Blank is a retired serial entrepreneur and has been a founder or participant in eight Silicon Valley startups since 1978, including two semiconductor companies, Zilog and MIPS Computers; a workstation company, Convergent Technologies; a consulting stint for a graphics hardware/software spinout Pixar; a supercomputer firm, Ardent; a computer peripheral supplier, SuperMac; a military intelligence systems supplier, ESL; and a video game company, Rocket Science Games. He co-founded his last company, E.piphany, in his living room in 1996.
Kedrosky: I'm here with Steve Blank, a retired serial entrepreneur, lecturer at Stanford, Columbia and points hither and yon; also, the author of a really popular entrepreneur, entrepreneurial related work, I suppose, Four Steps to the Epiphany, as well as a popular blog which we'll talk about a few things he's got on it. It's at www.steveblank.com. Steve, thanks for doing this.
Blank: Oh, well, thank you. I'm honored to be here.
Kedrosky: So let's maybe start off by going backwards and this will let us kind of touch on your background a little bit, as well as kind of some of the stuff that's near and dear to my heart and Kauffman's heart, I suppose. You've written a few things about sort of the secret history of Silicon Valley and, in the process of writing that kind of thing, talked a little bit about something that I think intrigues lots of people, which is, you know, why Silicon Valley seems to only work in Silicon Valley. And I think we've all run into examples of people trying to create the next Silicon Valley and it never really happens and it becomes kind of the, you know, the butt of a joke almost. But let's maybe start in there. What is it that people don't understand about how the Valley works and why does it work there and nowhere else?
Blank: Well, you know, how it works today is kind of different about how it got started. You know, 50 some odd years ago, you know, the Valley was basically dominated by a small [inaudible] manufacturer, Hewlett Packard, by a couple of vacuum manufacturers. But post World War II, actually ended up in the defense and microwave business through the efforts of a single Stanford professor, then dean, then Provost, Fred Terman. But Terman was one of the, you know, many sources of innovation in the Valley, but truly could be pointed to as kind of the godfather of what became Silicon Valley. He was the one who basically turned Stanford's engineering school into a military 800-person weapons lab during the 1950s and 1960s doing electronic intelligence and electronics warfare systems and components for the armed services as well as the intelligence agencies of the United States. And that by itself was pretty interesting. But what was even more interesting was Terman's attitude to students and professors who left Stanford and wanted to start companies. And unlike almost anywhere else in the United States in the 1950s, Terman encouraged students and professors to not only leave, but he introduced them to sources of funding, which back then were almost entirely the US military and defense agencies.
Kedrosky: Why do you think he did that?
Blank: Well, Terman's history pre-1950s is, you know, actually the source I think of why he was interested in innovation in the middle of the Cold War. It turns out Terman wrote the definitive textbook on radio engineering in the late 1930s and was considered in the United States as kind of the professor for radio engineering, which was think of it as the equivalent of, you know, seen as the world's best silicon expert or the world's best internet expert at the time. When World War II broke out, the United States did something that no other country including itself had ever done before, and that was instead of drafting professors and graduate students and putting them into military weapons labs, instead they decided to use academia and have them set up their own weapons labs. So the Manhattan Project, which people know, that built the atomic bomb was, while controlled by the military, run by Oppenheimer who was a civilian. The equivalent labs happened at MIT which developed radar for the United States. But one of the most secret labs that you probably never heard of was designed to build systems called the electronic warfare and electronic intelligence systems and that was built at Harvard and turned into an 800-person secret weapons lab. Its whole mission was to produce devices that would protect US and British commerce from the electronic German air defense system which was taking a pretty [inaudible] toll of the strategic bombing campaign over occupied Europe. It turns out the head of that lab, the guy they recruited from any choice they had in the United States, was the professor from Stanford, Fred Terman. And so Terman became the, not only the head of this lab, but kind of the expert in electronics intelligence and electronics warfare and was the confidante of the US military departments post World War II. When the war was over, Terman came back to Stanford determined to build Stanford's engineering department since he was now Dean of Engineering into the MIT of the west. And he recruits the best and the brightest from what was called Harvard Radio Research Lab and by 1950, that actually became true. When the Korean War broke out in the United States, the entire US military basically rearmed, got tremendous funding, and at the same time within a couple of years, built the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency got funded all with the goal of trying to understand what was going on inside the Soviet Union. And since we weren't in an active hot war, most of that involved electronic intelligence and electronic warfare for our bombers ever in case of war.
Now, [inaudible] Stanford was right in the middle of that industry, in fact probably the hotbed for the next 15 or 20 years. And so Terman's interest in doing this was his experience in World War II in defending the United States and I think the feeling during the Cold War was this was the patriotic thing to do. And it wasn't only being done at Stanford; it was being done in multiple universities – in MIT, at Harvard and the University of Michigan, at Cornell, Georgia Tech, etc. But Terman was kind of the leader in this domain.
Kedrosky: So was it this kind of, you know, and this is all some of the, you know, the beginning story of the Valley and some of the coalescence of, you know, talent and opportunity and institutions. You know, this is a lot of it's happenstance and just, you know, sheer chance. How much of sort of what we see today as the Valley would not have happened were it not for that accidental confluence of so many things do you think?
Blank: So it's really interesting. By the mid-1950s, the Valley and it's beliefs in its defense and microwave was kind of booming. If you were doing anything in microwaves or microwave electronics, you kind of knew about this place south of San Francisco. And two things happened in the mid-1950s, actually in 1956, that I think shapes what Silicon Valley would become. One was that a aerospace company in southern California got a contract from the US Navy to build submarine launched ballistic missiles. And it decided that southern California was too crowded and they needed a new place to do that and they wanted to work with the electronics folks at Stanford. That company was called Lockheed and they set up the Lockheed Missiles and Space Division in 1956 in Sunnyvale determines encouragement and nourishing. I'll tell that story in another second or two. But the other thing that happened coincidentally that same year which is probably less noticed, but more important, was that a researcher who during World War II ended up radar bombing training for the US Air Force and then was a consultant for the US military for weapons systems during the Cold War set up a startup for the first semiconductor company in [inaudible]. His name was William Shockley. And he came out to the Valley because he was encouraged again by Fred Terman who he knew from his war work and his military consulting work. Shockley semiconductor became the progenitor of every Silicon chip company and Silicon Valley traces its lineage back to this one startup. The irony is, of course, that Shockley who won the Nobel Prize as a co-inventor of the transistor was a awesome talent spotter, but probably one of the worst managers Silicon Valley had ever seen because in 18 months, eight of his employees which he named the [inaudible] left and started Fairchild Semiconductor which was the powerhouse that in the next 25 years, 65 other chip companies would spin out of Fairchild.
So those two events in 1960, uh, 1956 were kind of the next trigger that happened. Now remember, at this time in 1956, there was no venture capital. So all this was happening with military or corporate funding. Lockheed obviously was military funded and Shockley and then Fairchild were funded with corporate partnerships. There was no VC at the time. So this was still an interesting area, but it was missing this financial infrastructure which would be invented in full glory not for another ten years.
Kedrosky: Right, I mean, the early – you go back to the early days of the venture industry and it was obviously much smaller. It was family foundations, it was Whitney and it was others, but it bore no resemblance to what we see today.
Blank: Right. And what was really interesting, of course, it's for the 50s, 60s and even part of the 70s, Silicon Valley looked no different than Route 128 in Boston. That is, if one were to make a bet about entrepreneurship, the area around Boston had the same kind of characteristics as Silicon Valley. It had innovative companies, it had military connections, you know, it was making mini computers, [inaudible] equipment corporations and Data General was truly the powerhouse in the new emerging field of smaller computers. And it wasn't clear why or if one of those regions were going to dominate. In fact, there is a book anybody who is interested in the rise of entrepreneurial clusters should read. It's called Regional Advantage by a professor at Berkeley named AnnaLee Saxenian. And she gets almost all the pieces right except she obviously didn't understand, because it's certainly not published, about the military influence. But the rest she nails. And the biggest thing that made the west coast wise, I think, over Boston is the culture. And this is why most people miss. If you work around Boston or New York or Detroit or Atlanta, you typically worked near where you lived and went to school. And why you wouldn't think that's a detriment, it actually is. I actually see it from even more extremes, my students from India and China. “Why'd you come to the States?” “Well, there's no way I can be innovative in my hometown. You know, if I stayed in India, I'd have to be the left-handed shoemaker like 17 generations of my family.”
Blank: We kind of laugh about that when we hear it said that way, but in the United States, that's still kind of true. I mean, the east coast, when you went to work for a company, the notion that you might leave in less than 20 years and not die with a watch from the company was just unfathomable. You worked and you had the loyalty to a place that paid your check. Now, one can understand all those virtues, but what makes Silicon Valley great is actually the cross fertilization and cross pollination which is so non-cultural to the rest of the US and the world. It's a unique aspect. And why it happened here? When you go somewhere where there's no family, there's no social norms and there's no cultural pressure, you will behave differently than you would if your cousins and mother and friends were living down the street. I think this is one of the most, one of the least understood parts about an entrepreneurial cluster. Think about it. Silicon …
Kedrosky: Yeah, I think …
Blank: … [inaudible]. Let me just make the punch line here. Silicon Valley is still great, not because of the people that live here. It's because of the people it attracts. This is a big idea that most – you know, when I get the clusters from around the world asking me the classic, “How do I make a Silicon Valley,” I've got to tell them the most heretical thing and they don't want to hear it. And I tell them it's not going to be about providing jobs for the people that already live there. And when you're telling that to a local regional or a chamber of commerce, you know, they're looking to employ the people they have. Where the Valley is great is that it still continues to suck the best and the brightest from not just the United States, but from the entire world. That's what, that at its core is what makes an innovation cluster. Does that make sense?
Kedrosky: Yeah. I love that point and I think, as you say, that's vastly overlooked and you put it in a crisp way that I think, you know, I probably should have put myself a number of times. But I mean, the point being that it brings people in, it's in this constant state of flux, all of these people are sort of aliens from themselves and from their environment because they've left where they've come from and they're in a new place with new norms and that lets them take risks and be a different person.
Blank: Ah. Now, and you just said, you know, the obvious that people miss. Silicon Valley is thought of as a risk-taking culture. Now think about it. Would you take risks the same way if mom and dad were down the block and they were watching every move you would make? Of course not. I mean, it's just common sense when you frame it like that. You don't know how it would be different, but almost anybody would admit, “Yeah, I guess I would be a little more conservative about my job choices, about how much money and about putting my – mortgaging my house to start something new.” Silicon Valley had the constraints, the cultural constraints, loosened in a way that was completely unplanned and still not understood. And so I think the culture [inaudible] the risk-taking, not vice versa. That is, people say this is a risk-taking culture and I kind of laugh going, yeah, but it wasn't, it's not a planned community here. Does that make sense?
Kedrosky: Yeah, no, no. But that's exactly right. It's that people are liberated to be risk taking, not that there's something unique in the water that they drink once they get to San Jose or Menlo Park that lets them take risks. It's that, you know, they're far enough away from the people who worry about them taking risks.
Blank: That's right. And now also on the third one that's unobvious. Getting on an airplane and going to a place that's over, you know, a thousand miles from your home, it's a Darwinian exercise. Truly. If you were, if you're happy to maybe go to a place where you can still go home for the weekend, you're not a risk taker. If you're willing to pack up and leave everything such that you can't go home again, that's Darwinian. And by itself …
Kedrosky: Oh, oh …
Blank: … go ahead.
Kedrosky: Go ahead. Well, I was just going to say …
Blank: By itself …
Kedrosky: … I was going to – I was in Canada recently and I mean, maybe you'll like this metaphor. But I had a very similar conversation where I said to the people who were asking me about, you know, what they could do in terms of replicating Silicon Valley and all these usual sort of things, as you said, that kind of become this sterile discussion. I said, you know, the best thing you have going for you – because they were trying to compare themselves to Brazil – and I should say that the most difficult problem I had, I said, it really comes down to tectonic plates. They said, well, what are you talking about? I said, you're too damn close to the US. The problem you have is that the best people leave because they can, they're so close you have proximity unlike, say, Israel or somewhere else. But the flip side is that it's too easy for those people to come home because the risk isn't the same when it's a relatively short trip, say, just from Vancouver to Silicon Valley. It's a risk, but it's not like going around the world to take the risk. I said the best thing that could happen for Canada is if, you know, a gigantic tectonic plate shifted to move you to the other side of the planet.
Blank: Yeah. So that's some of my theory. The other thing, by the way, that also was unstated is in the 50s and 60s and 70s, a ton of the innovation which was driven by the military was truly driven by a sense of fear. That is, the [inaudible] thought of itself as in perpetual crisis and confrontation with the Soviet Union. And the military took risks on weapons systems, on R&D, on research on a scale just unimaginable. You know, we saw the visible ones in terms of rockets and aircraft, etc. But the leaps in electronics, in ICBM guidance systems, and electronic intelligence systems and the use of computers in ways that still aren't public was really driven by this Cold War crisis. Now insert into this, by the way, in the late 60s which the kind of last catalyst was, there was a frothy kind of, now we recall them, angel group in the Bay area. But it really kind of took off with the semiconductor business. It turned out the semiconductor business was not only new chip companies, but new test equipment companies and the semiconductor fabrication equipment companies, all kind of converged at the same time Arthur Rock and Tom Davis got together in, or Rock & Davis, which was the first venture fund and figured out the two basic elements of how to make money. And that was both the carry [inaudible] and the management fee. And one could argue that there might have been one or two other firms [inaudible], but they were kind of the first to put those two in place.
And then the last two pieces that happened was in 1978 and '79 was when capital gains got slashed in half, and more importantly, the prudent man rule got changed that allowed pension funds to start pouring billions, billions into Silicon Valley venture capital. So the structure was in place, but an unintended consequence was a rule that no one said let's fund venture capital, it was just let's allow pension funds to take more risk. And that happened in '78 and '79. Just as an aside, by the way, one lovely story I like to tell was when Sputnik was launched in 1958, the US Congress did a lot of innovative legislation. And one accidental thing they did was they changed the rules of the Small Business Investment Corporation (SBIC) that allowed them to match venture capital investment and innovative funds three to one. And so by the mid-1960s, over 75 percent of venture capital firms were SBIC funds, funded by the US government in Silicon Valley. That went away when pension funds started dumping money in. No one wanted to have to deal with the government. It's a lot better to deal with a pen- … no seriously.
Kedrosky: No, no … I was …
Blank: All unintended consequences.
Kedrosky: No, I've been on both sides of that one, so I watched that one play out as well. But that's exactly what happened. It was better to deal with great big, ossified institutional investors than to deal with even bigger and more ossified federal government.
Blank: Right. So sorry we've taken this into a history and I'm happy to talk about customer development or anything else that you'd like.
Kedrosky: No, no, that's okay. We've only got about ten minutes left and we're getting into some interesting stuff. But I thought maybe there's two more things we could try and shovel in before we drop off. One is, you wrote an interesting post recently about sort of the rise of sort of the lean VC and it sort of fits into some of our conversation about the evolution of the venture market. And I'd like to talk briefly about that, and I'd also maybe like to squeeze in a couple of minutes talking about why … I see you teach on, you know, you teach on an entrepreneurship program but it's within, I think, the engineering school. And one of my, and one of my Kauffman's ongoing crusades has to do with the – how shall I say – the suckatude of most entrepreneurship programs within business schools in the Us and around the world and why that is and does it have to be that way. So, you know, I'd like to touch on both of those. You can pick the order.
Blank: Okay. Well, you know, I wrote that lead VC post simply because I needed a roadmap for myself about the changing landscape under our feet. And, you know, as I said to some of my VC friends, maybe you guys have the Power Point slides you're showing to each other, but you know, entrepreneurs haven't seen them. And you know, but you always like to believe that somewhere in some room is some smart guy actually has this planned out. By the way, my favorite visual of this is there's a very old Saturday Night Live sketch which showed Ronald Reagan meeting with the Boy Scouts and acting like this goofy slow guy and, you know, then the Boy Scouts get ushered out and then, you know, Reagan immediately drops down the, you know, the screen and starts planning the invasion in Nicaragua and then, you know, “Oops, Mr. President, you know, the next school group is here,” and he acts like the nice grandfather. So I am just assuming that somewhere there's a master [inaudible]. But you know, you hear terms of super angels and angels and lean ang-, you know, and so I realize that what's happened and I kind of feel like, you know, I've contributed to some small percentage of it, the notion of customer and actual development, this whole lean startup movement, has taken advantage in the last ten years which has really accelerated in the last three or four of some major changes in web based startups. And we'll see them first there and then we'll see it kind of spreading to B-to-B industries and then [inaudible] and then eventually I believe lean will no longer be a differentiator. It will be the way you do both startups and investments. But I think the first place we're seeing this is this intersection about being able to rapidly iterate both product focused on a minimum feature set and rapidly understand whether you have an initial market in customers or are you for profit or for network of scale depending on your investment thesis, when you can find that out years earlier now on the web than you could anywhere else.
Blank: And, and of course, the commodity stack that you no longer need large tons of cash to find that really makes life kind of interesting. And so that was the purpose of the blog VC post.
Kedrosky: And you know, the way that I sometimes try and characterize it, I mean, in similar terms is that, you know, the cost – the cost of acquiring human data to use the biotech vesting has radically declined in IT, that you can get human data, meaning customer data, meaning someone tries your stuff and tells you how awful it is much cheaper and much faster than you ever could in the past. And so the financial side, the risk capital side of things never really adjusted for that.
Blank: Right. Well, so it's adjusting in the same way as what happens when disruptive innovation happens in other industries. I think lean is a disruptive innovation to the VC business and so maybe that's the radical statement I should have led with in the blog post. And like anything disruptive, you know what is happening? There is no memo that goes out that says, hey, this is [inaudible] and you old guys, you're going to be disruptive. So like, you know, you can cash in or get out. So I think that was the intent of Dave McClure's blog post. But truly, lean [inaudible], lean VC's truly are a disruptive part of traditional VC and I think you're seeing reactions all along the spectrum. In fact, I was kind of happy in the comments came from multiple VC's saying, you know, it doesn't work that way or yeah it does or whatever. And I'm hoping to get more of a discussion going around here about what is going on.
Kedrosky: Yeah, I mean, yeah, and right down to the level, you know, what I think where you can really see this notion that this is disruptive, which is kind of ironic of course, that the funders of disruptive companies have their noses out of joint about being disruptive themselves. But let's leave that aside for a second. But the idea that, you know, the reaction of many incumbent large institutional venture firms running over two or three hundred, four hundred million dollars is they look at this new class of sort of – you called them cell based I think – you know, lean VC's or cell based VC's. They don't look at them as …
Blank: [inaudible] VC's were the biotech [inaudible].
Kedrosky: Or sorry. Cell based – lean VC's on this side . but the idea being though that they look at them as toys. They look at … the incumbents see these as toys which is always the response of incumbents when they see potentially disruptive technology. They look at it, they always see it as toys which I find kind of entertaining.
Blank: So you just described the classic Clayton Christensen disruptive diagram, right? And I think you just said it. It's that, you know, scalable companies used to laugh hysterically at new [inaudible]. Now, who wants that business? Or, the automobile companies. You know, Toyota, who the hell are they – hahaha. You know, we make cars better, only 19 feet long or longer. Who'd want to drive one of those? And so I think this is why it's kind of fun because, of course, over time, the initial scrappy VC's now have 50 partners. You know, okay, you know, the management fees are great when you're managing multibillion dollars, but that's no longer the business that can act agilely when you've got a couple of entrepreneurs who just need, you know, five hundred grand to take them through the entire deal. So yes, so, and again, as I said, I think when I wrote the customer development book, Four Steps to the Epiphany, I had no idea that this would be one of the consequences which really I have to tell you, I'm surprised who most of my readers are. But I would have thought most of my readers would be MBAs and I still have obviously a large percentage who are. But what really happened is majority of my readership are engineers who for the first time have a process-driven [inaudible] book to say, oh, there's no mystery. Really? This is how you figure out how to get customers and figure out whether there's a market and now you get [inaudible]? Look, step one through, you know, three hundred. I can read this thing and I no longer need – I'm not going to be sit here and be bull-shitted by some VP of sales who has a great golf handicap.
Kedrosky: Right, no, that's exactly right. Which, by the way, and maybe this is a good segue over into maybe wrapping up with a conversation about entrepreneurship programs. But it speaks to this fundamental problem that the Valley culture we have as we teach entrepreneurs, with the whole idea of sales. I often say that, you know, the best entrepreneurship program might just be a sales, either going to be a sales training program or it's going to get you to launch a product. But I don't think there's anything in the middle.
Blank: So I've been lucky and I'll say this smiling because I've been lucky to teach in two great research universities in Berkeley and Columbia that have given me enormous flexibility to kind of break the rules. And you know, Tom Byers and Tina [inaudible] at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program and Jerry Angle at Berkeley in the Business School, you know, allowed me to take my theory which was entrepreneurship is both a combination of, you know, you need to learn some basics in a classroom, but for God's sake, how can you teach something entrepreneurial if it's not experiential? And so how I teach and kind of a combination thereof, meaning a [inaudible] class for me, they're getting the hell out of the building in the classroom. And there's nothing better than – I still remember Stanford students coming in because they were going to do some project around [inaudible]. I make them build the website, you know, in the class. And you know, and I make them try to get customers. And I could almost set my watch because what happens is they come in and they say, “Professor Blank, there's no customers!” And I go, “Congratulations, you saved five million dollars to the first VC that was going to fund you. Tell your parents your college tuition was just worth wow!” So being able to do that, but also breaking the rules. So, for example, one of my pet peeves are colleges and universities and venture capitalists have fallen in love, for different reasons, with business plan competitions. Business plan competitions are great for professors because they have something to grade. And they don't actually need to be real world practitioners to see that they do this paragraph correctly or did this spreadsheet make sense. But actually in reality, when you get out of the building as an entrepreneur, you find out that no business plan provides your first contact with customers. So it's actually useless as a document. VC's like it because it's a trade show, you know, for VC's to see some good entrepreneurs in a single building. But actually what I love are business model competitions and a business model actually is, unlike a plan which is static, a business model is dynamic. And a dynamic business model only becomes dynamic is if you change it based on what you learn outside the building. So a business model competition is how many times have you iterated and pivoted, not how good is your 43-page spreadsheet which is going to be obsolete. In fact, you know, the unpolite term of a business plan and business plan competition is, how well can the professors teach the students to polish the turd? You know, after six months you can polish it wonderfully well, but by then, it has no connection to its original source or purpose. So I hope this is the tangent. But really to me, the distinction between business plans and business models is drawing the distinction again of how you, the old way of teaching entrepreneurship and the new way of teaching entrepreneurship. And those that insist on teaching business plan competitions, to me, are signaling that, you know, this lean stuff and the customer development stuff, we've heard that's great, lip service, lip service, but now we're going to go back to the things we feel comfortable with. That's the equivalent of the VC's saying, yeah, yeah, yeah, [inaudible] VC's, but now let me tell you about our $20 million our first round.
Kedrosky: Yeah, no exa- … so, you know, that's – I see that having been out there and beaten up by customers and so on. You see that having been out there and beaten up. So this shouldn't be a revelation and yet it is. So having said that, do you see anything changing in how entrepreneurship is being, I'll say, delivered or taught? But I don't even like those words.
Kedrosky: Experienced in schools?
Blank: Sure, I think number one is the Kauffman Foundation has done a wonderful service to entrepreneurial education if, at worst, by being a pain in the ass to every, you know, traditional club, entrepreneurial program in the United States. And I think, you know, the Kauffman Foundation gets it. And two is, you know, I don't want to sound like a defender of static programs, but research universities have a lag and to expect them to be Y Combinator or TechStars in innovating a curriculum, you know, is a nice theory but it doesn't happen that way. Almost, it rarely happens. So I think they're fast followers for good and again I think of Stanford and Berkeley as wonderful fast followers. Similarly, the program at Stanford, you know, has the REE program where it reaches out to entrepreneurial educators worldwide. You know, [inaudible] has the top [inaudible] books on, which have been changing rapidly to kind of encompass these new theories of entrepreneurship. So I think this combination of the Kauffman Foundation on one hand, adjuncts like I am who bring practical real world experience, and smart researchers inside of these departments, I actually feel pretty good about the future. I think we all should be impatient about it because it moves slower than we would like. But I now am quite hopeful, at least from the two universities that I'm associated with.
Kedrosky: Well, you know, I hope you're right. It's too important to be, you know, left to languish. So we're at the end, we're close, just about at the end of our time here. So unless – I'll give you a final word here and then we should really wrap up.
Blank: Well, I want to say two things. One is, you know, the United States, again by accident, not by policy, managed to outsource one of the greatest economic strengths it had and that's manufacturing. We got rid of that. We got rid of it because we just simply, cheap [inaudible] was on the bottom line, it's just like getting rid of open space because it's cheaper to build houses. But entrepreneurship now is one of the last economic bastions that both the combination of our culture and capitalism allows us to be unique in the United States. And I think we need to think of it, treat it and deal with it as a strategic resource that we don't lose or else we're all going to be speaking Chinese in the next 20 years. Because there are other places that are now equally innovative and I can't, I can't emphasize enough how important not just starting companies, but being able to teach each other and keeping this entrepreneurial spirit going in the US is. So I appreciate the time.
Kedrosky: Well, I'm glad we could do this. We didn't get to everything I wanted to do so maybe we'll try this again in the future. But I'm glad we were able to spend the time we did. This has been super. Thanks, Steve.
Blank: And you've been great. And thank you very much and hope to chat with you again.
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