Brockman: Congratulations on Proposition 211.
Doerr: We're very grateful to the voters of California; it's terrific that it was defeated. Prop 211 was written by, and for, securities lawyers. It would have encouraged frivolous shareholder lawsuits threatening every company in the country and costing California 159,000 jobs. Several economists estimated the stock market would have declined 15%. That's trillions!
Defeating 211 was a big and broad effort. It needed to be a big effort. Think of frivolous lawsuits as a national business environmental issue - like a massive oil spill along the entire East, West and Gulf coasts. All the securities lawyers have to do is pass this legislation once, in one state, and the damage will be irreparable. So, until we get uniform national standards we must defeat the securities lawyers again and again.
Brockman: How much of your time was involved?
Doerr: About 15% of my day time but most of my sleepless nights. I was worried. I didn't think we were going to win.
Brockman: Did you set up an organization to run this project?
Doerr: It was like starting a new venture. We got great management team in place, raised money and got the word out. We had a terrific campaign manager and a lot of support from a broad coalition: the technology community, the media industry, banking, lawyers, accountants, educators, seniors, individuals, non-profits, labor, Democrats, Republicans - all pulled together.
Brockman: Wasn't this a breakthrough in social consciousness for Silicon Valley?
Doerr: Yes, though it was a national issue. I think of Silicon Valley is a state of mind. We had volunteers and companies from Massachusetts and Washington, from Colorado to San Diego - from South Florida - all involved in this effort.