John Doerr on Buying 12% of Google for $12M, His Biggest Investing Lesson from 30 Years in Venture & The Climate Crisis: Why Governments are The Biggest Problem and Where the Biggest Opportunities Are in Climate Investing? | Twenty Minute VC with Harry Stebbings

Check out the 20VC episode page

Key Takeaways

  • “This not a new normal, this is a new abnormal. The planet will never will cooler tomorrow than it is today” – John Doerr
    • Speed & Scale: An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now by John Doerr – The wholesale transition plan for every human activity from a fossil fuel-based system to a renewable-based system: how we produce, consume, transport, and organize
      • Electrify transportation
      • Decarbonize the grid – shift to wind, solar, and safe nuclear
      • Fix food systems – reduce the amount of meat and dairy, how we grow plants, and reduce waste
      • Protect nature – reduce deforestation and protect the oceans
      • Clean up the industry – change how we produce things like steel and cement
      • Remove the stubborn carbon that remains – plant more trees, make the sequestering of carbon economic
    • Global governments are the largest obstacle – we must go for the gigatons, the messages sent to individuals to ‘go green’ are often just distractions from the bigger problem
  • When investing, bring a prepared mind
    • For example, knowing what Bitcoin is and how it works are two very different things. Knowledge is power when investing, equip yourself with information to be an advocate of success for the investment rather than just watching and hoping from the sidelines
  • “I’d rather be too early than too late, by the time it’s too late there’s seldom a point in pursuing a market” – John Doerr
    • But it’s hard to define ‘too late’ – Google was the 18th search engine created
  • “In venture capital, you can only lose 1x your money but you can make it many times over” – John Doerr

Intro

  • John Doerr (@johndoerr) is a technologist, investor (notably early at Google and Amazon), and Chair at venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins which has a committed focus on the climate crisis. Harry and John discuss how solving the climate crisis is the largest economic opportunity of the upcoming century and more advice from his notorious venture capital career.
  • Host: Harry Stebbings (@HarryStebbings)

Climate Change

  • “This not a new normal, this is a new abnormal. The planet will never will cooler tomorrow than it is today” – John Doerr
    • John believes the climate crisis will present the greatest economic opportunity of the upcoming century
    • The wholesale transition of every human activity from a fossil fuel-based system to a renewable-based system: how we produce, consume, transport, and organize
  • In 2006, John’s climate change venture group, Kleiner Perkins, invested $1 billion into 70 different clean energy initiatives
    • As of today, these investments are valued at around $3 billion
    • But returns are not the point, it’s about reinvesting it back into the entrepreneurs that are engineering a better future
  • Building a portfolio is extremely important when investing in global climate initiatives due to misaligned priorities across the world
    • John tells a story of how 6 out of 7 solar panel companies Kleiner invested in were crushed by China
    • Luckily the 7th company’s gains (nPhase) made up for the other 6 failed investments
      • “In venture capital, you can only lose 1x your money but you can make it many times over” – John Doerr

Speed & Scale

  • Speed & Scale: An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now by John Doerr
    • “It’s more than a book, it’s large scale objectives that we must accomplish” – John Doerr
    • Measure what matters: each one of these objectives is measurable, specific, and timebound in the book
      • Electrify transportation
      • Decarbonize the grid – shift to wind, solar, and safe nuclear
      • Fix food systems – reduce the amount of meat and dairy, how we grow plants, and reduce waste
      • Protect nature – reduce deforestation and protect the oceans
      • Clean up the industry – change how we produce things like steel and cement
      • Remove the stubborn carbon that remains – plant more trees, make the sequestering of carbon economic
  • Global governments are the largest obstacle – we must go for the gigatons, the messages sent to individuals to ‘go green’ are often just distractions from the bigger problem

Venture Capital & Google

  • “I’d rather be too early than too late, by the time it’s too late there’s seldom a point in pursuing a market” – John Doerr
    • But it’s hard to define ‘too late’ – Google was the 18th search engine created
    • John’s original $12 million dollar investment in Google is now worth several billion dollars
  • Larry Page saw how important the search engine was going to be for every point of human activity in the future – get all the world’s information available, accessible, and organized
    • This was a difficult investment for John – at this point, Google was just a relevance engine that didn’t have a source of revenue. They did eventually solve this problem with auction-style advertising.
  • When investing, bring a prepared mind
    • It’s not enough to know Bitcoin is a new way to convey value, you ought to know how the technology works and its implications on the future
    • Being informed gives you more confidence and allows you to actively contribute to the success of the investment rather than watching from the sidelines

Quickfire Questions

  • John’s current favorite book: How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates
    • Books are your friends – Bill Gates reads for 1 hour before bed every night
  • Jeff Bezos was the one entrepreneur that John Doerr saw himself ‘getting in trouble with’ – in the best way
  • Three traits John wants his children to adopt:
    • Strong-willed – independent view of the world
    • Pay more attention to what others do, not what they say
    • Be optimistic and empathetic – genuinely care about the relationships you have
  • John’s Biggest Strength: Love for people
  • John’s Biggest Weakness: He’s a sucker for big ideas
  • Biggest investment miss: putting his money into Fisker rather than Tesla
20VC with Harry Stebbings : , , , , ,
Notes By Drew Waterstreet

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 25,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks