Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures shared the virtual stage with Jillian Manus, managing partner of Structure Capital at Singapore Fintech Week 2020 for an optimistic outlook on all that is possible with technology.
Referencing a recent paper published by Khosla, Manus says she was shocked to learn that there are very few areas of global GDP where it isn’t possible to have hundreds of percentage improvement in resource efficiency by leveraging technologies.
The compelling numbers, Khosla argues, are important to recognise because this kind of revolutionary improvement would not be possible without innovation.
“This is a shocking fact. I’ve been innovating in Silicon Valley startups for years, and over the last 40 years I could not think of a single example of someone who was within a particular industry to deliver revolutionary innovation.
“For instance, the largest innovations in retail didn’t come from Walmart they came from Amazon. The largest innovations in space didn’t come from Boeing or Airbus, they came from RocketLabs and SpaceX. The largest innovations in media came from people at Twitter or Netflix - not from existing media institutions.”
Khosla believes that it in order to get beyond the ‘incremental innovation’ we see emerge from within institutions, we need to normalise the idea that experimentation means failure.
“Innovation necessarily means failure and my willingness to fail gives me the ability to succeed. Unfortunately this type of failure is not permitted in institutions of any sort and that is why the only real, effective innovation has come from hubs like San Francisco’s Bay Area.”
Perhaps this passion for disruption is why Khosla is passionate about fintech and is currently invested in Stripe, Square, and Affirm among others.
Speaking to his approach to blockchain, he warns that “like most tech, blockchain should come with a caution. It is being used for speculation which I’m not sure is entirely healthy for humans and it’s being used for illegal activity.”
Khosla argues that a regulatory framework will allow a much higher level of experimentation which is the core promise of blockchain technology.
“However, within a strong the regulatory framework blockchain would be a very valuable thing for society to adapt to. It would allow us to improve efficiency, eliminate the biases that creep into the financial system, and allow people to be much more creative at lower costs.”
Khosla concludes that “while the future isn’t predictable it is discoverable [...] innovation depends on entrepreneurs who invent and act as instigators for change. People think of the improbable as unimportant, I content that the improbables are not only important, they’re the only thing that’s important in societal change.”
The annual Finextra Fintech Outlook survey, developed in association with Smith & Williamson, seeks to gather the views and opinions of founders and senior management of the Fintech community in the UK with regards to business confidence, talent, tax, funding and the outlook for the future. Click here to participate.