E388: Why VC Steve Jurvetson never sells a share of a company he invests in



about this episode

Those companies include Tesla, Hotmail, SpaceX and many more. As managing director of DFJ, he serves on the boards of Tesla Motors, Synthetic Genomics and SpaceX.  His eye for investments has been honed over a long working history in the Valley. Jurvetson’s work history includes R&D engineering at Hewlett-Packard, product marketing at Apple, and he was the founding VC investor at Hotmail. That’s just his CV. Steve also owns the first Tesla Model S. In 2012, Deloitte named him Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist of the Year. And he’s among the brightest and most energetic people you’ll ever hear from. When he sat down with Jason, their conversation ranged widely: from the dark days of Tesla in 2008, to the future of machine learning, to why he’s never sold a share of any company in his portfolio. This is a can’t-miss interview.

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Some highlights:

2:00 How did you overcome a fear of investing in Tesla?
3:30 What was Elon’s strategy that impressed you?
5:20 Tell us about how the deal almost failed back in 2008.
9:25 When did you know the Model S would be the best car ever made?
11:30 How did you feel when the Consumer Reports started coming out?
15:30 How long have you been a VC?
16:00 Did you do SpaceX before Tesla?
17:00 Was SpaceX also a company on the brink of extinction?
18:00 What is the scale of SpaceX?
19:00 What makes SpaceX financially interesting?
20:30 How meaningful was it for the Falcon 9 rocket to put a Canadian satellite into space?
23:00 When will the rockets start sending humans to space?
25:00 Why is space important compared to issues on Earth?
28:30 What can we expect from space exploration?
30:00 What have you learned since your 20s as a VC?
31:30 What does “cognitive diversity” in teams mean?
35:00 Do you ever sell shares?
36:00 What were your biggest misses?
39:00 You worked at NeXT with Steve Jobs?
40:00 Why do you think Steve Jobs was so awesome?
43:00 How do you think NeXT changed Jobs?
44:30 How do you rate Tim Cook’s performance?
46:00 What do you think of Google and Larry Page?
49:00 Where will robotics be in 10 years?
52:30 What do you think about life extension/longevity?
55:30 Do you see a pattern in great entrepreneurs?
59:00 What do you think of America today?
1:03:00 What happens to society without jobs?
1:05:30 What about your other investments?
1:11:35 Where is ExxonMobil with their program?
1:13:30 Why do we have to grow more food (e.g. synthetic meat)?
1:16:30 Do you think you can apply software engineer standards to laws?
1:19:30 Where do you see agriculture going?
1:22:00 What do you think about Tesla’s autopilot?
1:24:30 Thoughts on drones?
1:27:30 What about urbanization trends?
1:32:30 What do you think of the AngelList syndicate program?


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