Yuri Milner in 2011
|Born||(1961-11-11) 11 November 1961
Moscow, Russian SFSR,
|Alma mater||Moscow State University
Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (MBA)
|Occupation||Businessman: venture capitalist, founder of Digital Sky Technologies (DST Global)|
|Net worth||US$ 3.1 billion (2015)|
|Spouse(s)||Julia Milner, nÃ©e Bochkova (m. 2004)|
I have invested in four social networks. More than any other. But that’s in Russia and Poland.
Google never knew how successful key words would be. Facebook didn’t know how successful Zynga would be.
The problem is that modern fundamental physics is so far from you and me. The mathematics has become so much more complicated that you need at least 10 years to understand it. Fundamental physics has advanced so far from the understanding of most people that there is really a big disconnect.
Facebook can be an accumulation of different intelligences. Ask a question, translated into many languages and somebody, somewhere in the world, will have an answer.
The largest newspaper in the United States is only reaching 1 percent of population. We are kind of assuming that ‘Wall Street Journal,’ ‘USA Today,’ and other newspapers are very important. Yes, they’re extremely important, but only to 1 percent of the population on a daily basis.
Science is one of a handful of things that defines us as a very special species. It is amazing how far we have been able to get and how accurate our predictions are. I think understanding how the universe was born is very important. It really gives us a perspective on many things.
There is a significant momentum behind the social Internet. A wide range of public investors were very enthusiastic about that.
Fundamental physics is like an art more or less. It’s completely non-practical, and you can’t use it for anything. But it’s about the universe and how the world came into being. It’s very remote from your daily life and mine, and yet it defines us as human beings.
You have to travel globally today to know what’s going on and maintain an edge.
It is hard to think of practical applications of the black hole. Because practical applications are so remote, many people assume we should not be interested. But this quest to understand the world is what defines us as human beings.
It’s not how much something’s worth today, it’s what it’s worth in five or 10 years.
I must analyze, from what I do now, what will be the impact two or three or five years in the future. What is the statement I want to make?
The company that creates one global social graph will be very important going forward. It will be Facebook, with maybe 2-3 local social networks able to sustain competition long term.
Facebook now is mostly about people you know. In the future it could be about people you know less but are more important.
Russia is one of the places where significant presence of social networks are driven by domestic players right now.
Story was that human civilization started to develop with first social network. Emerged where population concentration was high. Helped propel to where we are now. Facebook is next step of creating a huge human brain to embrace hundreds of million, possibly billions of people.
When you have a few billion people connected with screens, not voice… screens are important. You can transmit a thousand times more information.
Social is a better way to interact with digital world. It is better than search. Implications for… everything. Total change.
Kai-Fu’s Innovation Works is the top very-early-stage fund in China. We are proud to be an investor, and hope that IW will help to produce in China companies on the scale of Facebook, Zynga, or Groupon.
One of the companies that we’ve invested in is called Facebook. In only two years, between 2009 and 2011, the information exchanged between people increased 28 times. And that cannot be explained by new people joining Facebook.
You know among people who kind of travel a lot and have exposure to the United States and some other countries, they do have accounts, but you know, Russia is not exactly the place with multiple language skills so local networks kind of have an edge.
Facebook is at the forefront. It’s the company that can fundamentally change the way information is being exchanged and processed. It can be the basis for artificial intelligence to develop over time.
I think there’s a time to be private and a time to be public, and I think that companies like Facebook and Groupon are basically transformational companies. You don’t come across them very often, and I’m pretty sure that they can continue to grow for a long time even being public.
I have this ratio that if you divide age of entrepreneur by market cap of company. For Facebook it’s one. Every year of his life Zuckerberg has been making $1 billion for investors.
I am not an oligarch. I am a servant and I try to align my interests and those of my investors.
Big Internet companies on average are capable of generating revenue of $1 million per employee, and that compares to 10 to 20 percent of that which is normally generated by traditional offline businesses of comparable size.
We monitor close to 50 companies globally that can be potential investment opportunities. I’d like to see DST as a significant global investment company in the Internet arena.
I think top scientists need to be compensated at a different scale in society. Somebody with experience will tell you that true scientists are not motivated by money – they are motivated by the quest itself. That is true. But I think an additional recognition will not hurt.
It’s not about revenues: The fundamental economics in digital business is scale and margins. The top line has become the bottom line.
My background is in theoretical physics, and it’s something very close to my heart.