September 30, 1996
From your experience, can the academic culture support high-tech entrepreneurs?
Well, they can avoid trying to squash entrepreneurial activities. Ten or 15 years ago, when I was at Caltech, for example, the idea of commercial stuff going on in an academic setting was viewed as completely horrifying.
Universities in some cases provide the way to get the R&D for a product done fairly cheaply, more cheaply than by getting venture capital.
There was a time when the professors and the university scientists were the top dogs, where people really expected innovation would come from that sector. Increasingly, as the years go by, the innovation is really tending to happen in entrepreneurial companies, rather than in universities.
Certainly the computer industry is a case in point.