"Vinod Khosla"

Billionaire Beach Villain Vinod Khosla has a thought concerning Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Vinod Khosla is a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who chose to define his legacy through a spectacular legal battle to block access to the public part of a beach area he owns in California.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) is the youngest woman ever elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, whose openly progressive positions (especially a proposal to tax rich people's incomes at 70% after the first $10,000,000 a year) have shocked conservatives into an all-consuming hysteria. Moreover, she's very good at Twitter.

Political analyst Anand Giridharadas remarked, this weekend, that the right's condescension and sneering at "AOC" threatened to expose its parochial instincts:

"If you think a freshman congresswoman who actually connects with people and actually understands new technology is the problem with America," Giridharadas wrote, "it may be that you are the problem with America."

Vinod Khosla, however, doubled down on the condescension.

"That is assuming she understands basic economics, actual humans and technology. I doubt if any of those are true."

This would be an unremarkable sentiment if its author had 22 followers and an 8-digit number in their Twitter handle. But in this case it's one of America's richest men. It's so wrong at each turn it only illustrates the hapless self-regard for which The New York Times mocked him as the "beach villain" this generation deserves—and an obvious proxy for the Valley's broader culture.

That is assuming she understands basic economics

Ocasio-Cortez holds a degree in Economics from Boston University and worked 18 hours a day to fend off a bank's attempt to foreclose on her family home. Read the rest

Supreme Court tells "beach villain" Vinod Khosla to get lost

Good news from the U.S. Supreme Court! It decided not to weigh in on the fight over Martin's Beach in California. Vinod Khosla, a Silicon Valley billionaire, bought land surrounding the popular beach, intermittently closed the only access route to the public, and has fought a long, losing battle over his "property rights" since. In California, beaches are public up to the high tide line—and established paths to them come with legal baggage, even when they run over your land.

“The most conservative and divided Supreme Court in my lifetime confirmed that even a billionaire, who refuses to acknowledge that the law applies to him, and retains the most expensive attorneys he can find, cannot create a private beach,” said attorney Joe Cotchett of Burlingame, who represents the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit group that has won lower cases forcing Khosla to keep the beach open.

“Beaches are public in California, and the immensely wealthy must comply with the Coastal Act just like everyone else.”

Attorneys for Khosla said Khosla will now seek a permit from the Coastal Commission, which surfers and environmental groups, and the commission itself, said was required under the law, to close the gate to the beach, something he had not done. ... The beach, used by families back to the 1920s, is flanked on both sides by steep cliffs and is only accessible by boat or by a road that runs through 89 acres Khosla bought in 2008 from a local family. The case has gained national attention.

Read the rest

Vinod Khosla, Beach Villain

Billionaire investor Vinod Khosla has spent years trying to block public access to a public beach in California adjacent to property he owns. He's not only tarnished his reputation, but become a focal point for Americans' growing fear that the ultra-rich are buying the country from under our feet.

A New York Times profile conducted at his invitation, then, threatens to be its least appealing article since the lavish fluffing it gave Ohio Nazi Tony Hovater. But Nellie Bowles' low-key lighting of the path to the sand is perfect. They shiv him with the headline of the year—"Every Generation Gets the Beach Villain it Deserves"—and she lets his monumental narcissism bleed out underneath it.

“I’ve never claimed people can’t come in from the ocean,” he says, seeming to suggest they swim around a rocky promontory. (“No, not death,” he says, when I call later to clarify. “Boats.”)


“I mean, look, to be honest, I do wish I’d never bought the property,” Mr. Khosla says. “In the end, I’m going to end up selling it.”

“If this hadn’t ever started, I’d be so happy,” he adds. “But once you’re there in principle, you can’t give up principle.” He frames the struggle in the Silicon Valley patois of contrarianism. “I’d rather do the right hard things now that I’m in,” he says, “than the wrong easy things.”

Khosla's complaining at Bowles after the article went up is a good example of the Musk Coefficient: the gap between the carefully-cultivated Silicon Valley entrepreneur monopersona and its bathetic "Trump with another 10 IQ points" failure state on Twitter. Read the rest

Court orders venture capital billionaire to restore access to public beach

Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla must open access to a public beach that he'd closed for private use, says a California court.

From The Guardian:

Khosla’s refusal to restore access has made him something of a symbol of the immense wealth in the tech industry and rising income inequality in the region.

Last year, his attorneys claimed that he would open the gate to the beach only if the government paid him $30m, an amount that state officials said was unreasonably high. In October, Khosla also sued two state agencies, accusing the government of using “coercion and harassment” to infringe on his private property rights.

The California coastal commission, established by voters in 1972 to protect public use of the coast, has reported that beachgoers have increasingly complained about private security guards telling them they are trespassing on private property and forcing them to leave the public beaches.

Photograph of Martin's Beach: Marcin Wichary/Flickr Read the rest

7 years later, Sun Microsystems cofounder Vinod Khosla loses bid to privatize public beach

For 5 years, we've been tracking the tribulations of billionaire Silicon Valley VC Vinod Khosla, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems who, in 2010, bought land adjacent to a public beach in Half-Moon Bay, south of San Francisco, and then fenced off the beach and hired private security guards to chase swimmers and sunbathers off the public land. Read the rest

Jerry Brown will force open public beach gate locked by billionaire

On Tuesday, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation allowing the state to forcibly open the public access road to Martins Beach if Vinod Khosla fails or refuses to voluntarily restore public access to the beach.

Last Wednesday, Khosla lost his court battle to cut off access to Martins Beach. A San Mateo County judge ruled Khosla must reopen the gate to Martins Beach, a crescent-shaped inlet five miles south of Half Moon Bay.

(Celebration idea: BB meetup at Martins Beach!)

Previously on BB:

Billionaire tech VC Vinod Khosla owns the very tides, sea, sands (or so he claims)

http://boingboing.net/2013/11/11/billionaire-blocks-access-to-p.html Read the rest

Billionaire told he can't block access to public beach

Tech billionaire Vinod Khosla bought a house by a public beach, then cut off access to it. A court has ordered him to unlock the gates.

Khosla did so despite being told by county planning officials, the Coastal Commission and a different San Mateo County Superior Court in 2009 that he needed to seek a coastal development permit if any of his actions were to change the "intensity of use" of the water or access to it.

Mallach ruled that by padlocking the gate, hiring security guards and altering signs without state permission, Khosla had wrongly denied public access to the beach, violating the California Coastal Act.

The fuck-you quality of Khosla's whole effort--security guards!--is galling. But what did he have to lose?

Photo: GeeJo (cc) Read the rest

Billionaire tech VC Vinod Khosla owns the very tides, sea, sands (or so he claims)

Silicon Valley billionaire venture capitalist and Sun Microsystems co-founder Vinod Khosla wants everyone to stay off Martins Beach, a lovely stretch of oceanfront south of Half Moon Bay. To that end, he is invoking The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican-American War in 1848 and transformed California from being a chunk of Mexico to becoming part of the USA. Okay, Vinod. Whatever. Read the rest

60 Minutes wrong about clean tech

60 Minutes seems to be in rough shape: it's become something of a sport to write takedowns of the current affairs show's weaker outings. The latest is at Slate, where Will Oremus hammers a recent episode which claimed the clean tech sector is crashing. [via]

Over the course of the segment, 60 Minutes got so many things wrong about clean technology that I don’t have room to refute them all here, though plenty of others have made valiant efforts. The Department of Energy ripped the show, calling it “flat wrong on the facts.” And on Tuesday, Vinod Khosla himself—the venture capitalist whom Stahl’s segment held up as the face of the “clean-tech bust”—published a scathing open letter to the show, disputing more than half a dozen key facts and comparing it to the National Enquirer. That’s an unfair comparison, of course: The National Enquirer could never hope to mislead as many Americans as 60 Minutes did.

The funny part seems to be not so much that 60 Minutes ran a poorly-sourced takedown of clean-tech, but that it built it using old sources and examples such as Solyndra, bankrupt since 2011. Lots of stuff that's already been discussed to death, but easily compiled into a narrative. Wikipedia is good enough, right? Who needs journal subscriptions and professional researchers! Read the rest

Billionaire blocks access to public beach in California

SFGate: "A San Mateo County judge allowed a wealthy oceanfront property owner [the beloved venture capitalist Vinod Khosla] to block public access to a beach that has been enjoyed for at least a century by fishermen, tourists, sunbathers, families and surfers. Superior Court Judge Gerald Buchwald ruled Thursday that a billionaire landowner can legally block the only road into the sandy Half Moon Bay haven known as Martins Beach." (Thanks, Matthew!) Read the rest

Khosla backs new wood-into-fuel ethanol project in GA

Famed investor Vinod Khosla is backing a new ethanol plant in Georgia that will transform wood waste into fuel. Range Fuels Inc. plans to launch more plants, and produce one billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year. Snip from a post on biostock blog:

We knew it was coming. Vinod Khosla has finally made a bold move to back up industry-wide speculation that cellulosic ethanol would soon emerge as the next phase in ethanol production. The surprise is that wood would be the feedstock of choice given the vast headstart of corn-based biorefineries in the country and the obvious synergy of basing corn stover conversion technologies near sugar fermentation plants.

However, the high energy potential of wood cellulose, the ready availability of cheap waste, and the search for a renaissance of forestry-based industries makes the announcement a welcome one to the "nation's woodpile" in the southeastern states.

Read more, including the announcement from Range Fuels Inc., here: Link. (via Bruce Sterling / Viridian newsletter) Read the rest

Technical presentation on ethanol fuel

I found this one-hour presentation on using clean ethanol instead of bloody petroleum to power the world's automotive fleet through Bruce Sterling, who sez,

I saw Vinod Khosla give a very similar speech this month. It's technical, but technical solutions are supposed to be technical. Now that I've heard the speech twice, this is actually starting to sound like a rational plan to me. It might, conceivably, actually work. It can't stop us from getting slammed with a series of city-wrecking Katrinas, but it might avert a scenario that's all Katrina, all the time.


(via Beyond the Beyond) Read the rest

Big name VC gets into microfinancing

Amazing NYT piece on Vinod Khosla, a partner at Kleiner Perkins and co-founder of Sun Microsystems, who is now devoting part of his time to trekking rural India, making micro-loans to entrepreneurs starting home-based businesses.

"I was completely blown as I listened to the stories of these tenacious women," Mr. Khosla said. "I started crying." In his view, the microfinance initiatives he visited in India and Bangladesh in February ran more efficiently than most Silicon Valley organizations. "They have sophisticated credit algorithms," he said. "Does the woman own a buffalo? Some chickens? Does she have a toilet in her home? What kind of roofing material does her home have? Does she bring a shawl to the village meeting?"

In India, microloans are usually disbursed to poor women whose total family assets are less than 20,000 rupees ($459) and whose monthly income is smaller than 350 rupees. Yet microfinance initiatives have a phenomenal repayment rate averaging more than 95 percent, better than the best commercial banks in the world. Many of the programs are highly profitable, Mr. Khosla said, adding that "microfinance is one of the most important economic phenomena in the world in the last 50 years."

Link Read the rest