Every new industry has exuberance in advance of reality. The techies get carried away. There is a period of despair. Then the pendulum swings the other way, and people see the long term potential. It's like when the Internet bubble crashed.
When a nanotech company matures and becomes a real business, it becomes something else. It becomes a biotech company or a cleantech company or a memory chip company. Nanotechnology has fueled the core innovations in electronics and energy.
If you think 20 years out and ask what's the most important company on the planet, it is not any company you could write down today. The most important company 20 years from now has not even been founded yet and doesn't have a name.
One very interesting framework for a company to succeed over time - beyond just business logic and analytics - is, do they have a reason why the best graduates in engineering programs will flock to them versus competitors?
My interest in space started early, but for many years, I could not find any space-related investments that really penciled-out for venture. That changed in 2009 when Elon Musk came to us with a big vision to explore Mars while producing rockets at a fraction of a price and making space accessible.
Elon Musk wins you over with his elegant mastery of engineering, be it for the rocket or the car. But what blew my socks off was when our conversation veered way off topic. We started musing about whether it was possible we all lived in the matrix, and Musk still had deep knowledge.
If I want to make a product that is appealing to consumers, like a piece of clothing or a video game, that's fad driven. Some companies do it, and I don't know how they do it, but it's generally a bad place to invest.
When I was 11, I went to space camp at the Space Center in Texas, near where I grew up. There, I met video-game-industry pioneer Richard Garriott, better known to gamers everywhere as 'Ultima' creator Lord British.
I'd stay away from investments in a variety of sectors that are capital intensive. Anyone who says we need $100 million before we know if what we're doing makes sense and the customers want it - that's not going to work.
I do lament how many investors focus on all the short-term sugar buzz of some marginal improvement in something - nothing history books are ever going to be written about. In many cases, these are quick and easy ways to make money.
I believe that technology has the potential to change the fate of nations, industries and companies, as well as the context of our lives. I want to help build the companies that take the risks needed to make those kinds of real changes in the world.
Elon Musk is an incredibly prolific entrepreneur, having come up with, or been at the founding team of Tesla, SpaceX, SolarCity, PayPal, all different industries that seem to have nothing to do with each other.
Truly original thinkers tend not to be entrepreneurs who've spent 10 years at Cisco and can be trusted to know what they're doing. They tend to be 26 years old and highflying. They often have a very childlike mind, with some naivete.