President Barack Obama arrived in the Bay Area yesterday and drove to the home of venture capitalist John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Doerr, a major campaign contributor, had arranged for a dinner with a group of twelve of the most powerful people in Silicon Valley, representing a cross-section of the political spectrum as well. Guests ranged from Cisco CEO John Chambers to Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt of Apple and Google respectively. Also represented were Yahoo, Twitter, Oracle, Netflix, Genentech, Facebook, and the Westly Group, as well as Stanford University President John Hennessy. One noticeable absence was HP.
Larry Gerston, Professor of Political Science at San Jose State, noted the difference between Thursday night’s meeting and a meeting Obama held earlier this year with the Chamber of Commerce in Washington. While the Chamber of Commerce represents mostly 20th century businesses, this dinner was attended by the figures who are leading business into the 21st century.
While little has leaked about what was said at the meeting, it is believed to have focused on job creation. According to Gerston, Silicon Valley, with only 5 percent of the state’s population, accounted for 18 percent of its job growth. In a press release before the event, the White House said that, “The President and the business leaders will discuss our shared goal of promoting American innovation, and discuss his commitment to new investments in research and development, education and clean energy.”
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