Last week at DEMO Mobile, Vinod Khosla came onstage to share his unique perspective on building startups, mobile, and more. We just put up the video of the entire discussion, which you can watch above.
Khosla is a contrarian thinker, which comes through in the interview. “The way to address new areas is not have a plan,” he argues, but rather “a plan to build a plan.”
Exploration and experimentation is so key for startups. He compares the early days of a startup to a driver on a roundabout. “It’s worth your while to go around in circles to explore what might be down each road,” he says. If you pick a road too early, “it will only lead to one place.” Founders need to take some time to figure out where they want to go.
“Other investors like revenue,” he says. “I like more data.”
Often, it is difficult for founders to see whether they are on the road to building a 50-million-dollar company or a one-billion-dollar company. “There is a huge difference between a 0-million-revenue company and a 0-billion-revenue company,” says Khosla. “And most of it is in attitude.”
The early days of a startup, before there are any revenues to speak of, often determines what kind of company it will become. “A company becomes the people it hires,” says Khosla. “If you don’t hire people for a billion-dollar company, you are not going to get there.”
Khosla is a big investor in mobile. “Mobile is great for collecting lots of data,” he notes. This is especially true in mobile health, an area where he is seeing an “explosion of activity.” During the Q&A, he pulled out an iPhone with a case that functions as a personal EKG and measured his own heartbeat. The fundamental change in healthcare, he says, is a transfer of “power from health systems and doctors to consumers. We love technology that makes the consumer the CEO of their own health.”
One area that has yet to be transformed by technology is TV. “I am disappointed that no new experience around TV watching has emerged. I am a little surprised. I would have thought something would have popped up.” I think it’s just a matter of time.