It’s unsurprising that John Doerr was a top-ranked sales executive at Intel before joining Kleiner Perkins. The trained electrical engineer and Harvard MBA sells nearly every Kleiner investment like his life depends on it.
Yesterday was no exception. At KPs’ iFund event, in which the firm announced it had raised an additional $100 million to fund iPad-related products and services, the superstar VC told those assembled that the iPad “will rule the world.”
“Saturday, the world is going to change,” Doerr added. “I’ve touched it, I’ve held it, I’ve caressed it, I hope I can sleep with it Saturday night.” (Let’s hope he doesn’t get it pregnant.)
It’s hardly the first time the celebrity investor has gone a little bananas in praise of something. Among the biggest doozies:
Last month, when the energy fuel cell company Bloom Energy staged a ritzy coming-out event attended by Governor Schwarzenegger, Colin Powell, and Larry Page, Doerr pronounced that, “This is like the Google IPO.” (Without the IPO part, as TechCrunch observed at the time.)
In November, Doerr reviewed Al Gore’s then-new book “Our Choice” in VentureBeat. It wasn’t enough to call the book a “perfect and powerful sequel” to Gore’s famous documentary film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Doerr just had to add: “When mankind confronts and conquers the climate crisis it will be because one man made Our Choice [sic] clear.”
Doerr was on a roll at the time. Earlier in the month, on stage at a conference in San Mateo, he told attendees that in some ways, the smart grid promises to be even bigger than the Internet. Given Kleiner’s early investment in the smart meter company Silver Spring Networks, we could appreciate his enthusiasm. Right up to the point when he said, “The supergrid will be the last great network we build in our lifetimes.”
Doerr’s use of hyperbole isn’t new. We’ve pointed out before that Doerr has told nearly every consumer publication in the U.S. that clean technology is the “largest economic opportunity of the 21st century.”
Still, in Doerr’s defense, a number of his predictions could still come to fruition, even if we’re all dead before it’s possible to say. There’s a genius in their scope.
Apparently, Doerr learned his lesson a decade ago, when he predicted that the Segway, too, might some day be bigger than the Internet. Specifically — too specifically, he likely thought afterward — he told Time magazine that by competing for a piece of the then $300 billion-plus transportation industry, Segway would be the fastest outfit in history to reach $1 billion in sales.
So he overreached. At least he didn’t talk about dragging one into bed.