Voices Of Innovation: Roger McNamee

An innovator in venture-capital investing and co-founder of the Silver Lake Partners and Elevation Partners funds.

What's your prognosis for Silicon Valley right now?

Silicon Valley got banged up badly, but has come back very strong. The Valley remains the world's preeminent entrepreneurial community, and its relative advantage is greater than it was at the peak of the bubble.

What companies intrigue you now?

Think about the coolest companies in our economy: Google (GOOG ), Yahoo! (YHOO ), eBay (EBAY ), Apple Computer (AAPL ), Electronic Arts (ERTS ), Pixar (PIXR ), PDI/DreamWorks. Silicon Valley has long been a hotbed for semiconductors and computers, but now it's also a big player in media.

What about technology for businesses?

We are between waves of enterprise technology. There are some interesting things percolating, but they are less apparent than the innovations in consumer technology. The next big wave will come in Web services. It will take a few years to get the technology right, though.

By the way, the venture community still has too much capital to invest, so money is going to areas that scare me. Nanotechnology and electric power technology are two examples. From where I sit, both offer more risk than return, at least in the near term.

Does it concern you that foreign graduate students can't come to the U.S. or are staying away?

Our immigration policy took a giant step backward because of fears associated with September 11. Making it hard for graduate students to come here does not make America safer. It makes us weaker.

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