Tom Perkins: The Captain Of Capitalism

Tells 60 Minutes Correspondent Lesley Stahl He Regrets Quitting HP's Board

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He has moved on, though. Today, he's a member of the board of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., and there are few pleasures that money can buy that he denies himself, or that he doesn't like to show off.

"Let's go through the Tom Perkins litany. You used to own the world's most expensive sports car collection," Stahl says.

"The best. Maybe the most expensive," he says.

"Okay. You currently own a Bentley, a $450,000 Porsche Carrera GT, an Aston Martin, the Maltese Falcon, and a second yacht. Who needs two yachts? Well, we won't go into that. You own a 900-year-old, moated estate in England," Stahl says. "And I'm only telling what we know about. So you do like to show off?"

"Guilty as charged," Perkins admits.

"Analyze that for us. Why do you have to have the biggest and the first, and…what is that?" Stahl asks.

"You know, I'm no psychiatrist. But it probably comes from my childhood and the attitude of my parents," Perkins says.

An only child, Perkins grew up during the Depression, which he says devastated his father, and distorted his mother's priorities. "My mother wanted things in life that my father couldn't provide -- that were bought by money," Perkins explains. "The fact that we didn't have any money was very, very evident always in my life."

"Because she talked about it all the time. She made it clear," Stahl remarks.

"She talked about it all the time," Perkins says,

And so he cares about money and he likes to spend it. His latest project is his very own sports submarine, which he'll park on the forward deck of the Maltese Falcon. If you got it, flaunt it -- and poke fun at yourself, as he does when he dresses up his yacht with flags and pennants, each of which -- in sailor-speak -- represents a letter of the alphabet.

"What does it say?" Stahl asks.

"Yeah. Lesley, starting from the bow it says -- it really says this: 'Rarely does one have the privilege of witnessing vulgar ostentation displayed upon such a scale,'" Perkins explains.

"So you're saying it yourself before anyone else can say it," Stahl remarks.

"Before anybody else can say it," Perkins admits. "I've said it."

"Self protection here," Stahl says.



But there's no protection against boredom when it comes to Tom Perkins and his toys: in February, he put the Falcon up for sale. The asking price: $180 million. He says the allure of the mega-yacht was in the building of it, and in overcoming its technical and esthetic challenges. But once he did that, he says he began to yearn for a new project, and now he thinks he's found it, converting a Navy mine sweeper hull into a 140-foot boat that can carry and service his new sports sub.

Produced By Rich Bonin