I’m toast. My first two weeks as editor of VCJ have been a blur. New job, new people, new ways of doing things, lots of copy to edit, and very little sleep. I’m loving it.
When I was a kid (I’m now a grizzled 37), change scared the hell out of me. As I get older, I come to appreciate it more and more. I’m sure most of you know what I mean. Try talking to a 20-something about how wonderful change is and he’ll give you that look he had the first time he was out with his friends and ran into his dad unexpectedly.
To borrow from Gordon Gecko: Change, for lack of a better word, is good. If you’re not facing new challenges or putting yourself into new situations, you’re stagnating. Nowhere is this truer than in the world of venture capital, where, as Mike Moritz (page 29) says: “You’re only as good as your next deal.” How many firms do you know that were once at the top of their game, but got lulled to sleep by their past success and missed out on a paradigm shift?
In this issue, we focus on 10 exemplary venture capitalists. Having read and edited (and re-read) each of the profiles, it strikes me that the one thing that has made each of these men successful is their willingness – make that zeal – to embrace change. They know that change breeds opportunity, opportunity to make that next big deal to please the LPs, but, more importantly, to get a chance to help conceive and execute an idea that will change the world. When John Brooks (page 23) came up with the idea to create disposable hearing aids, he bettered the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. When Vinod Khosla (page 28) built the teams at Fiberlane, Juniper and Lightera, to name a few, he didn’t just create an obscene amount of wealth, he advanced our communications infrastructure.
You can laugh if you want – and I know that some of you do – about the quest of Steve Jurvetson (page 27) to commercialize nanotechnology. At this early stage of the game, he looks a bit like Don Quixote. But Steve is doing what all great venture capitalists do: He’s taking a big risk (translation: putting his ass on the line) because he can see the monumental benefits that nanotech will ultimately produce for mankind.
As the Greek (pre-Socratic) philosopher Heraclitus observed, the nature of the world is flux. Those firms that believe they are one thing will remain static and falter; those that understand that their nature is to change will thrive.
Let me know what you think. I really want to know. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.