A leading venture capitalist, Vinod Khosla is the co-founder of Daisy Systems and founding Chief Executive Officer of Sun Microsystems. Khosla pioneered open systems and commercial RISC processors. He became a general partner of the venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers in 1986 and has mentored many entrepreneurs in building technology-based businesses. In 2004, he started his own firm, Khosla Ventures. He is an advocate of clean energy and supported the campaign to pass California's Proposition 87. Born in 1955 in India, Khosla was determined to pursue technology as a career since his early teens. Khosla was educated at the IIT Delhi, Carnegie Mellon University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Question: What are exciting technologies on the horizon?
Vinod Khosla: Well there are so many it’s hard to summarize all of them. We will continue to see expanding impact of the Internet and communications technologies on our life. That . . . We haven’t begun to see the real impact. You see it in the teenagers – things like social networking sites and others changing the way teenagers behave. This is no longer just a web site. It’s changing behavior. It’s changing social patterns. It’s changing their friends, their areas of interest – almost every way. Mobility, absolutely a key technology. Cell phones is one small substantiation of that. I think education is gonna change dramatically. I personally believe personalization – because we have too much information in this world, the information will get personalized for us. And then beyond that products will get personalized to each person’s needs and desires. So in almost every aspect of our life we will start to see major change. The one thing to keep in mind is the best way to project change 25 years from now – say when today’s 15 year old is 40 years old – is to look back 100 years. We will see more technological and lifestyle change in the next 25 years then we’ve seen in the last 100. So to imagine 2040 or so, you have to say that world will be as different from today’s world as 100 years ago was from today. Imagine before the Wright brothers and airplanes; before essentially lamps and lighting in most of the world; before telephones, and radios, and televisions. So I can’t wait to see what will happen.
Recorded on: September 26, 2007.