GeekWire’s Greatest Geek of All Time is making headlines again, and this time it relates directly to the startup world.
It’s a comical clip that sheds light on the short-attention span of impatient, distracted Valley venture capitalists who are concerned more about the “hot” markets and don’t even allow the modern day Tesla to show them his invention for wireless charging.
“If this guy thinks he can go after three markets at once, he’s crazy,” says one VC.
“If you had to pick one market, which would you pick?” another VC asks Tesla, who invented incredible things like alternating current, X-rays, robotics, wireless communication, particle beam weapons and the electric motor.
“Energy is the simplest way to think about it,” Tesla responds.
“Energy is not as hot as it used to be,” the VC says.
“Maybe you can keep things simple,” another VC offers. “What about some kind of tie-in to Facebook? Or a Kickstarter campaign.”
The video is pretty funny and you’ll get a kick out of the last few seconds. But, just as GigaOM founder Om Malik wrote in this insightful post, the video also bring up some important questions: Are investors today less interested in groundbreaking inventions that are often more risky? Do they prefer “softer aspects of technology,” as Malik puts it, that provide quick exits?
From Malik’s post:
That’s the trend that all investors, in some respects are, moving toward. They’re all looking for the next Facebook or the next Twitter, but no one wants to look for the next Juniper or the next Intel or even the next ARM. I am not saying Facebook and Twitter are not great companies and have not scaled dramatically and impacted the world. What I am pointing to is the fact that Silicon Valley funds fewer and fewer silicon companies.
Why are we assuming that we are all done with developing new kinds of chips for uses that we are not even imagining yet? Are we done inventing the routing technologies of the future?
What do you think? Is the way VCs invest nowadays stunting our growth in a technology sense?
Previously on GeekWire: Why Nikola Tesla was the greatest geek ever