The Zeitgeist: VCs Really Are Jerks
Investment bankers get a bad rap thanks to classic villains like Gordon Gecko in Wall Street, Ivan Boesky, and Michael Milken. VCs don’t get Hollywood movies and we can’t think of a VC who has been perp-walked. Still, we detect a Zeitgeist where seasoned entrepreneurs are vocal about being repulsed by VCs, and are trying to create business models that don’t require outside investment.
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Blogs have given voice to these sentiments. Joel Spolsky, who publishes the very popular Joel on Software blog, made his case against the way VCs operate in the a widely circulated post entitled “Fixing Venture Capital.” In short, Spolsky’s beef is that VCs are 100% focused on the next Google or Netscape, so they don’t make sound choices about sensibly growing businesses.
Now the entrepreneur Paul Graham has posted a similar indictment of VCs that gets more personal and attacks VCs for being ugly people.
Here are some excerpts:
One of my most vivid memories from our startup is going to visit Greylock, the famous Boston VCs. They were the most arrogant people I’ve met in my life. And I’ve met a lot of arrogant people.
I’m not alone in feeling this way, of course. Even a VC friend of mine dislikes VCs. “Assholes,” he says.
Add up all the evidence of VCs’ behavior, and the resulting personality is not attractive. In fact, it’s the classic villain: alternately cowardly, greedy, sneaky, and overbearing.
I used to take it for granted that VCs were like this. Complaining that VCs were jerks used to seem as naive to me as complaining that users didn’t read the reference manual. Of course VCs were jerks. How could it be otherwise?
But I realize now that they’re not intrinsically jerks. VCs are like car salesmen or petty bureaucrats: the nature of their work turns them into jerks.
Read – A Unified Theory of VC Suckage (Paul Graham.com)
Read – Fixing Venture Capital (Joel on Software)