SM: This has been a very interesting discussion. Anything else you would like to add before we conclude, especially about your personal situation at present? EB: On a personal level, things have worked out pretty well in the sense that I believe in ten year cycles – at least for me. I think, you can get excited about a business concept or business in general for 10 years, beyond that, particularly in a fast moving field, it is hard to sustain a psychological excitement because you want to move on to new things. It is also important for other people to come in with new energy and perspective.
I have managed to do this, not by design, but because things worked out well throughout my life. The time I spent in various companies was ideal. I am glad, for example, to have served exactly 10 years as 3Com’s CEO because, frankly, I don’t think it would have been interesting much longer. I am glad I was the Palm chairman for 10 years. Right now I am having a blast working with young companies. I am a combination of Angel investor, VC, Coach, and Teacher. I think I will do this for a full 10 years and then hopefully move to something else.
SM: In terms of space, focus areas, you have become interested in Cleantech, right? EB: I am on the Board of Cyprus, which owns 80% of Sunpower. We end up talking a lot about Solar Energy, and it did give me exposure to Cleantech. My problem with Cleantech is that I lack basic domain knowledge. I am jumping into a lot of neat opportunities in areas where I am more comfortable.
SM: Your active involvement is still in the semiconductor area? EB: I am involved in business areas in which I feel I have achieved a good level of understanding of the fundamental technology. I am not involved in plays where the key value is a business model. I am sticking to very classical plays where the value added is the technology itself. When I have this as a foundation, I figure the business model will become obvious. That is what I do. I will leave the business plays, the social networking plays, and other such things to investors who have the right background.
SM: Thanks Eric. It’s been a fun few sessions tapping into your broad business experience and thoughtful analysis. I am sure we will talk more as things develop.