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Fareed Zakaria GPS
Discussion of How Impeachment Process Works; Talkng Finance and Tech Companies. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired May 20, 2018 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:12] FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: This is GPS, the GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE. Welcome to all of you in the United States and around the world. I'm Fareed Zakaria.
ZAKARIA: We'll begin today's show in Israel where the U.S. opened its Jerusalem embassy on Monday and the Palestinians protested leaving dozens killed by Israeli forces.
I talk to Thomas Friedman and Hanan Ashrawi about the political fight that ensued in Israel and around the world.
Also indictment and impeachment, two words that swirl around a lot these days. Constitutional law scholar Lawrence Tribe has done a deep dive on that second word, impeachment.
If Mueller suspects treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors, should Trump be impeached? You might be surprised by Tribe's answer.
And picking winners and losers in Silicon Valley is no easy task, but John Doerr is perhaps the best in the world at it. Getting in on the ground floor of Google and Amazon among many other mega successes. What is his secret?
ZAKARIA: But first here's my take. Teachers are striking in states across America and since last week was Teacher Appreciation Week, I intended to write on the subject but a more newsy topic intervened. And that's an apt metaphor for what is happening to teachers in America today. We live in a media environment in which the urgent often crowds out the important. But this week I'm going to stick to my plans and talk about teachers.
In "East of Eden," a sprawling, magisterial novel about the great American West, John Steinbeck writes, "In the country the teacher was not only an intellectual paragon and a social leader, but also the matrimonial catch of the countryside. A family could indeed walk proudly if a son married the schoolteacher."
The picture Steinbeck paints set in the early 20th century is almost unrecognizable in today's America, where schoolteachers are so poorly paid that they are five times as likely as the average full-time worker to have a second job, according to Vox. We've all heard about stagnant middle class wages. But the average
pay for a teacher in America adjusted for inflation has actually declined over the last 15 years, while their health care costs have risen substantially. The "Economist" reports that teachers earn 60 percent of what a professional with comparable education does.
With low wages and stretched resources, American educators burn out and quit the profession at twice the rate of some of the highest achieving countries, points out Linda Darling-Hammond of the Learning Policy Institute. Since 35 percent fewer Americans have studied to become teachers in recent years, she notes, there are massive teacher shortages, forcing schools nationwide to hire more than 100,000 people who lack the proper qualifications.
In fact, the "New York Times" reports, it is so hard for public schools to find qualified Americans that many districts are starting to recruit teachers from low-wage countries like the Philippines.
It's not all about money. Leading a classroom was never a pathway to riches, but teachers once did command the respect and status that Steinbeck's quote reflects. Andreas Schleicher, who heads the OECD's Education Division and has spent years doing careful international comparisons on education, has often observed that the countries that do best at public education -- Singapore, Finland, South Korea -- can recruit top college graduates into the teaching ranks because they pay reasonably well, they invest in the professional development of teachers and their societies show deep respect for the profession.
In America, when we encounter a member of the Armed Services, many of us make it a point to thank them for their service. When was the last time you did that for a public school teacher?
Yes, education is a very complicated subject. Simply spending more money does not guarantee results, although there are studies that indicate a significant correlation between teacher pay and student achievement.
The education bureaucracy is rigid and often corrupt. But all this masks the central problem: Over the last 30 years, as part of the assault on government, bureaucrats and the public sector in general, being a teacher in America has become a thankless job. And yet, teaching is the one profession that makes all other professions possible.
For more, go to CNN.com/Fareed, and read my "Washington Post" column this week. And let's get started.
The split screens on Monday were striking.
[10:05:01] In Jerusalem an entourage from the White House all decked out in their finest, opened the controversial new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, while just dozens of miles away along Israel's border with Gaza, clashes took place. In the end nearly 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and almost 3,000 were injured.
Back in Jerusalem, here's what White House senior adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner had to say that day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JARED KUSHNER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: I believe peace is within reach if we dare to believe that the future can be different from the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAKARIA: Really? Well, let's bring in two experts. Tom Friedman is a "New York Times" foreign affairs columnist and the author of "Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Acceleration." And Hanan Ashrawi is a longtime Palestinian activists and officials.
Hanan Ashrawi, let me start with you. What do you see from the Palestinian point of view as the meaning of this move of the U.S. embassy. After all, Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Countries do get to choose their own capitals. What is wrong with the United States moving its embassy there?
HANAN ASHRAWI, MEMBER, EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE PLO: Well, first of all, Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel. Jerusalem is occupied territory. According to U.N. Resolution 181 Jerusalem is a corpus separatum, and according to international law, it is an occupied city.
Jerusalem was occupied by Israel in '48. East Jerusalem was concurred and occupied in '67. But Jerusalem is essentially a Palestinian city. And therefore to claim that Israel has the right to choose its capital, yes, in its own land within its own boundaries, but they cannot choose to create a capital on other people's lands.
ZAKARIA: And what does it say that the United States has moved its embassy there to you?
ASHRAWI: I think the U.S. has dealt a serious blow if not the best blow to the peace process, number one, or to the chances of peace. It has removed the core of the requirements of peace from the agenda. As I said they removed it from the table. It has this disqualified itself as a peacemaker or an intermediary.
Jared Kushner says peace is to be had. You've destroyed the chances of peace. You've destroyed the issue of Jerusalem unilaterally. You've destroyed the issue of the refugees unilaterally by striking at Anrahan (PH) refugee rights. You refused to acknowledge the 67 boundaries. You do not talk about a two-state solution or Palestinian sovereignty. So what peace? They've totally negated every single component of the requirements and imperatives of peace.
ZAKARIA: Tom Friedman, how do you see it?
TOM FRIEDMAN, AUTHOR, "THANK YOU FOR BEING LATE": Well, you know, let's go back to what Kushner said, Fareed, that this -- by moving the embassy to Jerusalem or recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the United States has taken that off the table. That's stuff of nonsense. I mean, only Israelis and Palestinians can take that off the table. And Israelis know that and Palestinians know that.
So let me speak in terms of Trump's own language. You know, they claimed this was an advance of the peace process. Well, you know, if I were Trump and actually wanted to use this as an advance of the peace process, what would you actually have done? What would a sane, intelligent, wise president done if he was insisting on to this move? He would have come to Netanyahu and said, Bibi, I'm going to recognize Jerusalem as your capital without defining West or East Jerusalem. But here's what I'm going to get in return, I'm going to get a freeze on all Israeli settlements. Beyond the settlement blocks. No more Israeli settlements ever again deep inside Palestinian territory. Anywhere outside the settlement blocks.
You want that, I want this. Then he could have at least come to Abu Mazen. Again if this is Trump, and say, look, Abu Mazen, I know you don't like this, but I got you something Obama never got. I got a freeze on Israeli settlements outside the settlement blocks. I mean, that would have been the art of the deal.
What Trump did was the art of the giveaway. He actually gave away one of the most valuable leverage tools in American Middle East diplomacy for free. Actually, Fareed, it was worse than free. It was actually for a bit of diplomatic pornography. Because when you bring in a bunch of far-right evangelical speakers to inaugurate this new embassy, when you bring in a bunch of far-right ultra, ultraorthodox, really outside the mainstream of American Jew, you're actually moving this embassy as part of a midterm election drive.
Sheldon Adelson wrote a $30 million check to the GOP shortly before this embassy move. This was diplomatic pornography basically designed to advance the Republican midterm agenda.
ZAKARIA: And Tom, what do you make of the protests in Gaza. You were there just about a month ago. Is it fair to say that Hamas is to blame as the Israeli government says?
FRIEDMAN: You know, to blame -- all I know is you do have to ask Hamas, what are you doing?
[10:10:03] You're throwing these people up against this Israeli fence. You know what's going to happen. To me it was a cover for Hamas's utter failure not just this year or last year, but well over a decade of producing some kind of decent governance and opportunity in Gaza. And I think one of the things that it should reflect on is, yes, the Turkish prime minister went off on this, but it's quite striking to me how little protests this tragic death of scores of Palestinians engendered in the Arab world, even in the West Bank let alone in Europe. And I think people are fed up with this kind of agenda. I think the world is fed up with both sides.
ASHRAWI: Yes. I have to answer this.
ZAKARIA: Sure. Go ahead.
ASHRAWI: Because, first of all, again it is disingenuous and misleading to constantly blame Hamas. If you ask the thousands, the tens of thousands of people who are there, they will tell you that they are not push-button people. They do not get their marching instructions from Hamas. They do not get orders from above. The people who are organizing these are all grassroots civil society people. Men, women and children.
Men, women and children who are fed up with their captivity, who are fed up with the situation of utter oppression and total disregard for their lives. And this is nothing short of a massacre because all the time the Gaza people, the Palestinians are seen as numbers, as obstructions, not as human beings. And Israel is constantly treated given a pass and can act with full impunity. Anywhere else there would be real outrage.
ZAKARIA: Tom Friedman, how should we -- how does this thing move forward? You're hearing what Hanan Ashrawi is saying. You're hearing what Bibi Netanyahu is saying. You've always tried to, as I see it, work for a two-state solution, write about it. How do you -- what is your reaction to where we are?
FRIEDMAN: Well, Fareed, my reaction is, do you want to make a point or do you want to make a difference? You want to make a point, we can make all kinds of points about how bad the Israelis are. I can make all kinds of points about how bad Hamas is. I can make all kinds of points about how corrupt the Palestinian leadership is these days and how ineffectual it is. We can all win this debate. In which case this conflict is going to go on for another generation.
My own approach is, I don't want to make a point. I want to make a difference. I want to bring my imagination to how we find some way for these two people to share this land. That's the only way out. If Palestinians cannot feel at home and take their shoes off, Israelis won't be able to. If Israelis can't feel at home and take their shoes off, Palestinians will not be able to. And unless we sit down and move forward on the basis of what we all know is the right solution, that going back to the Clinton parameters, nothing is going to change, and we're just going to have this endless cycle of debate and killing.
ZAKARIA: Thanks very much, Hanan Ashrawi. Tom, stay with me. I want to ask you specifically about America's strategy and I want you to expand about American domestic politics. How it comes to play in the Middle East. We'll be back.
[10:17:41] ZAKARIA: Back with me now is Tom Friedman to talk about America's role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and American domestic politics.
Tom is of course the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning "New York Times" foreign affairs columnist, and the author of "Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Acceleration."
I was struck, Tom, that the two preachers who opened and closed the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, this extraordinary moment, were two evangelical preachers who had said essentially that Jews are damned and will essentially burn in the hell fires. One had even praised Hitler. You know, what does that tell you?
FRIEDMAN: Well, it shows you, Fareed, how off the Israeli leadership is about America today. They have lost so many mainstream Jews, conservative and reform Jews. And, you know, Netanyahu's view is, I can get away with anything in America because I've got the evangelicals and I've got the Republican Party in my pocket. And that's probably true. But you know what he doesn't have? He's losing mainstream American Jew, at one point losing a lot of mainstream Americans.
Netanyahu can speak in the U.S. Congress. But could he speak on the campus of the University of Wisconsin? Could he speak at UCLA? Could he speak at NYU? Yes, he could if they borrowed the National Guard. He's winning a debate in a very small circle, but he's really slowly eroding the support of so many people who want to support Israel but are seeing Israel do things that they cannot support and therefore they're just kind of emotionally disengaging. And that's a long-term threat to Israel.
ZAKARIA: I mean, Tom, you were so passionate about this subject. Your book, "From Beirut to Jerusalem," is so eloquent. How do you feel just, you know, logic analysis aside. You're a human being, and you took your family to Israel. What's -- what is your reaction from the --
FRIEDMAN: My reaction about Israel, Fareed, has been what it's always been. That I think understand and think about Israel as an American or American Jew or anybody for that matter. You have to hold three thoughts together in your head at the same time. Israel has built an amazing country, amazing in so many ways.
[10:20:02] Science, technology, education, really absorbing all these immigrants from all over the world. It's an amazing place, number one. Number two, Israel does bad stuff. It does bad stuff in the occupied territories. It does bad stuff sometimes. And number three, Israel lives in a crazy neighborhood. One of the craziest neighborhoods on the planet right now in terms of breakdown of authority.
And so you got to hold those three thoughts in your head altogether at the same time. And unfortunately some people want to go say Israel is great. It's amazing. Some people want to just say Israel is awful. It's the reincarnation of this terrible state. It's occupying, it's all it ever does. And some people wanted to just say, leave it alone, they live in a crazy neighborhood. Well, you've really got to unfortunately balance all three as an analyst, you've got to wind your way through that thicket of three different perspectives on Israel and keep your eye on the prize and the only way to resolve the tension between those three is with a two-state solution.
ZAKARIA: Tom Friedman, a pleasure as always.
Next on GPS, Charles and Dianna, Kate and Will, and now Harry and Meghan. Royal weddings are suddenly a spectacle, but are they a money pit or a moneymaker? Well, we will crunch the numbers and give you the answer, when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[10:25:30] ZAKARIA: Now for "Our What in the World" segment. On Saturday Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed at the Chapel at Windsor Castle and it was a spectacle. The fanfare of recent royal weddings stands in marked contrast to the Queen's own in 1947 which took place in an era of post-war austerity and rations.
Pre-wedding estimates range from under $10 million to over $40 million, most of it for security. That is probably a good bit more than you are planning to spend and it does raise the question, is it worth it?
Despite cheery predictions of a tourism windfall from forecasters, the past certainly tells a different story. The economy likely suffered temporarily from the wedding of William and Kate in April 2011. According to Britain's Office of National Statistics. That month the economy experienced a 1.2 percent dip in service sector output, probably at least in part because the wedding was a bank holiday and everyone went on vacation. There was no massive influx of foreign tourists either.
But even if royal weddings don't pay dividends on the whole, the monarchy does. Here are the facts and figures. The sovereign grant to the Queen, her maintenance bestowed by parliament, was $111 million. The Anti-Monarchy Republic estimated that the total annual cost of the monarchy to the British public is much higher. $465 million. That number includes what could be charged for rents of crown properties and that colossal expense, security.
But the monarchy probably still turns a profit for the country. The nation's official tourism promoter called "Visit Britain" said in 2010 that the royals bring in $675 million in tourism annually from overseas visitors.
Now it's hard to know how you might calculate those numbers, but just think of the brand value of the royals. One type of Harry and Meghan engagement mug sold out online in 24 hours. The "New York Times" reported. The crown bestows $260 million worth of business endorsements, called Royal Warrants, according to the company Brand Finance, on everything from the supermarket Waitrose to the tea company Twinnings.
And millions of tourists do go to the UK and visit the palaces, gawk at the jewels and tour the castles that all belong to the royal family. So the British monarchy probably pays for itself. But the real gain in monarchies might be broader. New research published in the journal "Social Forces" suggest that monarchies worldwide do well for the countries in which they exist.
Mauro Guillen, a professor of management in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, tracked the governments of 137 countries from 1900 to 2010. He found that monarchies offered unity in the face of internal conflict, they offered a check on executive power and a check on the tenure of executive office holders. Guillen uses statistical analysis to conclude that on average
monarchies tend to protect people's assets to a greater degree than republics, and that results in benefits of an additional $1,694 in GDP per capita.
And look at some of the wealthiest societies around the world. The country with the highest per capita GDP is Luxemburg, headed by a grand duke. Not far behind on Norway and Denmark, headed by a king and queen respectively. And Denmark is also famously one of the world's happiest countries.
So does that mean that the path to stability, wealth and happiness lies in adopting a monarch? Well, Alexander Hamilton once argued at the Constitutional Convention for an elected monarch who would rule for life. I can imagine one contemporary American politician who might like that idea.
Next on GPS, the I word keeps swirling around Washington. Impeachment. Many on the left are convinced that if the president doesn't get indicted, the other I word, surely he will be impeached by what they hope will be a Democratic majority Congress after November.
But would impeachment be a good idea? One of the nation's top scholars of constitutional law has changed his mind on that very topic. Larry Tribe will explain when we come back.
ZAKARIA: On May 13th, 2017, the famed Harvard constitutional law scholar Laurence Tribe wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post. The article's title was "Trump Must Be Impeached: Here's Why." Tribe has spent much of the year since doing an incredibly deep dive on impeachment with one of his former students, Joshua Matz. As often happens with scholarly research, Tribe came out the other end with a very different opinion on the matter. What does he think now?
Well, Larry Tribe and Joshua Matz join me.
Before we get to the conclusion, I want to just start with, kind of, the news of the week and what's going on. Robert Mueller apparently has said -- we get this from Giuliani -- that the president will not be indicted even if there are grounds or indictable crimes.
For an average person, explain this. I mean, if one of us does something that is criminal, we would get indicted. Why does the president not get indicted?
TRIBE: First of all, I wouldn't give a lot of weight to what Giuliani says. What we know is that the guidelines of the Justice Department treat the president as very special, even though our most fundamental traditions say he's not above the law. So I don't really think the president is immune from indictment. I mean, if he were to suddenly start shooting his enemies, whether on Fifth Street or anywhere else, I assure you that the guidelines wouldn't be followed. And in some ways, some of what people fear he may have done is at least as bad as that because it involves working with a hostile foreign power to win the office of the presidency.
But the tradition is you don't indict the sitting president. The main remedy -- as the framers provided -- the main remedy for a renegade, out-of-control, tyrannical president is impeachment. But impeachment is tough.
ZAKARIA: And this comes out of the constitutional convention. They were worried about, OK, they're creating this presidency; the only thing that existed before then was European monarchs, right?
MATZ: Exactly. They were really doing something new here. But when you create this kind of new, powerful position at the head of a new, powerful federal government, you need an escape hatch in case you choose poorly or in case you choose wisely but the person who you put in there is ultimately corrupted or comes to abuse his power.
And so impeachment really was part of the constitutional design. And it was meant to calibrate checks and balances in what the framers foresaw as a real worst-case scenario.
ZAKARIA: But, again, back to the question of why is it that just ordinary criminal behavior would not suffice, or even unconstitutional behavior?
You know a lot about the emoluments clause. You're involved in those cases. It does appear, just on the face of it, that there are a lot of foreign countries that are trying to please Donald Trump by doing deals with him, by throwing business his way...
ZAKARIA: ... from hotels, various condominium projects. That sounds like a gift and that would seem to run afoul of the emoluments clause of the Constitution?
MATZ: Well, I certainly agree that the president is in sustained and ongoing violation of the emoluments clause, both the foreign and domestic emoluments clauses. And his violations get worse every day -- or, at the very least, we learn every passing day of new ways in which he's violating it. He's been awfully creative there.
The question of whether the president should be impeached for violating the Constitution or for, sort of, run-of-the-mill wrongdoing, was a question that the framers put a lot of thought into. Their concern was that, if Congress could remove the president for what they thought of as maladministration, or for more, kind of, run- of-the-mill improper practices, that the president would not be able to govern the country, that Congress would lord the impeachment power over him and that he would never actually be able to act creatively or adventurously and would ultimately -- the system would ultimately fail.
And so the framers had this idea that you need some real wrongdoing, high crimes and misdemeanors or bribery or treason. very serious offenses, because otherwise the impeachment power could get out of hand. ZAKARIA: So what rises to the level of an impeachment offense in your
TRIBE: As long as it's a grave abuse of power that threatens to dissolve the kind of republic that we have, it could be an impeachable offense. It's not a technical concept. It doesn't have to violate the criminal code.
ZAKARIA: So explain now why your central conclusion, Larry, is that we should proceed on the impeachment path very, very cautiously. And, you know, you seem to be saying, basically, you don't think impeachment is such a great idea?
TRIBE: When I was writing, about a year ago, that we should start immediately investigating impeachment, it was just four days after Comey had been fired and just four days before Mueller had been appointed. The moment Mueller was appointed, it seemed to me that simply engaging in impeachment talk day and night was going to be counterproductive. That was the point at which it seemed to me. And I have learned a lot even since then.
That was the point at which I thought it's really important to take this vital power, this emergency power, and not run it into the ground by making a nonstop impeachment campaign out of it. You can't fire that bullet more than once. And if he were to be impeached by the House, under circumstances where there isn't a deep national bipartisan consensus, and then acquitted by the Senate, you can imagine what that would leave. It would be a wounded tiger.
ZAKARIA: It feels to me like the book is informed by that political sensibility, that at the end of the day impeachment is a political process, and that, if it didn't feel like there was some consensus around Mueller's findings, you would end up in a situation where the people who voted for Donald Trump felt that this was a judicial coup d'etat, that the very same people whom they despise in the first place, lawyers, the media, all these smarty-pants, educated, elite types, conspired, found some way to get rid of the guy who they had elected.
TRIBE: Right. And it's important that we not exacerbate the dysfunction and the polarization in this society that helped Donald Trump rise to power in the first place. If we were to use the impeachment power simply as a substitute for buyer's remorse, saying, you know, "We thought this guy was terrible, but he's even worse" -- if we were to use it against just ambient badness, rather than clear abuse of power, we would really use the impeachment power to undermine rather than save our democracy.
ZAKARIA: Larry Tribe, Joshua, pleasure to have you guys on.
MATZ: Thank you so much.
TRIBE: Pleasure to be with you.
ZAKARIA: Up next, wish you could do a better job picking what company to invest in? Well, John Doerr is known in Silicon Valley as having the Midas touch. The companies he invests in turn to gold. He will reveal his secrets to you, when we come back.
ZAKARIA: If you had invested $1,000 in Google's IPO, today those shares would be worth well over $25,000. And if you had purchased $1,000 worth of Amazon at its IPO, you would have over $1 million today. Those are quite some returns on investment. Well, venture capitalist John Doerr did even better. He got in at the ground floor of these companies before they went public and invested millions on behalf of his company, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers.
And it's not just Amazon and Google. Doerr is legendary for picking company after company that went on to unimaginable success. I wanted to talk to him about that, about his new book "Measure What Matters," and about the serious questions Silicon Valley is facing today.
ZAKARIA: John Doerr, pleasure to have you on.
DOERR: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: I want to ask you about the swirling issues about technology these days. People look at Facebook and Google and they say, "You guys are selling data that isn't yours; you're selling data that -- my browsing data, my -- what apps I'm looking at, what searches I do, and you shouldn't be able to do this, or at least you shouldn't be able to do it without my explicit say-so." Do -- do the critics have a point?
DOERR: They do. And privacy and trust are essential to all the Internet companies. But I think that, as we adopt privacy regulations, and there are a number in place today, to make sure the regulations have the right balance -- if they are too burdensome, it won't be possible for entrepreneurs to innovate, and if they are too lax, then this sacred trust could be violated.
ZAKARIA: So you are perhaps the most famous venture capitalist in the world. How does one get started doing that? What did you do that took you down this path?
DOERR: Well, I was born and raised an engineer in St. Louis, Missouri, and I wanted to work in computers. So I made my way to Silicon Valley and was very, very lucky. I got to work at a tiny little chip company by the name of Intel for a legendary CEO, Andy Grove, who at the time they invented the 8-bit microprocesser, which kicked off the whole personal computer revolution.
ZAKARIA: But could you have realized -- did you realize when you got there -- this is the mid-70s. It wasn't called Silicon Valley then. Did you have a sense you were at the start of what turned out to be the, you know, this extraordinary technology boom?
DOERR: Yes, it was really very clear. The -- Moore's law -- Andy's partner -- which said that every two years will cut in half the costs of a computer, or double its performance, is extraordinary. And that's been going on for 50 years now. So it's a remarkable force. ZAKARIA: And how did you get from there to then venture capitalist?
So you were at Intel...
DOERR: I was at Intel, very happy pursuing my career, learning from Andy and others. And I got a phone call from a friend who said there's this Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers firm that wants to hire a gopher, a young associate to check out business plans and advise them. And I interviewed for the job and somehow got it. So that's my story.
ZAKARIA: So you have invested early or at the very earliest stages in Google, in Amazon. When people hear that kind of thing, is it just luck or are you just -- you know, Napoleon used to say, "My principal rule for generals is I like lucky generals."
Are you a lucky general, or...
DOERR: I'm a very lucky lieutenant, not a general. It's the entrepreneurs who are the amazing ones. And, of course, after the microchip in the PC, then we had two more great tectonic waves of -- of innovation. And they seem to happen every dozen years or so.
ZAKARIA: And then the iPhone came out; you set up a fund.
DOERR: I did.
ZAKARIA: Because you said the iPhone is going to change everything...
ZAKARIA: ... and we need to send $100 million...
DOERR: The most important platform in the world. And no one at the time thought you could build a business selling applications for a dollar or two, but...
ZAKARIA: So what -- what do you think you see that other people don't see?
DOERR: I think because of my technical background and my love of people and -- and markets, I get to see how these come together. Most important, though, I get to see the world's most amazing entrepreneurs.
ZAKARIA: But everybody sees those. Do you -- what is your special skill? Because lots of people with technical training didn't invest in these companies as early and haven't been as consistently good at it as you.
DOERR: Well, they don't always work. I mean, maybe I'm a risk-taker; maybe I'm -- I'm reckless. But I want to come back to the entrepreneurs because it's hard to tell early on that Jeff Bezos is Jeff Bezos or that Larry and Sergey, with the 18th search engine, are going to turn the whole industry upside down, bring all the world's information to everyone.
ZAKARIA: So what do you think you see? What's the -- what's the sign that this -- this pair is going to pull it off?
DOERR: Well, first and foremost is their commitment to technical excellence. Second is their willingness to build a team around them. Third is a strategic focus on a really large unserved market need. A fourth is a reasonable approach to how they're going to fund their business. You can raise too much money as well as too little. And the fifth factor that I look for is that sense of urgency, because the new company doesn't have the resources of the incumbents. And today's incumbents are more aggressive than ever before, but they can move fast. And so the speed with which one of these disruptive entrepreneurs will move is a crucial advantage.
ZAKARIA: The book is really centered around some things that you learned from Andy Grove, and they're called OKRs. Now, it sounds pretty simple, right? It's objectives and key results. Why is this such an important way to think about business?
DOERR: Well, it's deceptively simple. And the reason is not the initials of the system, kind of obscure, OKRs, but the essence of it. And the essence of it is that we're going to take the goals of the team and make them transparent. That idea in itself is pretty revolutionary. Most businesses hold their goals secret and they put them away. So they'll be transparent. They will cause us to focus. They will get our team aligned around the same set of goals.
And then we'll commit. We'll measure our progress. We'll track how we do. And at the end of a period of time, we're going to set the goals aside. We don't use them for bonuses. We don't use them for promotions. Instead we use them to get a far higher purpose, which is a collective commitment.
Since I first introduced these to Googlers in 1999 -- well, I want to tell you a story. I showed these to Sergey Brin. He was 24 years old. And Sergey enthusiastically said, "Yes, John, we'll try this."
Well, not quite. Actually, what he said is "We don't have any other way to manage the company, so we'll give this a go."
And I took that as an endorsement. But, Fareed, every quarter since, every Googler has written down her objectives and key results. They've graded them. They've shared them with the whole organization. And then they set them aside because they're not used for bonuses or promotions.
ZAKARIA: Why is that part important, that...
DOERR: Great question. It's because you want a culture -- Google wants a culture, the winners want a culture, where it's OK to take risks; it's OK to fail. So you want to set goals that are almost impossible to achieve, and then if you achieve 70 percent of them, you're doing really well. ZAKARIA: Right, so you don't get penalized for having tried something
ambitious and not -- not succeeding?
DOERR: Larry Page of Google, who's famous for moon shots, says, "You know, I'd rather aim for Mars, and if we don't quite make it, we'll get to the moon, than adopt a very conservative, safe approach to competing and creating value."
ZAKARIA: John Doerr, pleasure to have you on.
DOERR: Thank you.
ZAKARIA: A heads-up. For my question of the week this week, you might want to grab a piece of paper and something to write on. I'm going to ask you to spell one of the words successfully spelled by a 2017 National Spelling Bee finalist. Ready?
OK, how do you spell...
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ZAKARIA: That's what you call an unusual yellow coloration in the pigmentation of the skin or feathers.
The correct answer to the "GPS" challenge question is...
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TEJAS MUTHUSAMY, 2017 NATIONAL SPELLING BEE FINALIST: X-A-N-T-H-O-C- H-R-O-I-S-M, Xanthocroism.
(UNKNOWN): That is correct.
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ZAKARIA: That was 2017 National Spelling Bee finalist Tejas Muthusamy, one of the regional spelling champions starring in a new documentary called "Breaking the Bee." The film, which replaces my book of the week this week, examines how the Scripps National Spelling Bee, America's most beloved spelling competition, came to be dominated by a tiny minority of the United States. Twenty percent of all winners have been Indian-American children, including 17 victors and co- victors in the last 18 years.
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(UNKNOWN): We rival the Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys, Celtics, Lakers. Indian-American kids in spelling, like... (LAUGHTER)
... we're in that.
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ZAKARIA: I was interviewed for the film and gave some of my thoughts on this unexpected manifestation of the American dream.
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ZAKARIA: The Indians who do well in spelling bees in America are drawn from a very small group of Indians who were very adventurous, who decided to take advantage of the relaxation of American immigration rules in 1965.
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ZAKARIA: Go to breakingthebee.com to find out where you can catch the film near you, and mark your calendar for this year's National Spelling Bee finals on May 31st.
Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.