Venture capitalist John Doerr spoke at the latest installment of the Stanton Distinguished Leader Series in Lohrfink Auditorium Friday afternoon, speaking about entrepreneurship, staying current in rapidly changing times and finding the “next big thing.”
Doerr’s presentation was centered around questions from the audience, which he wrote on a whiteboard. As a venture capitalist, Doerr highlighted the role of entrepreneurs and the work that they do.
“Entrepreneurs do more than anyone thinks possible with less than anyone thinks possible,” Doerr said, “Entrepreneurs are the great disrupters. Oftentimes they’ll start a business or imagine a new world because they don’t know any better. I say that with deep respect because inspired to see the world differently, they’ll achieve it while the naysayers won’t even try.”
Doerr also talked about the importance of a strong team, which is the building block for getting any entrepreneurial project off the ground.
“Thomas Edison said, ‘Innovation without execution is a hallucination,’ and so execution is everything. I’d rather have a B idea with an A level team or A level execution than an A idea with B execution or a B team,” Doerr said.
Doerr said that within these teams, leaders play an important and necessary role in helping the group execute its plans.
“Relatively speaking those ideas are easy, it’s execution that’s everything. So if you can learn one thing at Georgetown, if you can get one set of experiences, they would be to learn to be a better leader because it takes a team to win and it is leaders that are in the most short supply,” Doerr said.
As the event coincided with the day of the Cawley Career Education Center’s Fall Career Fair, Doerr spoke about what students should look for in a job.
“When you begin your career, look for, select for the places where you’re going to learn and grow the most, not just for the compensation,” Doerr said.
According to Doerr, his college experience helped him develop a love for learning, which propelled him to work hard in his career and stay passionate about his work.
“I think the one thing I got out of my undergraduate education, sort of the second most valuable thing was a love or a hunger, or a mania for trying to continue to learn,” Doerr said. “So for those of you at Georgetown, if you can leave here with anything, I don’t think it’s a degree in a particular field, it’s that love for learning and continuing to learn.”
Derek Embry (MSB ’15), who attended the event, said the presentation showed that there are options, such as entrepreneurship, for after graduation other than traditional routes.
“I thought it was incredibly helpful for anyone who is considering starting a business out of college,” Embry said. “I thought his advice was really great for any inspiring entrepreneurs particularly young people like us that are facing a time in our lives when we’re considering a lot of risks and whether or not we want to take a safe route with a job.”
Mike Mezzino (MSB ’15), another attendee, said he liked that the event took place on the same day as the career fair, since it helped provide a unique perspective.
“It’s really cool especially given that I’m a senior and a lot of my friends and myself are going through the job recruitment process,” Mezzino said. “Getting a different perspective than the go down the popular routes that Georgetown sponsors was really, really cool especially that it was right here on campus the same day as the career fair.”