Eric
Schmidt gave the Centre for Entrepreneurs lecture in
London.

Centre for
Entrepreneurs


  • Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, gave the Centre
    for Entrepreneurs lecture in London this week.
  • In a draft of the speech, seen by Business Insider,
    Schmidt outlined what he sees as the three big market failures
    holding back tech entrepreneurship today.
  • He said tech startups need to be more diverse, less product
    driven, and more willing to partner early.

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt has listed the three “big
failures” in tech entrepreneurship around the world.

Schmidt outlined the failings in a speech he gave at the Centre
for Entrepreneurs in London this week. He later expanded on his
thoughts in an interview with former BBC News boss James Harding.

Below are the three mistakes he outlined, with quotes taken from
both a draft of his speech seen by Business Insider, and comments
he delivered on the night.

1. People stick to who and what they know

“Far too often, we invest mostly in people we already know, who
are working in very narrow disciplines,” Schmidt wrote in his
draft.

In his speech, Schmidt pegged this point closely to a need for
diversity and inclusion. He said companies need to be open to
bringing in people from other countries and backgrounds.

He said entrepreneurship won’t flourish if people are “going to
one institution, hiring only those people, and only — if I can be
blunt — only white males.”

During the Q&A, Schmidt specifically addressed the gender
imbalance in the tech industry. He said there’s a reason to be
optimistic about women’s representation in tech improving,
predicting that tech’s gender imbalance will vanish in one
generation.

2. Too much focus on product and not on platforms

“We frequently don’t build the best technology platforms to
tackle big social challenges, because often there is no immediate
promise of commercial return,” Schmidt wrote in his draft.

“There are a million e-commerce apps but not enough speciality
platforms for safely sharing and analyzing data on homelessness,
climate change or refugees.”

Schmidt’s omitted this mention of socially conscious tech from
his final speech, but did say that he sees a lot of innovation
coming out of network platforms, which allow people to connect
and pool data, because “the barrier to entry for these startups
is very, very low.”

3. Companies aren’t partnering up early enough

Finally, Schmidt wrote in his draft that tech startups don’t
partner enough with other companies in the modern,
hyper-connected world. “It’s impossible to think about any major
challenge for society in a silo,” he wrote.

He said in his speech that tech firms have to be ready to partner
“fairly early.” He gave the example of a startup that wants to
build homecare robots.

“The market for homecare robots is going to be very, very large.
The problem is that you need visual systems, and machine learning
systems, and listening systems, and motor systems, and so forth.
You’re not going to be able to do it with three people,” he said.

After detailing his failures in tech entrepreneurship, Schmidt
laid out what he views as the solution. He referred back to the
Renaissance in Europe, saying people turned their hand to all
sorts of disciplines, from science, to art, to business.

“No one tried to put Leonardo da Vinci in a silo,” he said.

You can watch Schmidt’s full lecture and Q&A here:

Credits: Business Insider

Leave a comment