Former Wall Street securities analyst and current KPCB partner Mary Meeker gave her annual talk at Web 2.0 Summit this week, towards the end highlighting the uncertain state of the overall economy versus the more hopeful aspects of the tech sector.
Meeker, who spent more than two decades on Wall Street, left right for Kleiner before the current #OccupyWallStreet movement came to a head. When asked by moderator John Battelle about her opinions on the subject, Meeker responded, “People are angry, everybody’s angry. People deserve to be a little angry. I think that we’ve a had a lot of finger-pointing over the past couple of years, If we go back over the past forty years, our government has been pretty loose with spending and was pretty loose in keeping interest rates at a low-level.”
But does the blame for the US’s current 9.1% unemployment rate and other economic woes rest solely on Wall Street?
“If was to trying to point blame I’d say 1/3 government, 1/3 consumer and 1/3 financial services industry,” Meeker stated. “We have a problem and we don’t have a cushion right now. Our expenses as a country are higher than then they ever have been relative to revenue .”
But Meeker, betraying her Silicon Valley roots was optimistic, “The way out is we all have to say ‘We have a problem and we all have to sacrifice.’ We have to give up a little here and give a little there. We need really good focused leadership from our Congress and the Whitehouse to really make those changes. And the consumer has to say, ‘I get that we all have a problem and we all have to sacrifice.’”
I think VC Bryce Roberts, who paid a visit to protest-central Zuccotti Park when curious about what exactly #OccupyWallStreet stood for, is a good example of someone taking Meeker’s first step, likening the movement to a Foo Camp, “I don’t fit squarely into the camps of either the 99%er or the 1%ers. But I am off the fence. I do see a world I’m angry to inherit from the prior generation and embarrassed to hand over to my kids. Sure #ows is small. Sure it’s messy. Sure it’s easy to dismiss. But anything truly disruptive is.”