Waddaya Want? –

A wise man once said: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” It made a big impression on me. Somewhere along the way I got it into my head that I was taking a big risk if I asked for something that I really wanted. “What if I ask her out and she says no?” “What if I ask the salesman if he’ll give me 15% off and he tells me to take a hike?” “What if I ask for a raise and my boss says to forget about it?” These questions all sound pretty silly now, but at one time they immobilized me. Then this guy comes along and points out the painfully obvious: What’s the worst thing that could happen if someone says no? They say no and … and … nothing. That’s it. Now I ask for something whenever an opportunity presents itself.

Today, I just have one simple question: Are you happy with Venture Capital Journal?

If the answer is yes, I’d like to hear about what you like in particular. If the answer is no, I really want to hear from you. This is your magazine, so you deserve to be happy with it. There’s no hidden agenda here. We want to make VCJ the best that it can be, and if we don’t know what readers want, we can only get so far on our own.

This is the third issue that I’ve edited since I came aboard, and we’re making changes fast and furious. Take the cover. We’ve moved away from “concept” art in favor of more traditional portraits. Simple and clean.

We’ve added more pull quotes, subheds, photos, and graphical elements to make our stories more readable. We’ve added more charts and tables to give you more information and present it in a way that’s easily digested. I think we set some kind of chart record with the March issue.

We’ve added new features. “Talk Back,” on page 59, is a place for you to tell us what you’re thinking, whether it’s positive or negative. “Trading Places,” on the very last page, is a gossipy column about comings and goings and, more broadly speaking, what folks in the industry are up to. Did you know that Kevin Compton of Kleiner Perkins bought into a hockey team? Flip on over to the last page to get the skinny.

We’ve made significant changes in the kinds of stories we write and how we write them. We did away with the “News” section in the front of the book. Now we write three to four deeply reported stories that delve behind recent events and explain what they mean. Like the Caspian deal. Everyone made a big fuss about how much money the optics startup raised, but no one bothered to go any deeper. We did. See the story on page 10.

We’re being more thoughtful about our cover stories, trying to choose topics that are truly relevant, not just glitzy. In that vein, Senior Editor Charles R. Fellers wrote a compelling piece about Intel Capital this month. It certainly isn’t the most exciting VC on the planet, but Intel Capital will put more money to work this year than any of its peers. See the story on page 22 to find out how to get your share.

We think we’re focusing on the right things, but without feedback from readers we really can’t be sure if we’re meeting your needs. All you have to do is speak up. Ay, there’s the rub. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Let me know what’s on your mind. I prefer email because I can pass it around to the rest of the staff. Shoot a message to lawrence.aragon@tfn.com. If you want to talk to me personally, just pick up the phone. My direct line is 415 732-6212.