Tom Steyer, Founder and President, NextGen America
Thank. You very much for joining us today we couldn't imagine a better speaker for this memorial lecture. We. Have all sorts of topics to discuss from, your investing, career to your work, on the environment to your recent, political activism, before. We get there I wanted to start with your time as a GSB, student. Back. When you were in these seats, metaphorically. Speaking did. Did, you ever imagine you, would be on this stage as a view from the top speaker I. Can't. Say I was thinking this. Far forward and. I. Can't. Say I really, understood. The. Significance when. I was going to stand for Business School at the Stanford Business School in, terms of leadership in our society, so. I think, I, have, a different, perspective than I, the. Importance, of this institution. Now and. Obviously. I'm a lot, older and. Have. Poured I said. I'm, in wouldn't have time for anything. All. Right fair enough I mean we're. All facing the same types of constraints, here another. Question for you what, was your most influential, class at the GSB. So. I. Think. I taste two classes, all equivocate, one. Was touchy-feely I don't. Know if they do they still do interpersonal, dynamics yes. Look. I love, touchy feely because it was a chance to see how people interact, in a much more, honest. Way than, when people are normally, very controlled, and also when I went home for, Christmas break and my. Father looking goes like is this a class seriously. So. I loved that too just annoying him but I also. Took a course here, in. International. Economics that was I thought. Absolutely. Brilliant in terms of thinking about. Basically. Competitive. Advantage, on a national. Level and thinking. About what makes. Societies. Work what makes societies, product, of widest. Some societies, move, forward really well and what are the reasons, that other societies, have continuing. Problems and I thought that was something that I'd never. Looked. At so systematically. It was really, a brilliant course. Speaking. Of making societies, productive, let's now turn to your early days as an investor you were, a rising, star at Goldman when Wall Street was booming and then, in less than a year you had moved to San Francisco to start up a small merger. Arbitrage hedge, fund what. Gave you the confidence to. Make this sudden change. So. Let's be clear when, I moved, back out here from, Goldman. First of all my wife and I wanted to live west of the Mississippi, period. So. I knew, that Goldman. Sachs was in New York and therefore I was gonna have to leave it's, also true that I got in a gigantic. Fight. With the guy I was working for and therefore, I felt like under no circumstances. Do, I want to continue to go to work and see that guy every morning mm-hmm. Which is. Not. A great career move but. Also I felt like if you're one of the things I love about investing. Is you. Can measure the results and I, felt like if I do a bad job at Goldman Sachs they're, gonna fire me if. I do a bad job on my own I'm. Also gonna get fired but. If I do a good job on my own I have much more upside than I do at Goldman Sachs and so. I didn't think I was taking more risk because I felt like either. Way if you don't do a good job in life it doesn't work out so, I was more than willing to bet on myself in. The sense that if, if you're taking that risk anyway why not at. Least give yourself the upside and, have the opportunity, to go surfing on weekends it's helpful. We. Did want to live west of the Mississippi. You, then went from, 10 million dollars in seed capital to managing, about 20 billion dollars by the time you left step down from Farallon, in 2012, what. Challenges, did you face as the fund scaled particularly. Those related to leadership. Well. First. Of all one of the things that we tried to do was to grow gradually. Because. I felt if you went from ten million dollars, to twenty million dollars, that, wasn't a step function so, that you could change. Your team, slowly. Enough so that you continue to do the job and that, if you went from ten million dollars to three hundred million dollars you're in a completely, different business and you're taking a gigantic, risk with, whether you have the capability. To actually perform. That function so. We really grew very, consistently. But. We never grew. You know geometrically. I. Will. Say this when I think, back to what we were doing, at. Farallon, and when I'm mad at myself I think, that there's a rule in organizations. That up to 125. People you. Don't have to be that formally, organized, and you know I remember being here in the HP.
Way Management. By walking around that's really what I liked to do was, just talk to everybody and try and stay up to date and hear. What the problems, were and we. Had a very open office. Physically. So. That there were no walls there were no offices, so, that there was a lot of internal communication. Whether, people wanted it or not I think. Above a hundred and twenty-five people you, start to really need rules and you, really need hierarchy. And you really need a way of organizing people, and, we. Did do that but. If there's, one thing that I would fault myself for, and I do get mad about it is I think, at some point we. Had a very, very flat organization and. I. Really did feel like we. Made. Decisions. Listening. To everybody, very clearly and we didn't really have a hierarchical, decision-making, and if I were doing it again I would, be a little more insistent. That the, people who'd proved themselves into which I would throw, my name, should. Get a little more decision-making than some of the people who thought they knew a heck of a lot and then it would be like oh my gosh I had no idea that would happen because, I'm like well that's what I was talking to you about for the last six. Months and so. I if there is when. I think back to the growth as you get. More larger. You actually, have to be able to have some system where the senior people really do have, to listen have, to take into account but. Ultimately, you. Know they're, supposed to be in the position they're gonna get hung if it doesn't turn out to be a good decision so they. Should the younger people should defer. To them until they, get in that position. As. You were growing consistently, one. Thing that it was also growing was, farallon's. Investments, in the coal industry you, know Farallon, became one of the major players in sustaining, and growing the coal industry in Australia Indonesia. And China knowing. What you know now in a different time would. You have made those investments again, no. Look. I would, say somewhere. Around, to. Ten years ago. Basically. I, was, sitting, here thinking about. What. Was going to turn out to be a huge problem and I started to really focus on climate and then, I started to look at all our investments, differently, and so. It, really was a situation where, I felt, like up till then we. Were you. Know we invested, in every single industry, including. Fossil fuels which. Were probably less. Than proportionate. To what they are in the whole worldwide. Economy or the American economy but definitely, significant, investments, and. Starting. About ten years ago I realized wow this is just going to be a gigantic. Problem, and I've, got to not only stop, doing, this but, I've got to get out of this which I did. Do and have done but. I feel like do I wish that I'd come. To that conclusion ten years or 20 of course I do do, I wish I were taller, and playing center in the NBA, yes I wish. I were smarter, and it figured out sooner, but I think that what, we're really coming from as a society. Is exactly. The same place which is this our society. Was, based around, fossil. Fuel energy that's, just the truth we all drive, cars we've. All grown up in a society where electricity, was largely based on fossil fuels, it's. Not a question of that the question is what are we going to do about it and how fast can we move away from it and how fast do we have to move away from it so, of course I wish.
When My good, friend Dan lash off was writing his PhD thesis on, climate, change in 1989. That I was like oh Dan's absolutely, right we should be really careful about this but it took me longer than, you. Know obviously. The. Sooner the better but it's but I feel like ten years ago I, came. To that conclusion I decided this. Is really, important, that this, is a thing which will be. Critical. For our society. And critical, for. Everybody. On this planet so therefore, we. Can't equivocate, about it wish, I'd been smarter, could. We drill down on that moment a little bit because I think there's there's a very, deep, amount of thought that you put into this particular issue and yet there's so many issues out there in the world and you've spoken about many of them you've spoken about inequality. And you've spoken about tobacco. And the harm things suppose the society, gone, through many, different topics how is it the climate, resonated. So deeply and specifically. What you saw at that time ten years ago well, let me give you my thinking Venn which is this I mean, I know. The GSB has a ton of foreign-born. Students, but. As, an. American I. Felt. Like our system. Basically, works and that. The way it basically, works is we're rude we're. Volger. We're loud we disagree, with each other but, if everybody's trying to solve, the problem, regardless. Of where they're coming from we, compromise, we solved the problem we move on that and everyone, else is thinking they're very rude and loud which is true but. We compromise, and solve the problem and I. Looked at climate, and I thought my gosh, we're. Not solving the problem that, we have this huge problem, that could, be existential. For. Our society, and for some reason the normal, American, loud. Conflictual. Compromise. Isn't happening here and I. Felt like I really believed in our system so I want to get into our system, more. To. Try and figure out how I can be part of its, normal, solution. For, big problems, for us and. So. When I that's I have, changed, actually my understanding, as a result of getting, into that question. And diving into that problem specifically. It's, changed, my understanding, of how America. Really works but the reason I did that problem, was I thought it was existential, and I didn't understand why the normal American Democratic. Ugly. Messy. Loud. Way wasn't, working in that case. This. Gives us a really good transition over, to your extensive, philanthropic work, you, signed on to the The Giving Pledge in 2010, and you've been especially active in environmental causes, especially since that moment that you described where you were you saw. The light so to speak. How. Did you go about finding, the right causes, to back. Buy. I mean it's such a classic thing I think that you learn a lot by doing and, I. Think that what we found over time is, hopefully. We're a, lot, better at, what we're doing as a result of all the things that we did that weren't so smart and. You. Know to a large extent, I would say. My. Understanding. Of the. Idea of philanthropy. Is really, different from what I would say is a traditional. Understanding. And philanthropy, because actually what we've tried to do is to set up operating, enterprises. In. The real world that, are hands-on to actually, affect, the, kinds of things we're hoping for that. Sounds complicated, but for instance we have a, community. Bank, where. The, equity. Is through, a foundation, so we can never get the money back so in a way we've given the money away forever and ever but. It's a bank that's FDIC, insured, it makes loans to. For economic. Justice. Environmental, sustainability. Women. And minority-owned businesses, so, it's got a very, specific, social. Thrust. Done. Through our, capitalist. Economic system. But. With a, complete. Value, driven, agenda. So. It's, kind of you, we really are we're not giving, money away to people we're, lending money we need them to pay us back with interest, so, we can make more loans to other people, so they can succeed and, so. That's not I mean I've never heard of some else doing that or thinking of that is philanthropy. In fact when we suggest. Other people that it's a good idea they look very, askance. But. We, really believe in operating, enterprises, where people are, involved. On it you know really in the real world trying, to have impact. In a big way and also to show that things are possible, is. That a strategy, that underlies, your, focus. On both the Steyr Taylor Center and the Tomcats Center here at Stanford I mean you you you've clearly, believed that Stanford, has a role to play in your strategy and fighting climate change so.
One Of the things that's true if you look at climate and you kind of divide it into what. Is happening, in the real world in terms of the natural world changes, and. What's. Happening, in terms of research, and technology, and capability. Of dealing with the problems, or solving the problems and then, our willingness to actually solve the problems and use the technology and the techniques we have I felt. As if and, I still feel like I. Mean. I love Stanford, Stanford. Has led revolutions. In technology I, wanted. Stanford, to, use, its broad. Range of capabilities. To, be a leader in this on every, scale, so, you know from an investment, side a legal, side a technology. Side, I felt, like Stanford has done this in IT. Why. Shouldn't we be doing this in, energy, we have you know they're very few places that, have the. Breadth of research the. Sort of capability. Of across the board making. This difference, and making it happen and so, you. Know part, of the solution, to this is our ability to solve it from, a technical basis, and then, to understand, how that fits into society. And so. Since I love Stanford since I knew the capabilities, I felt like I would really. Like. It if, Stanford. Leads, on this and if, you actually look at what Stanford did on. Renewing. Its own electricity, plant for the campus, that. Was I think design. Designated. The, best engineering. Project, in the United States of America, in 2015. The. Stanford, you. Know electricity. System, so, that we have the capability. Of doing, this in, a way that is. Significant. And replicable, and that's, what I wanted to see apparently. We're also pretty good at football. Wow. I'd. Go with before a fall. It'll, pass on the message to David Shaw. But. Before we go to national, politics, I'd like us I'd like to focus a, bit on your activism, here in our own backyard, in. California. Voter ballot initiatives, allow, the public to vote directly, on proposed, laws you. Have focused on these ballot. Initiatives, as a way to influence a wide range of policies, including. Climate, and energy legislation, how. Did you arrive at this particular approach. So. For, the people who aren't California. Citizens we, do have this extremely. Fat, and complicated. Ballot where, you're basically, allowed to do direct democracy so. If you can get, enough signatures raised. You can put a proposition. On the ballot, that everybody, gets to vote on and if. Fifty point one percent of the people vote for it you have a new law and this. Has led to some truly, heinous, outcomes. And, it's also led to some really good outcomes and so. The, first thing that we did was. I co-chaired. With George Shultz. Fighting. A ballot initiative which, was designed, to get rid of our progressive, energy legislation, our cap-and-trade system and a bunch of other things that have to do with basically. Having the most progressive energy, laws in the world that, was in 2010, to, oil companies wanted. To basically change. Those laws and get rid of them and so, we were in we were the know on 23, campaign so. Why do we did that because. Traditionally. When, you get to the ballot and it's a question of business, versus. Environmentalists. Jobs, versus. The environment jobs, and business always win and that, was the way people thought this was going to happen and there, had been a previous ballot, initiative in 2006. So, four years before where an individual, from LA spent, 70 million bucks and lost, his initiative, so, there was no one rushing, to be the environmental.
Side Of this, proposition, so, here's what it's like most, of the jobs I've had there was no one else stupid enough to take it mm-hmm. But, the difference was it actually was a formative, experience for me because. It. Really was about climate, in some ways but. We had a rule no one can talk about climate that. The way that we're going to talk to people is about local, human issues of jobs, and clean air and in. Fact by far the best TV commercial, we had was. A commercial, of a woman who was the head in California, of the American Lung Association, talking. About clean air and she it's, the American Lung Association so, obviously cared about it she was very credible. It's, a lovely person came across incredibly, well and we got 70%, of the vote for people who said basically we, don't want to get rid of our you. Know clean, air / climate. Legislation. We. Also found, and I I think. It's it was incredibly significant, for me that. We. Wanted a different message which was more. Jobs cleaner, air but we also wanted, a completely, different coalition. So, we spent we. Knew that all the people who are traditional, environmentalists. Of course. Would be on our side in terms, of groups you know, the NRDC, EDF. League. Of Conservation Voters. Sierra. Club of course those people would be for us but. Actually when you look at the people of California the, number one group who supports, everything. Environmental. Everything. About progressive, energy everything. Against climate change are Latinos. Number. Two group african-americans, number, three group asian-americans. So, when we were looking at the people of California, for votes we, knew from the beginning we were going to get progressive, business and we. Basically split. The. Chambers, of commerce around. The state we had at least half this chambers, on our side we. Had organized, labor but. We went to every community group, and we. Wanted to make sure that people understood, it because actually that's the. The people, who, are not necessarily considered. Members, of the Sierra Club and might, Bruns once tried to kill me for saying this but, people. Who haven't, necessarily been, the, what. You'd think of is the fabled. Environmentalists. Actually are the environmentalist, and. That's, how we got seventy percent of the vote is we look at a completely, different slice, of. Californians.
And We said our coalition, is much, broader and our, message, is much different, and that, is something that I learned in that year and. It. Was true then and it's true now. So. These. Campaigns. That you've organized, on behalf of these causes are not cheap. California's. You know already one of the most expensive media markets in the country and, as these. Things go national I mean the the costs grow almost exponentially. What. Would you say to those who argue that spending, massive amounts of money on these types of campaigns actually undermines. Our democratic, process. There's. No question that the money in politics is completely out of control and I, would be strongly, in favor of changing the, rules I completely. Agree with that I do think, the, money in politics, is a cancer, and it's distorting. And has. Led to some terrible, outcomes and continues, to I don't think there's you really can't look at this tax bill that's, going through the Congress right now and not see that that's exactly, what's happening that we have a fight, between moneyed. Interests, and the people of the United States and the people the United States are losing badly no. Question about it. That. Happens to be the system we have. So. I could say you. Know what I wish, the system were different until the system is different I'm going to sit on the sidelines, or. I could say I really, think it's important that we keep our clean, energy legislation I, really, think it's important to close, this tax loophole, I really, think it's important, to stop, young people from smoking and just, suck it up and spend the money or. I could be pure, and say I'm going to keep the money and I'm gonna, you. Know wait until the system is perfect which will be by the way never. So. I do think. Should change it I'm completely, against Citizens United decision I think it's an absolutely, terrible, decision. For democracy, I think, it is distorting.
The. Way our societies. Run and I'm completely. Committed, to, a change, to what I would think of if you look at what we do, I believe. The solution to our problems, is broader democracy. And broader, participation and, more power to the people of the United States so, if you look at what our organization does, we're. A grassroots, organization, last. Year we with our partners we knocked on 12 and a half million doors we. Were on 370. College campuses, we, registered, eight hundred and seven thousand people in the state of California, about 350, thousand, people outside every. One of those was an attempt to get people or underrepresented. To. Part to be RIT to. Be registered engaged. And to participate so. Because unless you're doing that your, voice isn't heard and you're not going to get a fair shake so. Everything. We're doing is. About, broader. Democracy. More. Participation. By, people who are underrepresented, so. That they'll get a fair shake in our democracy, and the, money side of this on the other side is huge, and absolutely, contrary to, every, single thing we're doing and in fact they're fighting their head. Off, to. Try and prevent. Americans. From being able to exercise their franchise and, to participate, for so. I'm, hearing you say something, very interesting which is that you know, even. Even if Gandhi once said you know an eye for an eye will make the world blind you're. Essentially telling us well in this case two wrongs do make a right that if you want to fight you have to fight the fight with with with your own with, you know whatever you've got on in, your arsenal oh no. No no no no I will not accept that question I am. NOT jabbing. Anyone's eye out that. Is absolutely, unfair what, I believe, what they are doing is anti-democratic and, I, believe the only thing I'm doing is to try and make, the democracy, broader more, complete, and more just I don't think this is an eye for an eye I don't think I'm doing anything that, is not absolutely positive.
And In, favor of the, American. System in the American people I'm not doing anything to hurt them all. Trying to do is have, a counterbalance. That, is supporting, the people of the United States this isn't an eye for an eye this. Is completely, different this is an attempt to protect a, system. That was set up over. 200, years ago where, the idea is everybody, is equal. Not every dollar is equal but, every person is equal, so. And. I happen by the way to support, a lot of the causes you back so understand this comes from a really good place. George. Just me I just agree with you I intend to I think it would be edifying. For people understand, something which is you know you've build yourself occasionally as the left's answer to the Koch brothers never, not, one time, thank. You for saying it not once and never will I've. Someone. Else I. Promise. It's never happened. Are there people ask me, if I'm the left answer to the Koch brothers and I always say no, all. Right well well challenge, accepted, I guess, what. What what, I've been there every time no III III III, agree. That. It's not a fair characterization, to, compare people like that but I think one one thing that I was curious to understand, is, what. Do you think the American left or rather just progressive, causes in, general and those who back them could learn from the Koch brothers. Well. Say this I mean, I don't know if you've got have you guys read dark. Money, there's. A book about the Koch brothers essentially. Kind, of going back through their family history, about, what, they've done from, an. Economic. Basis and what they've done on a political basis, and they've, been really consistent. They. Have been pushing on this stuff. Really. For, over, a century as, a family, and so. I admire. The fact that they have. Continued. To push, on. The. Things that they care about over, a very long period of time and when you've said that you've said every single thing that I appreciate, about them. We're, talking about what can what can we learn from them yeah we don't have to appreciate them be consistent, you can system trying is. You know I think that there's, no question. That. Over. The you know our organization I quit my job five years ago at an organization, has been up for approximately, five years. We're. Much better today than we were five years ago what, we can do in, terms of. Going. Door-to-door what, we can do on college campuses, what, we can our, capability. Of. Making. Change is much better because of the five years that we've spent you. Know improving. Ourselves I mean when we I thought, at Farallon and I think today when, you look at when I look back at 2017. I'll. Say what did we do in 2017, did, it work didn't it work I will, also ask is. Our organization, stronger, at the end of the year than it is at the beginning of the year because. There are lots of things you can do that makes a year be good at the. Expense of a long term growth of your organization. Capability. And I. Always, feel like you, want to have good results and you, want to grow your capability. And so. When I think about what we're trying to do and what I think progressives should be trying to do is be, aware of that second, part the, you know it's. A, long-term. Proposition. To. Get this country back on, a trajectory. Of, growth and, justice. And so. Any. One, year any one election is, not going to do it you've always got to be building. Capability. Over time. So. Speaking. About building. Capability, I think it's it's probably a time just to change topics slightly it's a one that's been in the news recently I believe I've seen a commercial or two regarding your love of President Trump. If. If. Trump. Invited. You to work on climate change policy, at the White House would you accept. No. There's. There's absolutely no chance that, the president, has. Any interest, in seriously. Working on climate, policy. Every. Single thing he's done in, the election, and substance, sub subsequent, to the election has, been to work against, us having. Progressive. Objectively. Derived, energy. Policies so. There is no chance that he would make a good-faith, effort, to. Have me come and try. And come. Up with a program, so, that as a country we could move forward in, a positive way, and I think that the fact that I'm saying that I deeply regret. You. Know I I started, by saying my belief in the American system is as long. As you cede to, the other person. That. They're patriotic that. Their first. Goal. Is to help the American people and that, they're driven by a belief. In data. Objectivity. And. Analysis. That's. The American system and if people disagree with you fine, of course they do I mean. Anyone who's arrogant enough to think they're always right is really. Ridiculous. So. The American system is we, may disagree but as long as you cede good intentions, then.
Well. I'll say this I don't think there's one answer to that question, you know I I have, four. Kids who, are 23. 25. 27, and. 29. And, they. Are I think that, they're generations so for everybody who's sitting here who's in those that. Age range I think that, that your, generation. Actually. Is. Much. More thoughtful. About. The, way that you're thinking about your careers, and your lives, in, the class of 1983, at the business school where basically we would like a job I think. People now are much more. Proactive. In thinking about what. Getting that job will mean and what the implications are down the line I really do but. I think when I look at my four kids my, oldest, son is working, on, basically. Software, to put renewables, on the grid. My. Second son is an architecture. Student who's trying to figure out how to use. The mimicry, of nature to make better, spaces. For people to live in my. Daughter is working at an impact, investor, trying. To get good returns but also take into account the what, will mean for the world if you make the investments, and, my youngest son is. Claims. To be about to take the MCATs and he's working on health policy for. A congressperson. Congress. Person from Southern California so. My answer is I don't think there's one answer. I, think. That as always. You should do the things that you love and are thrilled by but. I think that when you do them you should do them with a perspective, that. There is, going. To be that you're going to have a lot of impact more than you think, and that. The, flip side of getting to go to this. Incredibly. Elite. Institution. I know people hate hearing that everyone, would like to think that you know ah shucks, it's, nothing special, it's very special, people. Here get an opportunity to have impact, that's absolutely, disproportionate. And I think you should just be aware that when, you do, you. Should take responsibility, for what's what you're causing and that. That is gonna I don't care what your job is as long. As you're doing that as long, as you're thinking it through as, and. Your you. Know your values are reasonable. Then you will do good things and I think that you know that is the. Responsibility. Of getting all this special. Stuff, which you know I'm extremely. Grateful to have gotten myself is. A you know it is a massive. Opportunity and, with, the massive opportunity, should come some. Sense of responsibility. That you don't just get to do this for yourself that. If you're gonna get this chance special, chance in, society. That, you should be thinking about what that means for. Your. Relationship. To all the other people in this society who, didn't get that special chance and. And I think if you don't do that I think it that would be a profound, mistake for someone. Will. Now open it up to questions, from the audience we've, got some microphones. Hi. Tucker, Van Aken I'm an MBA one here. Question. On why. Impeachment. Why, not focus on the policy disagreements. Raise those issues with the American people it, strikes me from a rhetoric perspective. That saying. The man is an existential threat he should be removed from office is, to. No action. Impact this a bit confusing, and potentially dangerous so, thank you. So. I've why. Impeachment. Well. I do think the man is an existential threat for starters I do, think that he's met the standard, for impeachment we're actually gonna go, through that I think in public next week but. I also. Think that. There. Is a question in our society, really. About. What. We're doing and whether we're in crisis, so. I look at the impeachment, question, as are, we, in crisis, and I, talked, to a. Friend. Of mine and I thought he said something so very. Large public, company and he said Tom I have a three percent mortgage, we. Have four percent unemployment, and the, stock market is irregular is it a record. How. Are we in crisis, I. Said. Well the markets fluctuate. Economies. Change. Around but. If you look what was going on politically. If. You look at what's going on internationally. If. You look at what's going on in terms of the long term decisions. For the United States of America's, we, are in a profound, crisis. That people are not dealing with and that, is the point of impeachment is, this I'm not sitting, here saying people who say to me you know I was never gonna use this when they don't like a tax bill this has nothing to do with the tax bill we, are in a profound crisis, and the, question is when are Americans, going. To be a are, we going to as a group realize.
This And understand. What's at stake so I actually think that going after the individual. Bills all. Of which I disagree, with every. Single one. Is the. Wrong way to do it that that, is something where you're really fighting in DC. I don't, want to be fighting in DC I don't. Think it's gonna be effective, I think it's a waste of time and money what, I want to be doing is, I want to be talking to people in Des Moines and. Schenectady. And Cleveland. And. Dallas. And all, across the country because those are the people who I trust. That's. What I think I keep saying the solution, for us is, going to be a broader, democracy. Not, to go back to, the to, Washington, DC to beg people to be more fun to, build. On that question a little bit you you've you've fuel, that many questions about you. Know whether or not this impeachment, campaign is setting, up a run for governor of California and, I'm not gonna repeat that question but, you know talking about whom you're fighting on behalf of you know I I guess it was curious what would you want potential, voters to know about you based on this impeachment, camp I mean yes, that because, because you're the one fighting for them. Well. I don't think it's about me let's start by saying this campaign is supposed to be about everybody, putting their voice together the, only thing I'd really like people to understand, is I think. That, most. Of the people who interview, me ask me what my hidden agenda, is and. There's. An assumption, in there that, no one would do something, because, they just thought it was the right thing to do that, there has to be something, you know I remember when I started on climate. People would say to me but, you're doing this to make money on your clean energy investments, right and I'd be like how. Does spending, tens of millions of dollars it has no, response, make, people richer it's like. But, we actually made sure we made know clean energy, investments, except through our foundation so. That we could just take that off the table so when I think about this impeachment, my whole point and this is we're. Trying to do what's right because we think it's important, that's, what I want people to think that's. All we want we, want Americans. To think that, there is a possibility, to do what's right and that. Is what we are pushing for as hard as possible.
Hi. My name is Todd ruler brand MBA. One and I'm. Curious to know so you, know investing all this money and technologies. For sustainable, energy and trying, to influence policies. To promote, them but. People. Largely, ignore, the fact that if you just got rid of fossil fuels today you, would be on having. Thousands, of people unemployed all of a sudden across the US and largely. This happened in the coal industry and, is definitely. A factor that led to the, you. Know results, of this past election so, to. Claim that we need to get to sustainable, energy as quickly as possible but, ignore, this really. Large fact of doing. So could actually result in electing. Even more. Insane. Potential. President. President. What, sort of your response to what are you doing to to, actually look at the American, workers and people that are going to be voting. In these elections to, ensure, that if we do get to a sustainable, energy. Across. The grid how, do we actually make. Sure that we're not leaving other people behind. So. That. Is a great question and, before. I give my answer let me apologize, for my answer because, I completely, disagree, with almost everything you said. So. I'll but. We actually did a study on this so. We did a study what, happens to employment, if we move to clean energy we can't move to clean energy tomorrow, it's, always going to be a question of pace, and, but. We did a study with Hank Paulson, the. Republican. Secretary. Of the Treasury under george w bush and mike, bloomberg who's, been a democrat, a republican and, is sort, of an independent, guess to make sure that it wasn't a partisan study and it basically showed that in fact if we, move to clean energy it creates more jobs, that. We will have higher, paying jobs the United States will grow, faster, and this isn't taking into account the. Costs, of having. The climate change and the. Kinds of disasters, that are going to cost the United States three hundred billion dollars this year. But. There is a true, there, are a couple true, points in what you're saying that are absolutely, important, politically, and I agree with one. Of them has to do with what are you going to do with it's, true there will be more jobs and it's true the jobs will be better paying but not for the same people so. The question is what, are you going to do my roommate, my. Ex-roommate, lives, in the poorest County in West Virginia, his, brother-in-law, is an unemployed coal miner and his, cousin is an unemployed coal miner so, I went, down to see him he has he's. A retired. Career, army officer with, some health problems, and I. Went down and he was telling me in. If you're a coal miner today you make 82 bucks an hour which. In the poorest County in West Virginia, is an. Unbelievable. Amount of money and the, next stop is probably 25 bucks an hour so. There is a recall, mining, is not like the world's greatest job it's, a really well paid job with, good benefits and, that's, really what we're talking about we're, talking about what are we going to do, for. The people in our society, who, think look they're fifty thousand coal miners in the United States of America, we. Could get it's, a very very very very small. Number of people but, there's a broader question here, and that's what Trump was referring to they're, a group of people in the United States of America who do not live in Palo Alto California.
They. Do not live in New York City they, do not live in the parts of the country, that are seeing real, growth, they're, not connected, to the information, technology revolution. They, are not connected to the positive, aspects, of globalization, and they. Can see the the climate, changing but, for them, that's. The. LAT that is not the immediate, problem, they're dealing with that's just something that may put them out of work. So they feel completely, scared. By. The fact all the, fact that the world is changing that, people in Palo Alto go like woohoo just, killed it on my latest investment, they're, going like whoa, the world is changing and they just closed the plant and there's, only one plant or they, just closed the coal mine and now, what do we do now. We're gonna get less than half the dollars, per hour that, we thought we were gonna get or though and we were getting so, the question, to me is not, the macro, question, you asked but the micro, question, what. Do we say to the people in rural, America. Or poor. Urban, America who are not connected. To the growth for whom the rapid, pace, of change in our society is scary, as anything. And that, is what Trump was dealing with that fear, that uncertainty. And that sense that no one was listening and. I. Would say I would I think his answer was a dishonest one and I think it was, absolutely. He, net he's. We're not going back to a lot of coal miners. Even. If we dug a ton more coal it's all mechanized, no one is going into a coal face with, a pick and shovel anymore, period. But. He but it was a perfect, symbol, for going. Back to a time when. Being a hardworking American, who is working willing. To go to work every, day and kill yourself, you've, got a middle class job including. In rural America, so, the question is when we talk to those people who, are hardworking and scared, how. Are we actually not. How are we going to fake it how. Are we actually gonna conclude them and to me the question is twofold one is, we need to invest in the people of the United States, that. Means education, training we, need to connect, them to this world that you guys are in right, here, in this auditorium if you don't have broadband, in a community, you, could. Not compete in the first world. When. I was in West Virginia, the roads were bad literally. So. The question is if you're in that community how can you possibly, compete. In this world or, be, even be part of this world and this includes rural California if. You're, not connected real-time. It can't happen, secondly. If we're not investing, in those people we, lose they lose the country loses the, idea that we're gonna cut. Education. Training. Health, care food. For, poor kids from, the budget is insane. It's. Not just it's morally, wrong but it's also crazy, this, country, will do well if Americans, do well we. Should be taking our money and investing. In those people so, that they think I'm, going, to be connected, to the world I'm going to be trained for the world I'm gonna participate in this world in, the 21st, century so that every change doesn't, actually push, me further, away, from. What's going on in the real world because, if this if we were in rural. Wisconsin and. There. Was one, plant in our town and that. Plant closed we wouldn't know what to do either except. Leave. That's. What's going on in this world we need to invest and frankly. Clean. Energy. It means rebuilding. This country and it actually means, rebuilding. This country with millions. Of net, new, jobs we. Have to do it it's, a way for us in the short term to get every, community, rural. Poor, urban people. People. In rural America. We have to do it everywhere, it's good jobs everywhere the question is what, are the jobs pay and who gets them I'll, blessing I'll say is this I was, in Cleveland. Talking. To some inner-city, ministers. About. Clean energy jobs and they, were excited. I promise. You at the idea that we could bring thousands. Of jobs to, urban. Poor. Cleveland. With high unemployment for. Their people in, their, communities. It's. True in rural Wisconsin too, so when I hear it I know he's, talking the president was dealing, with a real, emotional. Problem, that, is absolutely. Felt in, this country but he wasn't giving a fair answer and the answer I'm giving about invest in Americans, rebuild. The country and connect, us all together is actually, the way that somebody living in a rural part of this country can connect. With you guys in this room, or you, could choose to live in, a rural part of California, and still connect with the fastest-growing, most. Vibrant countries, companies. In the world. We. Are almost, out of time so I'm just gonna take the final question from Yara we can wrap up yes well officially according to the clock uh-huh, but, the you know the holidays are right around the corner and, I've. Read that you are known for requiring guests. At your annual Christmas, lunch to bring a poem, to read, what's.
The Best poem you've heard. Well. I would say. There. Are some great American. Poets, right. Now, the, two that I would recommend, you if you're not reading your poetry every, night before bed. Billy. Collins is hilarious. And. Really. Profound, and mary, oliver is. Fantastic. And super. Fun and. Wow. There, if, you read just those two poets they, are I. Promise. You you will laugh really hard and you will walk away happier. And with a sense of. Some. The. World being a place where we can all make a better we, can have, a positive impact and that's what we're all too you know the one thing I'd say to you guys is look. Having. A meaningful, life, is what you should be going for that. Is what will make you happy if. You. Sit there and think I'm having, a positive impact, I'm, having. A meaningful life, that, is what you will want when, you're my age and so. When, people say you're really trying to do this to make more money I'm like no selfishly. I'm trying to have a positive impact I'm not trying to say it's not selfish but that's what I promise, you guys if you're doing that, you will find great joy in that and that's what I've observed in myself and all the people who I meet. Ladies. And gentlemen please think join me in thanking time star. You.