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孙正义:泡沫制造者还是富有远见的投资家

Polina Marinova 2017年10月25日

孙正义被形容为“泡沫制造者”,但他的Vision Fund对社会是否有益?

我最近读到了许多文章,都在讲述孙正义和他的Vision Fund — 一个规模达到1,000亿美元的庞然大物。今天早上,路透社发表了一篇专栏文章,称孙正义是“独自一人的泡沫制造者”。这篇文章认为,如此规模的资金进入风投生态圈,必定会令已经开始产生泡沫的科技公司估值继续膨胀。孙正义甚至表示将募集第二只投资基金,规模约2,000亿美元,并且他预计将以每两三年一期的速度,先后建立“Vision Fund 2期、3期和4期”。换言之,他计划在未来十年投资超过1,000家公司。

但我愿意相信,这些资金并非只有坏处。首先,它帮助我们了解了孙正义如何看待这个世界。我在周末意外发现了软银在2010年6月发布的这份报告。报告中阐述了软银的30年愿景,也让我们可以从一个有趣的角度去了解孙正义坚定的野心。

例如,他提出了软银300年的发展策略。他表示,人工智能与数以十亿计的传感器收集的信息相结合,将引发一场“信息革命”,受益人群将远远超过19世纪的工业革命。软银在5月份在癌症早期筛查初创公司Guardant Health投资3亿美元,并收购了英国半导体公司ARM。孙正义称,这两家公司的传感器技术和创新,可以增强医生的外科技术,而数据的价值将无可估量。

孙正义说过:“统治芯片的人将统治全世界。统治数据的人将统治全世界。未来人们一定会这么说。”

下面是让人感兴趣的地方。孙正义似乎是产业不可知论者,但他却看好信息和数据。报告中有一页列出了工业革命期间的公司市值,包括宾夕法尼亚铁路公司(Pennsylvania Railroad)、美国钢铁(U.S. Steel)和标准石油(Standard Oil)。他认为,下一个前沿将是数据革命。安德鲁·卡耐基和约翰·D·洛克菲勒等人通过掌控工业革命的大量投入可以大幅加快创新,似乎孙正义也在做类似的事情。区别在于孙正义坚持的理念是,数据是现代社会最宝贵的数字资源。正如亚当·拉辛斯基在今天早上的“数据表”专栏中所说,用2,000亿美元押注大数据这一个投资主题,要么是彻底疯了,要么是聪明绝顶。

没错,软银可能导致了IPO萧条,孙正义可能是所谓的“独自一人的泡沫制造者”,但如果不去考虑这家日本技术巨头注入的现金从长远来看将如何推动人类的发展,将是我们的失职。这就带来了一个问题 — 即便有关软银的所有批评都是准确的,其对社会的长远影响全都是正面的吗?(财富中文网)

译者:刘进龙/汪皓

I’ve read quite a few articles recently about Masayoshi Son and his monster $100 billion Vision Fund. This morning, Reuters published an op-ed calling Son “a one-man bubble-maker.” The article argues that such extraordinary sums of capital flowing into the venture ecosystem are bound to inflate already-frothy tech valuations. Son is even talking about raising a second investment fund of some $200 billion, and said he expects “Vision Funds 2, 3, and 4” to be established every two or three years. In other words, he aims to invest in more than 1,000 companies over a decade.

But I’m willing to argue all this money is not bad. First, it helps to understand how Son sees the world. Over the weekend, I stumbled upon this SoftBank deck from June 2010. It outlines SoftBank’s 30-year vision, and it gives an interesting glimpse of Son’s ruthless ambitions.

For one, he has a 300-year view of SoftBank’s growth strategy. He says that artificial intelligence combined with data gathered by billions of sensors will bring on an “information revolution,” that will benefit people more than the 19th century Industrial Revolution. In May, SoftBank invested $300 million Guardant Health, a startup specializing in early cancer detection, and it bought a British semiconductor company called ARM. Son noted that sensor technology and innovation brought forth by these companies can enhance a doctor’s surgical skills and the data will prove invaluable.

“Those who rule chips will rule the entire world. Those who rule data will rule the entire world,” Son said. “That’s what people of the future will say.”

Here’s where this gets interesting. Son seems to be industry agnostic, betting on information and data instead. In the deck, there’s a slide that outlines the market cap of companies during the Industrial Revolution, including the Pennsylvania Railroad, U.S. Steel, and Standard Oil. The next frontier, he believes, is the data revolution. As people like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller were able to drastically accelerate innovation by having a very large ownership over the inputs of the Industrial Revolution, it looks like Son is trying to do something similar. The difference being he’s betting on the notion that data is one of the most valuable digital resources of modern day. As Adam Lashinsky noted in this morning’s Data Sheet, a $200 billion bet on a single investment theme around Big Data could be entirely crazy … or brilliant.

Yes, SoftBank might be the cause for an IPO slump, and yes, Son might be a so-called “one-man bubble-maker,” but we’d be remiss not to look at what the Japanese tech behemoth’s infusion of cash is doing to move humanity forward in the long-term. It begs the question — even if all the criticism around SoftBank is accurate, will the 300-year outcome be a net positive for society?

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