Yesterday we hosted a group of academics, policy professionals, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs for a conversation about public policy and its impact on innovation. We are very grateful to everyone who took a day out of their busy schedules to help us explore this issue.
The policy professionals in the room argued that the outcome of the current debate on network neutrality, the broadcast flag, and the proposed extension of the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DCMA) will have a big impact on the opportunity for entrepreneurs to innovate in large and important areas of the economy. The entrepreneurs discounted the threat of innapropriate policy by reminding us of their history of being able to find opportunity in a wide range of regulatory regimes. The venture capitalists pointed out that they were accountable to their investors to deliver a return and that it was easier for them to meet that obligation by shifting their investment focus than it was to fix innapropriate regulation.
By the end of the day, the venture capitalists and entrepreneurs better understood, not only the risks to their current businesses of innapropriate regulation, but also the degree to which enlightened regulation and government sponsorship had created opportunity for innovation in the past in this country and continued to do so in Europe and the Far East. At the same time, the proposals offered by the academics and policy professionals began to reflect a better appreciation of the irrepressible optimisim of the entrepreneur, and the mercenary logic of the venture capital business model.
This diverse group was brought together by a shared interest in innovation. We did not come out of the day with a consensus on any aspect of the debate, but we all came away with a much better sense of what was at stake and some understanding of the range of potential solutions.
You will be able to follow the conversation yourselves when we put up the transcript in a few days. We will also try to highlight a few of the insights here over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime you can get a sense of the participants by looking at the photos taken at the event by our friend Mark Andres.