What happens when you stick a handful of VCs into a room and ask them to pontificate? Apparently not much. By the time that notables like John Doerr and Steve Jurvetson got to this late excerpted part of their panel at the Churchill club, they were playing the Valley version of those late-night college bull sessions — "Dude! Dude! The girls on The O.C. are all hot but if you HAD TO PICK JUST ONE..." — with the usual "Who's the next ___" talk.
Joe Schoendorf: [Mr. Schoendorf is a venture capitalist with Accel Partners.] ...So we have to ask ourselves, 'Who's the next Intel; who's the next Apple; who's the next Google?'
John Doerr: [Mr. Doerr is a venture capitalist with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.] If you're saying a new player is going to displace Microsoft or Google in the next five years, I just don't see it. I think Google will be the next Google.
Just so you know? Doerr was one of the VCs who took Google public.
Steve Jurvetson: [Mr. Jurvetson is a venture capitalist with Draper Fisher Jurvetson.] Will there ever be a new Google?
Doerr: I hope so, but it might not be in information. It might be in entirely new fields.
Ann Winblad: [Ms. Winblad is a venture capitalist with Hummer Winblad Venture Partners.] Who's the new Sony?
Doerr: Samsung. It's already happened. Sony bought Samsung.
(Actually it didn't. Not even metaphorically.)
Winblad: So it's not Google?
Pardon, what? How does this even make...what?
After the jump, it just gets worse.
Moderator Tony Perkins speaks up:
Perkins: But Steve Jobs has been a pioneer in user interfaces. I project that in three to five years Apple's music distribution dominance via iTunes and the iPod will have faded; it will have become the fifth or sixth player.
Doerr: Uh, wait—because, because, because?
Perkins: You can make fun of me John—
Damn, I was supposed to get permission?
—but I say this because it's a closed, proprietary system, and what my kids want is to be able to download music and share it with friends. [boring stuff removed]
Doerr: But you're projecting that Steve and the team at Apple are not going to be smart enough over time to serve that market.
Perkins: Well, unless they adjust ...
Schoendorf: You're also assuming that everybody else is going to suddenly figure out that market, but there's no sign they've even started.
Perkins: Everybody's in the business.
It's then that Jurvetson requests a show of hands to counter Tony Perkins. Tony, ever the gentleman, tells his persecutors, "Okay, we'll see. We'll invite you guys back." That's right — those MC fees make all the abuse worth it, don't they, Tony?