I hate reading newspaper and magazine articles about venture capitalists, such as the one today on SFGate (which BTW I am not liking their site redesign) on Steve Jurvetson. As an aside, It’s too bad he essentially gave up the J Curve blog.
Almost invariably these puff pieces feature the same template:
- Establish the bona fides by referencing some big win from back in the day (e.g. Hotmail, 1997).
- Feature the human side by focusing on some quirky personality trait (e.g. “draws pictures and leaps from subject to subject”) and/or hobby (e.g. builds rockets).
- Closes with emphasis on how smart the person is (e.g. bio-nano and the quintessential venture risk management philosophy).
The problem with these profiles is that they obscure the brilliance of the person by focusing on the person. Jurvetson is alpha and a super smart guy, no question about it, but this article should have been written as a piece on the intersection of electrical engineering, organic chemistry, and biology with an emphasis on the significant footprint that Jurvetson has developed for himself in these fields rather than “Jurvetson as the seer”.
The mythical god-like personification of venture capitalists is tired, time for a new template that portrays people like Jurvetson for what they are, really smart people who see connections and trend lines that most will miss and couple that with access to capital and high comfort levels with risk.