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Red Rocket Ventures Blog (Growth Consulting, Small Business Experts)

This last week, I went to the CED Tech Venture Conference in Raleigh, the primary business and technology capital meeting in the Southeast. The conference opened with a fireside chat with Silicon Valley legend investor, John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins. John was the original institutional buyer in powerhouses like Google, Amazon, Uber, Today Twitter and Slack before they truly became the household brands we all know to. It had been safe to state, the room was silent in anticipation to hear what wisdom this “best of the greatest” investor would share with his venture capital industry peers. Luckily, for all of you, my pen was scribbling as fast as it could to share all those learnings with you.

Invest in great groups, as the execution is more important than the idea materially. An excellent idea with poor execution, is simply “an hallucination”. What he searches for in his groups: integrity, team first attitude, resilience to get through the bad times, smart, tenacious, an effective recruiter, with a big vision.

In that exact order, which was interesting as the big eyesight was the last thing he mentioned, main things mentioned by others normally. ARE INVESTMENT OUTCOMES PREDICTABLE? Sometimes, you meet a man like Jeff Bezos at Amazon, and you know his energy and vision are going to knock the hinged doors down towards attaining his goal, presenting themselves as someone you want to get associated with clearly. Other times you meet guys like Larry Sergey and Page Brin at Google, that “frankly, were cynical about business building”, but you knew these were to something big and would figure it out as time passes. WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF TECHNOLOGY–HIS CURRENT INVESTMENT FOCUS?

He is a big fan of “AI with IA”–artificial intelligence with intelligent providers, as that is going to revolutionalize the real way decisions are made and things get done. He is also a large fan of the healthcare space overall. 3TN industry, 50x bigger, that is ripe for disruption and far bigger financial outcomes. Even his portfolio companies, Amazon and Google, want to figure out how to play in health care related data, artificial intelligence and logistics. The two companies were similar for the reason that they both “imagined a global ahead of us”.

They were both “moonshots” with 10x return goals. Amazon was powered by a more extrovert culture and customer-focused obsession. Google was powered with a data and technology research first concentrate. Two difference ways of eventually turning out to be multi-billion buck companies completely. There was a point in the presentation that John Doerr got choked up visibly, and that was when he pulled out the initial iPhone that had been signed by Steve Jobs, who obviously meant too much to John. John said that Steve Jobs once told him that “this iPhone almost killed our company”, with the drive to essentially change the world of mobile computing from the palm of your hand, forever.

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And, with over 700MM iPhones sold to day, what a testament compared to that drive and success. John referred to Steve Jobs as the best entrepreneur he previously ever known. He distributed stories about Steve being honest in his views ruthlessly, with a sharp and clear eyesight around the product. But, he kept his “blinders open” to be flexible as time passes, as Steve originally didn’t want third party applications on the iPhone, and everybody knows where that ended up, millions of applications later.

Embrace technology, avoid being scared by it. Stay well-grounded, and near to your family. And, let’s aspire to a technology and venture community that embraces diversity and creates equal opportunities for females. Wow, just what a lot of learnings, in an exceedingly short period of time. Thanks John for writing your life’s lessons with us. And, because of the CED for adding him to the roster of audio speakers. It had been the highlight of the function really, for me personally.

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