This article was published on April 15, 2011

Tammy Camp to startups: Shoot for the Moon!

Tammy Camp to startups: Shoot for the Moon!
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten
Story by

Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten

Founder & board member, TNW

Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is a serial entrepreneur who founded not only TNW, but also V3 Redirect Services (sold), HubHop Wireless Internet Provider (sold), and Boris is very active on Twitter as @Boris and Instagram: @Boris.

Tammy Camp is a venture investor, company advisor and adventure traveler living in San Francisco, CA. She will be speaking at The Next Web Conference 2011 in Amsterdam.

I interviewed Tammy about her ideas on innovation, exponential thinking, and her keynote which will be titled “Shoot for the Moon: A Path to Innovation and Inspiration”.

Oh, and I found out that although Ben is not really her new boyfriend he really should be yours. Find out why:

Boris: Forbes called you the “Lara Croft of the web”. Why do you think they called you that? How afraid should I be?
Tammy Camp: LOL. Think of me as one of the guys. My dad was a US Intelligence Officer and let’s just say that my childhood included a lot of progressive technology.
Boris: So it isn’t just true as a metaphor but you also physically represent Lara Croft? Now I’m really scared.
Tammy Camp: Correct, Forbes means I both physically and metaphorically represent Lara Croft. With 10+ years of experience on the web and $1 Billion+ of online sales under my belt, they feel I’ve earned the title. Oh, and playing chicken with supertankers in San Francisco kiteboarding adds to the name as well.

Boris: I’ll try to be very polite then. Can you tell me a bit more about what you mean with ‘progressive technology’?
Tammy Camp: Well, ever since I can remember I always had computers. At age 6 I was coding on computers from computer magazines my dad would buy so I could get pixelated robots to dance. Back then data was stored on cassette tapes. By age 7 we were descrambling (hacking) satellites together. Fun times.

Boris: What can we expect from your talk at TNW2011?
Tammy Camp: To inspire innovation and exponential thinking. Our top engineers are going to companies like Groupon and at the end of the day they are an email
marketing company, a feature based company. They aren’t really innovative as email has been around for ages. I will be talking about the space race. My talk is called, “Shoot for the Moon: A Path to Innovation and Inspiration,” and how the space race affected us 40 years later. By raising the bar to build something out of this world (pun intended), we now have advanced communication systems which are the backbone to the infrastructure for the Internet. Basically, no space race = no Facebook, no Twitter, no mobile phones, no Internet

Boris: But isn’t it weird to promote the space race in hopes it will lead to more innovation online? Sounds like a detour to me.
Tammy Camp: No, it is all one in the same. Everything is connected and when one innovation occurs, hardware in this case, then other sectors shift to adapt to that innovation. I’m talking about shoot for the moon, shoot for something unimaginable and dare to discover; in turn more innovation for the Internet will come out of it. I feel like everyone is developing the “Next Facebook” but ‘Social Media’ is done. Facebook has the market while Twitter leads in real time search. If you look at the top investment firms in Silicon Valley….cough, cough, the first investors in Facebook have already shifted their investment focus.

Boris: Sorry but “Social media is done” reminds me of this quote:

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
— Charles H. Duell, U.S. Commissioner of Patents, in 1899.

Tammy Camp: I don’t feel like it is “done” but what I’m saying is that the social media infrastructure is set with Facebook IPOing in the next 12 to 24 months, there is no way in hell that a clone is going to be able to surpass them without a $50 Billion capital injection. So guys, let’s build the infrastructure for the next disruptive technology and not just focus on what is in vogue today.

Boris: Any suggestion on what that could be?
Tammy Camp: Well, hardware will be 1 million times less expensive and 1000 more powerful in less than 30 years. This means our mobile devices will be the size of a cell. If you think back 10 years ago, we were developing web applications and now mobile development is all the rage. I’m predicting development for nanotechnology merged with all of the content available to us on the Internet. It is a sure bet for the future. It means smaller hardware, but an infinite amount of knowledge and tools bundled in the software.

Boris: You quote Mark Twain “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” on your blog. What didn’t you do yet? What is next for you?
Tammy Camp: hmmm… good question. I would love to lead a movement in innovation. Beyond that I’d love to be the first woman on the moon.
Boris: Moon or Mars?
Tammy Camp: Moon first, that is the refueling station. Then off to Mars.

Boris: You have a world record for consecutive kiteboarding back loops. How serious was that?
Tammy Camp: Kiteboarding is always good fun. I set the world record with the intention for someone to break it. No one has yet, but it was a challenge to the world to push a little harder. So I’m challenging someone out there to raise the bar.
Boris: I see a recurring theme there. Just like in technology and innovation. You are always pushing others to do better?
Tammy Camp: Yes! Just like in technology and innovation. Everything in life should be challenging, fun and exciting….right Boris? Pushing the bar just makes for a much more interesting ride. What’s the point of doing anything if it is not exciting?

Boris: Which brings me to last question… tell me about Ben.
Tammy Camp: Ben who?
Boris: Ben who? Isn’t your new boyfriend called Ben? You recently tweeted “Yes, my new boyfriend’s name is Ben“.
Tammy Camp: That was a joke! I’m very single. I’m putting together a new venture fund and my advisor said my only focus at this point should be on capital fundraising meaning… Benjamin Franklin
Boris: Wow, that is amazing and a good tip for all entrepreneurs: your new boyfriend is Benjamin and he is all you should think about. See you soon in Amsterdam!

You can see Tammy’s ‘Kiteboarding World Record‘ and her message to entrepreneurs in a movie titled ‘Renegade – A Modern Palindrome‘ at Youtube. Also check out the speaker announcement post, our conference site and my other interviews with Dave Winer, Steve Rubel and Alexander Bard.

Reserve your ticket today and meet Tammy Camp and other inspiring internet visionaries at TNW2011!

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