This article is based on a speech delivered at the Shift’s Defense Ventures Summit in Washington, D.C. on November 15, 2023. Scroll down for a video of the address.
Two years ago, I made a bold prediction, which is actually a bad thing for a venture capitalist to do because we’re so often wrong. During the Reagan National Defense Forum, I tweeted “Time is Running Out with Silicon Valley.” We needed to figure out how to get the Department of Defense to transform its laborious, unproductive procurement process. If they didn’t, start-up companies with breakthrough ideas were going to abandon military defense and move to more fruitful areas of technology. We had to move faster. We had to act with urgency. Because American defense—and the defense of our allies—depended on us.
And then just a few months later, that prediction became a moot point: Russia invaded Ukraine and reminded us why defense technology is not merely something to debate in theory. We were living in a new geopolitical reality. Time wasn’t running out. The sand was at the bottom of the hourglass. History had begun again, and we understood we were entering a new, violent age that would look different from the recent past.