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Jim Breyer of Accel Partners on How Tech Empowers Entrepreneurs

In this session from Techonomy 2011 in Tuscon, Ariz., Jim Breyer, Partner at Accel Partners, discusses whether technology can help people create jobs for themselves. Instead of working for Facebook or Google when they leave school, Breyer says, recent college graduates are more often leveraging technology to create new companies, like Etsy and Zaarly. Also appearing in this video: Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick and Sean Parker of Founders Fund.

Breyer: It is happening, again, so under the surface, because when we’re talking about the millions, the tens of millions of jobs that we need to replace, that’s very daunting, and no top down strategy is going to successfully address that.

Kirkpatrick: Yes, the figure we have says 12 million jobs have to be created—

Parker: When you say top down, you mean government—

Breyer: Government, government mandates, large companies. It just won’t happen. But what is happening, in a very profound way, we’re meeting college students now that are deciding not to go to Facebook, to our great disappointment, or Google, or others, but start their own businesses, and they tend to be very craft oriented, or social oriented, and a year or two later when we see what they’re up to, they have created businesses with 10, 15, 20, 50 employees. It’s under the surface. It may be marketplaces like Etsy, it might be other marketplaces where they’ve decided to create and reach their customer in a much deeper way through nontraditional means. And we’re seeing an absolute explosion of that kind of employment, where people are working from home or small offices, and it’s happening here in the US, it’s also happening elsewhere. Again, it’s happening in China, it’s happening in Brazil, many of the emerging markets. It’s terribly exciting, and it doesn’t get captured in any of the national policy discussions—

Kirkpatrick: I’m glad this is coming up here, yes—

Breyer: But it is happening, and it is happening in a much more profound way than what most people would think.

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