The Evolution of Venture Capitalism

Published on
December 21st, 2018
US Economy, Technology
49 minutes
Asset class

The Evolution of Venture Capitalism

The Interview ·
Featuring Bill Janeway

Published on: December 21st, 2018 • Duration: 49 minutes • Asset Class: Equities • Topic: US Economy, Technology

Venture capitalist and academic Bill Janeway breaks down his experience in venture capitalism and the lessons he’s learned from a storied career. In this conversation with Brian Price, Janeway explains the consequences and opportunities that the digital revolution, climate change, and economic instability create. Filmed on November 28, 2018 in New York.


  • OS
    Oliver S.
    10 January 2019 @ 18:16
    Some interesting comments below. It is clear that he is pro Keynes, 'Big Government' and financialisation. Whilst I tend to lean in the opposite direction and the interview is more aligned with what one might find in the broader media, it's important that RV continues to produce content from a broad range of backgrounds and beliefs and doesn't become polarised. I consider it important that the content isn't judged relative to peoples political beliefs, but is considered with economic & investing relevance. I gave the video a thumbs down as it didn't really grab me, as many of the RV interviews have (a high benchmark). However, it's not a thumbs down for RV including some content more typical of the mainstream viewpoint.
  • SL
    Shanan L.
    5 January 2019 @ 12:51
    Wow, I can’t believe how great that interview was. Thank you RV for this interview. I watched it only after catching up on my areas of interest, and I’m glad I checked it out. Bill’s experiences turned out to be fascinating to me.
    • SL
      Shanan L.
      5 January 2019 @ 13:08
      I just want to add after reading most comments, it was a great, thought-provoking interview (ditto), but that doesn’t mean anyone has to agree with any of it. We will never know the future and we won’t have a perfect understanding of the past (are human actions causing climate change or is it part of natural cycles that existed long before humans roamed the Earth, did Government create the Internet or just some foundational work motivated by the Cold War mentality, etc.) We will never know with scientifically proven certainty the answers to complex adaptive systems outcomes. There are limits to our understanding just as there are things we can control and things we can’t control, individually or in large groups (nation-state, world).
  • RR
    Rex R.
    31 December 2018 @ 23:57
    At heart-- if not in fact-- this guy is a socialist. We need less of this propaganda-- as we already have enough of this agenda coming from the fourth estate and its political controllers. I can get this on CNN and major media-- and not why I subscribed to Real Vision.
  • EF
    Eric F.
    28 December 2018 @ 12:22
    Wow, Bill sure brought the arseholes out in droves in the comments section for this one. Good interview.
  • DD
    David D.
    27 December 2018 @ 15:02
    I can't believe that seemingly intelligent people still fall for this climate change stuff.
    • EF
      Eric F.
      28 December 2018 @ 12:27
      Maybe Bill’s right, or maybe you’re right. That’s not really the issue. The problem ends up being if he is right then the consequences are cataclysmic. I feel we’ve already sold our children and future generations down the line with every increasing levels of debt. Where I don’t think anyone can disagree with Bill is that surely there is opportunity and value in this area and what’s the worst it can do? If not save a planet that some argue doesn’t need saved, then at least clean it up a little and harness free energy via solar etc.
  • GF
    Gordon F.
    24 December 2018 @ 20:53
    Interesting that he did NOT include in his list of government support for new technology the funding provided for Google and Facebook, among others, to provide the NSA, CIA, etc., an unparalleled surveillance technology. I guess we'll never know how rapidly they might have grown without such support, both financial and NON-regulatory. Surely the development of the world's finest surveillance state, in only a few years, could not have happened without government support.
  • MM
    Michael M.
    24 December 2018 @ 19:12
    I'm honestly still baffled anyone still believes any of this climate change horseshit. Maybe saying 'I went to Cambridge' a bunch of times is impressive to people still, but it shouldn't be.
    • RK
      Robert K.
      25 December 2018 @ 00:37
      The narrative around climate change is a lot of horseshit, but at this stage of research evidence it is hard to deny there is a shift in climate and human activity is a factor. This does not mean that mother nature gives a shit and does not want to kill us anyways.
    • RK
      Robert K.
      29 December 2018 @ 18:37
      ... and to the tree-huggers, who voted down my (actually positive) reply I have to say: I piss in your general direction. You are probably vegetarians and therefore think a bit slower.
  • JB
    Jason B.
    24 December 2018 @ 03:14
    JP Morgan had a fortress balance sheet in 2007? Hmmm.....
    • MC
      Matthew C.
      7 January 2019 @ 14:07
      He didnt say JP Morgan 'had' a fortress balance sheet in 2007, it was the catalyst for them to ensure they built one
  • JB
    Jim B.
    23 December 2018 @ 18:09
    We're going to lose the Greenland ice sheet? And Miami will be under water? In a generation? He actually said this during the last five minutes (if you stayed with it that long). Would he bet his life - or even his dog's life - on this prediction?
    • DS
      David S.
      23 December 2018 @ 21:27
      In the transcript Mr. Janeway said that "Palm Beach is going to be under five yards of water." Palm Beach is a barrier island with an average height above sea level of 15 feet. Since Mar-a-Lago is right on the beach, you may wish to sell your membership soon. Since water seeks its own level, worldwide coastal areas will be affected if it is five feet or five yards. DLS
  • JB
    Jim B.
    23 December 2018 @ 18:04
    Sorry, but this very smart guy lacks imagination. He can't imagine technological progress without government? Boy, I sure can.
    • DS
      David S.
      23 December 2018 @ 22:54
      Governments can make a significant difference if they bet on the right technology. The Chinese government is a dominate player in many areas of technology. They are certainly making a difference. DLS
  • JS
    John S.
    23 December 2018 @ 11:24
    A wannabe climate scientist?
  • HJ
    Harry J.
    23 December 2018 @ 04:07
    Best conversation I’ve heard in a while. Bill and Brian both were great. I love listening to a brilliant mind at work. I think this was on the Stan D. level. I may not agree with the environmental comments he may well be right. Some pretty smart people don’t agree but they could be wrong. I wish we could find politicians that are at least half as smart and willing to work together for the good of this country as well as the world in general. As I said it’s a wish........./hope! Thanks to RVTV great job. I think between these two conversations I’ve gotten my money’s worth for the year.
  • JR
    Justin R.
    23 December 2018 @ 03:57
    Interesting conversation but Mr. Janeway needs to update his perspective on the severity of potential climate change impacts this century. Around the 44 minute mark, he argues that the coming generation will experience catastrophic sea level rise from losing the Greenland ice sheet. This claim is dramatically inconsistent with the IPCC and the broader scientific community. Though the Greenland ice sheet could destabilize and entirely melt on a much warmer planet, even under a worst-case climate scenario it would take several centuries to several thousand years to play out. Further, such a worst-case scenario envisions that we'll increase atmospheric carbon dioxide >2.5x current levels - the only way we could conceivably do that is by replacing virtually all oil used across the world with coal-based liquid fuels. Though more warming increases the probability of accelerated ice melt from the Greenland ice sheet, under realistic climate scenarios there's no evidence that the ice sheet will critically destabilize. A recent study on sea level rise from UC Boulder scientists even found that sea level rise is tracking at the lower end of IPCC projections - so even though ice is melting across the cryosphere, we're very far from triggering the series of physically plausible mechanisms that could cause catastrophic sea level rise in the next few hundred years from irreversible collapse of major ice sheets in Greenland or the West Antarctic.
    • DS
      David S.
      23 December 2018 @ 21:39
      I hope you are correct. In a climate change news report, I heard that 50% of the global warming is natural and the other 50% is the result of man's presents. Maybe we should try to reduce the impact of mankind at least. Earth is the only spaceship we have. DLS
    • DS
      David S.
      24 December 2018 @ 01:18
      Sorry, ... result of man's presence. Need to proof. DLS
    • EF
      Eric F.
      28 December 2018 @ 12:30
      If Bill’s wrong, no real problem. But if you’re wrong, we’re fucked.
  • AD
    Anne-Marie D.
    22 December 2018 @ 20:58
    I really enjoyed this. The focus on the inevitable failure of the State due to 4 decades of underfunding and neoliberal policies had led to the global position we are now in. Hearing from economists who aren't focused on monetary policy (which is a blunt and therefore poor solution to most economic problems) is refreshing. Recent history shows us that many markets are not efficient therefore not the optimal solution to our biggest problems such as climate change.
  • TK
    Tyler K.
    22 December 2018 @ 20:03
    IMO the quality of the interview breaks down when it transitions from Mr. Janeways personal experiences in business to his philosophical/political pontificating.
  • SS
    Shanthi S.
    22 December 2018 @ 19:49
    A Keynesian, Globalist, Carbon-fearing, Statist on RV... Can’t say I agreed with much he said, or enjoyed listening to him, but it was interesting never the less. Couldn’t give this vid a like unfortunately.
  • MW
    Myron W.
    22 December 2018 @ 17:14
    I like the fact that RV brings guests with a variety of perspectives - thanks for that. But a couple things puzzle me: 1. Sometimes the interviews seem like "real journalism" with appropriate probing and pushback, and other times just softball questions without critical analysis. 2. Sometimes before/after the content, the interviewer offers editorial comments warning the viewer that the guest has "controversial" views, but other times that's omitted. It would be helpful if RV made it clearer what we can expect from each interview. My preference is (1) skip the trigger warnings in all cases and (2) within each series make it clear whether we should expect journalism or a friendly conversation, and then be consistent within the series. I think Janeway is just dead wrong about the necessity of the State for innovation. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe not. But more importantly, I think we have to start calling BS on this kind of climate change activism. Note that I'm not "denying" anything. But when members of the very wealthy global elite advocate urgent action to "reduce carbon", there should be one prerequisite: they give away all their wealth immediately and take a perpetual vow of poverty. Janeway and friends are insulated by their wealth and status from the death, poverty, and disorder that the policies they advocate will cause. A basic rule is that we don't do things that cause certain harm to people in the present in order to hopefully save people from something that might happen in the future - or at least, those who drive the policies should be among those harmed, not those who profit.
  • sm
    stephane m.
    22 December 2018 @ 12:50
    Aren't you tired of hearing about this global warming apocalypse predictions?!?!? It's everywhere now. If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth! They just want to scare you and accept being heavily taxed to "save your life". Until we can deal with the sun energy output, the volcano eruptions and the pole inversion, well, climate will change!! Let me do a simple prediction: next year on december 22, the weather won't be the same as today!! Is it climate change?? Ho, by the way, I hate pollution, I almost don't drive my car (I take my bike or walk).
    • JB
      Joe B.
      22 December 2018 @ 16:12
      I don’t hear any apocalyptic messages in any of the videos. There’s been economic disasters in the past and there will be more in the future. Trying to prevent them or reduce their impact should be markets, governments and financial institutions’ role but trying to predict and get well positioned is just smart investing and diligence. (Same goes for ecological/climate disasters, pollution, health, etc.. do you think that our actions have no consequences to our environment?).
    • HJ
      Harry J.
      23 December 2018 @ 04:15
      There by exposing yourself to more pollution!
    • sm
      stephane m.
      23 December 2018 @ 13:14
      Hi Joe B. Don't you think that Palm Beach under 5 foot of water is a little bit apocalyptic?!?!? I just believe that Mother Nature is far STRONGER than any government tax!!!
    • DS
      David S.
      23 December 2018 @ 21:50
      Palm Beach being underwater is only a matter of time. Several good hurricanes at the right angle can start the process with or without global warming. Palm Beach only averages 15 feet above sea level and 500 feet wide at its narrowest. Barrier reefs are always at risk. DLS
    • DS
      David S.
      23 December 2018 @ 22:58
      A lie will not become the truth, it is merely believed. Let's have a beer a hundred years from now and see how much was actually true. DLS
  • JB
    Joe B.
    22 December 2018 @ 09:45
    Thoroughly enjoyed this, thanks RV. @Raoul, are you considering resurfacing old videos under a new section that is relevant in current climate? Example before / during correction of 2015-2016?
  • PW
    Paul W.
    22 December 2018 @ 02:58
    This was one of the more thought-provoking conversations on RealVision recently but as also noted by JW below, I am not quite sure I am as willing to give the Federal government credit for the whole technology revolution. The Internet might have been created under the umbrella of the military but it started out as a skunkworks project to support the needs and desires of individual researchers and it did not scale until the routing issues were addressed by the founders of Cisco. Similarly, the core technology underlying a useful Web was the search engine - again, not a government project. On another topic, the speaker has obviously been captured by the climate change movement and is disdainful of "climate change deniers" while also choosing not to recognize the international nature of the challenge (for example with respect to coal - yes, it is close to dead here in the U.S. but elsewhere there are still new coal-fired power plants being designed and built). I agree that the number of displaced coal workers is relatively small but that makes it even more of a failure because it indicates we do not yet have the ability to handle even a small amount of disruption. But the United States has also made more progress towards its carbon footprint than any of the signatories to the Paris agreement - go figure. It might be that the second order effects of the carbon cycle will be easier to manage than the effects of driving half the world back into abject poverty by ill-advised economic strategies such as a poorly-designed carbon tax. . Now I have to admit that part of my bias is the sight of 1700 private jets parked on the tarmac at Davos so they can all get together to socialize and talk about global warming. generally by proposing financial mechanisms that provide a personal fiscal benefit for them at the expense of the deplorables. I think we do need to address environmental issues and in many cases we can deploy multidimensional solutions. For example, deploying solar-power lighting fixtures to eliminate indoor use of kerosene for lighting. Doing so turns out to dramatically reduce childhood asthma in those homes and it is taking place without government subsidy. Adding a carbon tax to people already living at subsistence level - not so much. What is the carbon footprint of all the burning cars in Paris these past few weeks? But I don't wish my disagreement with his characterization of the climate issue to overshadow the value of this presentation - it was entirely worthwhile for the historical perspective alone.
    • EF
      Eric F.
      28 December 2018 @ 12:36
      The problem is that the facts don’t support your arguments. Just look at what has been invented via military, government and space exploration spending. Also a reason why the US is at the core of innovation. Saying it just might have happened anyways is just a weak argument.
    • EF
      Eric F.
      28 December 2018 @ 12:38
      But I do agree with your comments re other topics.
  • JW
    J W.
    21 December 2018 @ 13:39
    If any of you have read his book, I'd be interested in commentary--he's a smart and successful guy, but I feel like I was missing a lot of the context for many of his claims about the government funding all the pieces for the innovation economy after world war 2. I understand how DoD has been an important buyer of cutting edge tech historically, and how Darpanet evolved towards being the internet, but using that analogy to me is like saying the foundation created the house. Also, his comments not being able to identify bubbles I found to be surprising--he is correct that you cannot tell what technologies will succeed, but identifying bubbles is exactly what macro should be capable of doing, at least as I look at it, and government fiscal policies can do much to exacerbate or mitigate the impact of the bubbles. Perhaps a typical VC view is "there are enough moonshots in the entire investing world that you don't have to worry too much about valuations getting out of hand"? Would definitely like feedback from others in VC space on this one.
    • MP
      Matthew P.
      21 December 2018 @ 14:11
      Haven’t read his book. It’s obvious over the past 40yrs all forms of human advancement including technological can occur without gov funding. Although I get his point gov funding would help with the huge milestones as it has in the past. Will be interesting to observe the coming ai/tech/biotech race between more capitalist funded US and gov funded china.
    • AL
      Andrew L.
      22 December 2018 @ 13:51
      Steve Blank has done exceptional work on the issue of WWII and beyond technology transfers as the basis for our modern tech landscape. Well worth the time.
    • AL
      Andrew L.
      22 December 2018 @ 13:56
      Here is a direct link for Steve Blanks Secret History of silicon valley (boy I wish we could edit our posts)

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