Ina Fried

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Nathan Myhrvold on Being the Most Unpopular Guy at D10

Nathan Myhrvold knows that he is one of the least popular guests at this week’s D: All Things Digital conference, and that’s okay with him.

“I never was a popular kid in class,” the Intellectual Ventures CEO and former Microsoft executive said at D10 on Wednesday. “I’m not going to be popular in this class. If I want popularity, I go to a chef’s convention.”

Although Myhrvold’s company does some of its own inventing — working on things like a new type of nuclear reactor and a broadband antenna — the company is best known for amassing a huge number of patents invented by others and then seeking to license those patents or else pursue revenue in court.

Myhrvold made the case to the crowd, though probably unsuccessfully, that his company serves a purpose similar to that of venture capital or private equity in the process of aiding innovation.

Myhrvold also quoted his own past statement at an earlier D conference, saying, “If people don’t find what you are doing threatening, then it is probably not very important.”

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