- REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
When the next US president steps up to the inauguration lectern in January, Barack Obama will leave his post as the nation’s commander in chief and hand off the country to his successor.
He’s already announced that he will be staying in DC after office, but he might also try his hand in the venture-capital market.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Obama voiced his little-known inclination toward the private sector, specifically Silicon Valley and the VC scene.
“The conversations I have with Silicon Valley and with venture capital pull together my interests in science and organization in a way I find really satisfying,” Obama told Bloomberg.
“The skill set of starting my presidential campaigns-and building the kinds of teams that we did and marketing ideas-I think would be the same kinds of skills that I would enjoy exercising in the private sector.”
When pressed, Obama pointed out biomedical sciences as a particular interest of his, being a topic the president is able to “sit and listen and talk to folks for hours about.”
It’s a far cry from his current day job, but could have a lot of similarities, according to Obama. If you think of the president’s office like the CEO of America, or its chairman of the board, then becoming a businessman after office begins to make more sense.
Gathering and organizing a top-notch political team began before the 2008 election and required Obama to demonstrate his leadership chops not just to the American people but also to his staffers.
Besides, after dealing with divisive partisan politics for eight years, the private sector might be easier than his public office. Obama told Bloomberg:
“Now, I’m always careful about drawing too many easy parallels there, because sometimes there are CEOs who come in and start explaining to me how I should be running the presidency. And I sometimes have to stop them and say, ‘All right. One, I appreciate your advice. But imagine a situation in which half your board and management were actively trying to get rid of you and prevent you from accomplishing anything. And you had 2 million employees, and you couldn’t fire a large portion of them. And your competitors weren’t simply promoting their own products, but were continually saying how your products were the worst that were ever invented and will cause a civilizational crisis. If you pull that all together, then you’ve got about half of what I’m dealing with on a daily basis.'”
No one is saying the president’s role is an easy one, that’s for sure.
Obama pointed out that the complex American financial system lends itself well to helping new businesses. With a large amount of free-flowing capital, US startups have a strong advantage over their foreign counterparts, according to the president.
As for the companies he might one day fund, they might have an advantage because of Obama’s experience in leadership and innovation.
“If you get a good idea, and you organize some people to support you, and you learn from your mistakes, you can create something entirely new.”