As a student in the 1960‘s there was a whiff of revolution in the air that spread from college campuses to the mainstream media and ultimately to the corridors of power in Washington. Those were heady times. We felt we were part of the process of making history. More recently as a technology writer I’ve been witness to another kind of revolution – the creation of some game changing technologies and the amazing enterprises that grew out of them. In 2000, while researching a story on Google, I caught glimpses of this revolution during interviews with Google’s founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and investors, John Doerr, Michael Moritz, Ram Shriram, Andy Bechtolsheim, David Cheritan. These are the new titans of technology. They’re all billionaires these days, largely because of their willingness to place big bets during the early stage of the revolution. Over the last ten years, while interviewing hundreds of venture capitalists, angel investors, bankers and and investment bankers, I’ve learned that there are two questions are ever present on every tech investor’s mind, “What’s the next wave and how can I catch it?”
Beneath the radar, another revolutionary wave of wealth creation is approaching so fast that few yet appreciate it’s true potential. Legendary investor John Doerr, who backed Google, AOL, Amazon, Sun and many others, said recently, “Energy is the mother of all markets.” Okay, but if that’s true, than what’s the “father of all markets?” What will be the catalyst to the next wave of wealth creation?
Because the money and banking sector is so massive, and so fundamental to all other sectors, it’s easy to see it as the father of all markets. But this perspective is lost on most tech investors because few of them understand how the money and banking sector works. Tech investors tend towards a pack investing mentality, investing primarily in what they understand. Because they are so myopically focused on the echo chamber of retread ideas, will they miss the next big wave of wealth creation?