Simon: Well, I’ve got two great quotes for you to frame my answer for this one. The first one, I believe was attributed to Abraham Lincoln. I don’t know if he said that or not, but it’s attributed to him. He said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” The second quote is from William Gibson, the author, who wrote “The future is already here, it just isn’t evenly distributed yet.”
So when you think about the combination of those, it’s not like you’re throwing darts at how things just all of a sudden come out of nowhere. They’re the result of long term pain points that the market is experiencing, even IPOs. Even the process of companies coming public takes years, if not decades. From the founding and the way that they’re originally raising private capital to finally getting to the public markets. It takes a very long time. So I balance my enthusiasm.
To answer your question of how do you manage your excitement, stay focused. I look for those developing trends and try to stay as close to them as I can for years. When they do have options for publicly traded companies, I jump on them.
Some actual examples of what I’ve done in just recent years:
One is the recent “Buy now pay later” trend. This is getting a lot of headlines right now. But years ago, this was just being called transparency in finance. You know, this was shots across the bow of the credit card companies and how they weren’t disclosing either the interest rates that they’re going to charge you or the late fees that they’re going to charge you. Things like this have been a problem in the industry and discussed at industry conferences for years if not decades.
Privacy concerns on the internet. We’ve seen this for years, and it’s been regulated very differently in the United States and in Europe. Now we’ve got an entire ad tech ecosystem that’s figuring out people can opt in to view web sites. How is that going to impact, you know, programmatic advertising and targeted advertising? It’s all related to privacy and the experience of how people want to give their information to websites.
Drug delivery is another one. That’s a really hot topic right now. You know, we’re hearing a lot about CRISPR and gene editing. There’s also a huge challenge in the scientific community of how do you get drugs of any type or any therapeutic to the right part of the body that it needs to be in? It’s extremely challenging. It’s something that’s still being worked on. But there are also delivery mechanisms for the drug developers that are being looked at, and that’s a pretty exciting space right now that doesn’t have a whole lot of publicly traded options. It’s something we’re going to be talking about quite a bit in the next couple of years.