12 February 2013

Why Facebook and not Mars colonies

Why we got Facebook and not Mars colonies - Paul B. Farrell - MarketWatch: " . . . But “even during the years when VCs were most risk-happy, they preferred investments that required little capital and offered an exit within eight to 10 years.” Truth is, “VCs have never funded the development of technologies that are meant to solve big problems,” says Pontin, in a direct challenge to Silicon Valley’s so-called Big Problems syndrome. And that forces him back to the core question raised by Buzz Aldrin, Peter Thiel and every high-tech investor interested in quarterly profits and big payoffs: “Putting aside the personal-computer revolution, if we once did big things but do so no longer, then what changed?” Pontin does a brilliant job diagnosing five key Big Problem macrotrends: 1. More important public policy alternatives, like investing on Earth  . . . Seriously, is Silicon Valley’s Big Problem a real problem? Or did their high-tech geniuses make it up? Pontin says “sometimes we choose not to solve big technological problems. We could travel to Mars if we wished. NASA has the outline of a plan,” and “if the agency received more money ... humans could walk on the Red Planet sometime in the 2030s.” But “we won’t, because there are, everyone feels, more useful things to do on Earth. . . . ”

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