Monthly Archives: January 2011

Advice to entrepreneurs

I found instructive to compare two short videos from the STVP. The first one is dated 2002 and shows Larry Page, the co-founder of Google. The seconde one, with Aaron Levie, has just been published on january 19, 2011.

And here is a comparaison

Larry Page vs. Aaron Levie
  • Work with the right people, great people you are compatible with
  • Do not compromise. Be passionate
  • Have a healthy disregard for the impossible
  • Do something which was impossible 3 years ago
  • Do not follow the hype. Good ideas always get funding.
  • If you feel comfortable, you are probably not doing the right thing.
  • Clearly passion, ambition but also self-confidence are ingredients of entrepreneurship.

    Another very good post on the topic is Should You Really Be A Startup Entrepreneur? by Mark Suster, where the reality of entrepreneurship is superbly described.

    Is there something rotten in the kingdom of VC?

    Following my recent post, Is there something rotten in the state of IP, I could not avoid to add this provocative statement despite all my respect for venture capital. When Kleiner Perkins, one of the best West Coast VC (not to say one of the best VC ever), Charles River, one of the best East Coast VC and Index, one of the best European VC co-invest in an IP company (a “Patent Risk Manager”) such as RPX, I thought there had been a major event. And Randy Komisar who is mentioned in my latest post is on the board… Now RPX is filing to go public so as I do usually, here is the cap. table. All these data remain subject to the IPO date and share price which I just had to imagine… You may also be interested to know that the founders of RPX come from Intellectual Ventures…

    The top VC bloggers

    A friend of mine (thanks Rémi!) just sent me the TechCrunch article about the top VC bloggers. The Techcrunch article referred to Larry Cheng and his 2011 edition of the VC blog directory.

    Let me just mention the top 5:

    1. Paul Graham (@paulg), YCombinator, Essays>
    2. Fred Wilson (@fredwilson), Union Square Ventures, A VC
    3. Mark Suster (@msuster), GRP Partners, Both Sides of the Table
    4. Brad Feld (@bradfeld), Foundry Group, Feld Thoughts
    5. Chris Dixon (@cdixon), Founder Collective,

    I read regularly Fred Wilson and those would not know Paul Graham’s essays should read a few. A must!

    Success is Management of Failure

    “Of course, business, just as life, is never a smooth curve. Failure can come as quickly, and more unexpectedly, as success. But true success is management of failure. Every time you hit a bad patch you must be able turn your fortunes around. That’s why it’s important to be always prepared for failure and build strong teams. To be a successful entrepreneur, venture capitalist or philanthropist, you must bring together people who know there will be problems, love to solve problems, and can work well as a team.” … “It reminds me not to be too proud. I celebrate failure — it can temper your character and pave the way for great achievement.” Kamran Elahian.

    Kamran Elahian is a famous Silicon Valley entrepreneur. He was the founder of Cirrus Logic which is famous enough to be in the Silicon Valley Genealogy poster. The extract below lists the founders of the company, you can not read their names but they were 5 and here what the poster says: Suhal Patil (Patil Systems), Michael Hackworth (Signetics), Bill Knapp (General Instruments), M. Kei (Intel), H. Ravindra (Patil Systems) and Elahian himself (CAE Systems). Strangely, Elahian has a different list on his website — Suhas Patil, H. Ravindra, Bill Knapp, Mark Singer.

    Nesheim in his book High Tech Start Up also mentions Cirrus as a success story and gives the cap. table at IPO. It is indeed his model I follow for my own cap. tables.

    Then Elahian founded Centillium which unfortunately did not have the same end though its IPO was a great success. In 2008, the company was acquired for about $42M. So failure is followed by success and by failure again. Elahian also gives Centillium founders on his site: Shahin Hedayat, Faraj Aalaie, Babu Mandeva, Tony O’Toole.

    In the same area of chips, semiconductor for telecommunications, there is a similar story: Atheros has just annouced it would be acquired by Qualcomm for about $3.1B. Atheros is a company I had studied in my book because its two founders are two Stanford professors (Theresa Meng and John Hennessy, currently Stanford president) and its CEO is Craig Barratt whom I had as a teaching assistant when I was studying in California. Who says scientists/engineers cannot be great business people?!!

    But the (possible) interest of all this is that you can compare three stories, more than 20 years apart and you cann see that there are tons of similarities and the web2.0 start-ups I covered recently are not so different.