Tech execs, where would you put a million dollars?

May 22, 2009

Most top technology executives are used to juggling businesses worth hundred of millions of dollars, yen or euros. But this week at the Reuters Technology Summit, we asked: if we gave you $1 million to invest anywhere — but not in your own company — where would you spend it?


If you want the quick answer, I would invest it in Twitter.  I’m sorry that we weren’t in it. I don’t know where it’s going and it would be a fun ride.

Tim Draper, managing director of venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

I would love to work more with some of these interesting startups like that are developing interesting and innovative ways to create micro-lending programs for folks around the world.

I’ve a couple of friends and I would like to invest in their companies, little start-ups. One of them is called Trazzler and the other is called Fluther. One is an innovative travel startup and the other is a service that helps people get answers to questions they need.

I’m not a real big stock guy. Maybe a little Apple, a little Google — companies I use every single day so why not invest in them?

— Twitter Co-founder Biz Stone

It’s stuff in our industry. The most vibrant industry is ours. We’re complaining but the reality is we’re making money. I would literally go after a couple of smaller companies that are up and coming. (Such as) Lala. It’s iTunes without having to download the client. It’s a really neat job. Check it out. You take music on the go. It’s a really nice design.

— Yahoo Inc  Chief Technology Officer Ari Balogh

I have done some angel investing and what I have found in angel investing is it hasn’t been because I was excited about the sector, it was because I was excited about the person. So I don’t know that I could pick a sector, but if I see the right people, that is where I would put the $1 million.

— NetSuite Inc Chief Executive Zach Nelson


I would put it in the hands of scientists who are trying to discover thenext energy alternative. By giving them more R&D dollars, we fuel opportunities for higher education. We hopefully allow them to buy better supercomputers and that could improve the computer industry’s short-term prospects and it could obviously help discover the next generation of energy source that could change humanity altogether.

— Nvidia Corp Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang

There are many attractive companies in the environmental energy sector. Especially in Japan, technologies are advanced and there are a lot of companies that established business strategies and models from early on. Also, health and safety will be more valued in the future, so healthcare is a very important area.

— Konica Minolta Holdings Inc Senior Executive Officer Shoei Yamana


“Because I’m 60, I would probably put half in corporate bonds, spread them around, get a nice interest rate on them. And I would probably put some into energy because I am a long-term believer that energy costs are going to continue to climb, and I think they’ve gotten depressed. And then I would put it into consumer electronics stocks and consumer non-durables. I’m a believer that consumers will come back and will spend again. So I would invest in those things.

— Corning Inc Chief Financial Officer Jim Flaws

The financial sector will come back. I think some smart investment in the financial sector makes sense. Tech will be one of the first industries to emerge from this because that spending is important to the growth and cost agendas of companies.
I’d probably put a third in natural resources probably oil and gas. The fact is it is a diminishing asset. That is probably going to create supply problems that will tend to drive up the value of those problems.

— Dell President of Large Enterprise Steve Schuckenbrock

I’d invest in a company whose business is not doing well. Stocks of companies that are making a lot of money don’t have much room to grow. There are many sectors that are not well performing but won’t ever vanish. For example, chipmakers may be struggling, but that’s only because of the supply/demand balance. When demand comes back, the business will pick up again.
Also, materials and infrastructure industries are interesting. There are countries like China that still need to improve infrastructure, so I think it would be interesting to invest in those.

— Capcom Co Ltd CFO Kazuhiko Abe


Personally, I still think health care. I think the pharmaceutical companies have been beaten down a lot…As population ages, everybody needs more medical help. Pharmaceuticals, drugs are a big part of it. Short term, I think the dollar is going to fluctuate. I wouldn’t sell dollars for the long term. If I had a million dollars, I would probably move to a very beaten down currency at this point, maybe Australian dollars, and then back into U.S. dollars in a year or two.

— Sybase Chief Executive John Chen

I think that the area that is worth investing is in the healthcare area. Small start-up companies that are looking to wirelessly enable health. This whole area of letting people monitor their own health and give them feedback and let others have access. I think there is just a huge revolution in healthcare coming with high-tech. When people can give you a pill, and track it and see inside of your body and tell you what’s really wrong with you…I think that whole area is about to just mushroom. It defies economic cycles. People get sick or get ill regardless of economic cycles.

— AT&T Mobility President Ralph de la Vega


I like very much these electronic readers. We actually started that several years back, we were ahead of the time, and we found that publishers, textbook publishers, were not very receptive. The area of flexible paper and digital paper and publishing. We’re not there yet. But (Amazon’s) Kindle is stepping in the right direction. There is a lot of innovation in that space. But it’s got to be like a $49.95 product, not a $300 or $400. It’s got to be for the masses. It’s got to bring educational qualities to kids in the Amazon, 1,000 miles away from civilization.

— SanDisk Chief Executive Eli Harari

I’d say Apple. You wouldn’t be able to find any other company in the world that can do everything from OS to hardware to services like Apple does. It is a company that has a potential to keep offering new services. Apple’s ability to develop products is incomparably better than others.

— Gree Inc CEO Yoshikazu Tanaka

Based on what I saw on CNBC, I think I would put it in Hormel. Since I saw the sales of the Hormel chili and Spam have increased recently because of the economy. It’s as good an idea as any.

— Advanced Micro Devices Inc CEO Dirk Meyer

I’d put it in the bank probably. Definitely not in the automotive industry.

— Marvell Technology Group CEO Sehat Sutardja

You know, being pretty conservative in nature, it’s either invested in TI or sitting in the most conservative way possible. I get more than enough excitement in my daily life than needing excitement with investments on the side on that front.

— Texas Instruments CEO Rich Templeton


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I would be putting my money into Emerging Markets ETF; International Bonds; and Alternative Energy Stocks or Start-ups.

Posted by Ida Muorie | Report as abusive

I would invest in anything dealing with artificial intelligence. We have tons of data easily available through the internet. We will move to a new phase, analysing that data to discover patterns in it so that we can benefit from them. For instance, looking at GPS data of phone locations allows us to know in real-time how fast traffick is moving. More and more institutions trade the marked using algorithms. This makes stock prices go up and down based on patterns. Any company or person working on technical analysis and with a proven record of pattern detection would be a good investment.

Posted by Hank | Report as abusive

I would put it all into ARCC. I’m a gambler like that.If you had a million bucks, you could buy approximately 140,000 shares of their stock. Their dividend has been steadily at $0.35 or higher per share. So my 140k shares net me a quarterly income of $49,000… or nearly 200k a year.Rockin’.

Posted by Larry | Report as abusive

I would invest in energy stocks. Alternative energy. Wind, solar. Energy costs over the long term will go up 300%+ and those who are prepared will look like genius economists.

Posted by ben boothe | Report as abusive

I’d probably invest in anything except companies in the U.S.A. since the current U.S. administration is so blatantly anti-capitalistic that the American economy wil be steadily going down the tubes until they get rid of these socialists. I’d certainly stay away from any American defense-related industries, since the Administration seems bent on exposing the throats and breasts of Americans to the barbarians at their gates.

Posted by Ric | Report as abusive

I like Eli Harari’s remarks about a more affordable electronic reader. But I’d suggest to him that you don’t have to go as far as the Amazon jungle to find kids who are 1000 miles away from civilization. Try half the USA with families who still have no access to broadband, DSL or even wireless, and this when they may only live ten or fifteen miles from an urban area! And pay that universal service fee on their landlines, duh… So personally and for the public good, I’d invest the money in a campaign to finish wiring the country. Some of us in the sticks are ready to roll out the fiber ourselves. “Will string cable for food?” Why not?!

Posted by Liz R | Report as abusive

I would look to invest primarily in agricultural land within the USA where one could both take advantage of future continuing food price inflation and have a quite home base to be away from the noise and pollution of city driving.The rest would be split up between precious metals, high dividend paying stocks, corporate bonds and commodities of every stripe.

Posted by Constitution-Bound | Report as abusive

I would invest in anything to do with cell phones.the hole young generation and pretty much the global population has a cell phone.and people are upgrading to a new cell phone every day.

Posted by scott l | Report as abusive