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James Love Barksdale offers living proof that all Silicon Valley entrepreneurs aren't cocky young upstarts faking their way to success. This consummate Southern gentleman, known for his folksy sayings and[…]

Solving some easy problems first.

Question: If you had $100 billion to give away, how would you spend it?

Jim Barksdale: It would be very difficult to spend $100 billion.  Some of the problems we find with the very largest foundations is that it’s difficult to give that much money away because there aren’t that many things that can be improved upon that are just in need of money.  What they’re in need of are better ideas.  I would spend a lot of it on research in some of these major problems.  And then based on the research that these studies come up with, I would invest in those areas.  I would invest a lot of money in improving global healthcare and nourishment. I would solve the problems of dirty water which kills something like 60% of the babies in this world before they reach the age of three.  I would work on . . .   I would spend money on how do we create better solutions for healthier people; better solutions for more communicative, more understanding people.  I think that there are many ways to do it, but money alone is not the problem.  There’s plenty of money.  There’s been an enormous surge in foundation money in the last 10 years caused by some of these great new business growths; but we still have a lot of big problems.  So it’s not just money.  It’s ideas

Recorded on:  7/5/08