Randy Komisar, Partner KPCB: Harness the Greed of Business to Accomplish Prosperity

I can’t imagine divorcing my values & principles from my work.  Business in the final analysis is simply a tool by which we achieve some good.  We achieve good for our customers, we achieve good for our employees & hopefully we achieve good for our communities?  Its only a set of tools & its only as useful as the good it creates.  I’m not a business person because I love the notion of being able to win at somebody else’s expense.  Or to sell something at somebody else’s expense?  Or to profit when somebody else is actually losing in the transaction.  I love business because of the value it creates & that value has to have values attached to it.  And if it becomes a shortcut for buying low & selling high then in fact it is not very valuable to society, its not very useful.  It becomes very selfish & I don’t think that business at its heart needs to be selfish.  Though unfortunately the way that its practiced, we harness the greed of business to accomplish prosperity & to achieve success.  And that’s a fairly fine line between what we think about as value & what we think about as valuable. So first & foremost, I cannot condone the divorcing of principles & values from the concept of business.  I think that the two go hand in hand.  I also think that the notion of business model is often misunderstood.  A lot of what we are seeing as rickety in the last internet bubble was the lack of business models.  The reality was that there were a lot of things that were at fault.  Business models very often aren’t very evident early on, as you create value.  Oftentimes that value particularly in things like internet media, internet content, is not directly transactable.

Randy Komisar

Video interview originally recorded in July 2010, re-edited Feb 2015