360° Coverage : 60 Minutes' Shortsighted Report On Cleantech And Vinod...

2 Updates

60 Minutes' Shortsighted Report On Cleantech And Vinod Khosla Is A Dangerous Attack On American Innovation

Jan 28 2014, 8:16pm CST | by

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs/> About two weeks ago, 60 Minutes ran a story evaluating Vinod Khosla’s investments in the Cleantech industry and...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

30 weeks ago

60 Minutes' Shortsighted Report On Cleantech And Vinod Khosla Is A Dangerous Attack On American Innovation

Jan 28 2014, 8:16pm CST | by


“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs/>

About two weeks ago, 60 Minutes ran a story evaluating Vinod Khosla’s investments in the Cleantech industry and interviewed several industry “experts” about the financial performance of these early-stage companies. If we completely ignore the fact that 60 Minutes’ Leslie Stahl has numerous factual inaccuracies as pointed out by Vinod himself on the Khosla Ventures site, it is more striking to me that the debate over the actual motivation behind this story has not been more prevalent in subsequent dialogue. We are in a fragile time as a country: for each day that passes, China becomes more of an economic threat with a cheaper, more educated, and harder-working workforce. Our competitive advantage as a country is our comfort with taking risks on crazy ideas. The US has been the epicenter of technological innovation for the past century and that has only been the case because we invest in growth even when we don’t know if there will be a return in the future.

However, there has been a fundamental shift in our mindset over the past decade — the country as a whole has become more risk averse. Job growth is paramount as always, but speculative investments such as Cleantech are frowned upon to the point that the most “critically acclaimed” journalists are declaring war on speculators like Vinod. While there are divergent opinions about whether investing billions of dollars in unproven industries is a good idea or a bad idea, there is one truth that always holds true: from many failures comes few successes. Innovation is messy and only through learning can we be successful. I believe the majority of the scrutiny from Stahl is generally with regards to the US Government’s policy to pour $150+ Billion into cleantech. This is a valid concern, however, the amount of Government investment in Cleantech and growth industries is in no way comparative to the Government’s expenditures on zero growth industries such as agriculture subsidies.

Stahl’s scrutiny of venture capital and Khosla is significantly more risky than it seems. If the notion that venture capital is a scummy industry becomes common belief, we as a country will be at a drastic disadvantage to China and other competitive nations. In fact, it is possible that the reason a few of Khosla’s cleantech companies have struggled is because new investors are afraid and becoming more risk averse. I cannot stress that this behavior — which is characteristically un-American — is becoming more pervasive in the investment community. Venture investors are more focused on chasing trends and investing in markets that are developed rather than markets where there is little precedent.

Stahl prefaces her report with “the smart people who funded the Internet…have now turned their [sights] toward [cleantech]” and her tone echos shades of mockery rather than respect. She has preconceived disdain for investment in underdeveloped or “ experimental” markets. However, she fails to qualify that these cleantech investments are just as speculative and just as risky as investments in Apple or Sun Microsystems (the company Vinod founded along with Scott McNealy in the 80s). In fact, 60 Minutes has a track record of unnecessarily criticizing speculative and innovative companies — even going so far as to say Facebook would never figure out how to make money during an interview in 2007.

The media’s job is to explain complicated subjects to the mainstream and allow viewers to consider negative or positive implications of a situation. In this case, we see another example of sensationalism at the cost of innovation and growth in a new and undiscovered market. We ought to celebrate risk and celebrate our learnings through failure; we should never admonish people for attempting to improve the world, especially when those investments have the chance to reduce our reliance fossil fuels. If we’re ridiculed even for taking a risk, we’ll never improve.

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
2

3 days ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slash ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

4 days ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Return as India's envoys, Modi to India-bound Japanese youth
Tokyo, Sep 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday kicked-off a new initiative on training for Japanese youth started by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) at its various facilities in India, asking them to return to Japan as India's ambassadors.
 
 
Scientists get ready for mock on-site nuclear inspection
Washington, Sep 2 (IANS) Some 40 scientists and technicians from around the world will descend on Jordan in November to take part in a simulated on-site inspection of a suspected nuclear test site on the banks of the Dead Sea.
 
 
Russian space 'sex geckos' found dead
Moscow, Sep 2 (IANS) Four female lizards and one male who were sent to space to understand the effects of weightlessness on sexual intercourse have died, the Russian Space Agency said in a statement.
 
 
Nigeria to get Japanese drug for Ebola treatment
Abuja, Sep 2 (IANS) Nigeria will soon get a Japanese drug to treat Ebola, the country's Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said Monday.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Stan Lee reveals Black Panther movie is in the works
Stan Lee has suggested plans to make a Black Panther movie are still in development. Lee, the former president and chairman of Marvel Comics, says that Marvel Studios will look to make a film based on the first black...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Lindsay Lohan uses hypnotherapy to quit smoking
Lindsay Lohan is using hypnotherapy to quit smoking. The 'Mean Girls' actress has reportedly turned to alternative medicine to kick her nicotine addiction before her West End debut on September 24 for David Mamet's play...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's kids write wedding vows
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt's children helped to write their wedding vows. The Hollywood couple tied the knot in France on August 23 and they enlisted the help of their kids Maddox, 13, Pax, 10, Zahara, nine, Shiloh,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Carrie Underwood announces pregnancy
Los Angeles, Sep 2 (IANS) Country star Carrie Underwood and NHL player Mike Fisher have announced that they are expecting their first child. Underwood and Fisher posted the news on their social media accounts Monday,...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Look at India, Modi tells Japan
Tokyo, Sep 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday hoped Japan will follow "Look at India" policy. "Just as India is focusing on Look East policy, we expect Look at India policy from Japan," Modi said, adding...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Return as India's envoys, Modi to India-bound Japanese youth
Tokyo, Sep 2 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday kicked-off a new initiative on training for Japanese youth started by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) at its various facilities in India, asking them to return...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Scientists get ready for mock on-site nuclear inspection
Washington, Sep 2 (IANS) Some 40 scientists and technicians from around the world will descend on Jordan in November to take part in a simulated on-site inspection of a suspected nuclear test site on the banks of the...
Read more on Apple Balla
 
Sam Smith was in love with straight man
Sam Smith fell in love with a straight man. The 22-year-old star - who opened up about his own sexuality earlier this year - has now revealed the man who inspired the heartbreaking lyrics to many of the tracks on his...
Read more on Celebrity Balla