By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

TJ Rodgers, the outspoken CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, was one of four Visionary Awards recipients at the Oscars of Silicon Valley June 21st –  a gathering of Silicon Valley elite presented by SV Forum. He was introduced by Eric Benhamou of Benhamou Ventures  who described Rodgers as “a tough boss, argumentative and very competitive,” and added “I’m using polite language here.”

Renowned for his libertarian views, and highly critical of government “meddling” in the economy, Rodgers, who led the acquisition of SunPower by Cypress in 2004, shared some of his business philosophy with Fresh Dialogues. And check out this VIDEO CLIP to hear why Rodgers almost named Cypress “Pear Tree” and how he maintains his passion for learning…in his hot tub, with the newspapers, a floating desk and LEDs.

TJ Rodgers on global warming

“Global warming is a secular religion…I call it the Church of Greenhouse Gases.”

TJ Rodgers on New York Times columnist and author of Hot, Flat and Crowded, Tom Friedman

“Friedman is doing a disservice to the American economy. He’s a writer. He knows nothing about cleantech and creating businesses and jobs.”

TJ Rodgers on the role of government in stimulating the green economy

“I believe in a level playing field. Scrap subsidies for oil….I’m against laws like AB 32.”

Note: In 2010, TJ Rodgers took a strong and vocal stand for California’s Proposition 23, which sought the suspension of  AB 32, the law that regulates greenhouse gas emissions. He quit his position on the board of SunPower, adding, “I was at odds with the management of SunPower…they knew who I was when I saved their ass.” (referring to Cypress Semiconductor’s purchase of Sunpower in 2004 which proved to be a mutually advantageous choice for both companies)

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TJ Rodgers on why you should invest in cleantech

“A ‘greater good” motivation is not a good argument. Business isn’t charity. Create products people need, efficiently and produce profit for shareholders. Profits give you the moral high ground…they make for a good economy and more jobs.”

TJ Rodgers on cleantech entrepreneurs who want to ‘save the planet’

“I’d be more skeptical about investing in cleantech entrepreneurs who are motivated by global warming…it’s like a religion. It’s not good business.”

This is part two of Fresh Dialogues coverage of the Visionary Awards 2011. Read part one,  What Makes Silicon Valley Unique

Check out many more PHOTOS from the Visionaries and Fresh Dialogues YouTube Channel Videos here

More on Silicon Valley events here

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