The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

April - 2000 - issue > Cover Feature

Vinod Khosla

Friday, November 21, 2008

Vinod Khosla is considered one of the most influential personalities in Silicon Valley. Most call him a visionary, pointing to his ability to see what most others miss in the complex world of technology. As a partner at the venture firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Khosla is also in the business of fashioning companies and technologies. If that were all he was doing, Khosla’s work would be daunting enough. But the highly energetic Khosla, 44, does more. Like 20-somethings, he even starts companies when nobody has seemed keen to exploit certain business opportunities.
He is known to be a driven individual, and ambitious too. When just 15, the young Khosla, growing up in Delhi, aspired to start a company in Silicon Valley, he told Amar Bhide, the Harvard Business School professor who conducted a case study on Sun Microsystems, the company Khosla founded in 1982.

Khosla came to the United States after completing his B. Tech. degree at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. But before coming, he attempted to start a company in India, and confessed being frustrated by the experience. In the US, he completed a M.S. degree in biomedical sciences at Carnegie Mellon and came to Stanford University to do an M.B.A. After the management degree, getting a high-paying executive’s job at a large American corporation would have been the career path for most immigrants, but Khosla chose a different one for himself.

When he graduated from Stanford in 1979, Khosla laid down several conditions a company must meet before he would even apply. “I would only work with companies started after 1976...”Khosla said. “I would only work with companies that had less than a hundred employees.” He sent out 400 applications, but did not receive any job offers.

Vowing to become a millionaire before turning 30, Khosla turned to entrepreneurship and found a business idea and partners at a Stanford business club. Daisy Systems, a computer-aided engineering and design company, failed quickly because the economics of the market went against it.

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