Sure, we have smartphones. College and property taxes are up so institutional education is more expensive. Homelessness is…Are people really living longer? Factor iut childhoor mortality and id be interested in those stats. Plus the rise in neurodegenerative diseases coming at an even younger age.

          7. David Petersen

            Homelessness is an issue that is mostly caused by mental health problems and drug use. Not something that can fairly be blamed on SV, although it would be nice to see more startups working on health research.Technology has made it so people no longer need institutional education. In fact, most people (Thiel included) think it’s basically a waste of money.As for life expectancy, it’s going up pretty fast even once you account for child mortality.

          8. kidmercury

            I dont see how the life expectancy link you shared accounts for the dramatic decline in infant mortality?The number of homeless children is growing as well, which I don’t think is a Mental health issue; rather it’s a poverty…Silicon Valley benefits from Banker corruption. Basically bankers create money for themselves and blow bubbles with this new money in the tech sector. This new money devalues the existing money which results in higher prices. That is the connection between poverty and billion dollar photo sharing apps.

          9. David Petersen

            You are kinda arguing against yourself at this point. Could any technological development possibly be better for the homeless than reducing infant mortality?But ASFAIK, in the USA infant mortality has gone from about 11 per 1000 to 6 per 1000 over the past 30 years. At the same time, lifespan has improved 10 years per person. So reducing infant mortality doesn’t come close to being the only progress we’ve made on that front.

          10. kidmercury

            sure, let’s say that reducing infant mortality is great for reducing homelessness. that homelessness is increasing anyway suggests how powerful the growth in poverty is.sure, let’s say human lifespans are increasing. this guy says life expectancy has increased 3 years when for those who managed to live to 65. others cite that the gains in expectancy are highly correlated to wealth. either way, let’s assume advancements in medical technology are enabling longer lives. is the quality of those lives better? medical illnesses are also one of the leading causes of bankruptcy, which relates to the growth in point is you have growing poverty, you are on the brink of food and water crises, and you have silicon valley claiming it is changing the world by building photo sharing apps and flipping them after goldman runs its pump and dump.

          11. jim

            In re the matter of the beef of kidmercury vs. david petersen, the kid wins a unanimous decision. it’s an even more stark victory since he didn’t even have to rely on any kookology. truly a devastating knockout!

          12. kidmercury


          13. Donna Brewington White

            Puts it in perspective.

          14. Donna Brewington White

            Although @kidmercury:disqus I wonder if there is something to the collective activity involved in developing photo sharing apps and desktop widgets — in terms of working a muscle and building a community of people from which the next big thing will emerge. Many major discoveries come from a lot of smaller experiments. It’s not always the immediate result or product that counts.

          15. kidmercury

            that is true, perhaps the foundation is being set. though i wish the foundation were being set with the pursuit of loftier goals, and i don’t see the high valuations of these things as being sustainable or a good use of capital. it just encourages flipping and short-term thinking.

    2. andyidsinga

      great links thanks! watching thiel now and it is good

      1. David Petersen

        Favorite quote: “The 2000s model was you had people suffering from a mild case of aspergers creating product run companies where it was only you and the computer.” haha.

  10. Julien Fruchier

    Fabulous talk. Not everything of value can be shared in an elevator pitch.

  11. Richard

    John said that cell phones will have 1000 times the computing power in 4 years? Does this make sense ? he also said the cell phone will be the simulation engine? I never used Or heard the word used in this way?

  12. Henry Glover

    Great discussion on simulation engines/surfaces to enrich real world/mobile experiences @44mins – makes me happy thinking about the future of technology

    1. Henry Glover

      +google glass conversation @1:05

  13. andyidsinga

    caught me by surprise at 45:30, when talking about tablets and simulations, he mentions coursera and then follows that up with “im pimping one of our companies” , then keeps going

  14. andyidsinga

    that part about google glass being a segway on your face was really funny….im definitly glassHalfFull on glass

  15. Tehsin Bhayani

    Thank you so much for posting the link to this video. Loved the entire 2 hours+, if anything it felt short after it was done. So many great stories to learn from. It also helps in sparking so many new thoughts and ideas. Makes you want to run back to your desk and continue building to the future…

  16. jason wright

    “two hours plus?!”and yet,…. if video tech had existed throughout the last two thousand years, to record two hour plus interviews, to capture figures from the unrecorded past,… who here wouldn’t take the opportunity to sit down and watch?i’d be watching the interview with…..Napoleon Bonaparte.

  17. Phillip Trotter

    One my favourite things on Techcrunch was the in the studio interviews – great to see these linked here. Thanks.

  18. kidmercury


  19. David Ngugi

    hey, that’s really cool. I like such videos and this is going to be of great help!!

  20. sureshsambandam

    I am getting page not found error!

  21. Semil Shah

    Thanks Phillip! That means a lot.β€”Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

  22. Semil Shah

    Sorry, I fixed — can you try again?