Between the rolling green hills of Aspen, monied tech chums have convened at Fortune's Brainstorm Tech 2013 conference, a vague confab about innovation, or something. On the agenda: defending their own existence.
The startup community has been addled by widening opinion that it's generally vain, detached from reality, and overvalued. John Doerr, part of the venture capital vanguard, took to the Brainstorm Tech stage to essentially counter the perfect words of George Packer (head to the four minute mark in the video above).
Boiled down: if you think startups are self-concerned and oblivious, just look at things like... Khan Academy? The same startup that pushes mediocre video-based "courses" that are so poorly constructed, they've had to be taken down and replaced after scrutiny from actual professors. This is the same cottage industry of anti-academia education "disruption" that's birthed Udacity, which was very recently shelved by San Jose State University after most students failed its pilot program. So far, these ventures are a vaguely well-intended joke. Companies like Khan Academy are premised on the conceit that a venture-backed startup can do anything better than government, whether it's teaching children or helping their parents get to work. But flooding the web with free math videos of dubious accuracy is a smokescreen. It's not a fix. It's exactly the same delusion Packer pointed out. It's exactly the wrong defense.