Editor's note: This interview was conducted in mid-February before New Zealand's Covid-19 outbreak lockdown began.
"What's happened is profound," says venture capitalist and tech industry veteran Joe Schoendorf.
Ten years ago, the overwhelming majority of graduates from Stanford Business School were going to big financial institutions like McKinsey, JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs, he says.
"For the past three years more than half of that class have gone to work for no-name start-ups. Kids just don't want to work in corporate boxes."
Almost no one on the planet knows the tech sector like Schoendorf, who was in New Zealand to give the key note address at the annual Craggy Range Speaker Series.
Schoendorf has watched the industry evolve from the inside, since it began in Silicon Valley more than 50 years ago.
"It wasn't called Silicon Valley," he says. "It was basically HP and a few other companies and a bunch of apricot orchards. "
Schoendorf got what he calls his lucky break in the tech sector when he started with fledgling computer company Hewlett Packard straight out of college, in 1966.
At the time HP was based in an apricot orchard where Apple's giant circular head office now sits.
He stuck with company as it grew into a global computing giant, eventually heading up its marketing team and becoming general manager of product development.
He went on to work for Apple where he became vice president of marketing.
But in 1988 at age 40 Schoendorf took a risk and joined tech investment start-up Accel Partners.
There he has seen enormous success with investments in current tech leaders like Slack, Spotify, Dropbox and little social media start-up called Facebook.
Dropping out of the corporate mainstream to join a start-up was a radical move at the time, Schoendorf says.
Now, it is increasingly the way young people are thinking about their careers.
"Most of the kids we see coming in with business plans are fresh out of school," he said. "What's changed in the past 20 years is we're kind of going from a 40 [year old] CEO to a 20-year-old [CEO].
"[Mark] Zuckerberg was 18 when decided he wanted to start Facebook."
Making it as an entrepreneur is all about a certain attitude to risk, Schoendorf says.
"A lot of people just aren't orientated to take a risk. And being an entrepreneur, you've got to take a risk every day in every way.
"A lot of people get out of school with student debt, go to work at a well-paying job, get married, buy a house, have a kid. You kind of get locked in."
Beyond that there is a lot to be said for a good sense of timing, he says.
Of the hundreds - or thousands - of start-ups he's looked at, the great failure, he says, is
that the guys who start them are "too smart and too early".
"It's exactly the right idea, but its 10 years too early. The world's not ready."
The first social media companies on the scene are a perfect example.
When Myspace started [in 2003] the idea that there'd be a social media company like Facebook that had two billion users logging on every morning would have sounded crazy, he says.
"We thought a million people, maybe 10 million people would use it."
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If Schoendorf had to offer traditional businesses one piece of advice, it would be: move fast.
Traditionally successful businesses try to stay successful by doing what they do a little bit better every year, he says.
"What they really need to do is figure out 'how long can we keep doing this and who threatens us'.
"One of the things we say to all our start-ups, which good companies should pay attention to, is: go fast or go home," he says.
"Speed is your friend and the bigger you are the harder it is to run fast."
So small animals can outrun big animals; small companies can outrun big companies.
"We always say to our companies 'if you get tied up with a big company it's going to kill you'.
"What you have in Silicon Valley, is about half [of the people] came from somewhere else because they had a burning desire to do something and a big idea. And if you got a big idea the easiest place to get it going is Paolo Alto and Silicon Valley and all of the friction you encounter in other places is gone."
"If we have a secret to investing it's called the prepared mind. So we have a hard rule. When we have an idea we never act on it to start a company, we put it in our brain and we wait until an entrepreneur comes in the door with a similar but better idea."