Global Estonians podcast: Steve Jurvetson

The Silicon Valley-based technology entrepreneur, Rainer Sternfeld, interviews the Estonian-American polymath and venture capitalist, Steve Jurvetson.

Born to Estonian parents Tõnu and Tiiu in 1967, Jurvetson graduated at the top of his Stanford University class as a Henry Ford Scholar. After gaining work experience at Hewlett-Packard and Bain & Company, he returned to Stanford to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering, after which he joined a venture capital firm founded by Tim Draper and John Fisher. In his day job, Jurvetson invests in bold human endeavours in quantum computing, deep learning, electric cars, rockets, synthetic biology, genomics, robotics and other areas.

Although Jurvetson never learned Estonian – his parents used it between themselves – he has retained an interest in the country’s global affairs and in 2014, became the first non-European to receive an Estonian e-residency card.

In the podcast, Jurvetson talks about his technology-infused, Estonian-influenced upbringing in Arizona, fundamental shifts in computing and the future of humanity in the light of artificial intelligence.

He also shares his thoughts on why Estonia is competitive on the world stage. “I think increasingly small companies matter and small countries matter and small teams matter.” But Jurvetson recommends Estonia to stay clear of regulations, make it easier to form companies and make it easier to run experiments.

Sternfeld interviewed Jurvetson for his “Global Estonians” initiative – mostly an Estonian language podcast where globally active Estonians share their life and work experiences. Yet, every tenth episode features an English-language interview with someone who is of Estonian descent – or a good friend of the country.

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Cover: Steve Jurvetson.

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About the author: Rainer Sternfeld

Rainer Sternfeld is a Silicon Valley-based technology entrepreneur, host of the podcast "Globaalsed eestlased" and Atlantic Council Millennium Fellow 2017.

  • Piret

    Please, Estonian parents – no matter where you are raising your children, speak to them in Estonian. We moved to Australia & I stopped speaking Estonian once I had learned English, BUT I made my parents speak Estonian to me even though I spoke English to them. After I later spent 2 years in Finland & spoke fluent Finnish I forced myself to speak Estonian. It all came back! When I return every couple of years to Estonia I do very well.