You must check out this debate between Thiel and Andreesen about whether we’re still innovating.
Fascinating question to consider, “Are we better off today than yesterday?” Notes are shared below:
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/0yztBoNQRYo” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Will we invent anything this useful again?
We spend $1.4T on R&D
smartphones, stem cell, genetics
Is innovation slowing?
I checked it on 200+ channels on tv, Facebook, Twitter, and the answer is no.
No ones created something as wide sweeping as the lavatory, car, telephone, etc.
Perhaps we’re not living in
Peter Thiel – Founder PayPal, tech investor, philanthropist, entrepreneur, Facebook investor, clarium
Marc Andreeson – Co Founder AH, co created Mosaic, Netscape, 1.4B, growth stage funding for tech, board – HP, bump,
Peter- Agree on many things.
Tech is a good thing, making the world a better place, taking the world to the next level.
Perspective, most people don’t think of Tech as a good thing. Movies display this. Why not retreat into a victorian house?
Why is there so much hostility to culture and society.
Tech isn’t delivering the goods it is promising. Now used for angry birds, sending pics of cats, checking in virtual mayor of virtually no where.
People have always mocked Tech innovation. But this has a different character, jokes are driven because it is small or trivial.
People are worried there will be no change at all.
Broad indicators. 80% of our generation think the next will be worse off.
Tech cornucopia seems to not trickle down.
How do you actually measure this?
Deceleration since 70′s, no change in energy, higher prices, oil, bio 1/3 as many patents, clean tech, food, nano technology.
One big exception is the ongoing computer revolution. Hasn’t dramatically raised living standards, like we’d hoped.
Even if you measure health of computer industry, it falls off in 2000′s after highs in 70-90s. Up 100% in 90′s, Market caps of companies. Google and amazon, Google and Amazon are worth 2-3x what all other companies are worth.
Must open the possibility that the computer era is dying. Cisco, dell, hp, oracle, commodities, Microsoft. Computer rust belt. Apple even?
Peter is an optimist, thinks we can do a lot better. Futuristic tech, Ai, Next gen life sciences, cures for cancer, aerospace
Risk averse, regulated to death, talked ourselves into mediocrity.
Marc- Peter is a very original thinker.
Typically agrees with 50% of what Peter says, exactly 50.0%.
Slogan of Founder’s fund- We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 Chararacters.
Flying cars, – many innovations have come true. Palm communicator, Startrek, they all had iPads in 1967. We have futuristic technologies. Laser surgery. Meal as a pill hasn’t happened. 8000 calories in a pill will knock you out.
Agreeing with Bill Gates – Did Peter really want flying cars? They would really be inefficient.” I’d build a thick roof and never go outside.
Very significant changes happening in Transportation happening. Including advances in technology, Video Conferencing for example, definitely an advance.
140 Characters – Twitter is an easy target, much is trivial on there, but Twitter is instant global public messaging for free.
Big deal for business, news, politics. Cultural discovery.
New online interaction globally.
IT will play a central in advancing our society. Communication technology. Without communication we’d never form into groups. Communication will be the catalyst for collaboration, creation, etc.
Comment on perspective.
Great innovators are well understood now, not widely understood at the time. Telephone, Edison worked on it, assumption of use case, that telegraph operators needed to talk to each other. Missed the larger opportunity. Internet, heaped with scorn from 1977 to 1998. Peter Lewis, the internet will not be ecommerce, media, etc. Car, was a trivial toy, JP Morgan said “This is just a toy for rich people” Refused to invest. Had to have a rich. UK’s Red Flag Rule- Red Flag in front of automobiles. Protectionism on the side of blacksmith guild. PA – All seeing of horses, must immediately, stop vehicle, disassemble, and hide the car until the horses are satisfied.
These inventions will in the future be allowed to be viewed as such.
Thiel- How do you measure? Accelerating or Decelerating. Common sense. What facts would you consider we’re still advancing?
Internet under and over estimated. Look at market cap.
Transportation and Twitter – Traveled, seen it slowed, but we could be on the cusp of a dramatic improvement. How do we 10-60 accelerated, 70-10 decelerated.
Might take longer than we think.
How do we differentiate what’s not happened, vs what’s on the cusp?
Fundamental lack of innovation in energy. Close proxy for GDP growth.
Will it dramatically impact standards?
1930′s, moved to CA, movies, aviation, innovation started here. Finance centered here. How big is Tech enough to save?
Energy and Transportation.
Energy, tremendous innovation, stalled out by governmental intervention/regulation. Innovation in solar and wind
Direct subsidies 500B worldwide. Foreign policy and 3T in wars around oil.
Clean tech gets to 2x because of subsidy imbalance. Can’t come down the price curve, volume. Solar has, is coming down. Government must stop subsidizing oil and gas.
3 advances in Transportation, advances in electric cars, Tesla. Low unit volumes, can’t imagine what they come down do. Self driving cars, google and Mercedes has them.
Optimization, smartphone based getting out of traffic. Waze – Peer to peer traffic data, knowing right now. Rebalancing routes now. Impacting flows. Allow all to use this.
Stanford is incentivizing here. Can balance roads and bridges here. Computers in cars. Cars are being optimized, sharing cars, uber, lyft.
High quality telepresence, will commoditize quickly.
Government is in the way.
Tech will solve the concerns.
Peter- Been said for a while. At what point do we become skeptical? We have been regulated for stuff, not bits.
Engineering, has not advanced because we punish them.
Computer science and financial advances are exceptions.
Is tech enough to save us? Self driving cars? Who’s liable? hangups in our risk averse society.
A century before these advances hit.
Massive advances in tech, displacing labor.
Peter- How long is the lag? Wages 22% 73-2013
No robot sitting there, 92 people on Forbes list, where did they make money, 11 people talked about – Gates, Bezos, Zuck, 25 people who made it in mining, farming, etc. Lack of innovation. Not talked about.
Is there stuff going on that are imbedded in Patents?
Tech Companies, market caps summed. See a big drop off in last 13 years.
Too critical of incipient things, or make them too relevant.
US one bubble after another. Tech, housing, finance, government, now have a credit crisis. When present doesn’t live up to past expectations.
1850 to 1970 work hours went down, average people.
What evidence would you need to convince you that your position is wrong?
Marc- Macro – Input – # of scientists and engineers in the world. 2.1 M science and eng degrees in 2000, 3.7 in 2008, enormous take off in ed, researchers 2.9M 1995 to 3.9M to 5.7 in 2007. If those fell, that would have an impact.
Per Cap GDP – over long sweep, follows Moores Law, exponential curve. 1871 $300 to $45k in US, see crises as squiggles. Sustained drop would cause panic.
Imagination component – If we stall out in creativity, scientific papers? loose. Patents? – Patent system is fundamentally broken. Prank the patent, lost the ability to see difference between innovation, or copy.
Peter- Broad economic data. Areas of innovation.
Increases in life expectancy, decelerated but if they increased that would indicate otherwise. If it decelerates more that would be an indicator.
Cultural Component – 100x as many scientists as in 20′s, not that good an indicator, 50% of scientific articles turn out to be incorrect. Lost enterprise,
Imagination is important.
Science Fiction moves where technology is a good thing. Star Trek, retread movies. If we stopped hating tech, used imagination to produce science fiction.
Peter- Huge movements, kind of blotting away.
Globalization of VC, but efforts have mixed success. Global arbitrage, Groupon of China, Japanese Zynga.
Innovative companies are centered in SV, but far behind.
Look at Israel, Scandanavia, Canada- Semi developed.
Will this accelerated progress grow?
Marc- Number of Public Companies in US 8800 in 1997, to 4100 in 1997. Countries 164 in 1990, to 190-206 depending on who you ask in 2012. Opportunity for international innovation. Countries choose what they want to revolutionize. Opportunities to differentiate through regulatory structures.
Peter – Is there an opening for de-reg? What point could FDA lose stranglehold on global drug market?