David Hornik over at Venture Blog has a marvelous post up called “Venture Capitalist At Your Service”. He recognizes that his LPs are his customers, yet he also recognizes that: “The executives of my portfolio companies are my clients. But all entrepreneurs are potential clients. And I need to behave accordingly.”
Easily said, right? The lovely thing about David is that he really seems to live by these words. I have never worked with an August Capital investment, but I have had occasion to interact with David over the years, starting when he was an attorney at Perkins and up to this day. He has always been gracious with his time and thoughtful with his feedback. His efforts writing VentureBlog over the years has provided insights to many aspiring entrepreneurs.
It is easy for a VC to become arrogant. Save for the moments when they too have to hustle up a new fund (and that reality is crashing in on a few these days), they sit in the catbird seat passing judgement on other people’s passions and dreams. That kind of power can go to your head. I’ve found that VCs who have been founder entrepreneurs themselves resist this trap more easily because they understand the other side, i.e. they’ve had people tell them that their baby is ugly. David might never have been an entrepreneur himself, but he’s never let the power go to his head. I think an entrepreneur would be lucky to have him as a partner.
I suppose this post might sound like a giant kiss-ass piece, but the VC world can be uneven in quality and I think it is right to give some credit and appreciation where it is due.